Dizzy Swallows

Walnut Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

March 25th, 2011 2 Comments

I am not a cake person. I’ll take a bubbling apple pie, or tart strawberry-rhubarb crumble any day over the starchy, cloying trollops that usually pass for cake. This preference does not apply, however, when it comes to my family’s traditional birthday cake. In fact, I’ll take this cake over the aforementioned desserts. Any day.

I must be breaking all kinds of family code by giving away this highly guarded recipe, but it is really too good to be kept in captivity. Over the years, I have released it on select test groups who now join me in the worship of its ambrosial flavor and moist crumb.

Following tradition, I made this cake for our combined birthday. This gave me a chance to test run my new prized possession: a vintage Foley Sift Chine triple screen I’d pounced upon at a recent estate sale for a measly 5 bucks. … Continue reading

Noël Chez Nous

December 27th, 2010

Hello my dears! I hope you all had an absolutely wonderful Christmas weekend! If it was anything like ours, I’m certain you’ll need at least a week to recover. On that note, today I’d like to share a few of the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells that have filled the last few days.

Unorthodox as it might seem, on Christmas Eve my sister and I whipped up a huge sushi feast including both fish and veggie rolls, sashimi, inari, and the all important warm sake. It was delicious and, though we had every intention of beginning the holidays with a light meal, nearly everyone gorged themselves into sweet fishy oblivion.

On Christmas morning, after several bulging stockings had been pillaged, we all trooped out to give the animals their Christmas breakfast. As it turns out, rabbits really do love carrots.

There are few things more depressing than the end of … Continue reading

At the Manor

December 8th, 2010

Hello lovelies! Today I wanted to share just a bit about how I’m spending my days of late.

Some of you may remember this post from the summer in which I mentioned my ridiculously driven and multi-talented mother and NWLA. There is always something that needs doing at the academy, particularly with the recent upgrade/relocation to The Cultural Center in Langley. This is a huge undertaking, both physically (the space is a revamped B&B, complete with 6 guest rooms, a giant restaurant-grade kitchen, several living rooms, dining room, and new offices) and philosophically (the grand purpose of The Center is to bring cross-cultural understanding and dialogue through events, exchange programs, and classes). I am currently helping out with this grand endeavor on a part-time basis and will be spending the remainder of my time painting (once I have unpacked my studio, oh Lordy).

Meanwhile, Jacob and I are … Continue reading

Home on the Range

October 27th, 2010

Last Sunday we indulged in some rather Texan pastimes: shooting, drinking and football. It was my first time firing a gun and I must say, the experience was pretty darn fun (with proper respect for your weapon of course). While I’m not likely to become a gun-toting member of the NRA anytime soon, I do think that knowing your way around a firearm is an important life skill. After all, you never know when the zombie apocalypse might come.

If there’s one thing a 120 acre ranch has it’s ample shooting space. Father dearest informed me that the average .22 bullet will travel about a mile, so even in the wide open spaces of Texas it’s a good idea to shoot towards a hill least you hit any stray neighbors.

Our humble range was measured out with 25 and 50 yard intervals, and a simple paper target fixed to a … Continue reading

Beef Bourguignon at the Ranch

October 6th, 2010 1 Comment

Last Sunday, Jacob and I made the trek out to Campe Verde with two pounds of local, grass-fed beef and a bottle of wine in tow. Oh yes, it was time for me to attempt beef bourguignon and who better to experiment on than family. I know, how Julie & Julia of me.

My dad and his wife Kris live on a beautiful Hill Country ranch with one Scottish Terrier, two horses, a herd of Scimitar-horned Oryx, and various furry squatters. Over the past couple years, they have added two blocks of grapevines to the landscape and will be bottling their first wine next year. The ranch is a unique and entirely lovely mash-up of French country living meets African safari.

With the help of my ever obliging and eternally patient sous chef, the dinner came together without a hitch. In case any of you are curious, for this … Continue reading