Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How (Not) to Make Macarons

The Cronut might be next black, but I still prefer the good old macrons. But, I do have to confess, that even dough I haven't tried a cronut yet (it was first introduced, like a week after I left New York City) I do have the perfect words for this culinary masterpiece: It's like my two favourite desserts got married and made a baby! Sadly I didn't make up those words, I heard them in one of the series I'm watching (N.C.I.S. Los Angeles, and it was said by Deeks to Kensi, when she brought him one).
Sadly I don't know the recipe for cronuts, and I read somewhere, that the chef that invented them sued a bakery in Los Angeles that made the same pastry for using the name cronut; But I do have a recipe for macrons and a story of how I made them.

For all of you, that don't know what a macron is, it's a French dessert made from egg whites, powdered sugar, almond powder and topped off with a different flavoured toppings. Macrons are also Blair's (for all of stone-age people, that don't know who this is Blair is one of the main characters in TV series Gossip Girl) favourite deserts. The most famous company that is considered to make the absolute best macrons.
The first time I had the pleasure of trying a macron was at a family gathering in Switzerland. Some of my relatives lives there and we celebrated my cousins birth. Her godfather is super rich, and he bought a "macron cake" in Paris and had it delivered with a train to Bern, where the celebration was held. It was the first time I even saw a macron, I had no idea how they taste or what are they made of. But I fell in love with the first bite. Learning how to do them seemed like the only option, considering that I'm not as rich as cousins godfather. So I did.
As all electronic age kids, I sat down in front of the computer and googled it. I found bunch of recipes and YouTube videos that showed how to do them. And the impulsive person I am, I decided to start right away. Without thinking or checking if I have all the ingredients, I just went right ahead.
The first thing I figured out was I didn't have any sugar. And you can't make macrons without sugar. So I went to the store and bought sugar. Naturally I bought the normal one (not powdered), and since I didn't feel like going to the store again, I decided to use the sugar I bought.
The next problem were almonds. I bought almonds with their peel (is this a correct word? I had to googled it and now I didnn't know how to use it...) still on. So I had to skin them. This is a long and dreadful procedure, that I never want to repeat. First I had to put almonds in a pot filled with hot water, waited for a few minutes and than almost burned my fingers, trying to peel the peel off (still confused over the word peel, hope you got what I wanted to say). After more than half an hour I finished and was getting ready to blend them, only to find out that my blender is broken. At this point I was losing the interest of making macrons and almost gave up. But I didn't. I used an old blender, that didn't do the job properly, which only added to the list of what did wrong. When the paste for the macron was finally done, I just wanted to sit down and eat some chocolate. But I had to make those perfect round shells, before I could do what I wanted. It turned out , it was easier said than done.I believe I made exactly one beautiful round macron. All the others looked like, hmm how should I put this, a five-year-old played darts with a balloons filled with macron paste. But the tip of the iceberg was, that the macrons didn't have "the foot". That is the crusty thingy that makes them so special. This was the first time I made them. It wasn't that they weren't good or eatable, they just didn't look right.
This depressed me so much I didn't want to repeat the horrible process I went trough the first time. It took me almost a year to try again. I tried a different recipe, but I still wasn't able to do them right. So I repeated the process the next year. And they still looked horrible. I did them 6 moths ago, and they still didn't have "the foot". But a month ago I finally, did it!
For a change I bought almond powder, instead of blending them myself. It turned out it was the right thing to do. And I used powdered sugar as well.
I must tell you that I used more than 40 eggs and 2 kg of sugar, before I made my first perfect macron. So don't fell bad if your macrons aren't perfect the first time around. You'll get it eventually.

Here's how my macrons looked like, and the last picture is a macron from Laudree. I think they look almost the same. What about you?

Sugary goodbye,
Lucy Jane 

I can't believe it, but I almost forgot to add the recipe. And then I figured out I lost it somewhere in that giant pile of my stuff on my work table where I save all those stuff. So in a day (probably two or three, considering the size of that pile) I will make a post with THE recipe for the best home-made macrons in town!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Let's Dance!

I know that it is an old movie (like so 2012) but I just couldn't resist. Hope y'all forgive me =)

 Today while surfing the web I came across the trailer for Step Up Revolution. It's kind of a sequal to previous Step Up movies, even though there is no Channing Tatum in it (don't know what do you think, but  for me that makes it half less interesting to watch). But I rememberd that Moose is in it and I couldn't resist and I wached it again. I must confess, it is not as good as the first Step Up (which I adore and know by heart) but it's good enough to watch it more than once (and not fall a sleep while doing it). 

Basically the movie is about bunch of kids that love to dance. They want to become famous, via winning a YouTube contest. So they make (or do, I have no idea how to say this right, and google doesn't know either...) flash mobs around Miami. But when a "mean" tycoon wants to build bounch of hotels in their neighborhood, they use their dancing skills to protest. Oh, and there is a pretty girl that falls in love with a hot shirtless guy (the reason that women love to watch those movies).

Obviously I have a lot of free time and I spent the majority of it in front of  a computer watching movies/TV shows/videos of Ellen Show on YouTube... And now that I'm writing about this "so last year" movie I would like to suggest some good (and not so good) "dance movies" that I watched I liked.
So here's the list:
-my personal favorite STEP UP

-HONEY (This movie has a sequal but I didn't like it. But as a Vampire Diaries fan I had to watch it since Kat Graham plays the lead)

-MAGIC MIKE, ok maybe it isn't a dance movie, but strippers dance right?

-CENTER STAGE 1&2 sequals about the hard world of ballet
-SAVE THE LAST DANCE (also has a sequal which I did watch yet, but can't wait to do it)
-STREET DANCE, there is a bunch of hot shirtless guys with British accent. Do I need to say more? Oh, and it has a sequal, which I didn' watch. Yet.
I think I wrote down all dance movies that I came up with in the last 10 minutes. Of course they dance in musicals too (like Chicago and A Chours Line), but a musical is a musical, the main thing there is singing. But who didn't try to dance on All that jazz, or on Welcome to Burlesque?

I know I had a great time doing it =)
Lucy Jane

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Quote of the Week: Coffee

If you're not a morning person, or just a fan of coffee and can't imagine your life without it, than here's a quote that was written just for you. At least I got this feeling every time I read it.
Lucy Jane

Saturday, November 23, 2013

What if...

During a class about motivation and emotions, I did some thinking about what is my biggest motivation in life and came to a (un)realistic conclusion. To make it easier to understand, I even draw it for you guys (and I also wanted to share my talent for drawing).
I know I'm not five, but after the royal baby George was born I relapsed back into my royal obsession.
I found all my old magazines with the Royal Wedding as the main theme and read them all over again. I also started to daydream about my perfect wedding with a prince (any prince will do the trick, but somehow I always imagined it would be a handsome one, preferably prince Harry (don't mind that its rumored that he's about to get married too. Sadly not to me) or the prince of Sweden. He's one good-looking fellow.)

So if you're still trying to figure out what my current motivation in life is, here's a short simple answer: To marry a prince and become a princess.
I was even thinking to put an add that would be something like this: Single beautiful and intelligent woman's looking for a handsome prince. You can actually be a blue blood or only your last name is prince. The only thing is that you have to be (and remain) a prince. So no future kings please, I want to become a princess not a queen. Queens have way to many responsibilities, princesses not as much.
So if you're a prince, what are you waiting for, I right here waiting to become a princess :)
Princess Lucy Jane of Wonderland

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Where Not to Eat...

So today I went to a lunch with my friend. At first we were planning to eat healthy and watch our body-shape, but when we saw the menu in the "healthy" restaurant we were planning to eat, we changed our minds. It must of been quite a funny sight: "Two girls walked in this super small place, where they only serve fruits and vegetables watched the menu for a while, making faces as they read the words French bean salad, broccoli soup, beetroot soup... Then they looked at each other burst into laughing turned around and left the place." If you can imagine that, than you know exactly how we looked at the "healthy" restaurant.
So, we left the place and suddenly we didn't care about our health any longer and decided to eat at one of the Mexican restaurants in our city. We decided to go to the Joe Peña's Cantina and Bar. I never been there and I heard that the food is delicious and that it has great atmosphere. We were both excited and super hungry when we came to the Cantina.

I went by the Cantina many times before and I liked the way it looks and the people seemed happy with both the service and the food. But when we arrived the Cantina was full and we just sat  down at the table where two other guests just left. The table was still dirty and it was left like that until we left. As if this wasn't enough we waited for a waiter for about 20 minutes, just to get the menus. Oh, and I have to tell you that some of the restaurants in the city I'm currently studying have a special menus for students, that are cheaper and partly founded by the government. We have to use our mobile phone and call a number and than put our phone on a machine that identify us and gives us the right to a cheaper meal. Well I guess my phone had a bad day because I had to call the number more than five times, before the waiter gave up and brought another machine. And he was kind of rude about it too.
If it would be just that, I would survive and forget the awful first (more than) half an hour, but apparently I got a lot of bad karma for not eating French beans and broccoli soup. Because once we gave our order to the (not very nice) waiter we waited for a loooong time before we got the soup and than the main dish and than the desert. The couple next to us, that came when we gave our order got their food before us! Can you see why I'm so unhappy?
When the food finally arrived, the soup was (guess what!) broccoli or something equally not in my range of not eatable food. The nachos that we got were good, but we got only two different super small plate sauce for two people. Does that mean that if I was alone I would get even smaller plate? I'm not even sure if it's possible to get a smaller plate. Or they just thought that we didn't need two sets of sauce for two people? Anyhow, we were still having a great time gossiping about everyone and anyone we set our mind to. But as the time passed we were getting hungrier, and the waiter with  our food was no where to be seen. When he finally brought the food, for which he assured me, that is not spicy, I almost burned my mouth trying to eat it. So much for the nice waiter and the main dish went down the toilet. And the salad. We got mixed salad with some spicy sauce. If you haven't figured out that yet, I'm not the biggest fan of vegetable, so my enthusiasm when I got it didn't really show. And I only ate the tomato, cumber and corn. And there goes the salad. I really do prefer the restaurants where you can pick your own salad, considering that I left half of it and it was later thrown away!

At this point, we started openly complain about the food and the service. When the waiter came to pick our food and asked us if we finished, we said yes, but when he asked us if the food was all right I didn't say a thing, even though I wanted to scream how bad it was and that he lied to me that my fajitas wouldn't be spicy. We didn't know that there was a desert but when we saw it on the next desk, our spirits lifted up for one last time. I believe that desert has a potential to either saves or ruins the meal.
I was ecstatic when I got the beautify arranged plate with what at the moment seemed as a delicious desert with fried banana rolled in tortilla, served with chocolate and caramel sauce with some sweet cream on the side. I'm just thinking about it and I became super hungry, by the delicious vision I created in my head. And this is the main reason why I never want to set foot in this restaurant, except if the staff changes completely. The desert was (put in the nicest words possible) awful. Banana was all greasy on one side and super hard on the other. I would survive that, but it was black in the middle (we got half of banana each, and I still can't believe that the chef hadn't noticed this!) and I almost threw up, trying to eat it. And yes I behaved super unladylike and spit the part of banana that I had in my mouth into my napkin.
Please do something about that restaurant, because I'm kind of proud of my table manners and Joe Peña's is destroying my reputation. If you're my (future) boyfriend/friend that fells like he/she should take me to this restaurant, please DON'T! I really don't want to embarrass you, by my lack of manners that seems to come out when I visit this place.

I would say spread the love, but I really don't fell a lot of love right now, so goodbye my cyber "friends",

still hungry Lucy Jane

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Under constraction

I'm making some beauty and technical changes, but I will be back! Newer and better =)

Lucy Jane

Monday, November 18, 2013

Book of the Month November; S. E. Phillips: Just Imagine

After a long time, I finally got my hand on Susan E. Phillips book Just Imagine. The book was first published in 1984 with a title Risen Glory. It was out of print for a long time, but the fans of miss Phillips demanded that its re-print. And they (we) got it. The author changed it a bit and the book got a new title: Just Imagine.
The story is the same in the both books, so it doesn't matter whether you got the Risen Glory or Just Imagine. But if you're not very fond of old books, than you'll probably read the Just Imagine version, like me.
The story takes place after the Civil War, when Kit Weston, comes to New York from a small southern town. She is dressed as a boy, and is on the mission to get back the only thing that matters to her, The Risen Glory plantation. To do that, she is convinced she has to kill the Yankee that inherited it. Yankee is Colonel Chain, whose late mother that left him the plantation was Kit's stepmother.
As it turns out Chain didn't only inherited the plantation, but is also appointed as Kit's guardian. They reach an unusual agreement, that sends Kit at a New York's finest school for ladies, and Chain to the South, where he takes care of The Risen Glory plantation.
The next time they meet, Kit is all grown up and... Well for more you'll have to read the book.

I liked the story, and I read it in less that a day. Or maybe it was because I wanted to read it for more than three years now and got my hands on it just recently. As I said, the book is good, maybe I'll even read it more than once, but the truth is, I prefer the books that S. E. Phillips set in the present (like Ain't She Sweet or What I Did For Love or Breathing Room). I read all of her books and I liked them all (except for Hot Shot, I just can't make myself to read it again from the beginning to the end, because the first time I read it I was in a hurry and read the first and last three chapters. Oh, and Hot Shot is also the only romance book I read that has a different end; The heroin doesn't end up with the guy she fell in love at the beginning.), but Just Imagine is different. If I'm not mistaken, it was S. E. Phillips first book and the story is set in a completely different area and time than the rest of her stories.
The book is worth reading on a cloudy, grey day, because it will definitely cheer you up.
I would give it four stars (mainly because I prefer her other stories and know that she can write even better stories than Just Imagine)

Fer-well, my fellow bookworms,
Lucy Jane

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

In Memoriam

My Grandpa's favourite poet Li-Tai-Po;


All the birds have flown up and gone;
A lonely cloud floats leisurely by.
We never tire of looking at each other -
Only the mountain and I.

The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away
We sit together, the mountain and me,
Until only the mountain remains

App Challenge

It's been a week since I went to the first event of The App Challenge and in a week there will be the second event. Let me start by saying that, I know almost next to nothing about applications and computers and graphic design and all the other stuff that people talked about at this event.
But I did have a good time. I met a lot of new people, some of them were girls, but mostly guys. You are probably wondering why I even mentioned this. Well the thing is, the schools I went to were always mostly girls and always less than ten guys. And you can imagine what a welcome change it was. Not to mention that this was the first event that there was a line in a men's and nobody in women's bathroom. Oh yes, it was a day to remember.

So about the event, it was sponsored by Huawei and Microsoft and organized by a local organization Združena Evropa. Their idea was to find people with ideas for new applications for mobile phones. The organizers choose about 40 people from 103 applicants. I was one of the lucky ones, that was chosen. So we pitched our ideas and voted for the best ones. Then we formed groups that worked on the wining ideas. I won't tell you about them, because I don't have the permission, but I can tell you that if everything goes as planned you'll soon be able to join new awesome social media!
So as I said, it was a day remember and I'm happy that I spent 3 hours trying to find someone that would be willing to have statistics class instead of me on Friday morning at eight o'clock. Thankfully, there was someone, that apparently likes statistics so much, that wants to wake up at 6.30 in the morning and catch a bus, just for the two hour class of standard deviation, variance...
Greeting from the future computer geek,
Lucy Jane

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

W.H.Auden: Funeral Blues

Better late, than never!
I know it's not a quote, it's a poem, but it's beautiful, and I love it.
Lucy Jane