Archive for May, 2005

Some thoughts on chocolate

Posted by on May 31 2005 | Delicious Things

I’m fond of chocolate.
Minstrels are a good choice (see post below), as are maltesers. Right now I’m in a revels mood.

I go through phases with my chocolate eating. Not in whether I eat it or not, it’s a proven fact that I can’t go without chocolate for longer than a couple of days. When I was younger my brother bet me a fiver that I couldn’t last a week. And bribed the person who owned the shop down the road to tell on me. I tried.

When I’m in a phase of liking, no, craving is perhaps more appropriate, a specific sort of chocolate, I just have to eat that chocolate. So, I’ve been eating a lot of revels lately. Polished off one of the new resealable big bags by myself at the cinema the other night. Felt slightly ill after it. However, it didn’t cure me of my craving. This usually works with maltesers – I eat a few bags in a row until I don’t fancy them any more.

I think the thing about revels is that there are so many different types in the bag. It’s great! One mouthful is coffee cream, the next a malteser, then orange cream. I love them all. Even the coffee ones. When I was a kid we had a rule that if you offered someone a revel and they got a coffee one they could take another to make up for it. I liked that rule, I did well out of it.

I’m not particularly fond of the toffee ones, they’re too hard. Toffee should be softer, like in rolos.

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Chai tea in blue spotty mug

Posted by on May 31 2005 | Delicious Things

This was from the other night. The mug is one of my favourites – it’s fine bone china, so it’s lovely to drink out of, nice and light and delicate, but it has funky blue spots, so it’s not dull and fusty.
I like spots.
The tea was indian chai from Whittards. Loose tea, which is best, but a pain to clean out of the pot afterwards. Sometimes I like chai tea with milk (sweetened soya) and honey (bunalun organic honey), but other times I like it black and unsweetened. This was one of those times.
Behind the mug is my bag of minstrels. Technically it’s a shared bag, but all chocolate in the house really belongs to me. It’s just better that way. I like minstrels. They’re like the spots on the mug, but made of chocolate.

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Flower at Japanese Gardens

Posted by on May 29 2005 | General Ramblings

I have no idea how I set the camera to take this shot.
I’m delighted with it though.

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Japanese Gardens

Posted by on May 29 2005 | Travel

This afternoon we went out to Kildare to the Japanese Garden. Been meaning to for a while, especially since we got back from Japan.
I think our first mistake in appreciating the garden was in having been to Japan. Formal gardens there are exquisite – everything has meaning, so, crucially, not a leaf is out of place and they are immaculate, yet lush and beautiful and passionate but calming too.
Japanese gardens Irish style are a bit different. These were designed by a Japanese father and son, and seem to have been in the hands of Irish people for some time now.
Today was first communion day for a good few kids, so small brides of jesus were running around in bright white dresses just waiting to have ice cream dropped on them. Visitors here fell into two categories: Tourists (mainly American naturally) and Communion Parties.
The garden is small, and feels quite claustrophobic. There’s a guided path around, with lots of signs and numbers corresponding to expanations of the meaning in the guidebook. This is a nice idea, wo help people with the interpretation, but in such a small space meant that everywhere you looked the asthetics were somewhat spoiled by a large plastic sign informing you that you were about to enter the tunnel of ignorance or some other part of life. Being offered the choice between the “Path of Life” and the “Easy Path” did teach me a valuable lesson though.
Actually, it wasn’t all that bad. I’m a snob, so the common people everywhere were bound to upset me, and with the signs removed, the garden tidied, some carp in the carp ponds, and the wires and waste pipes hidden from view, it might have been ok.
Weather was nice though.

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Tea and Chocolate Cake at Irish National Stud Japanese Gardens

Posted by on May 29 2005 | Delicious Things

This was my afternoon tea at the Japanese Gardens at the Irish National Stud.
The setting was most pleasant. We found a table on the balcony looking out past a large bamboo plant on to a small lake. Lots of small birds were flittering around picking up crumbs.
The teapot was what I expected, that is, unsatisfactory. Although it poured well, it only gave enough tea for one and a half cups, which is not enough. Hot water is free people, why should I be expected to pay an extra euro for a two person pot just to have a decent cuppa?
In summary: Good pourer, let down by size.
The Mug
Ahh, catering cups. Plain white, which is good, but too thick, an unattractive shape, and didn’t fit properly on the saucer. A good match for the teapot. Not worth wasting any more words on.
The Beverage
Cheap black tea which stewed quickly thanks to the previously mentioned stingy pot size. Euch.
The Cake
Now, this is where the experience was redeemed. I didn’t have high hopes for the cake, it looked a bit dry. It was the second last piece of cake on offer, and the only option, my companion having taken the final piece of cheesecake. I haveto admit, I was suprised. Dense and cocoaey, this was chocolate cake made by someone who appreciated chocolate. The portion was just about right, and, while I am partial to gooey butter icing on chocolate cakes, on this occasion the more traditional type worked very nicely indeed.

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