Thursday, December 06, 2012

And now I'm back from outer space

an orange, a lime, butter, sugar, flour, suet
My husband thought that was a photograph of an egg, but it's a photograph of the most delicious Sussex Pond pudding I've ever made and I've made a few Sussex Pond puddings.

It is a horrible picture.  To be fair, Sussex Pond pudding is hard to photograph. See what I mean?  This picture almost does it justice and this captures the shiny, sticky crust of a perfect specimen.

Here is a photograph of a different Sussex Pond pudding I made:

Jane Grigson's recipe
Sad and deflated in the picture. Steaming and grand in reality!

I'm going to fix this, have resolved to learn to take attractive pictures of food or to stop posting them altogether. I don't love photographs that make food look unrealistically glossy and glamorous, but it's worse when pictures make food look uglier than it actually is. When I make something great and write about how great it is the pictures need to support my words.

I wrote a story on Sussex Pond pudding and will link to it when it goes up.

On another subject, I took the goats to be bred the other day. We got rid of all the babies last summer and are back to just the two goats we started with, Natalie and Peppermint. People always think Peppermint is a male and Natalie a female based on how they look. But Peppermint is short and stocky because she's a Nigerian Dwarf, not because she is a boy, while Natalie is leggy and pretty because she's an Oberhasli. They're both girls.
She's all girl.
The other day, Natalie was in heat and Peppermint wasn't, so the bucks went straight for Natalie and Peppermint waddled off to the corner by herself. Peppermint has never conceived even when she was in heat, and I worry she feels like a failure as a doe. She's become very ill-tempered in recent years and Owen and I are convinced she'd be happier if she had her own kids. I know -- I KNOW -- I'm anthropomorphizing, but I felt  sorry for her when she was ignored by the bucks, like the dowdy girl left sitting on the bench at dancing school.

The attempt to breed Natalie: wacky. Nigerian Dwarf bucks have sired all her kids, but she's continued to grow over the years and is now too tall for them. Robert, who owns the bucks, brought out a young Nigerian Dwarf named Plaid to see what he could do with Natalie. Eager though he was, he couldn't "reach." So back to the pen went Plaid and out came Kentucky, a bigger, older Nigerian Dwarf who fathered Natalie's first kid. He couldn't reach either. "Well," said Robert, "We do have a Nubian who will definitely manage. He's a beast."

He was a beast. It was like rolling out a cannon after trying to storm the castle with pop guns. I'll take the goats up for a longer stay with the bucks around Christmas, so if this didn't take, we'll have another shot.

The trip to Vancouver reignited my obsession with Asian food and made dinner from Burma last night. Half of it was noteworthy, half of it was mediocre. But that gets its own post because it involves a long recipe and now I have to go see if I have any yeast so I can make David Lebovitz's kouign-amann.


  1. Peppermint is adorable, so furry and fluffy. And she has beautiful markings. And such sweet eyes!

  2. Plaid looks a little wimpy. I remember when Peppermint was wandering around your house in a diaper--have I got the right goat? Your pudding looks extremely ambitious. I like your blog because it is real writing and not glossy step by step instructions about how to make a cookie with nothing meaningful sandwiched between the pics.

  3. I think your food pictures are just fine. I don't like styled food pics. They just make me feel inferior when I make the recipe and my product is not as pretty. Most comfort food is not pretty, and most pretty food is not comforting. So, if it helps, don't worry about your pictures. Your fans are more into your prose and your expertise. Can't wait for the post about the pudding. I would not know where to procure beef suet.

  4. I loved Laurie Colwin's essay on Sussex Pond Pudding and have always been curious. Now that Meyer Lemons are available in NYC, I'll have to try it. Not brave enough to try it with suet, though.

  5. Agree with Beckster. I trust your words so pix are just icing.

  6. Never before have I left a comment on a blog that resulted in someone taking action. (I know this is hubris on my part...) Although I was pretty sure that when you found out what goes into a kouign amman you would be off like a shot making one. Is this a bad time to confess that I've never made one? I'm afraid I would like it too much.

    I also prefer your food pictures to ones that are so carefully posed I always feel that the photographer cares more about getting onto Tastespotting or Foodgawker or some such than s/he does about the food itself. Please don't change! I love how honest and not-precious your blog is.

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  8. I remember Laurie Colwin's essay about that pudding too! Though I vaguely remember it being called suet pudding. But it's definitely the one with the suet crust and the lemon, butter and sugar.

    And those are some mighty cute goats!!

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