In this gift giving season, we here at BBB3 think books are always a great gift idea….E-Pub is eco-friendly, but holding a book is still an experience we like.
“If e-books are about ease and expedience, the publishers reason, then print books need to be about physical beauty and the pleasures of owning, not just reading.”…
“When people do beautiful books, they’re noticed more,” said Robert S. Miller, the publisher of Workman Publishing. “It’s like sending a thank-you note written on nice paper when we’re in an era of e-mail correspondence.”…
“For publishers, the strategy has a clear payoff: to increase the value of print books and build a healthy, diverse marketplace that includes brick-and-mortar bookstores and is not dominated by Amazon and e-books.”…
To showcase books with special design elements, booksellers at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Ariz., created a display of lushly embroidered Penguin classics with a sign reading, “Give classical beauty this holiday season.”
5cm/2in piece fresh root ginger, grated or juiced to retain only the juice
2 free-range eggs
butter, for greasing
custard, to serve
Place the figs into a bowl and pour over the brandy. Leave to soak overnight, then drain (reserving the brandy) and roughly chop the figs.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, nutmeg, breadcrumbs, suet, dates and raisins.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the reserved brandy, orange zest and juice, ginger juice and eggs until well combined.
Add the brandy mixture into the flour mixture and mix well to combine, until smooth and free of lumps. Stir in the figs, then spoon the mixture into a 1 litre/2 pint pudding dish and cover with buttered greaseproof paper followed by cloth or kitchen foil. Secure well with kitchen string.
Steam in a large pan of water for four hours, topping up the water as necessary throughout, or until the pudding is cooked through and springy to the touch.
Unwrap the pudding basin and serve the pudding in slices with custard.
One package of dried figs (10 to 12 ounces). Put them in a saucepan with enough hot water to cover, at least 2 cups. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Let sit until soft (a few hours).
Once soft, remove figs from the water and place in a bowl. Save the water, which will already be fragrant, and add a cup of sugar (optional). Bring to a boil and let reduce slightly. Remove from heat. Add a bit, perhaps 1 tablespoon, maybe more, of orange-flower water. Cool.
Chop up your figs. Chop them fine, but do not pulverize. Do this by hand.
Using a boxed cake mix for carrot cake, follow the directions, but instead of the water they request, use the fragrant sugary water from the figs. (Save the remainder of this water.) Then add oil and eggs as recommended on the carrot cake mix. Add some cinnamon (about 1/2 teaspoon) and a lot of fresh-grated nutmeg (about 1/4 teaspoon). Mix in a food processor. At the end, toss in the fig pieces and beat in a bit. Turn into a bowl and add a bunch of sliced almonds (about 1/2 cup) and some raisins (about 1/3 cup) that have been softened in brandy if you like. Add the grated peel of one orange and a big dollop (1 tablespoon) of marmalade.
Line a big metal bowl (about 4 quarts) with foil. Use enough foil that you will have a big collar around the top of the bowl. Spray the foil with nonstick spray. Pour your cake batter into the foil-lined bowl. Set into preheated 350° oven for 30 minutes, then bring the collar gently over top of cake. Continue for another hour and half. Use a skewer to test (it will come out clean when pudding is done). It will take a while because it is dense. Remove from oven and cool overnight. Uncover and overturn onto a big serving platter. Carefully remove foil. The cake will be a mound, its size depending on the depth of your bowl.
To serve, take the reserved fig-and-sugar syrup and add to this maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup of brandy or rum. Heat. You can, if you wish, ignite as you would for plum pudding, but it tastes just fine with the sauce poured over it just before serving. Use whipped cream or crème fraîche with each serving. (If your cake is less than perfect to the eye, you can instead quickly frost the cold cake with whipped cream, covering any imperfections, and serve the warm sauce on the side.)
What we expect, and at this point even want… “Oh the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful, And since we’ve no place to go, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! ” …but it’s not-it was a record-breaking 67˚ in Boston on Tuesday, can you say ODD? Do you think cyclical weird? Climate issues? Hard not to.
~ regardless ~
Julia is getting ready, baking and cooking up a storm. (pun intended – ha ha, fa la)
She has her magic elf boots and Xmas cactus cap on, there’s nothing she can’t do now!
Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa or whatever your winter celebration may be, they are all right in front of us now. One more day and it is December. That too is amazing.
Julia in Holiday mode… magic hat and boots, she’s ready to go!
That’s Figgie pudding she is holding… more about that on Fun Food Friday!