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Srebrna, Skald Arkadii (and thoughts on writing)

Archive for June 2018

Baking with Lizzy – Chocolate shortbread cookies – CH 17

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“I will be good! I promise!”
She turned in his arms and gave him a small kiss.
“Then you’ll have chocolate shortbread cut up into little houses” she smiled. “Deal?”
He sighed, putting all his suffering in that sigh.
“Fine” he grumbled, burying his face in the crook of her neck. “Deal.”

####

300g all-purpose wheat flour
150g unsalted butter (butter! not margarine or some other replacement!)
100g powder sugar
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Sift the flour into a large bowl to get rid of any thicker clumps. Sift the cocoa into it.
Soft (not melted!) butter cut into cubes and drop into the flour separately (so that there is no big clump of butter).
Take hand mixer fitted with whisks and give it a stir, but don’t make an even paste out of it.
Add the yolks, mix it again for a moment.

Sift the powdered sugar in, mix again, until it’s all evenly broken into crumbs.

The dough is now a lot of crumbs and you have to process it manually, so start working it. If it’s too dry and doesn’t stick (depends on the flour), add 2-3 tablespoons of sour cream/yoghurt and mix/stir evenly. It will start to stick. Work on it with your hands, to make the dough even and smooth.

Put in the fridge for ~15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200 C (no idea what F that is, sorry :))
Line the baking trays with baking paper

Cover the cutting board/rolling board with some flour to stop the dough from sticking to it. Take the dough out of the fridge, cut a piece off and roll it (the rest goes back into the fridge). Roll until 3-4mm thick (optionally: run once with the pattern roller), cut with cookie cutters. Put on the baking tray. They can be close to each other, they don’t change shape.

10 minutes baking time should be fine at this thickness.

It’s best to have 2-3 baking trays ready, or let the tray cool down before you put raw cookies on it, because hot tray will make them lose shape before they are baked.

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Written by Srebrna

2018/06/18 at 22:20

Baking with Lizzy – Chocolate and blackberry cake – chapter 17

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Chocolate base:

3 eggs

200g cake flour (you can mix wheat flour with potato flour, although no more than half of volume may be potato)

150-200g sugar

1-2 tsp vanilla sugar

1 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp of dark cocoa

butter and breadcrumbs for the tin

Heat the oven to 200 C.

On the bottom of a cake tin (the type with removable bottom) put a large piece of baking paper. Snap the sides on the base in such a way that only the bottom is covered with the paper. Cover sides of the tin with butter and dust with breadcrumbs.

Separate the eggs and put the whites to be chilled in the fridge. Once chilled, start whipping these with a mixer. Add the sugar bit by bit during whipping. The foam should be visible, but doesn’t have to be stiff.

Slow the mixer down to minimum. Add, by spoon, flour, baking powder and cocoa mix. Once blended, add the yolks.

Pour the mix into the cake tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Should raise and show bubbles in the structure. Depending on the size of the tin, will be enough for 2 or 3 layers. Take out, remove the rim, move the cake to a cooling rack. Once cooled, cut into layers.

This goes quickly enough to let you prepare another batch when the first one is baking.

Between layers:

Fruit – a lot. A lot a lot.

Dulce de leche – a can/a jar.

When the cake is properly cold, make a mix of tea and raspberry juice (for ‘sober’ cakes) or tea and stronged spirits (for adult cakes). Sprinkle on drier parts of the cake, make sure everything is equally moist.

Cover four pieces with thin layer of dulce de leche.

Take the seasonal fruit (raspberry, bilberry, blackberry) or preserves, or canned peaches (will require cutting up into tiny pieces) and cover 3 cake layers with them evenly. Do not spread to the very edge.
In case of red fruit, set some aside now.

Make whipped cream from 0,5l of double cream (carefully, not to allow it to suddenly become butter). Divide, 1/3 put into fridge. Mash the fruit into pulp, mix well with the whipped cream. The more fruit, the runnier it will become!

Spread over the fruit on 3 layers, put the last layer on top.

Pipe the cream on the top in a ring. Put the fruit in the middle. With a straight flat knife, remove excess cream from the sides of the cake. Put into refridgerator and keep chiller until ready to be served.

Add dribbles of melted chocolate on the sides, once the cake chilled.

Written by Srebrna

2018/06/16 at 02:43

How to check your texts before publishing

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As I’m reading (and publishing) stories on three different sites, I see a range of various problems that FF authors have with writing correctly. Some of these can only be resolved by application of a beta reader, unfortunately. Some would even require a writing lesson or two, to make sure the author is able to correctly pace their story.

However there are some purely technical corrections you can try to make your text more palatable:

  1. Check capitalisation:
    1. Make sure the names of persons are all correctly starting with capital letter
    2. Make sure there are no common nouns or other random pieces of text that are capitalised, when they should not
    3. Names of places should definitely be capitalised
    4. Beginnings of sentences would be nice, too
  2. Check name spelling:
    1. Bingly, Pembereley, Benet, Longborn – neither of these should show up in P&P story
    2. The same goes for all X-Men and their allies and villains. You wanna write Magneto in, you learn how to spell Lehnsherr
    3. Real-live places also deserve proper spelling
  3. Check interpunction:
    1. Correct dialogue markers for your language (“, -, ‘) and their proper usage, including strategically applied commas
    2. No spaces inside brackets “(this is the way)” and “( this is not the way )”
    3. No spaces before !, ?, . or ,
  4. Make sure you’re writing in the same tense – switching between past and present tenses is annoying, unless you’re aiming at some artistic outcome.
  5. Add “the” and “a/an” in front of all the nouns that deserve it
  6. Run spellchecker in your editor. If you don’t have a spellchecker in your editor, download Libre Office (free office suite) and LO Writer has it.
  7. Paste your text to Google Docs. Their spellchecker will have different level of sensitivity. It may point out something that LO Writer might have missed
  8. Open grammarly.com and paste your text into a test box. Check for the suggestions (missing/unnecessary interpunction, wrong verb forms, mistaken words!). You don’t have to agree in all cases, but please, do review the list.
  9. Open http://www.hemingwayapp.com/ and paste your text. Check the suggestions (overly complex sentences, passive voice). Again, you don’t have to follow the suggestions, but maybe something will spark.
    Edit: Try also http://www.repetition-detector.com/?p=online – it will check the text for repetitions. Really useful if you’ve been reviewing and re-editing and now you have no idea what is where.
  10. If you have it, run One Note. Paste your text to a new text field and mark the whole as EN-UK. Switch to View and then Immersion Reader. Let the reader read this to you. Listen whether the sentences sound natural and make sense. This is actually what makes me correct a lot, still, after other methods.
  11. Read it aloud to yourself. This way you’ll read slowly. Pay attention to where you put pauses and breaks and check if you have . and , there. If not, consider adding them. This way you will also notice repetitions. It is possible you will hear when your dialoge is too stiff or too unnatural or when the narration sounds weird.
  12. Do not fall in love with your text. It’s not a baby, or a kitten. It can be changed, remodelled and corrected. If it was a book, that is exactly what would have happened.

 

If you can, get a beta. A merciless one!

Written by Srebrna

2018/06/15 at 23:38

Posted in On writing

Baking with Lizzy – Cinnamon bread – ch 17

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Cake:

Cake flour: 600g

Sugar: 70g

Half tsp of salt

20g dry yeast or 40g fresh yeast

butter, melted: 100g

milk: 400ml

eggs: 2

To spread:

Soft butter: 150g

Sugar: 150g

Cinnamon: 2 tsp

Also:

1 egg, beaten, for spreading on the top

If you have fresh yeast, make the starter first. If dry, mix with the flour directly. Add other ingredients, except for the butter, and knead. Add butter only when it’s mixed and kneaded properly. Add butter. Knead again, until soft and flexible. Form a ball, cover a bowl with some flour, put the dough in it.. Let sit in warm place until it’s doubled in size (may be 1,5h)

Mix up the spread contents or just sugar with cinnamon.

Divide the dough into 20 similar-sized balls.

Line a rectangle tin with baking paper.

Each ball pull and/or roll to similar sized longer rectangle and either spread with the butter and spices, or just dust with sugar and cinnamon. Roll up and put in the pan. Continue adding, not very tightly together, but rather well-spaced in the tin. They need space to grow.

Heat the oven to 220C

Cover with a kitchen towel, let sit to 0,5 h at room temp. Should double the size.

Brush the beaten egg all over the top of the buns and place in the oven for ~20-25 minutes.

Written by Srebrna

2018/06/15 at 20:12

Baking recipes for Double Pride Double Trouble

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I’ll be posting all the things that Elizabeth bakes :)

First: The whipped cream cake from Chapter 7.

I’ve posted it on my tumblr, with all the pictures (I baked exactly that cake for my nephew):

I was asked to bake a birthday cake for my nephew. So, a fotostory. I took 4 eggs, separated yolks and whites. 125g of butter, 125g of powder sugar, 160g of cake flour, one package of vanilla sugar, 2tsp of baking powder. Butter and sugars were creamed with my mixer, then I added yolks. When this was finely mixed, I added flour, spoon by spoon, and the baking powder. Whites were whipped separately and folded into the rest.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Srebrna

2018/06/15 at 19:56

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Written by Srebrna

2018/06/14 at 15:44

Posted in Uncategorized