St. Sophia Greek Festival

I love festivals! I love Greek pastries! The St. Sophia Greek Festival (Miami) was made for indulging in all things rich and delicious. Lots of great food and a great atmosphere :) .

I had to work and forgot to pack my camera, but my b-chan had his on hand and snapped some pictures of the food and festivities.

Greek pastries

Even more Greek pastries

Dancing at the Greek Festival

Fanlisting Update

After what seems an eternity, I finally changed the layout of the Jareth Fanlisting. As the first fanlisting that I created (back in the days when the Fanlistings were just starting and Janine was running the show), this is the one that I’ve never wanted to give up… but I have been quite negligent in my maintenance. I’ve become a terrible fanlisting owner during the last few years, but real life really does put a damper on webplay and fandom.

Anywho, it’s a simple design. I’m just getting back to basics for a bit. The header needs work, but it’ll do.

If you’re a Jareth or Labyrinth fan, go get listed!

Childhood Impressions: Movies

When I was a kid, there were several movies that had a big impression on me and really inspired my creativity and imagination. Among these were Labyrinth, The Neverending Story, Legend, and The Princess Bride (and those Ewok, Star Wars spin-off movies). I loved fantasy and I was particularly interested in mermaids and old-timey country girls, hence my mild obsession with anything mermaid related and Heidi.

Before Disney’s The Little Mermaid was released (the first movie I remember seeing in a theater), my mom bought me a VHS copy of a strange anime version of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid”. And, thanks to the magic of YouTube and ingenious uploaders, I have found this little piece of nostalgia… coincidentally, this was also the first anime that I ever watched.

a happy, fat weekend

Happy Mardi Gras!

I’m not Catholic, but am generally surrounded by them, so I keep up with the spirit of it all. I think I’m a sympathetic Lent-er. I had quite a full weekend, what with Valentine’s day and Chinese New Year’s coinciding on the 14th, so I’ve had my fill of delectable treats and am ready to go on another one of my self-imposed sweet treat fasts. Well, sort of. I just find that around the holidays, I tend to become a sugar-craving madwoman and I really dislike that feeling. When I suddenly start craving candy for no reason, I know I’ve had too much sugar in my system and the time is ripe for a break from the Sweetsville. So, adieu cookies and cakes.

Valentine’s cheesecake (my first perfect, no-cracks cheesecake!), you provided a wonderful farewell.
ricotta cheesecake

Review: He Knew He Was Right (BBC, 2004)

Based on Anthony Trollope’s novel of the same name, He Knew He was Right follows the courtship and subsequent marriage of Louis and Emily Trevelyan, as these two try to make a life in England. The union between these two appears blissful, a devoted husband and wife with a small son. Emily shares her home with her sister, Nora, and finds pleasure in the society of her husband and his friend, Hugh Stanbury. However, there is one person who Louis disapproves of, Colonel Osborne, Emily’s godfather and an old friend of her father’s. As Louis begins to suspect that there is more between Osborne and Emily than what would be deemed proper, he tries to forbid Emily’s continued association with that gentleman. When she refuses to give in to his demands, arguing that her relationship is innocent, Louis becomes threatening and irrational, sending Emily and Nora away with little Louis to stay with the Stanburys. Though Emily tries to make her husband see reason, Louis staunchly believes that his suspicion is right and that his wife has betrayed him and shamed him before society. His belief sets into motion a terrible chain of events that forever rends their union and destroys their felicity.

He Knew He was Right has to be the single most tragic period drama I have seen. I don’t think I have ever felt so miserable as a result of the turn of events in a period film, but Louis Trevelyan’s descent into madness as Emily tries to defend her honor and independence really try the viewer’s emotions and bring little satisfaction in the end.

However, while Emily and Louis’s tragic tale dominate the plot, there are several narrative threads that lend some comic relief to the otherwise bleak tale. The arc involving Hugh’s sister, Dorothy, and their rich Aunt Stanbury is sweet and endearing as Dorothy wins that lady’s heart and finds an unexpectedly happy ending with her aunt’s heir. The relationship between pompous parson, Mr. Gibson (played by a very harried-looking David Tennant), and the French sisters also brings some hilarity to the story.

Trollope’s treatment of women’s place and the laws of coverture are incredibly powerful and the film portrays that brilliantly through its depiction of the trials experienced by Emily Trevelyan, as well as Nora, the French sisters, Aunt Stanbury, and Dorothy. It is a great film, but definitely not light-hearted.

Random useless factoid: I had a moment of “Aha!” when I realized that music in the BBC drama promo that they play at the beginning of all the recent BBC video DVDs is from the opening credits to this series.

Where is my Emma?

I didn’t believe my boyfriend when he said that he saw the conclusion to Emma on Monday. I thought surely he meant that he saw an encore of episode 2, but apparently the smug boy was right! My PBS station aired episode 3 on Monday night and I had no idea :( . Guess I will have to watch it tomorrow; I can’t stay up to watch the midnight encore on the in-between HD channel.

Happenstance does happen

My b-chan and I have been meaning to go to the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art to view the Norman Rockwell exhibit for months now, but in typical leave-it-to-the-last-minute fashion, we didn’t get around to going until the last day. As it coincided with the Suntrust Sunday Jazz Brunch on Riverfront, we decided to make a day of it and have lunch/brunch before heading to the museum. The Jazz Brunch was lovely, but we didn’t know what to expect and were unprepared to take advantage of the picnic setting. Next time we can make it, I will definitely plan a picnic. We ended up making our way to the Indigo Restaurant at the Riverside Hotel instead. This is the second time we’ve eaten here and the food has always been great. I think it’s quite possibly one of my favorite places to eat on Las Olas. Plus, they bring you a swizzle stick with your latte… how charming is that?

After brunch, we made our way back to the museum, only to find that the line to purchase tickets was circling the block. One of the guys in line compared it to the lines to go on the rides at Disney. As we’re standing in line, this older man approaches us out of nowhere and asks us where we’re from; this is highly suspicious behavior in South Florida where we are all used to rudeness and the like. He’s waving two tickets and tells us that today is our lucky day. We, of course, think scalpers, though he looked too decent for the usual shifty scalper. My b-chan was waiting for the guy to tell us that he would give us his tickets for $XX, but he just tells us that he received the tickets from his wife’s company for free because they are museum sponsors and that we can have them. Skeptical Miamians that we are, we thought he was joking, but he gave us the tickets and walked away laughing, telling his wife that we wouldn’t believe him. The lady behind us was curious to know if they were real too, but we refused to give up our places in line on the chance that they were authentic.

To our utter astonishment, they were.

When we reached the counter, the lady at the ticket booth told us that we could’ve skipped the line and walked right in. She was just as amazed when we told her our story.

So, to the stranger who gave us these tickets… Thank you and sorry we didn’t believe you. :)

Recipe: Fresh Coconut Macaroons

Due to an abundance of fresh coconut in our house, I have been looking up recipes that call for fresh coconut in order to use up some of this wonderful bounty. My grandma makes a sweet, sticky coconut in syrup, but I wanted to try something different. I found a few recipes, but settled on macaroons for my first try at baking with fresh coconut meat. The result was a delicious, moist batch of macaroons with a very delicate flavor and texture.

I made a few modifications to the recipe to suit my taste, so here is my version.

[Gricel’s] Coconut Macaroons

Made on February 3, 2010

Based on the recipe by: Penny Ann Habeck on allrecipes.com
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 30 Minutes
Servings: 9/10

INGREDIENTS:

(my modifications in red)

  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut (I used freshly grated coconut, made for a very moist, delicate cookie)
  • 1/3 cup turbinado raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the coconut, sugar, flour and salt. Stir in egg whites and vanilla; mix well.
  2. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 325 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Cool on a wire rack.

This is what the process looked like. Overall, the easiest batch of cookies I have ever made.

Review: Emma Part 2

Thank goodness for Masterpiece online, as I missed last night’s viewing.

The score. Love it and can’t wait to get it. The music just seems to fit perfectly with the scenes, which is something that I always look for in a good period film.

I also love the simple graceful lines and fabrics used for the costumes, especially the be-ribboned empire waist day dresses that Emma wears, as well as the delicate and ribboned, Grecian-style coifs that she sports.

There are several elements that are making the series grow on me,  Emma’s introspective scenes in particular, but this is also the point in the story where she started to grow on me as a character when I first read the novel.

I like that the imaginings and flashbacks in this series also add depth to the characters. For example, when Emma imagines Jane Fairfax playing piano for Knightley, the viewer gets a glimpse of Emma’s as yet unexplored feelings towards Knightley. I haven’t watched the other Emmas in a while, but I don’t recall seeing this device in the other adaptations.

Laura Pyper as Jane Fairfax is also growing on me, though Rupert Evans as Frank Churchill still gets on my nerves, but that may be because I always found Mr. Churchill’s dealings with Miss Fairfax and Emma to be truly mean-spirited and Evans’ portrayal is definitely playing on that characteristic.

Christina Cole as Mrs. Elton is just as obnoxious as I imagine, though I keep thinking of her as the honorable Blanche Ingram in Jane Eyre whenever she appears with Mr. Elton.

Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley is also growing on me; the longing glances and his interaction with Garai’s Emma are making him a lot more noble in my estimation.