Friday, 20 August 2010

Stuck-in-a-Book's Weekend Miscellany

Why, hello there. I'm all geared up for my weekend of novellas - in fact, I've snuck another one in by Violet Trefusis, just in case my whim takes me in that direction - but I thought I wouldn't leave you adrift... before I tuck myself up in my room with the world of short novels, here's a link, a book, and a blog post.

1.) The blog post - Peter mentioned Moominpappa at Sea by Tove Jansson when I was asking for suggestions for books about moving house, and my curiosity was definitely sparked - now Jodie's blog post has sealed the deal. Rarely has a review made me so very keen to read a book, and it's absurd that I haven't any Moomin books, given how much I love Jansson's novels and short stories for adults. Is it going to be next on Project 24? Maybe maybe maybe...

2.) The link - thanks to all those people who spotted
The Great British Bake Off and told me it would be right up my street. Of course it was! If you're familiar with Masterchef, basically it's that format but with baking. The first episode (which was on last Tuesday, but which I've only just seen) specialised in cakes - the contestants had to make their own speciality cake, then a basic Victoria sponge, and finally a chocolate celebration cake. The judges then sent two bakers home... I was surprised that I found the programme quite genuinely moving! I started off laughing a bit at the idea of competitive cake baking, and the serious tones everyone had, but I felt all anxious and sad when people had to go home... But anything presented by the fab Mel and Sue can't be *too* serious...

Oh, and thrown into the mix is a bit of cake history - including some quite astonishing pictures of the wedding cakes Queen Victoria ordered for her children's weddings! Of course, this is all leading up to a link - until the 14th September you'll be able to watch the first episode here. Episodes continue on Tuesdays... as usual, I don't know whether or not it's available outside of the UK. Hope so!

Appropriately enough, I watched The Great British Bake Off whilst baking a cake. It's a coconut and lime sponge - a combination I haven't tried before, so the proof is in the, er, pudding. Chocolate/lime sponge and coconut sponge with raspberry jam are my favourite types, so I thought combining bits of both might work... it's out the oven and cooling, so I can't show you a pic yet.

BUT (gosh, this is getting more loquacious than most Weekend Miscellanies) this is a good opportunity to show you a piccie or two of a 1950s cakestand I bought last weekend... so I have. I would have loved a three-tier cakestand, but the one I got is pretty darn beautiful...

3.) The book - is getting a bit ahead of myself, but Lyn (of I Prefer Reading) mentioned in our online book group that Capuchin Classics are reprinting Stephen Benatar's When I Was Otherwise next March. His novel Wish Her Safe at Home rather charmed me recently, and with great titles including A.A. Milne's Two People on their backlist, Capuchin may well have scored another triumph..


  1. Pretty, pretty cake-stand, Simon!

    Moomin book added to wishlist. I loved the Moomins as child and currently coveting soft Moomin teddy (photo recently added to Facebook) and this water pitcher that I saw in Selfridge's:

    Enjoy your novella weekend! I'm hoping to join you in reading something short.

  2. I am glad to have been a catalyst in getting you to read the Moomins. They all have some tinge of autumn and winter about them and are more serious books than you might have thought if, like me, you had read them aged 10. It was a very interesting experience reading them again, as an adult, to my son a few years ago.


  3. I'm trying not to covet that cake stand, but I LOVE the tulip motif! We have found the Moomins to be great fun, but I must say it because I'm one of those "chronological people" -- Are you going to read them out of order???? (GASP!)

    Okay, I got it out of my system. :) Finn Family Moomintroll is the first in the series IF you care about those sorts of things.

    I started A Kid for Two Farthings this morning and got about 1/3 of the way in before I was interrupted. I'm determined to get back to it today! Enjoy your weekend.

  4. Love the cake stand, Simon. I recently saw a pretty cardboard version of a 3-tier one but don't bake so don't have a good reason for buying it. Isn't funny how the Moomins have raised their heads recently? Even though you and I read TJ's adult books neither of us has read the Moomins. I'm going to look out for secondhand copies since, with my Leeds Library membership, I have more or less stopped buying adult books. Barbara

  5. Beautiful cake stand! I watched the Great British Bake Off and found myself rather touched by the passion with which the contestants viewed baking. And the cakes looked delicious. And I love Mel and Sue!

  6. Dear Susan in TX two of the Moomintroll books were written before Finn Family Moomintroll; The Moomins and the Great Flood and Comet in Moominland. The opening page of Comet in Moominland refers back to the Moomins and the Great Flood. In chapter 4 of Comet in Moominland Sniff and Moomintroll meet Snufkin for the first time and its clear in chapter one of Finn Family Moomintroll that the Moomins already know him.

  7. Dark Puss, thanks for the clarification, however, you just caused my "reading in order nerves to snap." ;)

    I guess I should take up my complaint with the publisher currently printing them in the US -- they are actually numbered on the spine wrong by your reckoning!

    Off to do some deep breathing and just enjoy the matter their order. :)

  8. Finn Family Moomintroll and Comet in Moominland are the most child-friendly of these books - including an entertaining episode with the Muskrat and a cake (in Comet... I believe).

    Have you come across Cake- A Global History?

  9. Claire B - I know, I love it! And thanks for the links - that pitcher is very sweet...

    Peter - thank you for pointing me in the right direction! My very hazy recollections of the cartoon (which I only saw once or twice) had led me to not bother seeking them out, but then I realised there is no reason why they shouldn't be as good as TJ's other books. Still haven't read any, of course...

    Susan - I shouldn't put such temptation up! I do love and adore that cakestand... And yes, I'm afraid chronology doesn't bother me too much when I'm reading a series (and it appears there is some controversy over the chronology anyway!) Did you finish A Kid for TWo Farthings? I'll be writing about it soon, I look forward to your thoughts...

    Barbara - I think I'm going to buy the series once Project 24 is over... hopefully secondhand, as I don't like the new covers as much as the older ones I've seen. And the idea of a cardboard cakestand has me definitely intrigued! How does it work?!

    Sakura - did you watch the biscuit one last night? I'm really only a cake person, so was out of my depth yesterday... I've never made scones, I would have been useless!

    Anon - yes, I posted about the Cake book a while ago, but have yet to buy it - thanks so much for the reminder! It's on the list...


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