Friday, 19 August 2011


The hard drive died. Properly. As in nothing left. No music. No documents. No PDFs. No Photos. That last one hit me like a punch to the stomach. No Photos. No Santorini. No Chicago. No Boston. No New York. No Christmas when it was just the two of us. I need to stop writing before the ache comes back but suffice to say there were tears. I was off work that day, had been to see Harry Potter and had shed numerous good cinema-going tears but these were big bad tears. They were 'oh shit, I'm on George Street and my face is wet where can I hide' tears. Grim. So it's time to gather any that are left. The ones on CDs that came from film, the few that were printed and put into an album, any we emailed to friends over the years and here, a few from our trips. A few that I chose to share in this space. A few that I've just spent five minutes happily copying and remembering.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


I can't focus today. Last night we watched the live news from 7pm until about 12.45am. We watched the news and flicked between email, facebook and twitter while texting friends to make sure they were all at home and safe. Our old neighbourhood was only protected by the local Turkish shop and restaurant owners, so many others weren't as lucky. I can only shake my head at how this can happen and hope that it stops now.

Monday, 8 August 2011


Have you read Caitlin Moran's How To Be a Woman? I bought it after reading this piece on Project Subrosa, starting it yesterday morning, sitting in London, drinking coffee, nodding in agreement, laughing. I finished it on the train late last night, trundling back to Edinburgh, thankful that I share my life with someone who doesn't assume that keeping the flat clean is my job (which is useful as I'm not terribly good at the whole tidiness thing), but still recognising myself in so much of this book, this conversation about why we make life so hard for ourselves and for each other. It reminded me why it is so important to say that we, each and every single one of us, men and women, are feminists, because if we say we aren't then we say we don't care about our rights, our rights to vote, to speak, to write, to think.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


There were chocolate chip cookies this weekend.

There were other things too. A visit from a friend, a picnic, a walk on a sandy beach, paddling, roast chicken, wine, beer, and hills. Leisurely morning cups of coffee, laughs, photos, sunburn on the back of my neck. But the chocolate chip cookies. These chocolate chip cookies. Those chocolate chip cookies. The ones that everyone made back when the recipe first appeared. The ones that sparked questions about whether it really helps to let the dough sit in the fridge for so long after it's made. The ones that were so good it made me a little sad when we ate the last of them sitting around the kitchen table at 2am. When they were warm they were rich, possibly too rich. I preferred them when they had cooled, still chewy, a tang from the sprinkling of sea salt before baking.

I should say now that I followed Molly's version of the original recipe, scooping the dough as soon as it was made, using plain flour instead of the mix suggested, dark chocolate chunks instead of hunting for anything fancier.

We ate them while catching up on Friday night, after a picnic on Saturday, cookie in one hand and strawberry in the other, and late that night after dinner at home and beers in our favourite bar. I made a half batch but now I'm wishing there were twelve little mounds of dough stashed in the freezer waiting to be baked.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from The New York Times, David Leite, and Jacques Torres

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour (or do as I did and use 17 oz. of plain flour instead of the mix)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, preferably about 60% cacao content
sea salt

Combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.

Using a mixer cream the butter and sugars together until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. (To avoid flour flying everywhere I usually go slowly, adding the flour a bit at a time rather than all in one go.) Add the chocolate chips, and mix briefly to incorporate. Using a standard-size ice cream scoop (or a packed 1/4 cup) scoop the dough onto a tray or plate that will hold about two dozen dough portions in a single layer. Cover tightly with cling film, and chill for 24 to 36 hours - and up to six days.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Line a baking sheet with baking parchment or a nonstick baking mat.

Place six mounds of dough on the baking sheet, making sure to space them evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and bake until golden brown but still soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more.

Repeat with remaining dough.

Yield: About 24 (5-inch) cookies.