Archive for October, 2012

How well would Edinburgh survive a zombie apocalypse?

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

zombie attack

PROS

Edinburgh might well prove tricky for zombies to navigate — especially the Old Town. The many hills, narrow closes and staircases might not stop them, but they’ll surely slow them down.

Edinburgh is coastal. Travelling by water is a good way to move fast, avoid gridlock on the roads, and lower your risk of attack. Leithers should get themselves to the Shore and find a boat.

Edinburgh has no underground system, which means no chance of getting trapped underground with the ravenous hoardes (unless you’re unlucky enough to work in the Vaults), and no chance of zombies popping up out of subway grilles.

Edinburgh has a lot of high ground. Is there a better urban vantage point than Arthur’s Seat? Not to mention Salisbury Crag, Calton Hill, Blackford Hill and Castle Rock.

Edinburgh is home to a ridiculous number of students, hippies and geeks. Every one of these people has, at some point in their lives, formulated a What I’d Do If Zombies Attacked plan. A large percentage of the city’s population is zombie-ready.

Edinburgh is damned cold in the wintertime. Some zombie experts reckon zombies would probably freeze in cold weather. If they decided to attack in February, they might well struggle, therefore.

Edinburgh’s city centre graveyards are all very, very old. If these are claw-their-way-out-of-the-ground type zombies, then it’s likely there’d be little-to-no action in Greyfriars or Canongate Kirkyards… there’s no one in them fresh enough.

CONS

Edinburgh is a small city. If a human can walk its length in a couple of hours, it won’t take too much longer for a zombie. And if these zombies are the result of an airborne virus, well… basically we’re all screwed.

Edinburgh’s a tricky city to get out of. Even more so at the moment thanks to — cue groan — the tram works. Unlike Glasgow, you can’t just get on a motorway and speed on out. Unless you start from an outermost area, you need to drive through a ton of city before you can get into open country.

Edinburgh’s the capital of Scotland. As a nation, we’re generally unfit and have pretty poor health. We’ve never been known for our military prestige. It’s likely that many of our number will simply crack open the best whisky and try to die of alcohol poisoning before the undead arrive.

Edinburgh’s roads are narrow. When the fleeing begins, the traffic’s going to get pretty crazy pretty fast.

Edinburgh is an unusual city, in that its city centre is as much residential as it is commercial. It’s not like Newcastle, where the looters could just be walled up inside the Metro Centre if needs be: almost every shop is in the same building as people’s houses. And looters be crazy.

Edinburgh doesn’t have much of a military presence, unless the Tattoo’s on. Clydebank’s got warships. We’ve got the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Edinburgh’s two big hospitals are a pain in the ass to get to from just about anywhere.

BEST PLACES TO BE

The Castle: a big-ass castle on top of a big-ass slippery rock with only one road entrance. I’m pretty sure there are at least a few soldiers in there at any one time, and there’s at least one huge field gun that works. Get yourself inside that thing and you’re probably dandy.

Sighthill / Wester Hailes: the outlying area that’s closest to the Edinburgh Bypass and the M8. If you can get out of your front door sharpish, you can beat the gridlock and be in open country pretty quickly. However, this area also has high rises, so if you’re more of a stay-put-and-keep-quiet-somewhere-high-up kinda person, there are also suitable buildings to accomodate you.

The Shore / Leith Docks: see the point under ‘pros’ about travelling by water. Even better if you have your own boat and don’t need to shoot anyone in the head to get one.

Comely Bank: don’t panic, just get to the Police HQ building. They have riot vans there. They probably also have a buttload of guns. And their yard backs onto a Waitrose, so posh food supplies for everyone!

The Banshee Labyrinth on Niddry Street: it’s a bar with only one entrance that’s mostly underground and is basically windowless. It’s also staffed/kept in business by the kind of folks who’ve definitely spent a lot of time thinking about zombie attacks. It’s also full of booze.

WORST PLACES TO BE

Any ground floor or basement flat pretty much anywhere. Get up, or get out.

Morningside: I’ve long held the view that it’s not so much the zombies you have to worry about in a zombie attack, but the other people. Morningside has rich people, which means hunting-shooting-fishing type stores and antique shotguns mounted above pub mantlepieces. Don’t think this is a good thing: everyone is looking for a shotgun and not everyone is going to be nice about sharing. Also, if there is such a thing as a smart looter (I’m not sure), then they’re going to head for where the fanciest goods are.

Princes Street: you’re in the open, on the flat, vulnerable from attack from all angles, and in smack-bang in the middle of the city. It’s going to take you longer to get out than anyone else, and everyone around you is going to go crazy looting or panicking. Dude, you’re so stuffed.

The Quartermile: every building in your immediate vicinity is 90% glass, and the artisan bread you might be able to loot from Peter’s Yard aint going to last very long. Hope the overpriced fancy-schmancy flat was worth it!

Happy Halloween!

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You can also visit Read This Press for poetry and typewriter paraphernalia! Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Fiendish all-vegan pumpkin pie

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Vegan pumpkin pie!

So, my easy peasy vegan profiteroles have proven so popular with everyone I’ve made them for, that I decided to post another of my recipes here for your reading pleasure. Halloween is TOMORROW, and if you haven’t yet made yourself a pumpkin pie then U R DOIN IT WRONG. Happily, I am here to help you. I stitched together this recipe from bits and pieces of several other recipes I found online but didn’t like 100%. It results in a truly finger-lickin’ pie, even if I do say so myself.

Fiendish all-vegan pumpkin pie
(Serves 8-10.)

Pie crust base:
125g (half a pack) Lotus caramelised biscuits
A quarter of a cup of rapeseed or groundnut oil
A splash of sweetened soy milk

Pumpkin filling:
Half a cup of dark brown sugar
One third of a cup of icing (confectioner’s) sugar
Ground cinnamon
Ground nutmeg
Ground ginger
The zest of one lemon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Half a cup of sweetened soy milk
1 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp rapeseed or groundnut oil
250ml soya cream
1 tin of pumpkin puree
Half a tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat your oven to 220°C, 425°F, or gas mark 8.

Vegan pumpkin pie!

OK, first — the base! Lotus caramelised biscuits are fantastic, because they’re totally vegan and extra super tasty. To make the base, the first thing you need to do is whizz up roughly 125 grams of these biscuits — or roughly half a pack — until they’re broken down into a fine, sandy powder.

Vegan pumpkin pie!

Tip the biscuit crumbs into a large bowl and stir in the rapeseed or groundnut oil (personally I prefer groundnut, but if you’re potentially feeding a person with a nut allergy as I often do, it’s good to have an alternative). Add your splash of soy milk and you should end up with a shiny, sticky, but not-too-wet paste. Press this into the bottom of your pie dish to form your crust base, and stick it in the fridge while you create the filling!

Vegan pumpkin pie!

In a large, clean mixing bowl, sieve and mix the brown sugar and icing sugar together, then add ground spices to taste. If you’re unsure, I’d say one teaspoon of cinnamon and one of ginger, and maybe half a teaspoon of nutmeg. But personally I like my pie spicy, so I’d up the cinnamon and nutmeg, personally! Once you’ve sorted your spices, grate in the lemon zest, and add the salt and baking powder. Mix everything thoroughly!

Vegan pumpkin pie!

OK, slightly tricky bit now: this pie is vegan, so no eggs allowed. But you can mimic the consistency of eggs! Grab your sweetened soy milk, stick it in a pan and put over a low heat. As the soy milk begins to warm, add to it the teaspoon of cornflour and continue to heat, stirring constantly. As the milk heats, it should thicken up. When it gets to roughly the consistency of beaten egg, remove from heat and pour into the dry mix. Add the tablespoon of oil and mix thoroughly. Once mixed, pour and mix in the soy cream, too.

Vegan pumpkin pie!

It’s finally time for the essential ingredient — pumpkin! Some recipes insist that you use actual hollowed-out pumpkin, and yes, if you’re hollowing a pumpkin anyway, it’s smart to make use of the flesh for this. But if, like me, you have three hours before your Halloween party starts and you need to get a move on, then reach for the canned stuff! I use Libby’s myself as it’s relatively easy to get hold of. Pour the can of pumpkin into the mix and add the dash of vanilla. Mix, mix, mix — once you have a thick, gloopy batter, your filling is done!

Vegan pumpkin pie!

To bake, pour the pumpkin batter over your refrigerated base and place in the top half of the oven at 220°C for fifteen minutes. Once that time has passed, and without opening the oven (however tempting!), turn the temperature down to 180°C and bake for another 50-60 minutes.

Vegan pumpkin pie!

Your pie should come out looking only ever-so-slightly wibbly, and golden brown right across the top. It should be allowed to refrigerate for several hours — ideally overnight — to firm up. Then you can carve up and dig in!

Happy Halloween!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Procrastination Station #114

Friday, October 26th, 2012

pumpkin macaron

Procrastination Station has been on hiatus while ONS had a bit of an October midterm slow-down. Here’s a bumper edition to make up for it. Enjoy!

THIS IS GREAT: 10 words you LITERALLY (nooo!) didn’t know you were getting wrong. I want to Pritt-Stick this to all my students’ foreheads.

Received a snotty rejection letter for your work? Rest assured, it really does happen to the best writers!

Check out this cool, illustrated step-by-step guide to Japanese book sewing complete with gif!

Thanks very much to the lovely Swiss for this wee mention of ONS on his blog!

This is deviation:

I had no designs on altitude, knees
flush to the acrylic; all that yellow

was more light than I can speak against.

I utterly love this poem by the lovely Chris Emslie in the current [queer] issue of PANK.

I’m a massive, massive fan of the wonderful Diane di Prima, and she’s sick. She needs help to pay her healthcare bills. Can you help?

Herman Melville says PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS.

I’m super-extra-mega excited to have FOUR poems in this beautiful forthcoming book, now available for pre-order. Sci fi poetry, OMG!

Kinda spooky, Halloween-y…. mildly morbid. Epitaphs of famous authors.

Point A) “Censuring” is not the same as “censoring.” They look and sound similar, but nope.
Point B) Freedom of speech is not the same as freedom from repercussions. [...]
Point C) Internet anonymity, which, yes, is often a condition of people feeling that they can speak freely, is not a right. And it’s definitely not some kind of Fortress of Solitude…
Point D) People who equate “free speech” with “my God-given right to perpetual access to women’s bodies, no matter how ill-gotten or exploitative” can eat a big plate of Cry Me A River, and then fuck right off.

This article at Bitch is a damn fine response to the whine of “but I’m allowed to be an asshole because FREE SPEECH!” that echoes endlessly off the grimy walls of the internets.

I HAVE A FAVOUR TO ASK YOU GUYS! As one of their community champions, I would love for you to click here and take two minutes to vote for Scottish Women’s Aid to win the Weatherseal Charity Weekend Prize for 2012. They deserve it, they’ll appreciate it, and they’re awesome.

I’m sure you’ve heard tell of the hilarious prank Tube signs that are doing the rounds. Here are some of the best!

6. Challenge homophobia. As a role model for your students, respond to homophobia immediately and sincerely. Encourage in-service trainings for staff and students on homophobia and its impact on gay and lesbian youth.

7. Combat heterosexism in your classroom. Include visibly gay and lesbian role models in your classroom.

Ten simple ways to make your classroom (or hey, any workplace) a safe space for LGBTQ* folks.

This is such a sweet idea… compliment matchboxes full of exquisite art!

A few folk have asked if the Claire of this company is me. It isn’t… but I may soon become a customer!

What not to wear on Halloween.

It is ridiculous — RIDICULOUS — that we live in a society where it’s a good guess that a shooting in a place often frequented by women is going to be an extension of a “domestic dispute.” Anastasia Shields pointed out to me that just two days ago in Casselberry, Florida, a man killed three women at a beauty salon in what the police are calling “part of a domestic dispute.” A few years ago, about a mile from my home, a man walked up to his ex-girlfriend in the parking lot of her office as she was walking into work and shot her point blank, killing her immediately. I think about her every time I drive past there, which is almost daily.

A great, rage-making piece at Shakesville about our society’s problem with domestic violence.

Have you heard about Edinburgh’s cringe-worthy new name?

Oh my goodnessss check out this amazing London loft. Bright red kitchen HELLO!

I defy you not to go “aaaaaaaaaaw!”

Definatalie’s Fancy Lady Industries is having a giveaway. I SO WANT THAT STUFF!

The past (almost) four years of my life haven’t been exactly fun, but the thought of still having that $40,000 of debt, of being so financially desperate that I have to pay an overdraft fee for a pack of cigarettes, is much, much worse than anything I went through to pay it off. It’s hard to explain -– in a good way -– but I feel like I can breathe now.

Paying off all your debts on a teachers salary? IT CAN BE DONE.

CAT BOUNCE!!! (Seriously, click this.) (via)

I so wish I had been at this party.

HEY EVERYONE LOOKIE OVER HERE! If you click nothing else from this post, CLICK THIS! My lovely sister Helen has started her own Etsy store, selling her artwork and crafts. It’s brand new and yet it already contains DINOSAURS AND OCTOPI. Why haven’t you clicked yet?! It’s called Rock Paper Lizard, go give it some love!


This — the new anthem of Edinburgh Vintage, by the way — has been stuck in my head FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS, so I am passing it on. You’re welcome.


Badass performance poet, activist and all-round awesome lady Cat Brogan has her own TV channel! Legend!


Watch. Be inspired. Act.

Aaaand I can’t decide which of these is my favourite mick-take of all the recent US election shenanigans. Both hilarious, anyway!

Have a great weekend!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Things I Love Thursday #67: Paris edition

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Paris (40)

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

What are you loving this week?

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

A nearly-Halloween hello from Edinburgh Vintage

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Sale!
Cute earthenware Halloween pumpkin lantern candle holder — for sale at Edinburgh Vintage

Hey you guys, BY THE WAY, I have an Etsy store! (In fact, I have two, but that’s by the by.) It has a ton of lush autumnal lovelies in it at the moment, AND there’s a sale on until the end of October! You can get 20% off anything in the store — even the sale and clearance items — by quoting the coupon code EDINA20 at checkout. Read on for my autumnal picks — or click on the shop homepage to see what else I’ve got!

Sale!
Pumpkin skirt — for sale at Edinburgh Vintage

Sale!
Autumn berries sweater — for sale at Edinburgh Vintage

Sale!
Wrap up warm cap — for sale at Edinburgh Vintage

Sale!
Gathering clouds sweater — for sale at Edinburgh Vintage

Sale!
Fireside sweater — for sale at Edinburgh Vintage

Sale!
Bramble overcoat — for sale at Edinburgh Vintage

Sale!
Falling leaves scarf — for sale at Edinburgh Vintage

Sale!
Farmhouse kitchen tea cosy — for sale at Edinburgh Vintage

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #66

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Lit 101 students' work

When my students not only exceed my expectations, they hit them right out of the park

I’m currently teaching this class of students — mostly women — who are studying a unit that is basically Literature 101. Some of them did English in school, but none of them are pursuing a humanities subject now: this unit is a requirement for them, not something they chose. When the term started, a lot of them were bemused about why on earth they were having to do a literature course at all. We did an introductory exercise in which I asked them to list the first ten words that came to mind when they thought about poetry. “Boring”, “pretentious” and “pointless” all came up.

Fast-forward a month: last week we started talking about literary techniques. I decided that, rather than me just producing a Xeroxed A4 handout that they’d probably all just stuff into a folder and forget about, I’d get them to make their own literary techniques resource to refer to. That way, they’d have to go away and research the techniques, and they could put together something to use that would suit their own personal learning style. I told them they had one week, could be as creative as they liked, and that there’d be a small prize for the best resulting handout. I then promptly forgot all about it.

Imagine my utter, utter delight when I walked into the classroom this week and started being handed things like this:

Lit 101 students' work

Lit 101 students' work

^ This student hand-bound her book from scratch and used 100% reclaimed materials, including old envelopes. Meanwhile, check out the booklet below, which has pop-up pages, pull-out tabs and tons of illustrations:

Lit 101 students' work

Lit 101 students' work

One of my favourites came from a student who’d decided to focus on the fact that many of the class find poetry “boring.” She decided to come up with a way to make it Definitely Not Boring… um, success! Check it out:

Lit 101 students' work
“And just like magic, poetry suddenly bored no one.”

Lit 101 students' work

Lit 101 students' work

All of the resources the class came up with were thoughtful, creative, colourful and fun.

Lit 101 students' work

Lit 101 students' work

Lit 101 students' work

One student even went to the trouble of making a “poetree”! It’s made from real twigs she found around the place, and each leaf has a different literary technique defined on it. It clearly took a heck of a lot of thought and effort — and when she produced it from a carrier bag under her desk, it got a huge cheer from the rest of the group!

poetree 002

poetree 001

poetree 006

I’ve had something of an epiphany about my job these past couple of months. Only a few weeks ago I was applying for jobs at universities and going to very stuffy and often downright unpleasant interviews for entry-level faculty posts. Then a bunch of things like this happened, kind of like the Universe was slapping me around the head and going, why the hell would you want to work in a university when community education offers you this sort of stuff?! Now I can’t quite believe I was ever thinking of leaving. I’m so happy to be working in this incredible community (Granton and Pilton REPREZENT!) with these amazing young people. No matter what my expectations are, they’re exceeded. No matter how much I think I’ve seen, I can still be not just surprised, but overwhelmed, by the incredible creativity and flair of my students. This sounds mushy, I know… but these past couple of months have been a massive emotional turnaround for me. I’ve taken stock and realised that actually, I freaking love my job. Thank you, lovely students, and thank you, Universe, for waking me up before I made a massive career mistake!

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The Folio Society

My unrequited love affair with the Folio Society has been going on for years. It started when I was about 12 and my parents signed up to be members. When they joined up, they got sent some kind of new members reward which basically amounted to a huge stack of the prettiest books I had ever seen. I remember spending a lot of time perusing the catalogue, folding over many a page, trying to decide which of the incredible gilt-edged, beautifully illustrated, cloth-bound, gift-boxed tomes I would like for Christmas. It was basically book porn.

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I was pretty psyched this summer, too, when I found out that The Folio Society were sponsoring what was without a doubt my absolute favourite event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival: Marina Warner, talking about her new book on the Arabian Nights. Not only was Marina on top form (I so fangirled all over everywhere), but after the very fabby event I was chuffed to be handed a free Folio Society gift bag full of free goodies! Thank you very much indeed, Folio Society!

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But the Folio Society have now outdone themselves by sending me this utterly gob-smackingly gorgeous special edition copy of The Master and Margarita (full disclosure: in exchange for a mention in this post. But I’d've been happy to shout my love for them from the highest rooftops anyway). This book is super-special to me, and my little cheapie paperback copy is pretty battered and worn-out. This shiny new hardback comes in its own cloth-covered box and I mean… look. Just look at these illustrations!

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It’s like Christmas come early here at ONS Towers, it really is!
Anyway, I urge you to go and check out the Folio Society website, because it is full of drool-some delights. The Master and Margarita, which you can buy here, is only one of the hundreds of beautiful books on offer. If you’re a bookworm, you might want to add a few (dozen?) to your Christmas list — if you know a bookworm, anything from the Folio Society store is a guaranteed Christmas present winner! Get shopping!

What are you loving this week?

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

The Spoken Word: ONS giveaway in association with the British Library

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

The Spoken Word

So, I as I mentioned last week, the British Library were kind enough to send me a copy of The Spoken Word: British Poets, a great CD boxed set of modern poets reading their work, to feature at One Night Stanzas.

The Spoken Word: British Poets is a three-CD set featuring “historic recordings of British poets reading their own poetry.” The full list of poets included is at the bottom of this post, but highlights for me were Edith Sitwell, Stevie Smith, Edwin Morgan and Ian Hamilton Finlay. There are a staggering 115 tracks in total, plus a booklet featuring an introductory essay by Andrew Motion.

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One lucky One Night Stanzas reader will get their hands on this cornucopia of poetic delights, free and gratis, as a little present from me and the British Library. All you have to do to be in with a chance is leave a comment at the bottom of this post. It can be literally anything — tell me which poet’s work you most love when read aloud, tell me what spoken word pieces you’d include on your ultimate compilation CD, or just leave me a little ‘hello’! You just need to put something in the comment box before noon on Friday 19th October. After that, I’ll get the magical interwebpipes to generate a random winner, and the CD will wing its way to your door!
(NB: ONS now has comment moderation, so your comment won’t appear immediately, but don’t worry — I know it’s there!)

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If you like the sound of The Spoken Word: British Poets and want to make sure you get a copy — maybe you don’t like this gambling malarkey! — then you can buy yourself one at the British Library Shop. There are also others in the Spoken Word series: American Writers looks particularly excellent. Here’s the full listing for the giveaway CD — get commenting, and good luck!

DISC ONE: Alfred Tennyson // Robert Browning // Laurence Binyon // Walter De la Mare // John Masefield // Edith Sitwell // Hugh MacDiarmid // Robert Graves // David Jones // Basil Bunting // Stevie Smith

DISC TWO: Cecil Day Lewis // John Betjeman // W H Auden // Louis MacNeice // Stephen Spender // Sorley MacLean // R S Thomas // George Barker // Dylan Thomas // David Gascoyne

DISC THREE: John Heath-Stubbs // W. S. Graham // Edwin Morgan // George Mackay Brown // Kingsley Amis // Philip Larkin // Ian Hamilton Finlay // Thom Gunn // Ted Hughes

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Easy peasy vegan profiteroles!

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Vegan profiteroles

So, I mentioned last week that I kind of out-of-the-blue invented my very own recipe for vegan profiteroles! I say ‘kind of’ because the process was actually this: I recalled a fancy vegetable bake with a cheesy choux-pastry-type topping that I used to make… then I successfully veganised it for a dinner party. That night I lay awake toying with the idea of making the now-vegan choux-ish pastry sweet somehow. Next day I tried it in a small quantity, baked a few small, vaguely-biscuit-shaped pieces as a test, and melted some odds and ends of dark chocolate I had around the place on top (because, you know, chocolate). Initially, still-warm and choco-melty, I thought they were tasty but slightly odd, so I shoved the remaining ones in the fridge. Next day, I took a bite and suddenly, I knew what they were. Vegan profiteroles! And what’s more, they’re SUPER EASY and don’t make a ton of washing up! Here’s the deal:

Easy peasy vegan profiteroles
(Makes 12 profiteroles)

4 level tablespoons of vegan margarine (I think Pure Sunflower is the most flavoursome one)

5 floz hot water

3.5 oz of self raising flour

2 oz soft dark brown sugar

1 level teaspoon of baking powder

Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract

Dairy-free chocolate for the topping

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, 175°C for fan-assisted ovens, or gas mark 6.

Melt the vegan margarine in a large-ish saucepan. Once melted, add the water and allow the liquid to come to the boil. Once this happens, remove from the heat and leave to cool for a couple of minutes. Sieve in 2.5 ounces of the self-raising flour and stir slowly, allowing the mixture to thicken. You should end up with a thick, glossy paste that cleans the sides of the pan.

To make the mixture sweet, sieve in the 2 ounces of sugar and mix until the dough is an even colour. The mixture will become stickier, so to regain the original consistency, at this point add the last ounce of flour and stir in. At the same time, mix in the baking powder and vanilla.

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Grease a shallow baking tray, or line it with greaseproof paper. Break the dough in the pan into twelve even pieces, and gently pat them into ball shapes — try not to squidge them too much! Place them on the tray, leaving space between each. Place in the top part of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.

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The profiteroles should come out feeling crispy on the outside but still squidgy on the inside. Put them on a cooling rack and let them cool completely. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate to add as the profiterole topping. The amount is up to you — depends how chocolate-y you like your profiteroles! I used about half of one 100g bar for these babies.

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A tip: I always always melt mine the way pros do before they temper chocolate. That is, put the chocolate in a bowl and suspend it over boiling water, rather than melting it in a pan or in the microwave. This results in much smoother chocolate that won’t burn and pours easily. As for choosing your chocolate, as long as it’s vegan it doesn’t really matter. My chocolate of choice always comes from The Chocolate Tree, but I’ve also used Green and Black’s and Lindt in my baking.

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It will be SUPER TEMPTING to eat these little delights once they are chocolate-d up, but as I said before, they’re not at their best warm. Stick them in the fridge for two hours minimum to let them cool down and firm up. THEN you can scoff them any way you like!

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A final note for non-vegans: when you veganise something, it’s never quite the same as the original (often it’s better!). Therefore, the texture of these babies is not like classic profiteroles. They are not hollow or flaky — see the photo above! BUT they do taste exactly like the real deal, which I think is the main thing. Sure — there are veganised recipes out there that involve all sorts of jiggery-pokery to try and get close to the ‘real profiterole’ texture and appearance. But personally, I’d rather have less washing up, less ingredients to buy, and more time to read books. So this recipe suits me fine. Try it yourself and see what you reckon!

Om nom nom.

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Procrastination Station #113

Friday, October 5th, 2012

baby's breath bokeh

Want to bind your own books but think it’d be too difficult? Check out this easy peasy tutorial — and this even easier one — at Fuck Yeah Book Arts!

I’m rather a fan of this “profane calligraphy“!

Are these the worst book covers ever? Photoshopped kitten!

I read Celine. I swim a lot. Swimming a mile a day helps. Any time I spend with my kid sets things straight. He’s a very funny guy and he’s a composer. I listen to his music and learn interesting things about theory from him and that certainly helps mitigate the darkness. I teach in the Bronx a couple days a week, and being up there with my students makes me feel more at home in the world. I don’t know if these things make me hopeful really. But they’re necessary.

I don’t know the work of Cara Hoffman, but I loved this interview she did with The Rejectionist. Great questions, great answers.

Just a few of the Banned Books Week posters, but they show exactly why the concept of banning books is a massive and utterly ridiculous joke.

I utterly love the idea of doing a bookstore roadtrip. Perhaps I will draw one up!

I know I’ve said this phrase before, but this is the best bookshelf ever.

You guys — the lovely Amanda Oaks, of whom I am a mega fan, is LAUNCHING AN UNDERWEAR LINE with her friend Jenn. It’s called Positive Panties (or maybe Cheery Knickers, for us UK folks!), and you can contribute to the Kickstarter that’ll get it off the ground right here. Please donate a dollar or two… or ten, or twenty!

I heard a lot of people slagging the now-infamous Photoshop toolbar tattoo but now I’ve seen it for myself I actually think it’s quite lovely.

Ah yes, because that’s really all we feminists aspire to, funny or not. Forget about gender inequality and patriarchy and the War on Women and racism and ableism and homophobia and every other shitty thing feminists fight against, this is just about having a great train ride and a few LOLz!

I loved this concise and elegant response to Katie Roiphe’s typically-anti-common-sense trolling.

Melissa says, “I love everything about this picture. Everything.” And I agree.

Yes, I’m a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women,” wrote Kaur, who is the president of the Ohio State University’s Sikh Student Association. “My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body… by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can.

This woman is a supermassive inspiration and I love her for telling her story this way.

The comments left on passive-aggressive notes are almost always the best part. Case in point!

Once again I am linking to Katja’s blog… but I just love her autumnal photographs here!

I love love love this graffiti.

Tattoos = wisdom? Why yes they do.


This is sweet, heartwarming and awesome, and I want to forcibly make all my students watch it and take note!


I saw something very like this when I was in Athens — it’s A GREAT IDEA and I def want to get involved in some paint-bombing now!


I agree with this man’s EVERY WORD.


I desperately want a house boat.


A short, fascinating video on why it is we procrastinate!

Have a great weekend!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Things I Love Thursday #65

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

005

Vegan profiteroles

Yet more vegan baking.
I know, there’s a trend developing here. But LOOK AT THOSE CINNAMON ROLLS, PEOPLE. This is about my seventh time making them, and I think I have now got them perfect. The recipe is Isa’s, but I’ve tweaked it and meddled with it and now I’ve got something that suits me and suits my old-as-time-itself oven. Woo!
The other things are VEGAN PROFITEROLES! YET MORE ALL CAPS BECAUSE OMG! I am extremely proud of myself, because I came up with the recipe for these all on my own, which is pretty much a first. They’re basically a sweet, veganised version of this choux-like pastry I used to make to go on top of a vegetable bake. I promised folk on Twitter that I’d put the recipe up here today, BUT I think I need (need!) to make them again just to make sure this wasn’t a fluke. But look for the details next week!
(Like the mug? It’s for sale at Edinburgh Vintage!)

Bed

Reading corner

Cozying up.
Lovely Boyfriend and I have been in our awesome Tollcross flat for over a year now. I love it, but I’ve always been a bit bugged about the bedroom: it’s always felt kind of impersonal and functional, and I wanted to find a way to make it cozier. So over the weekend I shifted the bed, gathered together several of our many bookshelves into one corner, and created a little reading nook. Now I love it and want to be in there all the time! Win!

Jewellery box

Remington

Splashes of colour.
I’m really getting into this classic blogger thing of taking lots and lots of macro photographs of whimsical stuff. My apologies, I am becoming a cliche. But anyway — the top photograph is of my jewellery box, which is in desperate need of a tidy-out! The bright-orange sticker I got in a radical book collective in Seattle, and it reads ABORTION ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY. Because um yes, obviously.
And below that is a little pink typewriter that I keep passing on my wanderings… it’s sitting in the window of Owl and Lion on West Port. I always give it a cheery smile as I pass.

<3

New tattoo!

Anniversary!
Lovely Boyfriend — aka Captain Steve — and I celebrated our two-year anniversary this week. We’re heading to Paris in about ten days to continue the celebrations and I am already going nuts with excitement. On the same day I also wandered into Red Hot + Blue Tattoo in Tollcross and had my seventh tattoo inked — a hand of protection, loosely based on a hamsa or Hand of Fatima. My tattooist was Alec, and he was great — thanks, I love it!

The Spoken Word

The Spoken Word.
The British Library were kind enough to send me this great three-CD boxed set of modern poets reading their work to feature at One Night Stanzas. It’ll be given away to one lucky reader next week, so stay tuned! If you want more info in anticipation, you can see the details at the British Library Shop page!

What are YOU loving this week?

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!