This week we take on the dastardly Illuminati as we pay tribute to Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons. I attempt to create a baking decadence that (for all in intents and purposes) probably shouldn’t exist. It’s called the Heaven and Hell Cake. A mouthwatering combination of Angel Food cake layers with Devil Food Cake layers. Smothered in between is an unbelievably delicious peanut butter ganache and dripped over it is a smooth chocolate coating. It has you saying, “Oh my ganache.”
My take on this fine cake was ruined by the angel food cake. This is my second attempt trying to make it and I once again failed…miserably. But I had to complete it so I resorted to the wonderful Hannaford’s Supermarket to supply me with a cake that was actually edible.
Somehow, whenever I try to make angel food cake, I always have the same problem. I get to the point in the recipe where I’m supposed to beat egg whites and sugar together until they form “stiff peaks”. And so I beat, and beat, and beat. I beat the heaven out of those egg whites until they are no longer angelic in the least bit. No stiff peaks form. Ever. When I try to go ahead with the recipe, I end up with this strange marshmallowy concoction of God knows what that isn’t even…real. It’s just a brick of gross goo with a hard crust. Eww.
Basically, what I’m saying is that if you want to try this recipe for yourself, you’re going to want to hop over and check out Whisk Kid for this recipe so that you make it the right way. Because by the end of this video…my cake looks ridiculous, even though it tastes amazing.
Stay tuned for the next Literary Cooking Adventure!
Undertale was something that honestly passed me by at first. I missed the initial hype about this game. I am so, so glad that I didn’t let it slip by completely. Undertale tells the story of a human falling down a hole into another realm ruled by monsters. After a feud several years prior, monsters were banished underground by humans and have been searching for a way to pass through the barrier. The human naturally also wants to find a way through it to get back home and so embarks on a journey to get there, encountering oodles of odd characters along the way.
“I made coffee, watching it dribble from the filter down into the glass pot. I went weeks without it. I craved it. I cried and fought through headaches, wanting it, needing it. It reminded me of Brody, of our morning ritual; it was the intangible piece of him that I had, that I held dear. Something as stupid and as simple as savoring that cup of black coffee was the means to bring him to life again, if only for a half a second.” – “The Wild Dark”, my work-in-progress.
Shark Week is finally here! This is one of my all-time favorite weeks of the year where we get to celebrate anything and everything SHARK! For this week’s Literary Cooking Adventure, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to show tribute to one of my favorite books/films, Jaws by Peter Benchley.
I decided to do a combination of ice cream float recipes for the summer heat, something sweet and lovely and rather simple. The first one is the classic Root beer Float (which I meant to add a shot of Kahlua to and forgot) and the second is Affogato, an Italian dessert of coffee poured over ice cream with salted caramel on top. Yum! Even I managed to mess up very little this time.
Of course that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t in danger. Mini Bruce, the Great White Stuffed Shark, was patrolling the neighborhood and came to visit the kitchen. This was much to the surprise of Chief Brody, Hooper, and Quint who had all come to help with the float making.
Below are the very simple directions for how to make these two floats. Enjoy!
It is no secret that I have a love for Shark Week and, well, sharks in general. I’ve always found them to be fascinating creatures. Despite several of them appearing frightening and the stories that you hear on the news, they are only acting as animals act. There is no brutality specifically directed toward humans, and nothing evil about them. To quote Richard Dreyfuss’s character in “Jaws”, all they do “is swim, and eat, and make little sharks.” But that’s really the nature of any creature: self-sustainability, preservation, and survival. Sharks have evolved from creatures that used to live in the upwards of 420 million years ago. There has to be some respect towards an animal that has managed to survive and adapt in its environment over such a long period of time.
As a kid, I was always reading about sharks, and crocodiles, and wolves… I had some strange fascination with these apex predators which may or may not have influenced my writing in the dark/horror genre years later. I grew up reading Crichton’s Jurassic Park and watching Speilberg’s adaption of Benchley’s “Jaws”. And for years, I’ve wanted to be able to write my own “creature feature” book. With time, I’ve come to realize that both of these books treated the animals with a level of reverence and didn’t make them out to be just monsters. It’s the mistakes of humans, whether it be tampering with genetic engineering or placing oneself in the feeding territory of the animal, that caused the events to perpetuate. And so, I have silently for about a year, been working on an idea to write my own shark novel.
Warning: This video does contain a plethora of adult language in the bloopers. This is probably the most aggravating Cooking Adventure I’ve ever attempted. And while it looks as though it came out all right at the end of the video, I can assure you that it did not…
Banana Cream Pie: it’s really not that easy to make at all. It’s been something I’ve always wanted to try and because I’d just bought a ton of bananas, I figured I’d give it a shot. I was feeling a bit sentimental about a book series I used to read as a kid called “Animorphs” by K.A. Applegate. The story revolved around a group of kids who were endowed with special animal morphing abilities and tasked with saving the planet from an alien race called the Yeerk. I decided the series would be the theme of this particular Cooking Adventure.
[Click on the photo above to watch HarshlyCritical’s playthrough]
Jeff the Killer strikes again. And this time, it may kill you…with laughter.
HarshlyCritical recently played a short, very incomplete, nonsensical indie game simply entitled “Jeff”. Surrounded by stock environments, he sets out as a weird businessman character, who has just bought a new house, apparently the same house where Jeff the Killer murdered everyone according to Creepypasta lore. The house has some of the ugliest wallpaper known to man, is missing its ceiling in several rooms (allowing the character to warp through it to get from one floor to the next), while its doors are the size of bulldozers and don’t actually touch the walls. Inside, while exploring, HC encounters Jeff, who is often purported to be totally insane, for lack of a better description, This is due to some childhood bullying and then a random decision to execute his own family members because his “insanity is over everything”.
The story differs a little in this game, introducing the strangest character I’ve ever seen; Ed, a bald practically albino man dressed in a monk’s cloak who speaks with an accent that is part Billy Ray Cyrus and part Max Von Sydow. While the protagonist and this Southern brother of peace begin a conversation, it slowly turns into one of the most confusing and funniest things I’ve ever seen in a game. And that’s when we absolutely lose it. The combination of lazy environments, horrible plot, bad voice-acting, and ridiculous game mechanics is too much for a sane person to handle. Even HC breaks down, which means this really is a game for the ages.
For those of you who have been waiting for it, my 3rd book in the Monstrum Chronicles, Memento Mori, is now available for paperback purchase. You can find copies at Amazon for sale. If you would prefer to buy a copy directly from me or you would like a signed copy, please send me an email at email@example.com. I’d be happy to personalize a message for you inside.
*I’ve decided to do something new for Inspiration Through Music Mondays. Instead of focusing on one musician and several tracks by them, I’m going to be focusing on one song per episode. It narrows the focus of the post and is easier for me to concentrate on it alone. I can concoct better scenes and more fantastical worlds when I’m not over-stimulated by multiple tracks.*
I’ve been working on The Wild Dark for a couple years now under various other titles. It’s premise is an apocalyptic character driven story of survival, acceptance, and perseverance. It has a very similar feeling to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, combined with elements of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, and the 1990 romantic fantasy film Ghost. It’s a strange but wonderful combination which I’ve been having lots of fun writing. Over the next several months, I’ll be sharing songs with you that have been inspiring me as I write, what about them triggers my imagination. It’s also a way for you as the reader (and possibly fellow writer) to discover music you may not be familiar with and possibly be inspired yourself.
The majority of the book takes place in the forest, where wildlife is unpredictable, the weather is harsh, and there is no one around except for the ghost of the protagonist’s friend. Grappling with the acceptance of his demise, of his reappearance, and the status quo of the world around her has driven her to a state of frostiness, of distrust, and utter confusion. She doesn’t recognize the world the way she once did. The song taps into the beauty and unreliability of her surroundings. It also forces her to look inside herself and recognize the pain and longing she feels for her dead friend. This subtle piece, guided by a lone cello, really hits home and helps me get inside the character’s head, helps me understand all the loneliness she is feeling. In addition to that desolation, there’s a thread of hope that things can change, that there is a way to set it right. Sieber’s music translates these two feelings beautifully and interweaves them into a gorgeous piece that I’ve listened to several times while working on this story.
Interested in learning more about Jamie Sieber and her music? You can find her official website here.
Stay tuned for next week’s Inspiration Through Music!