Well, it seems that I can't really promise a lot of regularity for the blog, cause my motivation, my mood and my time off is really fluctuating as of late, so I'm gonna try to at least have a blog entry once a week, at least!
Today I'm gonna do a mix of my two regular Monday entries, so today there's gonna be a little bit of Monday Munchies and Mark This Book Monday!
For the Monday Munchies bit, I wanna show you the two latest recipes that I've tried. I hadn't baked anything since before going to India in Jan, and finally last week since I had quite a few days off, I managed to finally try one new recipe I had in my notebook for a long time, and since yesterday was St Patrick's Day, I decided to make the most Irish recipe I have and love!
First off, my Lady Grey cupcakes!
Based on the recipe for Chai cupcakes from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World", but using Lady Grey tea bags instead of chai ones, substituting the spices for orange and lemon zest, and adding 1/4 teaspoon of bergamont extract to the cupcake batter. Once they cooled off, I filled them up with orange marmalade!
For the buttercream, I used the regular buttercream recipe from Alma's book: Objetivo: Cupcake Perfecto and added lemon and orange zest to it, along with 1/2 teaspoon of the bergamont extract. To make them look worthy of any proper tea party, I added some sugarpaste blooms.
I have to say I've been wanted to make this recipe for a long time, but I couldn't get the bergamot extract anywhere, and the only place I found it didn't ship out of the US, so I asked one of the superbly talented ladies from Attack of the Craft, Jamie from Warning Label Creations, and she ordered it for me, and shipped it to me. Thanks a lot, Jamiebuns!
Next we have my fave recipe for St Patrick's cupcakes: Chocolate Guinness cupcakes with Baileys buttercream! The only green thing about these are the lines and the shamrock sprinkles that the very awesome Gloria from En Ocasiones Veo Cupcakes gifted me!
The base cupcakes is also from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World" I only used Guinness instead of the vegan stout they recommend. And the Baileys buttercream is also from Alma's book, Objetivo: Cupcake Perfecto!.
The idea to turn them into little black faced sheep was two-fold, first due to the many adorable black faced sheep me and my nephew Joel saw during our trip in Ireland and also due to the cupcake decorating workshop with kiddies designs, where we made little sheep, among others.
Now, for the Mark This Book Monday part of the entry... I'm gonna be sharing a few books of the ones I've read as of late, not full reviews, just a small recommendation for each one!
Sever by Lauren DeStefano
Sever is the final book of the Chemical Garden Trilogy, and for me, the best book of the whole trilogy. We finally seem to be getting a few more answers, and quite a few are really unexpected! The setting for the whole trilogy is a dystopian future where the human life expectance for males in the former US is 25 and 20 for the females (always getting the shorter end of the stick, aren't we?). Trying to survive in this world and trying to find a cure is the main theme, and of course, love. I feel this trilogy showcases human nature wonderfully, with characters that have a depth that sometimes surprises you (and other characters). The ending is hopeful, but harsh and there's love and loss and a future to work on.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Shadow and Bone is the first book of a trilogy, with book 2 coming sometime in June this year. It takes place in a place that will remind you of a classic Russia, with Tzars, harsh cold places and even a Rasputin-esque figure. The whole feel of the book is very Slavik/Russian, and the world building is phenomenal. The main character is a girl that has given up on her magic gift without even knowing about it, and once it's discovered by the most powerful magic user in the kingdom, she is taken to train with the elite, and is separated from her best friend and first love. This book is the set up of the whole story and despite putting us in context of many things, it never seems slow or dragging, and there's also some serious action in the last part of the book too!
For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund
This is a book I read just last week, and it's inspired by Persuasion by Jane Austen, and even if I'm not the biggest Austen fan out there, I do love me some Austen/Brönte literature! This story is set up in a dystopian future caused by the abuse of genetic manipulation. I feel like I can't give a short explanation of the world set up that the author does, and does so magnificently. I will though point out that the book does excellently justice to the Austen original in a very different way, but in the end, a very similar one, because no matter where or when we are, human nature will be quite the same. Moved by love, hurt, frienship, loyalty, duty power and loss. I loved this book, and it made me cry quite a few times while reading it. One of the things I loved the most about it was how the narrative of the story was punctuated by the letters the main characters wrote to each other in the past, and how they give us so many clues about themselves and the world they live in. If you like Jane Austen, you're very likely to love this book, and if you don't, don't let it put you off, it's a great book on its own.