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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vegan Cupcakes Invade My Oven...

...and it isn't exactly a hostile take-over. ;)

Wowzer. I was flipping through the cupcake book this afternoon, drooling at every single picture, and imagining all the wonderful parings of frosting and cupcakes I could create, when I realized I could be baking them right then and there. So I carefully got up from my chair (so as not to arouse suspicion from my Mum), and began to curdle my soy and coconut milk in the kitchen. I usually make a big mess when I bake, but then am not so good at the cleaning up part- in my defense, the sink is really high and I can't really reach into it very easily.

I decided to bake a simple Agave Vanilla Cupcake, but added a little coconut milk (oh, the decadence!), and maple syrup for extra yum yum factor. They came together beautifully; the batter was so thick and creamy that it reminded me of Belgium waffle dough. They were this lovely golden brown color, thanks to the maple syrup, agave and copious teaspoons of vanilla I added to them. And 18 minutes later, they magically reappeared from the oven looking golden-er and smelling vanilla-ier than before! I hate waiting for them to cool, but every darn cookbook mentions this. Soooo I am being very patient, but am itching to frost them. I am thinking of adding some melted chocolate to a coconut based icing that we have. These thoughts are rather torturous to one who is immersed in the sweet smell of a dozen fresh baked cupcakes, so I will regretfully move from this topic to an equally wonderful one.

I received a letter from my good friend, Jess, who has left the island for Georgia, USA, to do what she loves; play the viola. Any booyyyyy does she play...I am so happy for her that she gets to do that all day long!! Paradise, but hard work. I feel so very fortunate to know such amazing talented, kind, generous people. We have been such wonderful friends since I arrived at GNS! Cornrowing each others hair at sleepovers, making 'menus', playing outside, choir several times a week, lunchtimes on the field gossiping, helping each other in school and bemoaning IB work. I miss her like bread misses butter. Can't wait til Christmas break! Love you, Jessi <3

The cupcakes are cooling... 

Kristin is so wonderful and caring, and I look forward to our piano lessons together so much! We always have so much fun -> no ruler-hitting.-work-to-the-bone,-and-never-right,-and-mean teacher here, but there is oodles and oodles of learning happen'. You train a dog with biscuits, not kicks. :D. I write down my questions for her as I am practicing during the week, that way when we meet I can remember what parts I had trouble with. Kristin gave me a wonderful gift for my birthday: a pashmina scarf with piano notes and symbols on it in pink and l(y)me green, a CD of all the out-of-print jazz "Fake Books", and a wonderful book of Chopin pieces, including all my favorite mazurkas, waltzes and preludes. Because I can play all the tricky Debussy pieces (nearly!), Chopin can't be far behind. I wish that I had a prehensile pinky finger...that would really help playing his pieces!

Today, I was grilled on this incredible beautiful Chopin Waltz (posth., from the Trio Valses #2). It is very depressing to admit that although I am working hard on it and think I am playing it very fast, I am barely beyond half-speed!! It is played at a break-necked pace that surely no dancer could keep to, and my fingers sorely object. I do have all the notes in generally the right places which is always promising, but now I have to add in all the fiddly bits which are most time consuming; the pedaling, trills and occasionally fix up the odd slowdown/speedup's that happen when one is learning. The other piece is Schuberts' "Herberge", which means a country inn. It is a delightful work with all this majestic dotted rhythm that carry me away in their boom. It moves from the sweetest pianissimo staccato passages to these sweeping, swelling chords. There is much room to rubato (classical musics' 'swing' or stretching, in a way) and add emotion, which I do anyways, regardless of the rules.

Ah, music. Imagine if the early peoples had not felt the urge for rhythm, to beat on drums and to sing, to create primitive flute-esque and stringed instruments. What if no one had thought to use strings from the stomach of a goat?, a horse tail brush?, mahogany body?, black and white keys?, brass curves? It would be just us, alone in a wave of rhythm crying out for sound, and noise begging to be sculpted. The cacophony of life and the music inside. 

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