Yesterday, I decided it was time for some fall baking. If you’ve been following my Weekend Cooking posts for a while, you may know that we converted our kitchen to gluten-free so it will be safe for our daughters with celiac disease to use on family visits and I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free baking.
I pulled out my favorite gluten-free baking cookbook, Nosh on This, which I’ve posted about before. This cookbook is a definite keeper, but although I purchased the extra-fine brown and white rice flours the author recommends for baking a while ago, since then then didn’t haven’t done much baking. So in the interests of science and economy, I pulled out the cookbook yesterday to bake something pumpkin-y.
Author Lisa Standel-Horel, who blogs at Gluten Free Canteen, isn’t kidding when she says “no cookie, strudel, brownie, tart, or treat left behind”. I found a few pumpkin recipes to choose from and decided on the Pumpkin Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream. The recipe is on Gluten Free Canteen here.
I mixed up a batch of the flour mix using my fabbity-fab, new(ish) kitchen scale and also weighed out the other ingredients instead of using volume measurements, except for teaspoons and tablespoons. (It was much easier than I thought it would be to use grams instead of cups!)
The recipe called for finely diced dried apples, which I didn’t have, so I substituted minced golden raisins, and for the frosting, I went with cream cheese frosting instead of the honey buttercream, but otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly and they came out just right. Although you can still tell from the texture that they’re gluten-free, I think, they come pretty close!
Happy Weekend Cooking!
The bookish cover design and these blurbs from authors I really like lured me into reading The Quick by Lauren Owen – over 500 pages of subtle suspense or passages of normal Victorian life, broken up by occasional scenes of intense horror.
“A suspenseful, gloriously atmospheric first novel, and a feast of gothic storytelling that is impossible to resist.” – Kate Atkinson
“A sly and glittering addition to the literature of the macabre…As soon as you have breathed with relief, much worse horrors begin. It’s a skilled, assured performance, and it’s hard to believe it is a first novel.” – Hilary Mantel
“Ambitious, elegant, atmospheric, and often deeply poignant, The Quick is a seamless blend of Victorian London and rich imagination. This is a book to savor.” – Tana French
Literary fiction with horror elements, The Quick is an engrossing story of love, loss, bravery, and fear, set in a Victorian London where one of the many exclusive, men-only clubs is especially secretive about its mysterious members and club activities.
Oh, yeah. Almost forgot to mention…it’s a vampire novel!
R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX is organized every year by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings, and runs from September 1st to October 31st.
Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.
That is what embodies the stories, written and visual, that we celebrate with the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event.
This year I happen to be reading a lot of horror and dark fantasy for a work project, so I hope to post at least four horror-related reviews during October. That will put me at the Peril the 1st level.
A More Diverse Universe (#diversiverse for short) is the brainchild of Aarti at BookLust to get everyone reading books by authors of color. Originally it was books of speculative fiction by authors of color, but this year books in all genres count towards the challenge. After reading Kindred by Octavia Butler last year, I had planned on reading Parable of the Sower this year, but decided to buy Lilith’s Brood instead, and only ended up having time to read the first book, Dawn, which leaves Adulthood Rites and Imago left to go.
Here’s how the author herself describes the novel, Dawn, in an NPR essay:
Several years ago I wrote a novel called Dawn in which extra-solar aliens arrive, look us over, and inform us that we have a pair of characteristics that together constitute a fatal flaw. We are, they admit, intelligent, and that’s fine. But we are also hierarchical, and our hierarchical tendencies are older and all too often, they drive our intelligence-that is, they drive us to use our intelligence to try to dominate one another.
As she does in Kindred, published in 1979, in Dawn, published in 1987, the author explores humanity’s characteristics and behavior, especially in captivity and with beings who are different — different in sex, color, language, or even species.
Sadly, Octavia Butler died in 2006 at the age of 58. She was an African-American, female writer of science fiction, which made her unusual. Her books landed on reading lists for Gender Studies and African-American Studies programs, as well as winning the prestigious Hugo (twice). Her obituary in the New York Times mentions that she was something of a loner, and always felt herself to be different from others. This is a quote from the obituary:
“When I began writing science fiction, when I began reading, heck, I wasn’t in any of this stuff I read,” Ms. Butler told The New York Times in 2000. “The only black people you found were occasional characters or characters who were so feeble-witted that they couldn’t manage anything, anyway. I wrote myself in, since I’m me and I’m here and I’m writing.”
There is a spaceship, extraterrestrials, and some really weird stuff in Dawn, but I would compare it more to The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell than to space opera science fiction. Dawn is really about human beings, and speculates about how different human beings might respond to highly unusual circumstances and the loss of their earthly home.
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