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Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

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Sucre à crème

Another traditional French Canadian recipe I decided to try making this year is sucre à crème. Unlike tourtière, this stuff doesn’t tend to be made in huge batches. It’s delicious, though, so it doesn’t stick around long. So I thought it might be nice to have a batch of my own.

As recipe source, I went for the nontraditional Google, and found many recipes. Most, however, involved candy thermometers and manual stirring. Lots of manual stirring. Much complaining about a need for strong arms to successfully complete the recipe.

This was starting to seem less fun.

Near the top of the results, though, was one from Canada, that said simply:

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream

  1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, stir together the white sugar, brown sugar and cream. Cook at full power for 10 minutes, stirring twice. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Use an electric mixer on low speed to beat the mixture for 4 minutes. Pour into a buttered 8 inch square glass baking dish. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Cut into squares when set.

I thought, that’s the one for me!

Based on comments, I adjusted the microwave time down slightly, to 9 minutes (which also made it easy to stir on the 3 minute marks). As for the mixing part, I couldn’t make it quite to the 4 minutes—not because my arm was sore—but because it just seemed to be getting too thick.

That’s where experience with this stuff would help, as I wasn’t totally sure what texture I was aiming for. The result was slightly more crumbly than I think was ideal.

Still, with those ingredients, it’s hard to go wrong, and it did taste delicious. I brought it in for work pot luck, and the worst part was being asked by anglophones what it was, as I can’t find an adequate English word for it. (It’s along the same lines as fudge, but it’s not fudge.) But despite the slight crumble and the weird French name, it proved very popular—in fact, there was none left.

Just like at Réveillon.


White Wine in the Sun

Today was “our” Christmas celebration, in advance of events with the extended family on the actual days.

As a result, it seemed apropos to play the “Christmas” playlist. (Particularly as I received a new iPod dock I had to try out.) But though all 82 songs are self-selected and heavy on the non-traditional, I gotta say that it’s just not my favorite type of music.

However, there are a few stand-outs.

* Sting’s “Gabriel’s Message”, a simply gorgeous song proving that not all rock star Christmas songs for charity have to suck.
* The Kink’s ”Father Christmas”, a somewhat dark yet catchy tune, that unfortunately seems timely: A poor kid just wants cash for Christmas, or “give my Dad a job ’cause he needs one.” All those toys? Gives them to the little rich boys.
* Adam Sandler’s Hanukuah Song which, OK, isn’t about Christmas at all. But though I’ve heard all the jokes in it many times before, it still makes me laugh. “OJ Simpson… Not a Jew!”
Do They Know it’s Christmas? Truly the weirdest set of lyrics ever penned by an atheist, and ones I’m sure Geldof, now an expert on Africa (as he wasn’t then), must wince over. Still, too many good memories around this song. And I love its jingly-jangly sound.
* Last year’s YouTube discovery, Spiraling’s mash-up of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” with The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”, producing the most awesome guitar riff in a Christmas song ever.

And this year’s YouTube discovery, courtesy of @eoutwater of the KW Symphony: Tim Michen’s “White Wine in the Sun”. Lovely, funny, and true, Minchen’s explains his fondness for Christmas despite his reservations about “the commercialization of an ancient religion, the Westernization of a dead Palestinian”. But you get to be with your family in a relaxed state, and that’s what it’s all about. 5 stars.