Un-Resolutions 2010

About this time last year, I wrote a short list of goals for myself. I think it’s time to review 2009 and have a think about 2010.

Last year, I resolved to:

Learn some basic Photoshop skills. In truth, after some initial dabbling, my interest quickly waned and I achieved next to nothing in 2009. BUT in the past month I have been learning by way of looking up random tutorials online. I really like Photoshop tutorials because they walk me through the process, enabling me to achieve a chosen effect with minimal frustration whilst educating me on what all the buttons and thingies do. It’s really a great application.

Be more well-spoken and articuate. This didn’t turn out to be difficult, it’s just a matter of switching it on, like you would at a work or professional place. I still frequently lapse into unwanted colloquial idioms such as “like” etc mainly when I stop thinking about it.

Make a general rule to accept invitations. Um, fail? If anything, I went out LESS. But I don’t feel bad about that.

Learn to draw. On it. I think I’m getting better. But I’m not going to show off my drawings yet.

So, this year, I only have two goals. One is to see more live music. The other is to be nicer. When I say “nicer” I specifically mean less elitist. It has gradually come to my attention that it is easy for people involved in music (including me) to talk down about our fellow artists. It’s easy to do because in this field we are always comparing talent/skill/whatever. But I’ve realised from talking to other people that it’s too easy to think you’re better than someone else, and vocalising thoughts like these is so unbecoming.

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Fruit Mince Pie Review

Image by northstander 

Image by northstander

 

This Christmas season I decided to sample as many different fruit mince pies from as many different sources as possible, a mission I undertook with relish as I love mince pies. This review is probably a little inaccurate now as I am writing it off the top of my head. I have lost my dearest Small Purple Notebook, in which was contained the List (an inexhaustive inventory of things to do as well as numerous other bits and bobs for treasuring) and would have been used to record my impressions of mince pies from various origins. But anyway, here we go. 

● Mr. Kipling’s — I reckon that out of all the supermarket-stocked brands, Mr. Kipling’s is the best. The packet says that they are “exceedingly good” and I tend to agree. The crust is very buttery and quite crumbly and not too thick or cakey. The filling is rich and has good flavour. They are “deep dish” and so don’t skimp on the filling. In the past few weeks I have kept coming back to Mr. Kipling’s as they are really quality. 

● Balfour’s — A friend warned me off Balfour’s mince pies, saying “you’d think with their expertise in meat pie making they might be able to pull off a half-decent one, but no, the pastry was tough and flavourless, and the mincemeat tasted like chemicals”. With this in mind, I expected the worst. But they actually weren’t half bad. True, the pastry wasn’t exactly flavoursome, but it was inoffensive, and the filling also; certainly not “chemically” in flavour. I think Balfour’s contribution is, however, rather forgettable, and with Mr. Kipling’s mince pies available at a similar price (if not, a little more expensive) it’s worth forgoing the Balfour’s option for something more rewarding. 

● Swiss Glory — Funnily enough, I accidentally typed “Swiss Gory” just now which actually an apt name for the awful mince pies this deluxe chocolate store has to offer. I was going past the Swiss Glory shop on my way to the Central Markets when I was caught by their sign which announced that they made the best fruit mince pies in town. Of course I had to try, but I was sorely disappointed. The filling was bland and had the texture and appearance of cold meat pie (think greyish and congealed). The crust was too thick and bready. I wondered afterwards if a customer had quietly informed them of the complete FAIL of their mince pies because the next time I went past, the sign was gone. 

● Goodwood Bakery — At $2.50 a pop, these mince pies are pricey but delicious. They have a definitely home-baked flavour about them. The filling is yummy albeit a bit scarce and the pastry is great. The top crust has an almost biscuity texture and is quite crunchy, something which I’m not sure would appeal to everybody but it certainly appeals to me. Also, the lady in the bakery gave me a decorative piece of holly, which is a bonus. It’s currently in the fruit bowl, with the garlic. 

● Walker’s — My lovely boy bought a box of these treats for my birthday. I don’t know how much they cost but I believe they are quite expensive. The first one I tried I had it heated up in the oven. Warm, they are rich and almost savoury with a buttery, crumbly pastry crust. When cold, the filling has a distinct bite of citrus flavour which is unique and certainly delicious. Walker’s is the only mince pie I have tried warm, next Christmas season I will try more kinds warm. 

● Baker’s Delight — I am a huge Baker’s Delight fan, even though I secretly feel slightly guilty for supporting a franchise instead of a small independently owned business. They just bake good bread, okay? I used to buy a fruit danish on most days, nowadays I am not nearly as self-indulgent. I have only had one Baker’s Delight mince pie thus far into the season, and I actually can’t really recall the details, except that I enjoyed it. But it’s Baker’s Delight, so it can’t be bad, right?

● The ones from the Foodland/IGA on Goodwood Road — I can’t remember what the brand was, but they were cheap and nasty. Truth be told I wasn’t actually game to try one. When removed from their plastic packaging and then from their foil patty pans, the bottom crust revealed itself to be actually moist and slimy to the touch! Ew! On the night I acquired these little beasts we had a party and I offered them to everyone just to get them off my hands. The next morning, out of the six there was just one left in the fridge and I still didn’t eat it. 

Hopefully this review will be updated as I discover yet more mince pie varieties. I am even toying with the idea of finding a recipe and making some pies from scratch. There is something about Christmas food that really appeals to me. I love the strong flavours of mince pie, pudding and Christmas cake. Sadly, my enthusiasm is not echoed in many others – most of my friends were quick to express their disgust at the idea of a mince pie review! Well, I’m the real winner here.