This is the last blog post about my American travels, and for me it’s the most spectacular one. I had always wanted to use my copy of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon as an actual tourist guide. And while it was impossible to follow it step-by-step – I have no idea where the self-cleaning house is, am not particularly interested in strip clubs, and the Portland Memorial is closed to the public these days unless you have relatives interred there – I did get to see most of the landmarks and shops and curiosities. I had a Big Wave Hawaiian lager at the Tiki bar mentioned in the book, I found the tour through the Shanghai tunnels (including sinister stories of waking up in total darkness with a hangover and no shoes and the floor strewn with broken glass: they’ve got trunks of men’s boots down there) – and I even had a chance to go to Mount Angel Abbey and have a look at their museum of curiosities. There I found: taxidermied deformed animals (two versions of eight-legged calf!), giant pig bezoars, an “authentic” replica of the Crown of Thorns using thorns from a shrub researched by a quite enthusiastic Franciscan Brother, strange international versions of “imported” Virgin Marys, and the most well-preserved and well-made collection of taxidermied wildlife I’ve ever seen, all arranged in “life-like” poses of interaction and often in combat.
You can find my pictures here. (I’ve deliberately kept my attempted “ghost photography” from inside the Shanghai tunnels; skip the pictures if you get bored by them.)
Miniature planetscapes in tree trunks, and kodama always just outside the frame: Mount St Helens 2014.
All 65 pictures can be found here.
Sorry. Back in 2014, I never gave you the remaining American dérives. So… here you go.
Watch this space.
“Tyrolean (sweet) church fair pasty” is as close to a translation as I could get. This is also one of my favourite things from my home district. A fried pasty thing with a filling of poppyseed and pears (and rum). And yes, this is the right amount of poppyseed. ;)
|400g wheat flour
|50g butter, melted
|1 tablespoon rum
|300g dried pears
|1/8 l milk
|50g butter (or margarine)
|150g ground poppyseed
|grated lemon zest
|1 shot rum
For the filling, simmer the dried pears until soft, then mince. Boil the milk with added butter and sugar, add the poppyseed and let steep a little. Add spices and rum, mix to form a creamy paste.
Combine dough ingredients to form a soft dough. Knead well, until it is silky and smooth. Cover with a dish towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface. The dough should be quite thin (like for cut-out cookies). Cut out circles (e.g. with the help of a big mug or small cereal bowl), put a spoonful of filling in the centre of the circles, then fold into half-moons and pinch the edges shut.
Fry in hot oil until both sides are golden brown, then drain on tissue paper. Serve with a dusting of castor sugar.
DISCLAIMER FOR VEGAN READERS OF MY BLOG: I have yet to try replacing the eggs in this recipe. I might give commercial egg replacer a try. Please bear with me until I have tested this – and forgive the non-vegan post for a change. If you have suggestions that might work, feel free to comment. I’m always grateful for an exchange of ideas.
(Picture nicked from wipptalblog.tirol – where they use a recipe that also has Powidl, an Austrian jam made from prunes.)
My article on China Miéville’s 2012 film collaboration with Karen Mirza and Brad Butler has been published by Alluvium Journal. You can read it here. And here is a translated version of the Egyptian Activists’ Action Plan, or “How to Protest Intelligently” (featured in the film and mentioned in my article).
This time I got a unicorn book to review: In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle. Surprisingly (?) this lovely novella is not a secondary-world fantasy, which may imply that the unicorns in the plot are metaphors (or that you or I could come across one too, who knows). In any case it was the nicest read, and it was the first book in ages – and definitely the first book I read for a review – that actually managed to make me cry. You can read my review here.