Sunday, October 25, 2015

Magazine of the Moment: The Canary Press

"Australia's greatest (and possibly only) short story magazine, featuring writers from Australia and overseas. Illustrated by champions. Made in Melbourne, with love" --The Canary Press

Things had been a little quiet on the magazine front for a while, but thankfully, this was remedied when I picked up a copy of The Canary Press during a recent trip to my University Co-op. The quirky magazine was founded in 2013 by Robert Skinner and Andy Josselyn.With the help of a small team situated in Melbourne, the magazine is released quarterly and distributed nationally in Australia. I'm all for supporting independent publishers, and after reading The Canary Press, I feel that I will continue to support them in the future. 

Simply put, this magazine is delightful because it's all about featuring the works of well-known alongside up and coming writers from Australia and abroad. You never know what you will read come the next issue, as the stories are a real mixed bag of genres and styles. One of my favourite stories in the copy I picked up is Van Gogh's Ear by Moacyr Scliar, which is about an owner of a small grocery store who attempts to avoid paying off a creditor, a Van Gogh enthusiast, by offering to gift him the artist's (obviously fake) ear. Then there is The Apocalypse Bear: Part 1 by award winning dramatist Lally Katz, which both disturbed and enthralled me due to its highly unique and unhinged surrealist nature. It reminded me of the Brother's Grimm Fairytales, but on crack (I didn't think it could get any darker than the classics). One thing's for sure, nothing is ordinary in The Canary Press.

The Canary Press is the perfect magazine to read in between life's hectic moments. As I'm nearing the end of my semester, I've found it so hard to dedicate time to reading books aside from my unit texts, but the short stories in this magazine are the perfect length for bus rides, class breaks and that half an hour just before going to bed at night. 

Overall, The Canary Press is an ace magazine because it is passionate about short stories and the outstanding authors who write them. With an incredible team of graphic artists working on the magazine, it's wonderful to discover how much talent there is out there, and I'll be sure to lap it all up each issue.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Seasonal Baking: Mulberry Frangipane Tarts

Ever since I was little, the idea of picking my own fruit has appealed to me. It seems like a quintessential Spring/Summer activity. I can't think of a better way to celebrate the season than to soak up the sun, get in tune with nature and carry home a basket full of beautiful sweet and ripe fruit at the end of the day!

However, where I live, there are very few PYO farms. While I know of one strawberry farm that offers the service, I'm not aware of any other farms on the outskirts of the city and even way down the South of Western Australia. Thankfully, mulberry trees, especially in West Perth, are abundant and there is even one on my university campus. I decided to take advantage of the situation and harvest some mulberries during one of my class breaks. While the tree had been thoroughly picked over, I was still able to collect a good amount of ripe berries; enough to make a batch of frangipane tarts specifically!

With so little ingredients and not a lot of hard work involved, these tarts are a delight to make and eat. They aren't too sweet, with the mulberries cutting through the butter and sugar. They are simple yet indulgent and serve as the perfect afternoon treat. Seasonal baking couldn't get any better than this.

Makes 6-8 tarts

110g butter
100g castor sugar
1 egg
250g cake flour

Frangipane filling
60g butter, diced
60g castor sugar
1 egg
50g ground almonds
As many mulberries as you wish (I used 5 in each tart)
Flaked almonds


Combine the butter and sugar in a food processor an, while it is still running, add the egg. Add the flour and blend into a dough. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using. Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Press the pastry into 6-8 loose-bottomed tart tins measuring 10 cm in diameter, and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Bake the tart shells for 10 minutes.

Mix the butter and castor sugar together in a food processor. Add the egg while the motor is still running and then add the ground almonds and blend well. Spoon a dollop (teaspoon) of frangipane into each tart shell and gently place 5 mulberries into each shell. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 25-30 minutes at 180 °C, turning the tarts around halfway through the baking time. You want the edges of the pastry and the frangipane to turn a little brown. Allow to cool and serve as is or with cream.
*Recipe adapted from Crush Magazing here

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