This is my long delayed fifth contribution to Food For Thought, the brain child of the lovely and brilliant Jain of Once in a Blue Moon. All I can say Is I've been meaning to. This is a fortnightly meme of food and books. The perfect combination. Thank you Jain for hosting this meme. It's a brilliant idea and one of the most exciting I've come across.
THE FAIRY FOLK AND SHE by Mary-Anne Grosse Ivie.
WARNING ~ FAIRY OVERLOAD
I have to tell you that when this book arrived in the mail I said to myself that it had better be good because I had no wish to write a bad review or to feel obliged into writing a good one in spite of. I needn't have feared.
It was an enchanting fairy tale ~ with a twist. In the World Within a World of fairies, gnomes, elves, brownies, warlocks, witches, sorcerers and sorceresses lay the enthralling towns of Tranquility, Serendipity and Ever After and a little further away, Darkland, a place where evil triumphs.
Lisa, the daughter of the Old woman in a Shoe sacrifices a good part of her life to Razzlewitch who, in return, saves her family from poverty and hunger. While there Lisa discovers that she has powers she never knew she had. It is a story where love, trust and kindness conquers all A tale told by Mary-Anne, I believe, from her heart.
Like all fairy tales the line between good and evil was distinct. Their names say it all ~ Verity, Melody, Kindred, Willoway and Zyneth the evil one.
Although it was an intriguing fairy tale of good fighting off evil in which the child in me could sit back and enjoy I couldn't help but notice through my adult eyes, how, as the story went along, its characters raised, in their quest, the deeper and more soul searching questions of free will versus destiny, of the need to believe in the power of love and trust, and at one point, there even rose the question of the existence versus the non-existence of a supreme being. I found that as refreshing as the characters are innocently charming.
I was especially surprised too at the way the story came to a close. I had expected the story to end with a scene in Tranquility. It didn't. Secretly, I wished it did. It would have been the most bewitching place to bring the gentle end of the story to. But then again it made complete sense that it didn't because Lisa was after all a human living a real existence in a real world. Life, as we know it, is not a fairy tale.
I give this book 5 stars. If I hadn't had errands to run because I was an adult I would have sunk myself into an overstuffed pillow, sucked on some lollipops and stayed there until I was being called for dinner as opposed to cooking it. This is a book for both children and adults because it made me wish that I lived in Tranquility amoung fairies, elves, goblins, warlocks and brownies....minus Zyneth of course.
Although there were ample mentions of food in the book especially the mention of pink fairy cakes first introduced when Seraphina the sweet fairy brought some to Lisa for tea I just couldn't bring myself to make them for this review. I should have because it became Lisa's favourite cake in the story.
But I didn't. Fairies do something to me. They make me silly happy. I had such a blast making sugar paste fairies and I knew instinctively that she had to be sitting on a dreamy white cake (inside and out) deep in the woods, surrounded by shrubs, flowers and birds with lots of shade and bands of streaming sunlight. There! I said it.
Please don't mind her eyes. She looks a little squint but I dared not rectify it further for fear of making her look even more startled. H says she looks like the blue female in Avatar. No dear..this is Seraphina..let me spell it out to you.... S-E-R-A-P-H-I-N-A ......The Fairy.
I had searched the interenet on some instructions on how to make the fairy and this is the best video that I came up with. It was very helpful but unfortunately it stopped short of showing how to form the body and her dress. So the rest they say is trial and error....and lots of patience. But most of all have fun!
Since I do not own a mould for a fairy face I had to be happy just rolling out a ball of sugar paste, moulding out the socket for the eyes with the end of a rounded stick and the rest they say is shaky hands and squint eyes. The video advised that the eyes be painted to look sideways rather than straight at you otherwise it would make her look very startled
I had also made the limbs by eyeballing the amount of sugar paste since I did not have those fancy thingys. Then I had a problem making the blouse and skirt. It made me almost cry (in fun) (I think) but finally I did it. The most enjoyable part was deciding the colour of her clothes. So fun fun fun. I was silly happy. The flower 'hat' was another thing that made me silly happy making and putting it on her little head. And of course the hair made me feel like a fairy hair stylist. Now that I've bared my soul please don't judge me.
Ah...And the WINGS! Oh that was so fun too. However they are only partly edible because I had used a gauzy paper print to stick onto the sugar paste wings for a more colourful and sweetly pretty pair of fairy wings. They were perfectly pretty. The rest they say is edible. Except for a toothpick in her little head and body.
Finally I glued all the parts together with royal icing and how I love her long and slender limbs and little Cinderella feet.
And the cake was a white cake from Collette Peter's, my favourite cake decorating book. It was soft, white and delicious.
I had taken the idea for its decoration from her lovely lovely book too. All was of white cut out vine leaves, rose leaves and some flowers carefully arranged and glued on with egg white onto a domed shaped fondant covered cake while Seraphina the fairy watched me, quiet and still. And sweet ~
Here's the recipe for the Snow White Cake ~ by Colette Peters
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk, room temperature
4 egg whites, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease and flour 2 9 inch baking tins. In a large bowl of an electris mixer, cream shortening until light and fluffy.Slowly add 1 cup of the sugar, continuously beating until fluffy. Add vanilla.
In a small bowl, sift dry ingredients together. Ad 1 T of the dry ingredients to the shortening mixture and mix well. Then add 1 tablespoon of the milk. Alternate in this manner until the flour and milk is finished blending well after each addition. Do not overmix.
In another bowl beat agg white until fluffy and then add the 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until stiff and shiny. Gently fold in teh egg whites into the flour mixture until blended.
Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Decorate with fondant and sugar paste decorations.
The recipe for the fondant and the sugar paste are here and here.