We had a fantastic concert last night with the Longwell Green Orchestra - we were playing as the opening event in a music festival organised by one of our members. The venue was a glorious church, which had the best accoustics of any place I've played in. We had quite a 'serious' classical first half, with pieces like Borodin's Polovtsian Dances (with a lovely oboe solo in the intro and first piece played by yours truely), Bizet's L'Arlesienne, the overture to Peter Schmoll... These pieces all had Grand Pauses (i.e. where the whole orchestra shuts up for a few beats), and the echoes of the notes we had been playing soared up to the rafters. I discovered that it is very difficult to play the oboe and grin at the same time! The second half of the concert was much lighter (including medleys from Duke Ellington and Leroy Anderson; the theme from Jurassic Park), and ended with the Can-Can - such a fun piece to play, particularly when you don't announce what it is (it was our encore piece, so we didn't have it in the programme), and you can hear the audience catching on during the introductory ten bars or so... All in all, a wonderful evening, and I really hope that we get to go back and play in that venue again.
My other success has been in making icecream - I always thought that an ice-cream maker was fairly mandatory, but a couple of recipes have convinced me otherwise. I played around with a very basic banana one from the BBC Good Food website, and came up with this:
For every banana used (I used 3)
100ml whipping cream
100ml double cream
30g dark chocolate, broken into chips
Splash of lemon juice (about 5ml but I didn't measure)
Splash of Irish cream / Baileys (optional!) (about 10ml but I didn't measure)
Mash up the bananas, add lemon juice.
Pour on the creams
Mix well (I used my blender)
Add the chocolate, sugar and Irish cream
Taste - add more lemon / Irish cream if needed.
Pour into a tub; 3 bananas three quarters filled a 2 litre icecream tub.
Put in freezer - every hour or so stir to break up the ice crystals.
It doesn't come out soft scoop (there was a lot of hacking!), but it is very nice :-) As the weather gets warmer, I suspect that I will be making more...