Do you all have those days where you become absolutely ob-sess-ed with something. You see it everywhere you go, you think about it and then dream about it as well?
Well, last post, I told you I was reading Anna Karenina.
It’s a novel about a love story. Sounds pretty average right? NO! It is so much more than a love story…
Written by Leo Tolstoy, who is one of the most brilliant writers in history, it is the tragedy of one married woman who discovers the emptiness of her life after finding immediate lust and love. Leading to an adulterous affair, she continues to try and still be part of her autocratic and judgmental Russian society, while battling her internal demons, a poisonous mixture of jealousy and depression egged on by morphine.
Interweave this story with another tale of a philosophically minded man whose discovery of love leads to confusion and questioning, you get a novel which so intricately explores the human condition. Personally, I also found Tolstoy’s descriptions to be a criticism on society’s animalistic tendency for ‘acting as a pack’. Anna is condemned for her actions by all of her class, which truly speaks out about how narrow-minded and opinionated a group can be.
Truly the novel is inspiring and as you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed it, thought and continue to think about it. It made me smile (Stiva), contemplate (Levin), get frustrated (Vronsky), become unreasonably angry (Karenin) and experience feelings of overwhelming sadness and despair (Anna Karenina). You want to dive into this novel and change things, help people and just twist the story but you can’t.
You are a ghost, sitting at a bench at the train station in 19th century Russia, your voice and hands helpless to stop the story unfolding.
You are helpless in Anna Karenina while your emotions take you on a rollercoaster ride. You feel unstrapped, unsteady throughout the whole journey, blindfolded so you continually gasp with surprise at every twist, every dip. You do not see anything coming.
Have I convinced you yet to read it? I hope so!
To continue the mania I have developed for it, I watched the 1997 Anna Karenina film featuring Sophie Marceau and Sean Bean. As fantastic as Sophie Marceau was, the perfect mix of vulnerability, determination and resignation, this movie did not truly seem to capture the complexity that is Tolstoy’s novel. Rather, it felt like each scene from the book taken, shortened considerably and placed woodenly next to each other. There was a lack of flow and an obvious rush to fit the novel.
Which has made me more excited than ever to see that a new Anna Karenina has been released featuring Keira Knightley, the queen of the Victorian Era – It looks so grand, so beautiful and so… Russian that I can’t wait to see it! Check out the trailer
I haven’t met my Vronsky yet and haven’t started my own story (minus the tragedy bit!) so while I wait for him to come into my life, I made a very delicious and perfectly decadent slice to accompany my day dreams.
It is a sandwich of a sort involving copious amounts of sugar, cream cheese, chocolate chips and a healthy dose of butter.
Cookie. Cheesecake. Cookie.
Et voila, c’est un sandwich.
Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich
Adapted From: Pass The Sushi
- 1 cup butter (256g)
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tbs full cream milk
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups plain flour
- 2 ½ cup mixed chocolate chips
- 250g cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup + 2 tbs white sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- Caramel chips
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Grease and line a baking tray (13×9 inch) with baking paper
- Melt butter and stir in the sugar and essence (it will initially stay separated but keep mixing till you get a smooth chestnut brown and no traces of floating butter). Let cool to lukewarm
- Beat in egg and milk
- Stir through the flour, salt, baking soda until just combined
- Fold through the chocolate chips
- Get half the batter and dollop into the pan. Spread and press the dough into the prepared pan into an even layer (I used a slightly floured wooden spoon for this)
- Refrigerate this layer and remaining dough while you make your cheesecake portion
- Cheesecake: Beat the sugar and cream cheese until pale and fluffy. Then beat in the egg and essence until the mixture is smooth
- Pour the mixture over the top of the pressed cookie in the tin. Sprinkle with a generous amount of caramel chips
- Using your hands, make flat disks of the remaining cookie dough and gently press on top of the cheesecake batter (not all batter must be covered but try for as much as possible)
- Bake for 30-35 minutes (I did 27 minutes because the top was overbrowning and resulted in a slightly gooey cheesecake but just cover with a brown bag if that is the case) or until the edges start pulling away from the pan and it is golden brown
- Let cool completely to room temperature then refrigerate
- Cut into tiny squares as to not commit murder by sugar and then devour until you can take no more
Enjoy my dear friends with a good book – I promise it shall not disappoint