Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's My Blog and I'll Ramble If I Want To

My post today might not be overly coherent, and I apologise in advance, but it's only a fraction after 9am and I've been awake for... wow... nearly 9 hours already. With a bed-time of 10pm last night, you do the maths on sleep-hours!

Today marks 3 decades of this life for me. I was thinking, at about 4am, of the things I've learned in this time. Sadly, the meaning of life hasn't dawned upon me, nor even the meaning of MY life! There are a few things, though, that I realised I've learned along the way.

The first is that my family mean more than the earth to me. There is nothing that I wouldn't do for them. To me, close friends are also family, so this extends to them. This has meant a few kicks in the teeth in the trust-stakes many times through my life (99.9% of the time from "friends"), but I don't want to be any other way.

The second is that you should never assume anything about the effect you have on the lives of your family, friends, and even strangers. The most random and thoughtless act on your part can have a massive effect, positive or negative, on others. I try really hard to make sure I leave the former. The simplest things, like saying "please" and "thank you" to the check-out chick, or the person who serves you lunch, cost you nothing, but can make a lasting impression. It seems to me that manners and consideration of others are dying habits. Maybe it's because I was raised in the country, by people who taught me that manners were NOT optional, that I feel this way.

The third is that friends are fabulous, wonderful, people to have. But when a friendship becomes toxic, and can not be salvaged, you have to have the strength to walk away, and try to remember the good times. Being any other way is a miserable way to live.

The fourth is that you should always follow a recipe as closely as you can the first time you attempt it. Then get creative.

The fifth is that if you really want something nothing can or will get in your way.

There are possibly quite a few more, but those are the first that leap to my mind.

Now, I'm off to buy myself a red dress for dinner tonight :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


If ever there was a time when I wished I could blog smells, this would have to be one of them. There's something about the smell of ginger and treacle baking. You might remember my opinion of treacle and ginger from quite a while ago. This is another example of sheer mouthy-delight.

I got this recipe from "The Margaret Fulton Cookbook", and had to adapt it slightly to fit with what I had on hand. Instead of ground cloves and allspice, neither of which I had in my cupboard, I used 1/4 tsp of nutmeg. I also didn't have any buttermilk, so used normal milk and soured it slightly with a few dribbles of vinegar. Still, I think it's damned yummy. Also, I didn't bother with the lemon frosting (which was basically runny lemon icing) - instead I dished it up with a sprinkling of icing sugar. And then some more for dessert, heated up, with ice cream.


(Recipe copied straight from The Margaret Fulton Cookbook)

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbl ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
125g unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup treacle
2 x 60g eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and line with baking paper the base of a deep 23cm round cake tin. Sift flour, soda and spices into a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and beat in the brown sugar, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the treacle and then the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the vanilla essence. Lastly, stir in the sifted flour mixture thoroughly, and then the buttermilk.

Turn the mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing the top and making a slight indentation in the centre with a spatula. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let the gingerbread cool in the tin on a wire rack. Turn out onto a serving plate and serve plain or spread with lemon frosting.