Lemon Slice

Lemon Slice2

Lemon Slice is the latest offering from the Magnificently Simple Marvelous Slice Recipes cook book, and not surprisingly, this recipe is another winner.

My sister E, who was a picky eater growing up, liked this slice so in our family Lemon Slice was always known as E’s Slice.

1 packet crushed Marie biscuits (sweet plain biscuits)
1/2 tin sweetened condensed milk
Grated rind from 1 lemon
1 Cup coconut
125gm melted butter

Mix the biscuits, coconut and lemon rind together, add the melted butter and sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Press into a lined slice tray and chill.

Lemon Icing

One and a half Cups of icing sugar
Rind and juice of one lemon

Stir the lemon juice into the icing sugar a little at a time as you may not need it all. Ice and chill before cutting into squares.

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Who Is Your Favourite Jane Austen Hero?

Mr Collins

Okay, I’m going to cut straight to the chase here.

My favourite Jane Austen hero is… drum roll please….

Captain Frederick Wentworth.

Why?

In my opinion, Captain Wentworth is the ultimate hero. Millions of Mills and Boon heros have been modelled on this bloke. Captain Wentworth has the good sense and taste to fall in love with the deserving heroine of Persuasion (my favourite Jane Austen novel, in case you were wondering). He never, ever wavers in his affections, regardless of being dumped by his true love. Not only that, in the next eight years, Captain Wentworth goes off and makes something of himself. I might be judging Captain Wentworth and his fellow by the standards of today, but hey, I am a woman of my time, so I like a self made man. What a hero.

The other choices are as follows:

Mr Darcy (not Colin Firth as Mr Darcy who is of course my first choice from all television and movie adaptations of Jane Austen novels, I’m only human after all), but the character from Pride and Prejudice the book. Mr Darcy has inherited wealth (my point here is that he didn’t earn any of his dough himself) and bad manners. Would Lizzie fall in love with him if he wasn’t rich? I doubt it.

Mr Bingley from P & P, who is good tempered and easily led. In today’s world, Charlie B would probably get ripped off in some ridiculous internet scam. Still, he can probably afford it.

Mr Knightley from Emma, who is older and superior to his heroine. In real life, Mr Knightley would be the type of person who had already been there, done that and bought the t shirt. Poor Ems, I don’t think she will have much fun with Mr Knightley.

Edward Ferrars from Sense and Sensibility. Fast Eddie is a fool who allowed himself to become engaged to someone other than the heroine. Luckily he gets his act together in the end and wins the true heroine, but he owes that more to good luck than good management.

Colonel Brandon from S & S. Unfortunately, Colonel B is a sucker for a pretty face (like most men, it’s true). His beloved, Marianne, is much younger than him and not all that substantial in her character. Other than being led by his you know what, Colonel B seems like a good bloke, honourable and sensible.

Edmund Bertram from Mansfield Park. Another man who falls for someone other than the heroine. Say no more.

Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey. To be perfectly honest, Henry also seems like a good bloke, but he is going to get bored with his heroine, the young and silly Catherine Moreland at some point, and then what? How do you spell affair?

Mr Collins. Relax, I’m only joking, he isn’t actually on the list. His name only came up because he’s got shelves, and we all know how attractive that is, don’t we?

Butterscotch Pudding

Butterscotch Pudding

This is a really easy recipe for a cold winter’s night.

125gm butter
1/2 Cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 and 1/4 Cups self raising flour
3 tablespoons milk
3/4 Cup brown sugar
1 and 1/2 Cups boiling water

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat in the eggs. Fold in the flour alternately with the milk until the consistency is soft and smooth. Pour into a buttered casserole dish.

Butterscotch Pudding3

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of the batter then pour in the boiling water. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes. This recipe serves six. I like Butterscotch Pudding with cream.

Monopoly

Monopoly

I recently played Monopoly with my niece, S.

The game started badly. S laid the board out while I did some housework, then she chose the ship for herself.

The problem was (as Honey Bunny will attest), I’m ALWAYS the ship. Being a good aunt, after a LOT of complaining about not getting to be the ship, I chose the racing car. I just don’t see myself as the thimble or the horse. I don’t want to be the iron or the cannon either. And what does it say about people when they choose to be the little dog?

So, we started and I bought the Electric Company. S is learning her times tables, so every time she landed on the Electric Company, she had to pay me four times her dice roll. We practiced the four times table a lot during our game, and she didn’t even realise.

It was a game which was never going to end, as S and I had both ruthlessly bought one of every group of properties on the board. I know some people trade properties, or buy properties from each other, but I don’t. If the property I want from another player will win me the game then I don’t want to rip the other person off, but if the property the other player wants from me will win them the game, then obviously I’m not going to trade. I like to win.

So, due to my principles (or will to win) S and I were unable to put houses or hotels on our properties and wipe the other one out.

I texted Honey Bunny for advice. The favourite son in law answered. “Cheat.”

Honey Bunny advised, “Call it bedtime.”

Everything important in life can be learned playing Monopoly.

Chocolate Afghans

Afghans

Chocolate Afghans are a great biscuit to make when you only have staples in the pantry.

220gm butter
3/4 Cup sugar
One and a half cups of self raising flour
1 Tablespoon cocoa
Two and a half cups of crushed weet bix

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a metal spoon.

Ross teaspoons of mixture into balls and press down with a fork. Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 12 to 15 minutes.

Marian Keyes Saved by Cake

Saved

Saved by Cake by Marian Keyes is one of the prettiest cook books I have ever seen and it is definitely the funniest cook book I’ve read.

Saved by Cake, as the title suggests, is all about baking, so it is exactly my kind of book. I’ve made a couple of the recipes and can highly recommend Zeny’s Banoffee Cupcakes, which are banana cupcakes (or patty cakes, if you’re old school Australian) with caramel in the middle. Yum. The Ultimate Chocolate Brownies were really, really good too.

This is exactly the right kind of cook book to read in bed on a lazy afternoon when you have no intention of actually cooking anything. (The next best way to spend an afternoon when you’re not actually baking).

The book is called Saved by Cake because the author, Marian Keyes was having a nervous breakdown. She turned to baking as a way of passing time and to give her something to focus on.

I look forward to my baking sessions knowing that no matter how busy and complicated my working week has been, making biscuits or cake is going to relax me. There is the pleasure of thinking about what to make, laying all of the ingredients in a row on the kitchen bench in preparation, and the best bit – the enjoyment of mixing and rolling and flattening and stirring. There is also the joy of tasting what you have made and then the sense of achievement which comes from feeding others something delicious that I have made.

Saved by Cake is girly. The pages are light pink (the ultimate feel good, pretty colour) and the recipe titles are swirly. The photos are absolutely gorgeous, pretty floral tablecloths and lovely china, and as for the baked goods, OMG. Everything looks good, even the Beetroot Cake. There are quite a few recipes with ingredients or combinations which I would not have imagined, but there are also quite a few recipes that you wouldn’t have to make a special trip to the shops to buy exotic ingredients to make.

The best thing about the book though are the author’s introductions to each recipe. Marian Keyes is funny. My favourite laugh out loud bit in this book is in her introduction to Quick and Easy Chocolate Fudge Pudding, where Marian warns fellow cooks to use a deep casserole dish based on her own experiences of having used too small a dish. “Poor Himself had a terrible job cleaning up after it.” I don’t care if that story is true or not, but I love the idea of He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers (my version of Marian’s Himself) cleaning the oven after my cooking – priceless. Sadly in my household it would never happen, but the thought of a husband, anyone’s husband in fact, cleaning the oven makes me really happy.

I’ve got a list of recipes that I intend to make from Saved by Cake, happy days ahead.

Mandarin Delicious Pudding

Mandarin 2

This recipe is actually Mum’s Lemon Delicious Pudding, which was requested by one of Honey Bunny’s workmates. He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers doesn’t really go for lemon, so I substituted mandarins.

1 Cup self raising flour
1/2 Cup white sugar
1/2 Cup milk (add more as required, in Mum’s words, the batter needs to be ‘cake wetness’)
1 tablespoon cream

Mix the ingredients above and place in a casserole dish.

Mandarin

3/4 Cup white sugar
2 Mandarins – juice only (put in the microwave for 20 seconds before juicing) or for Lemon Delicious, use 2 lemons – juice only – don’t use that lemon stuff that comes out of a bottle, you need real lemons. Go for a walk around your neighbourhood and find someone with a lemon tree to make friends with.
1 and 1/2 Cups boiling water
Sprinkle the mandarin or lemon juice and sugar over the pudding batter and pour the boiling water over back of a spoon over the top.
Place the casserole dish into a tray half filled with water and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes.

My Favourite Recipe Book

Recipe book

My first recipe book was a big, A3 hard backed recipe book with sweet pictures of pony-tailed little girls wearing purple aprons and bell bottoms (don’t laugh, it was from the 1970’s) next to recipes that I never made. I don’t have this book any more, and I don’t remember what I did with it. Probably it went to my sister E, who is a real hoarder. Every once in a while when I’m visiting her, I’ll spot something she has saved from our childhood which brings back the most amazing memories.

My second was a fruit company promotion recipe book, and had recipes for sultana scones, sultana cakes, sultana slices etc. I don’t know what happened to this book either, but I think I got rid of it because I didn’t like the pictures, which were drawings in various shades of brown and orange (again, this book was from the 1970’s) nor did I especially like sultanas.

My third recipe book was a Western Star Butter promotion recipe book (photo below). The front cover was lost long ago.

Recipe book4

The Western Star recipe book was much more to my taste, and I made quite a few recipes from it as a child. Each recipe started with a cartoon and a little story about a character from children’s literature. My favourite was “Playin’ Hookey Cookies” which are peanut biscuits. The story for Playin Hookey Cookies has Tom Sawyer wagging school every time Aunt Polly baked them.

My favourite recipe book is the one below. Mum gave it to me when I left home, and it is the kind you write or paste your own recipes into. I started with a handful of recipes I cooked in class at school, a few family favourites from Mum and a handful of recipes which I thought would work for dinner parties (despite my good intentions, I’m in my mid forties now and have NEVER actually attended or hosted a dinner party. Nor have I ever cooked the recipe for Salmon and Tomato Bisque which I copied out on the first page in my best hand writing).

Recipe book2

Most of the recipes in this book I do cook regularly, and don’t need the recipe at all. A few pages have been splattered and spilled on (Mum’s Chocolate Pudding is hardly readable) and I’m out of pages in the Desserts, Cakes and Biscuits section.

Recipe book3

Not surprisingly, Honey-Bunny has already put dibs on this recipe book when I die…