Posts Tagged ‘Olivia’


While the eldest children are making pumpkin pie in the kitchen…

Devon (14)- “WHAT! WHY are you biting my sleeve?”

Olivia (11)- *laughs hysterically* “I don’t know!”

Devon- “You can’t just go around biting other peoples sleeves!”

Olivia- “Well, you can’t just go around biting other peoples wrists!”

Devon- “I don’t.”

Slightly maniacal laughter from both follows

Mom- (from the other room) “Have you two been drinking?”


Black Forest Cupcakes

I love most things cherry, and though I’m not great on chocolate by itself, when you combine it with cherry, it becomes one of my very favorite things. So, when I saw the recipe for black forest cupcakes in Eat Me, I just had to try it.

Though the illustration of the cupcakes looked divine, I was concerned when I read the recipe. It uses cocoa powder, of which I am not a big fan in baking. But, although I usually know I will not be happy with the results, I try to at least give these recipes a fair shake if I think they may be worth it. This one used golden syrup in addition to golden sugar, which I knew would make it sweeter and perhaps do a better job of countering the cocoas acidity.

These cupcakes were my birthday treat and the baby and I enjoyed making them. Toward the end of their baking time I needed to dash off to Olivia’s cross country championship and they werent quite done so instructed the husband to turn the oven off and let them sit while I was gone. This usually works well, but I was gone a fair while and by the time I had returned, they were pretty overcooked and had gone hard. Nevertheless, I finished them off with the cherry filling and whipped cream.

I have to say at this point that I don’t blame the recipe for how they turned out, I overcooked them and as a rule I don’t like cocoa flavoured baked goods anyway. So, when I say they tasted awful, I do so with the knowledge that I am entirely to blame. I ate one, my kids ate all the rest. I was dissapointed but because I love anything black forest I was determined to try again. The second time around I used a completely different recipe for the cupcakes, a trusty stand by that I’ve adapted to suit my tastes. This recipe uses melted dark(plain) chocolate in place of cocoa powder. The cupcakes turned out perfect, moist in the middle, but nice and cakelike on the outsides. I also adapted the Eat Me cherry filling to my own taste, and it soaked in lusciously with the moist cupcake centres. Instead of faffing around piping the whipped cream on top, I just spooned it on and they looked like wonderful domes, with sprinkled chocolate crunch pieces on top.

These were perfect, like manna from heaven. Sheer deliciousness and I had to restrain myself from eating more than one at a sitting. Twelve cupcakes between 5 people can only last so long though, they were gone by breakfast the next morning.

Oh, sweet sweet schwarzwälder kirschtorte. How I love thee.

So, I credit the Eat Me recipe with the inspiration, and I can’t wait to try all the other fantastic looking recipes in the book. In particular, I’m eyeing the pastel macaroons for a Sunday High Tea I’m planning for my daughter and her closest friends.



I first profiled my daughter in this way back in 2008. I offer the 2nd in the series here. She is 10 1/2 now, and I was pleasantly surprised at how similar some of her answers were to the ones she gave three years ago. She had no prompting for the new version, I called her upstairs, asked her the questions and then sent her away.

She is 1/3 of the amazing bright star that is the sun in my life.


Color> ” Red “

Food> “Pancakes”


Place> “Home”

Book> “Born to Run” Michael Morpurgo

Movie> “Twilight

Joke> Knock Knock Jokes

Word> “Fragilistic” and “Olivia”

Activity> “running”

Smell> “perfume”

Game> “monopoly”

Thing to wear> “lovely dresses with bows on them

Place to go> “Cornwall”

Loves> “my family and myself

Would like to be a: doctor

She found out today that despite doing well on her entrance exam, she would not be offered a bursary to help toward the cost of sending her to private school. The senior/high schools in our area are not great, and she fell in love with the private school. I knew a full bursary would be a long shot, but for her to be offered a place at the school, and then offered nothing to help pay for it, despite the schools ethos of ensuring all capable girls had access, was a very bitter pill to swallow, for both of us.

I won’t give up just yet, but it looks like only a miracle will keep the dream alive at this point. The thought of sending her to one of the local schools makes me cringe, I’ve already had to stomach sending my oldest to one for the last 3 years. I really wanted more for her, she is capable and deserving of so much more.

Cross Country- Her school is 2nd in the league, she is best in the school.

Halloween 2010

Halloween in Britain seems to be enjoying an upswing in popularity. Shops are realising its potential as a cash cow and the costumes, decorations and candy are in full supply. In fact our local supermarket went all out with the halloween aisle and dear Rafe just had to spend a few minutes in it every time we went there.  The little ones enjoyed a windfall of candy, about double what they received last year, covering more or less the same amount of ground. Having said that, it is still very different here. Trick or treating is a quiet affair, bar the occasional bang of fireworks in the distance. You may perhaps pass one or two fellow trick or treaters on your travels, then the street is quite once again. Most houses are dark and on a street of about 30 houses,  perhaps 5 would be handing out candy.

The greatest joy I get from halloween in Britain is when my costumed kids knock on a door of a house who has not thought to buy candy for trick or treaters, usually older people. Frequently, these lovely people invite the kids in to show off their costumes, coo admiringly and drop some silver coins into their buckets, or whatever treats they can rustle up.

It is not the unexpected treat of money which makes these stops the highlight for me, it is the way in which the children are welcomed into the lives of these people for a brief moment, like a warm light is shone down onto them. They leave these houses with an extra bounce in their step, eager to say something about the occupants, and a little bit of that light stays with them as they make their way down the road.   The best of these stops last night resulted in a lovely couple scouring for a treat (they always hush me when I say it is not necessary) and coming up with a pile of soccer (football) trading cards for little Rafe. The man put the pile into Rafes bucket and Rafe said “Thankyouhappyhawoween!” before running back to me. Off we went. A few moments later the same man came chasing after us, explaining he’d dropped their bus pass into Rafes buckets with the trading cards, by mistake. And there it was, under the thick pile of trading cards mixed with candy.   I think this shows how people are so willing to go above and beyond just reaching into a bowl of candy next to the door, and turning out the light when it’s gone- to actually giving a part of their life, just for the sake of the look of joy on a 4 year olds face.  I definitely won’t forget that.

Unfortunately we also experienced the other side of British Halloween this year, involving stolen pumpkins and a brick through the window. Very unsettling, to say the least.

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