Thursday 30 June 2011

Early Morning Gratitude...

borrowed from Anne Geddes
I am grateful for bright summer mornings when The Professor has to get up for another early morning flight... 
Getting up at 4 am is of course so much easier in the summer than in the winter.

Of course, I don't HAVE TO get up - he is perfectly capable of looking after himself 


but I worry about him 
not hearing the alarm clock, 
forgetting something (which is known to have happened before...), 
the taxi not coming on time, 
and so on.

Besides, that blissful feeling of going back to bed for a few more hours is rather special and precious...!
Just wish 7 am didn't come around so quickly!


Monday 27 June 2011


My sudden silence on the blog is due to my brave, beautiful, and beloved mother passed away a couple of weeks ago.

Usual activities have temporarily lost their importance 
and been pushed away.
Time stands still.

But I know I will be back, so bear with me...

Friday 10 June 2011

The Issue with Time and Clocks

In our house we have many clocks: 
There are two in the kitchen - one on the microwave oven and one on the stove.
In the living room there is only one on the aerial box under the television
In my bedroom I have a radio alarm clock 
I have a clock in the bathroom and 
another one in the shower room.

In addition to these, there is of course a clock on each of the computers and also on all our mobile phones.

Most of them are under 'my control' - meaning that I set them (except for the computers and the mobile phones). 

To my amusement and amazement I have discovered that I have adopted my mother's attitude to time and clocks: 
When I grew up there were a lot of clocks around the house. 
And just like my clocks now - not one of them showed the same time 
NOR the correct time!
On purpose!

This is making The Professor slightly frustrated... 
He doesn't understand that I KNOW how much each and every one of them is ahead of REAL time. 

My mother did the same. 
All the clocks in the house were set forward with varied minutes of inaccuracy. 
It used to drive me mad. 

Now I do the same. 

Figure that one out!

Thursday 9 June 2011

Tried and Tested: New York Blueberry Cheesecake

Here is the cheesecake recipe I used for Our Boy's birthday gathering last weekend. It turned out exactly as on the picture in the book!
The recipe comes from Leila Lindholm's book 'A Piece of Cake'. I followed the reciepe almost to the letter except that I halved the amount of cream cheese simply because I thought 600 gram was TOO much (and also I didn't have enough at home). I also used 'only' 100 g dark chocolate pieces (which I didn't melt) instead of 200g white chocolate. There has to be a limit...!
I like the fact that the cake cooks for about 30 mins at the end in the residual heat in the oven.
A little energy saving trick that works for this cake.

Here is the recipe as Leila gives it:

300 gram digestive bisquits
150 g butter (melted)

 Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.
Grind the bisquits in a blender and mix it with the melted butter
Press the mixture into the bottom of a nonstick 23 cm springform and bake for about 10 mins.
Leave to cool

600 g cream cheese
250 ml curd cheese (I used Quark)
90 g sugar
50 g cornflour
2 tsp vanilla sugar
3 eggs
100 ml whipping cream
200 gr white chocolate
75 g fresh or frozen blueberries

Beat the cream cheese and the curd cheese until creamy
Mix sugar, cornflour and vanilla sugar and add to the cheese mixture
Beat in the eggs, one at a time and
fold in the whipping creme
Break the chocolate in pieces and melt in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
Stir the melted chocolate into the cheesecake filling.
Pour the filling over the crust and sprinkle the blueberries on top.

Bake in the centre of the oven for about 40 mins.
Cover the cake to avoid browning with foil when it is golden brown.
Turn off the oven and leave the cake to continue cooking in the residual heat for 30 mins.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Recommended Viewing: X-Men First Class

Our Boy took his parents out last Saturday to see a film of his choice:
'X-Men First Class'

Apparently, this is the second film in the series - although it is the film before the first, if that makes sense... In other words, cronologically speaking - THIS film should have been the first film.. Why do film makers do this - make series in the wrong order???

Anyway, it didn't matter to me as this was the first time I had heard of this film...

Would I recommend it?
Well, let me put it this way - it wouldn't have been my choice of film if I had gone with a friend. But I didn't fall asleep (a good sign) and I was entertained at times and did laugh!
But I am convinced it helps if you have a 15 year old boy to accompany you...

The story is set in 1962 and I feel somewhat uncomfortable with real historical events (the Cuban missile crises and the events in the Bay of Pigs in this case) are used in a fantasy story about mutant humans with supernatural abilities. I just hope kids today learn about events how they really happened and don't take this 'version' of history as the truth...!

I do like James McAvoy who plays Professor Charles Xavier (who will forever be poor Mr Tumnus from Narnia for me). Granted that most of the story is complete fantasy, we still had a jolly good laugh when Charles completed his PhD from Oxford and immediately became a professor...

Oh, the simplifications of life that Hollywood imposes upon us...

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Tried and Tested: Hummingbird Bakery's Vanilla Cupcakes

Very conveniently The Professor bought me this book on Saturday ;-)
Here we go with the first recipe from the weekend's festivities which is also my contribution to this month's challenge from Sota Saker.
This month's challenge is to bake something under the heading "Foreign".
Ok, ok, perhaps cupcakes are not all that foreign, but the recipe I used is British/American!:

Anyway, these are absolutely the best cupcakes I have ever tried!

For 12 (small) cupcakes you need
(I actually recommend that your double the recipe):

120 g plain flour
140 g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40 gram unsalted butter (room temperature)
120 ml milk
1 egg
 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Vanilla frosting
(see below)
(hundreds & thousands or other edible sprinkles)

Sift the flour and mix with sugar/baking powder/ salt and butter till you have a sandy consistency.
I used a hand held mixer for ease.

Pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is incorporated
Whisk the egg with the rest of the milk and the vanilla extract in a separate bowl. Pour this into the flour mixture and continue beating till it is incorporated.

A handy tip is to put the papercases in a cupcake tray so they keep their form
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases (2/3 full) and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins.
Oven temperature 170 degrees.

Vanilla Frosting
I am not mad keen on frosting.
I think they are often too sweet so I am still on the lookout for something different.
But this is a rather traditional recipe and which I sometimes use on carrot cakes.
However, we often don't bother with any frosting as the cupcakes are so delicious in themselves,
but the downside is that they don't look so 'festive'
300g icing sugar
50 g unsalted butter (room temperature)
125 g cream cheese
I added a small spoon of  raspberry jam to give it some color

combine the icing sugar and butter first and then beat in the cream cheese till fluffy.
Word of warning - if you overbeat it can quickly become runny.
When the cupcakes are cold spoon the frosting on top and decorate as you like!

Monday 6 June 2011

Turning 15!

We have been celebrating Our Boy's 15th birthday this weekend.

Initially, he felt he didn't have 'time' for a birthday party as he was busy revising for the exams... 
but he was still pleased when some of his friends and neighbours joined us for tea & cake plus a bottle of 'bubbly' on Sunday afternoon.


The Professor took him out for a couple of hours in the middle of the day and I wizzed round and decorated the garden and moved the dining table into the garden.
Superstrong mum!
They were both very surprised when they returned...!


 However, 2 minutes before the guests arrived the rain started...
We  had to grab it all and run in to set up the table inside!

Our Boy gets to choose his own cake(s) every birthday
and this time he has requested the following

Earl Grey Tea
New York Blueberry Cheesecake
(recipe from Leila Lindholm's book:'A Piece of Cake')
The Hummingbird Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes
(recipe from my newest cook book:The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook . These are the best cupcakes ever!)
Home made Ice Cream with Daijm Chocolate
(from Ben & Jerry's book:'Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book)

I will post all recipes later in the week.

And next weekend he is having some friends over for a sleepover as exams are then officially over!
There will probably be more baking on the cards for me, I think.
It is not bad being15...


I was thinking we are coming to an end of the cake eating season...

Actually, no there are more celebrations to come later in the month!

High time to put some extra sessions in at the gym, I think!

Friday 3 June 2011

Come and Meet Ms Leila Lavender and Friends

The blog Moseplassen is running a competition on 'Ms Purple 2011'.

I didn't think I had that many purple flowers in the garden, but when I started looking - yes! there are a few...
I particularly love Ms Leilla Lavender for her simple beauty and lovely fragrant smell as you pass her by


But she has other purple friends in the garden:

Some receive a busy buzzing visitor:

and some just enjoy the morning sunshine:

Thursday 2 June 2011


image borrowed from

We are enjoying some extra sunny days
with family visiting
from Sweden.

Some times the distance seems incredibly far,
but it is lovely to see how the bond is there
no matter how long it is since
we last met.

And  to top it all,
this weekend Our Boy is 15 ,
The Professor is home for a week,
and I have tomorrow off work!


Wednesday 1 June 2011

Music: Hugh Laurie - Let Them Talk

I am a big fan of Hugh Laurie. 

I first became aware of him when he played the eccentric and dipsy Bertie Wooster along with Stephen Fry in Jeeves and Wooster

He showed even then that he had a good voice and could 'tinkle the ivory' rather well. 
He has since gone on to being a big TV star in the USA ('House' - a series I have not seen). 

I am very pleased that he has come out with an album called 'Let Them Talk'. 
The songs are a glorious celebration of New Orleans blues and he is collaborating with some big blues names.