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July 2016
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September 2016

Chandler Bing: No, Beth doesn't die. She doesn't die, does she, Rachel?

Spoiler: if you have never read Little Women, there is a spoiler below. So, why not just enjoy this short video of an echidna outside the back gate at our house yesterday. In suburbia. Waddling along to next door's garden and a safe hiding place.

 

 

In the episode of FRIENDS, The One Where Monica And Richard Are Just Friends, Rachel lets slip that in Little Women, Beth dies. In order to ameliorate the pain, Joey and Rachel put the book in the freezer, and then, nothing bad can happen to Beth.

I would like to have put the last two weeks in the freezer. No-one has died, but it has not been a very happy time at our house. Lorelai Gilmore went for her Dental Check with Hedy Lamarr and the vet found one of Gilly's big back teeth was fractured, it needed to be extracted ASAP.

Hedy sits to attention in all the photos at the vet. She is on her best behaviour, when she isn't barking with excitement. We are working on that. Gilly's tooth came out and though her face was a little swollen, she seemed happy.

Gilly, before and after the dentist

It all seemed to go well at her post extraction check-up, but then last Friday on our walk her mouth was filled with blood.

Gilly and Hedy in the mud

We went immediately from the dam to the vet, and after a day of tests and poking and prodding, we found out that she had an auto-immune reaction to something, and had no platelets, so her blood wasn't clotting. Maybe it was the anaesthetic, or the long operation, or just the shock of the tooth coming out, as it took almost an hour to remove it. Dr David was also worried about a tumour being the cause. Poor Lorelai had to start taking steroids and more tablets to stop her feeling poorly after she had eaten. She had another blood test on Sunday. We had to go for a walk while we waited and we met Auntie Dutch, so it was immensely exciting!!!

Walking and waiting

Today she went back again to have x-rays and scans. When I went in to see Dr David I thought, at first, he said it was bad news and I wondered why he was smiling and looking relaxed. As he spoke, I realised there was some good news. Lorelai Gilmore doesn't have any cancer or tumours, and so all we have to deal with is the auto-immune reaction. Dr David seems pleased that her platelet levels have risen and we go back again next week for more blood tests. He hopes that over time the dose of steroids can be reduced to nothing, and she will be as well as can possibly be expected.

In the middle of all this I had the most horrid sinus infection that the first batch of ordinary antibiotics couldn't fix. My next-door neighbour had to drive me to the doctor again a few days later as all my teeth were aching, my face was throbbing, the glands in my neck were swollen and I was a pitiful mess really. It was a relief when the doctor said that I was actually very unwell and gave me the giant horse sized antibiotics. It has taken five days, but I am beginning to feel like myself again.

Poor Hedy Lamarr has been left to her own devices. Luckily she has been busy with a new toy, a present from her Auntie BionicKnitaWoman:

Hedy's new stick toy

She is happy to go into her little box (crate) and sleep while everyone else is at the doctor or the vet. Or lie outside in the sun.

Hedy sunny

Poor Lorelai Gilmore has been struck down with something akin to my weird and not-wonderful illness, but at least hers may be easier to treat. We aim to be positive, since I have managed to live for fifteen years when the doctors held out little hope. The vets seem to hold out quite a lot of hope for Gilly, and we are happy to grasp any straw right now.

Well, that escalated quickly. Life is going along smoothly and then it all goes to hell in a handbasket. There has been no new knitting: The Betty Spencer Hat was finished before the hell in a handbasket started, and WeeJock&Bessie's Mum likes it very much.

The betty spencer hat 2016

So on we go. And after all, tomorrow is another day and we are being grateful that there is another day to be going on with.

Let there be much more cheery news to come and maybe even some sweet Friday Food this week.


Friday Food: Cherry Ripe Cupcakes

A ganache cherry ripe cupcakeAs I mentioned over a week ago, I was intending to bake the Cherry Ripe Cupcakes, from the August Taste magazine, for Sewing supper. I was struck down by a bug and so we all went to bed for three days and I ended up baking on Sunday. Although you can tizzy these up to the nth degree, the basic recipe is quick and easy, and they look nice with some, a bit, or all the extra embellishments. I found some fresh cherries at the supermarket, so I added those to lighten the richness. If you can find the Mini Oreos and freeze dried strawberries, that's great. I managed the Mini Oreos, but popped a fresh cherry on top as a replacement for the strawberries.

MrsDrWho, a seasoned cake aficionado, says that these are Very Rich and you may only be able to eat one fully embellished cake!!

I didn't take pictures of making the buttercream, I slightly lost the will to keep standing up, but there are lots of buttercream tutorials on The Internet. My ganache for drizzling was a tad too thick, but I just went ahead and drizzled thickly. I made half the recipe and, using my ice-cream scoop to fill the cupcake papers, it yielded 8 cakes.

I shall make these again, and decorate them simply, because they were so easy to make: melt and mix, and even just with a little ganache and a Cherry Ripe wedge, they look rather special.

Plainer cherry ripe cupcake

NB Sensibly, an Australian tablespoon is 20ml, or 4 x 5ml teaspoons.

 

 

 

 

Cherry Ripe Cupcakes      makes 12-16

  • 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
  • 110g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 45g (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut
  • 30g (1/4 cup) cocoa, I used Dutch processed
  • 150g (about 2/3 cup) butter, melted
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) coconut cream/milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 x 52g bars of Cherry Ripe, cut into 1cm pieces
  • optional, some fresh cherries, chopped

For the ganache:

  • 300g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) thickened cream
  • 2 tbspn thickened cream extra

For the buttercream:

  • 375g butter, softened
  • 450g (3 cups) icing sugar mixture
  • 1 tbspn milk
  • 100g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • red food colouring

And extra decorations:

  • 1 packet of Mini Oreos
  • 3 x 52g Cherry Ripe bars cut into long triangular shapes
  • fresh cherries to pop on top

 

 

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/160*C fan-forced and line a muffin tin with paper cases.

Dry ingredients

Place the flour, coconut, sugar and cocoa in a large bowl and whisk together.

Combine wet and dry

Combine the melted butter, eggs and coconut cream. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in.

Mix, add extra yummy things

Add the Cherry Ripe pieces and fresh cherries, if you are using them, and then gently mix together until everything is well combined.

Bake

Scoop into the cupcake papers, I used an ice-cream scoop, and then bake for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then move to a rack to cool completely.

I usually make my buttercream while the cakes are baking. Please use the clicky links at the top of the post for the method. I made the batch of buttercream and divided it in two, and then added melted chocolate to one half and red food colouring to the other. I then whisked each furiously to combine. Fill some piping bags with tips, or not, and set aside.

Ganache the top

Meanwhile make the chocolate ganache. Melt the chocolate and cream in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring well, until the chocolate is almost melted. Then stir till smooth. Allow to cool for 20 minutes until it thickens a little. Reserve 1/2 a cup and add to it the extra thickened cream. This will be for drizzling.

Spread the remaining ganache over the top of the cooled cupcakes.

Add buttercream

Pipe the chocolate buttercream onto each cupcake and then top with a pink buttercream swirl. Cut each Cherry Ripe bar into 4 wedges, 12 in all but be more judicious if you have 16 cupcakes, and poke one piece into each cake, artistically. Add a Mini Oreo on the other side to balance and then pop a cherry, or whatever you choose, on top. Finally, warm the remaining thinned ganache and drizzle over the cupcake.

Cherry ripe cupcakes

Un-iced/decorated these cupcakes can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days or in the freezer in an airtight container. Once they are fully decorated they really should be eaten sooner, rather than later.

Ganache cherry ripe cupcakes