Brandied Fruit Slice and ‘How old do I look?’

I have a sister who’s a very successful lawyer and and she’s very attractive and brilliantly witty and extremely smart.  Can you tell she also reads my blog?  Yes, we’re getting together for lunch very soon so I’m making all the right noises.  Oh, you might remember her as being the one who laid a trap for the bicycle thief.

Brandied Fruit Slice

She has three primary school children and works long hours and on the weekends is super-mum where she not only runs her children to all their activities (and the list of their weekend bookings is lengthy so I’ll skip the details), but she also gets involved.  She’s the Age-Manager at Nippers so is out on those boards and running up and down the beach and rescuing children drifting off to New Zealand etc.  She also likes to volunteer at the school so sometimes assists with reading groups, attends excursions and helps on the canteen.  In her ‘spare’ time she involves herself in community events like running in the City to Surf.

And so she’s busy.

And so she gets a bit tired.

And so I’ve just had a distress call…

From the successful lawyer who is four years my junior.  Last night she was coming home from work in a taxi and as soon as she sat down in the cab she knew she’d struck a ‘have-a-chat’ driver.  She had barely exchanged two sentences with him when he asked, ‘So what do you do, law or something?’

And she was super-impressed at how astute he was.

But then he said, ‘So do you find the young ones snapping at your heels?’

And it hadn’t occurred to her until that point that she was old and washed-up.

I tried to make her feel better and said, ‘Don’t worry, only someone insensitive would be so insulting.’

And she said, ‘No, it’s obvious.  I need a facelift.  I thought I was fighting the aging battle but clearly the battle’s been won and I’m the loser.  How old do I look?’

‘You look really young.  I’m sure it was the taxi.  There’s always harsh lighting inside a taxi’.

‘How much are facelifts?’  And I wanted to say, ‘If I come with you perhaps we could get a two-for-one discount’, but instead I felt it necessary to be encouraging and so I lied and said, ‘It’s so much better to age gracefully.  In your profession you’ll look so much more genuine’.

Speaking of old, I remembered I had some aging dried fruits in the fridge leftover from my Christmas baking that really needed using.  I found this recipe next to the Choc-Walnut Slice recipe I posted yesterday:

Brandied Fruit Slice

Brandied Fruit Slice:

Makes:  16

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  Hardly anything – this is a recipe to use when you need to use-up your leftovers.

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 125g butter


  • 30g butter
  • 2 tbspns brown sugar
  • 1 tbspns golden syrup
  • 1/4 cup SR flour
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 90g glace cherries, halved
  • 90g dried apricots, diced
  • 90g sultanas
  • 90g slivered almonds

A great way to use up leftover dried fruits and nuts

Pre-heat oven to 180C (375F).

Grease a lamington tin – 16cm x 26cm.

Combine sifted flour and brown sugar in bowl, rub in butter.  Press firmly into lamington tin.  Spoon topping over base, bake for 30 minutes.  Cool in tin, cut when cold.

Topping:  Beat together butter, brown sugar, golden syrup, sifted flour and brandy.  Add dried fruits and nuts.

This recipe has been adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly Best Recipes from the Weekly Cookbook.

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  1. Hehehe. Love the segue! 😉

  2. No one has confidence in a lawyer who looks wet behind the ears. That’s why they ‘nip’: they’re trying to catch up. I am sure that your sister is beautiful. Hope that you enjoy your lunch together!

  3. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    I remember when my baby brother, the lawyer, wished for gray hair so he would be taken more seriously in court. Now he has enough gray to appear quite distinguished and seasoned in practicing law.

  4. I’m sure you both look like spring chickens (i hope that expression is also used in australia or it might seem like i’m insulting you)! Also, I read your other story about your sister and it was hysterical…good for her! haha.

  5. Loved how you segued from aging sister to aging fruits. 🙂 A weekend off, a bit of rest and I’m sure your sister will feel more like youthful self. The fruit bars sound ‘healthy’.

  6. Aren’t you the nicest sister 🙂 But like A_Boleyn, I had to giggle at how you tied her in to your dried fruit…haha. Looks like a mavelous, grown up treat~

  7. I used to make something similar called chipits cherry jewel bars (about 30 years ago), i loved them because they were salty and sweet. Thanks for reminding me of them, I used to make them for Christmas because they looked like jewels!
    I had a really nice experience on the weekend when I was at my friend’s home on the lake, I was talking to a woman who asked me how old I was. I’m usually not paranoid about people finding out how old I am, but I have to admit as I approach his hideous benchmark birthday, I am reluctant to divulge my age. But I had had a couple of glasses of wine so my brain wasn’t working…so I told her. Her reaction was so lovely, her mouth dropped open in disbelief and she was totally surprised that I was three years older than she was! That made me feel very good.
    Sorry about your sisters experience in the cab. Sometimes it’s how we hold ourselves and what we are wearing that defines how old people see us.

  8. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    It’s so easy to keep deluding ourselves that we look young, and then something like that happens. For me, it was the day a shop worker asked me how old I was since there was a senior discount that day. Sigh. She tried to be apologetic when she explained that the discount started at age 50. I took the discount; I have no pride.

  9. It is hard to not recognize age…as I look at my childhood friends’ pictures and think “wow, he/she looks so old!”, then I realize that they are saying the same thing about me… lol.
    This fruit with brandy sure looks good…maybe by adding more brandy will make all look young again 🙂
    Hope you are having a fantastic week Charlie 🙂

  10. What a great story! I am not big into the idea of cosmetic surgery, despite my dermatologist zealously shilling for me to get Botox. Good for you for reassuring your sister. And I agree with the commenters who noted the tie-in with the dried fruit…tee hee.

  11. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    Great story. Ah…the age issue…never fun.

    Another great slice! Thanks!

  12. justonecookbook says:

    Hope your sister is feeling better – you two are such a supermom who shouldn’t worry about looking young or not, and I’m hoping that I’ll age gracefully like you said. That’s a great advice! Nice to connect aging sister with aging dried fruits at the end! You are such a great writer… 🙂 Hope you have a nice get together with your sister and this delicious slice might cheer her up – if she won’t be reminded with aging fruits and aging. Heehee.

  13. saffronandhoney says:

    I love the transition between the two stories or rather, the story and the recipe, I guess. Deliciosu! And I think that cabbie needs to remember the old rule of ‘if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all!’

  14. You did really well, Charlie. Being asked “how old do I look?” by your sister is akin to a guy being asked, “does my arse look big in this dress?”. Regardless of the truth, there is only one correct answer.. 🙂

  15. Suzanne Perazzini says:

    What a supportive sister you are. We drift along quite happily getting blissfully older until someone unkind points it out to us and then that’s all we see when we look in the mirror. I have printed out this recipe because I am sure I have everything in the kitchen already and I love the kind of sweet food that looks healthy even though it might not be.

  16. yummychunklet says:

    Yes, you are very supportive. Now I’m wondering how I look because I’m an attorney!

  17. InTolerant Chef says:

    I don’t think your sister will find it encouraging that the thought of her put you in mind of wrinkly, shriveled up old sultanas 🙂 Maybe you should just give her the Brandy 🙂

  18. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    Oh Charlie speaking of old leading into aged dried foods… hilarious! God help the person who points out that I look old one day.

  19. Wow I love a 2 step recipe! sounds super easy and super yummy. 🙂

  20. I have the answer for you and your sister. Come and spend a few hours with me and you’ll feel so young you won’t be able to contain your enthusiasm!

    This cake is really attractive. I wish I liked this sort of cake. Maybe I just haven’t ever eaten a good one. 🙂

  21. Oh your poor sister! She works so hard and yet she feels the pressure to get a facelift 🙁 I bet she looks just fine and I agree it’s nice to age gracefully! My sister is always telling me she needs to lose weight and do all these treatments but really she just needs to be herself hehe 😀

    Ohhh great recipe i love it when you can use up your left overs!

  22. Time for the two of you to take a nice, long, vacation to Fiji. That smooths out all the wrinkles! 🙂

    I think I found fruit like that in my Grandma’s cupboard one year when I noticed she had Jello from the 50’s….who knows how old the fruit was! She’s the only person I knew who still made fruitcake and liked it!

  23. Barb Bamber says:

    And I was just thinking how the sun this summer had aged me by a few years all in three short weeks! Chin up, smile, that smooths some of the wrinkles out and you’ll feel better too.. bonus!! Failing that, I have this great photo editing site where I can smooth out wrinkles, whiten teeth, even lose a few pounds, lol! Of course I’ve never used that one;) xx

  24. Minnie Gupta says:

    Incidently, me and a friend were discussing how long we spend on anti aging aisle now a days….the fruit bars look very good. Very creative Charlie!

  25. I’m still laughing over your segue into the recipe!

  26. You took the right path when you spoke with your Sister, Charlie. I’m not going under the knife, for any reason, based on the comments of a cabbie.
    And you certainly know how to handle left-overs. This fruit bar looks really good!

  27. I have never heard of a two for one face-lift. Aging gracefully is definitely the right way. I recently just discovered that I have grey hairs, and I asked my hubby what do I do. Probably the wrong person to ask. They seem to be multiplying at the moment.

  28. Sophies foodie files says:

    What a bad remark from the cab driver! She most feel badly.
    It is good that she has a lovely older sisiter like you! 🙂
    Your bars looks so appetizing & just wonderful too! Yum!

  29. Emm I know how she feels! Still people are much more confidence in a mature lawyer than one that looks too too young. I hope you made her a batch of those bars.

  30. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    OK Charlie, I’ve had a secret pleasure for the past few weeks: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. They’re entertaining but some of that plastic surgery is so scary! Get her to watch it and see what can go wrong 🙁

  31. Juliet Batten says:

    From facelifts to dried fruits! I had to laugh. My philosophy is let your age and experience show on your face, but take good care of your skin as well. Face lifts just produce incongruence and a slightly spooky look.

  32. Its good you spoke to your sister! A simple 2 step recipe is my kinda recipe!

  33. This recipe is a nice example of how older things can sometimes be very good indeed! Aging gracefully is the way to go I think 🙂

  34. Fruit slice, my favourite..

  35. Well, ‘old’ is a relative thing…..and many over 30-year-old women are all very sensitive with ‘age’….and that’s okay too. So how much are facelifts? I might join you two so we can have something like buy two get one free?
    These fruit slices are delectable!

  36. Speaking of old… that made me laugh out loud. Wish I could join in on the fun.

  37. I loved the speaking of old line!!! Bahahaha hilarious! Sometimes kids at school (I’m a primary school teacher) want to guess my age, I get any where between 21 and 45… I’m 26. I just laugh.

  38. Old is never too old and is great. I’m 32 and my head is covered with a gray hair and I don’t mind. Each of them tells me how many adventuers and crazy days I had in my life 🙂

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Marta, thanks so much for your comment. Are you a blogger? I’m trying to find you in the blogosphere and the only information I have is your name and WSIEFBT and nothing is coming up. What’s the name of your blog and what’s the URL?

  39. SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa) says:

    Oh, Lord. The cab driver was clearly a total knob. Your poor sister! Like she doesn’t have enough real issues to worry about. Hook her up with a slice of that cake… sounds like she deserves it!

  40. GourmetGetaway says:

    Oh dear! How horrible, you said all the right things. If I ever need a lawyer I don’t want some facelifted fake, I want a real women who is aging gracefully and has life experience. Having said that I am happy to come along with you guys for the facelift we should get a bood discount with the three of us. Maybe they will throw in a tummy tuck for me 😉

  41. I am so sorry to hear that your sister’s confidence was undermined by someone’s careless comment! I’m sure your concern for her was appreciated. The recipe is great. I love fruitcake, so I am sure this would be a great taste!

  42. I completely agree, this is a fantastic way to use up dried fruit for sure! This would be a great recipe to use instead of fruit cake during the holiday’s:-) Lovely, Hugs, Terra


  1. […] September 10, 2012 Over the weekend I found these brandied fruit slices on one of my favourite blogs, Hotly Spiced. Charlie is a mother of three children, two of whom are teenagers and, while cooking delicious recipes, entertains us with stories of her day to day life and sometimes, past life as a mother. And very occasionally further back to her childhood. She is always amusing, taking the trouble and strife of her family in her stride and all the while turning out great food. Do pop on over for her recipe for these slices. You’ll find it here. […]

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