I have a friend who a little while ago was heading overseas for a couple of years. He asked me if I would like to ‘take care of’ and ‘look after’ one of his very special things. As it had an engine and four wheels and one of those shiny metal German badges, I was only too happy to oblige.
It hadn’t been long in my possession, (it hadn’t needed a new service, more air in the tyres, a refill of water to wash the windscreen etc), in fact I’d only filled it with petrol on three occasions, when I…ahhh…slammed it into the back of a truck and wrote it off.
So how did I do it???
Well…I’d had that procedure on my leg I was telling you about a few weeks ago (see related post) and the doctor said I had to wear compression stockings for two weeks. Not only was I allergic to them, but they are slippery little suckers. One hot day last week (there’s been no hot weather this week) I had to beetle across town to pick up Arabella’s textbooks that apparently she should have had a few weeks ago and if she didn’t urgently turn up to school with them I was going to receive another one of those phone call, (see related post).
So as I had to wear jeans to cover the hideous stockings I was as hot as Hades so I decided the best way I could cool down my inner core was to wear thongs on my feet. And I always tell my kids, ‘Don’t wear thongs while you’re driving, it’s dangerous.’
I was almost at the textbook shop when a truck in front of me came to a stop. I went to put my foot on the brake but my foot in the slippery stocking slipped across the thong and became trapped under the brake pedal. By the time I managed to untangle my foot from where it was trapped it was too little too late and my nose was now almost on the truck’s bumper bar and very obviously I had considerably shortened my friend’s German car.
In denial as to the extent of the damage, I somehow re-started the car and pretended not to notice, as I drove away, all the broken off crumpled pieces of the car splattered on the road.
I thought it best not to tell my friend straight away. Why ruin his weekend? But having now had a phone call from the insurer advising the repair bill is more than 75% of the value of the car so that’s technically a ‘write-off’, I believe the time has come to come clean.
So I’ve sent my dear friend a message and I’m hoping he gets to enjoy his first Thanksgiving before he finds it.
And in case you’re wondering, I’m actually okay – alive and all systems operating as normal and I’m becoming very fit thanks to my new means of getting around – a pair of sneakers.
I’m wondering what my friend’s reaction is going to be. Do you think it’s a bit much to expect that he’ll just be overjoyed that I survived and am unharmed?
It’s getting to be that time of year again and I always like to make a Christmas Cake. In fact, the children expect it. I have adapted this recipe from The Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook, ‘Christmas Cooking’, Grand Marnier Fruit Cake (but seriously…who can afford to be throwing large quantities of Grand Marnier into cakes? I used brandy.)
Cost: Christmas cakes are expensive. There’s the dried fruit, the glace fruit, the marzipan, the icing, the cake board, the ribbon and decorations. They are also time-costly. It took an afternoon to prepare the fruit, it takes time to prepare the cake tin, then the cake takes 3 and a half hours to cook, then it has to be decorated. But…it’s so worth it!
Ingredients and Method:
3 cups sultanas
1 1/2 cups mixed peel
3/4 cup coarsely chopped raisins
3/4 cup red and green glace cherries halved
2/3 cup coarsely chopped seeded prunes
2/3 cup coarsely chopped glace pineapple
1/2 cup coarsely chopped glace apricots
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tbspn finely grated orange rind
Juice of one orange
1/2 cup brandy
250g softened butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
5 organic eggs
2 cups plain flour
2 tbspns brandy, extra
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
1kg ready-made fondant
25cm cake board
Decorations and Ribbon
Combine fruit, nuts and rind in a large bowl. Pour over orange juice and brandy and stir to combine. Cover with cling wrap and leave for up to one week in a cool, dark place but stir fruit twice daily.
Preheat oven to 140°C. Line base and sides of 22cm cake tin with 1 layer of brown paper and 2 layers of baking paper lightly greased, extending paper 5cm above the edge of the tin.
Beat butter and sugar until just combined (don’t over beat or you will have a crumbly cake). Add eggs, one at a time until just combined (don’t worry if mixture curdles). Stir butter mixture into fruit mixture, mix in flour. Spread mixture into tin. Tap tin firmly on bench several times to remove air bubbles. Level cake with a wet spatula.
Open oven door and line rack with several layers of newspaper. Sit cake on top of newspaper and bake uncovered in oven for 3 and a half hours. Remove from oven and pour extra brandy over the cake. Trap steam by covering top of cake in foil. Allow to cool overnight in tin.
Set cake on cake board upside down. Brush cake evenly with egg white. Knead marzipan with icing sugar and roll out. Lift onto cake with rolling pin and smooth over cake. Leave for 24 hours to allow marzipan to dry. (Using marzipan will stop the icing from developing a brown stain). Roll out fondant and lift onto cake using rolling pin. Smooth over cake using hands dusted with icing sugar. Use knife to cut away excess fondant from base of cake.
Secure ribbon around cake using pins.
Decorate with whatever you choose – my children have chosen my decorations! Dip base of decorations in remaining lightly beaten egg white to secure to cake.