I have a wonderful friend who has teenagers just like me and we have so many similar stories you’d think we were living parallel lives.
I was on the phone to her this morning and she asked, ‘Have you ever had to support your child in Court, Charlie?’ And before I could answer she said, ‘Oh no, bet you haven’t’. But I said, ‘Well I have actually’, but that’s a story for another day when you’ve all got plenty more time on your hands so today we’ll focus on my friend’s story because it happened quite a few years ago so it’s now hilarious because as they say, ‘Tragedy + time = comedy’.
My friend’s daughter was going to school but had a part-time job working on the ferries doing something rather ordinary and quite non-glamorous because she was going through a rebellious grunge phase. One day a bloke from a country town right out west started working there and somehow he befriended her and somehow he talked her into buying his car for the bargain price of $200.00. The only trouble was that the car was not registered, was full of rust, had the interior roof lining hanging down like the insides of an Arabian tent and had a floor swimming in soiled McDonald’s packaging. My friend’s daughter was thrilled with her purchase and drove it home quite forgetting she didn’t yet have a licence.
Her parents were horrified, not only at the appalling sight parked in their driveway but at how their daughter had driven it home well aware she doesn’t have a licence. The car was moved to a dark and quiet street and she was told not to drive it.
A few weeks later the daughter said she was going out with her younger sister. ‘We’re just catching the bus to the hotel for a game of pool and then we’ll be home’. So off they went and my friend went to bed but in the morning she had that feeling where she just knew something wasn’t right.
She went into her daughter’s bedroom and was surprised to see both girls in the room. ‘What’s going on?’ she asked.
‘We’ve got something to tell you’, the younger one said.
‘Do I want to hear this?’ the mother asked.
And she probably didn’t. Because when the girls left the house they had gone to the quiet and dark street and found the car and taken it to the hotel where they played pool and had a few drinks and met some boys who said they needed a lift to the ferry. ‘I’ll drive you’, said the daughter. So the four of them piled into the car with the roof lining sagging so badly it was touching their heads and they set off for the wharf.
They hadn’t quite made it when the car was pulled over by a random breath testing unit and realising she was ‘done-in’ she panicked and in her panic-stricken state she crashed into the policeman’s car. The boys in the back thanked her for the lift and took off for the ferry but she and her sister were put inside the smashed and dented police car and driven to the station where she was put in a cell and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, driving without a licence, driving an unregistered vehicle and smashing into a police car.
My friend was leaning against the wall when she heard this and couldn’t believe her own child had been so reckless and stupid. ‘I went to a very strict Catholic boarding school, Charlie, I never did anything like this. Where does this come from?’ But there’s just no answer to that, just sympathetic and non-judgmental friendship.
On the day of the court appearance she pulled back her daughter’s hair back into one long plait, dressed her in a black turtle-neck jumper and a camel coloured pencil skirt with some black boots and off they went. There were a lot of middle-aged women in the courtroom all charged with DUI and one by one they stood up and said, ‘But your Honour, I only had two glasses of wine’, and the judge bellowed into the microphone, ‘Don’t be so stupid. A glass means nothing. Have you seen the size of some wine glasses? I could say I only had one glass of wine but there could have been half a bottle in there’. And so it wasn’t looking good for my friend’s daughter with her multiple list of more serious crimes.
When her name was called she stood up and was visibly shaking. The numerous charges were read out. The judge said, ‘What have you got to say for yourself?’ She said, ‘I’m really (x 10) sorry and I’ll never, ever (x 10) do that again, ever, Your Honour’. And he looked at her and said, ‘I fine you $500.00. I want to take your car off you but I can’t because it’s not even registered. And I want to take your licence but I can’t because you don’t even have one. And as for crashing into a police car, I feel like I’m watching an episode of Keystone Cops. You are banned from even trying to get your licence for another 12 months.’
And the teenage girl never, ever did anything like that ever again.
In times like these you need chocolate. And I happened to have some wonderful chocolate in my pantry that was given to me by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. She gave it to me when we met for lunch a few weeks ago. It is dark, fair trade 54% callubaut chocolate and has been perfect for this torte that also happens to be gluten free.
Date Chocolate Torte
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: I used fresh dates and they are more expensive than dried dates. The price will also vary depending on the quality of the chocolate you use.
- 250g almonds, unpeeled
- 250g dark cooking chocolate
- 250g dates
- 6 eggs whites
- 1/2 cup castor sugar
Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Place almonds and chocolate in blender or food processor and chop into chunky pieces. (I chopped my almonds by hand and the chocolate was already in little buttons). Cut dates finely.
Beat egg whites until they hold stiff peaks and gradually add castor sugar. Fold in almonds, chocolate and dates. Pour into a greased 23cm spring form pan lined with baking paper.
Pour into prepared cake tin and bake for 45 minutes.
Open oven door slightly and allow torte to cool in tin. Turn on to a platter and refrigerate overnight.
To serve: Spread top of torte with whipped cream and garnish with grated chocolate, nuts or strawberries.
(This torte will crumble if cut while still warm. It will keep in the refrigerator for several days).
This recipe is from Vogue Australia, Wine and Food Cookbook 1985!
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