Monte Carlo Biscuits and…An Unfortunate Sight

A few years ago Carl and I went to Far North Queensland for what I thought would be a calm, peaceful and relaxing few days.  When we arrived Carl told me he had organised something very special and with the benefit of women’s intuition I knew immediately he had booked the romantic sunset cruise I’d been looking forward to where you sip champagne and eat canapes while the sun is setting over the Whitsundays.

Monte Carlo Biscuits

Carl spoiled my moment of intuition by saying, ‘Tomorrow we’re going white water rafting.  We have to be up at 4.30.’

I hadn’t ever wanted to go white water rafting unlike my desire to sip champagne on a yacht while witnessing a beautiful sunset.

The next morning we were up within minutes of having fallen asleep and bussed to the top of the Tully River in the hinterland of Cairns.  I was pleased to see the river was very calm and thought the paddle to the bottom would therefore be very civilised.  But the young Canadian guide then informed me that the river is dammed and that’s why little water was running.  In a few moments we would be on the water and the gates would be opened and a torrent of water would instantly descend giving us a hair-raising ride to the bottom.  Thank you Carl!

We were in a party of eight and being looked after by the Canadian guide.  He put us all in life jackets and gave us hard hats to wear and then asked us to sit at the bottom of the raft while he gave a demonstration in technique and safety issues.  We were sitting in the raft and the guide was wearing short shorts like rugby shorts.  He sat above us on the edge of the raft.  When he began the demonstration he threw open his legs and we were all alarmed to discover that he was doing what Archie calls ‘free-balling’.

It was difficult to know where to look because right at eye-level I had a full view of scrotum.  I tried divert my eyes to something more scenic but the guide yelled out to me, ‘Charlie!  Eyes to me, this is really important’.  And when I reluctantly returned my eyes things had shifted around in his shorts and now there was far more to see than just scrotum.

Everyone had the same view and no one said anything.  We weren’t sure if ‘free-balling’ was standard practise back in Canada.

Finally we were on the water but we were a disaster.  No one had listened to the guide’s demonstration as our attention and focus had been elsewhere.  We lost three out of the raft at the first rapid and two out of the raft at the next.  Then the English tourist who was part of our group wildly swung his paddle and with full force whacked the back of my hand.  And he didn’t notice.

When we arrived at the lunch spot we were a disheveled bunch soaked through to the core, covered in bumps and bruises and wondering who to blame.  My finger was pointed at the guide who hadn’t made it easy for any of us by drawing our attention to the socially private parts of his anatomy.

When we arrived back at the resort we’d missed the sunset.  And the sundowners.

Would you prefer a sunset cruise with champagne or a thrill-seeking, hair-raising trip down a raft?

When we reached the lunch spot we were fed a fairly bland lunch with biscuits.  And the biscuits were packet biscuits and it would have been so much nicer to have been offered something better like these homemade Monte Carlos biscuits.

Monte Carlos Biscuits

Fabulous home-made biscuits

Makes:  20 biscuits

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  Quite minimal as most of the ingredients could be found in your own fridge and pantry.

  • 200g butter
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla exract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut


  • 100 gm butter
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tbspn vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tbspns milk
  • raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 180C.

Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and egg and beat until well combined.  Add flours and coconut to butter mixture, mixing well with your hands.

Roll the mixture into little balls and place on baking trays.  Slightly flatten balls with a fork to give that rough Monte Carlos look.

Place in oven for 12-15 mins.

Remove biscuits from the oven and allow to harden on trays for 5 mins.  Place on a wire rack and allow to cool.  Fill with filling and raspberry jam.

For the Filling:

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy.  Add enough milk to make a smooth consistency.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

This recipe was provided by Catherine Roberts.

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  1. I would definitely be opting for the sunset cruise !!!!!!
    Love, hugs and positive energy.

  2. Magnolia Verandah says:

    I bet Carl was in the good books! Love the biscuits

  3. Charlie, the biscuits look fabulous and your adventure really scary! I would definitely choose champagne 😉

  4. The biscuits do look lovely. Methinks said guide may have had some exhibitionist tendencies. I’ve had a similarly unwanted view and it definitely falls into the ‘that which has been seen cannot be unseen’ category!

  5. I just can’t stop laughing/thinking about this free-balling business. So much ridiculousness.

    But I’d much rather have these monte carlos than ANYTHING from a package!

  6. These homemade biscuits look delicious. I can’t wait to try them this weekend!

  7. Oh my. Too bad no one had the nerve to tell the guide to stop the peep show. (I wouldn’t have had the guts myself.) White water rafting sounds fun, but I’ve never tried it. Your story doesn’t make me more likely to try it, that’s for sure.

  8. I would definitely prefer your biscuits! These look wonderful! Of course, I’m a sucker for anything with raspberry!

  9. Well … since I get motion sickness on the water, not sure if either choice is a good one for me … but I do enjoy both sunsets and bubbly.

  10. Oh, I love Monte Carlo sandwiches for dinner. I do not love ‘free-balling’; we call it ‘going commando’ in the States. The last time I went white water rafting was about thirty years and forty pounds ago. It still wasn’t a pretty site when I lost my bathing suit bottom. I never care to go again. You made me laugh so loud that the cat stared at me and fled the room. Thank you for sharing!

  11. The biscuits look so delicious….I could eat them all.

  12. Oh, wow! I went white water rafting once in a freezing, cold river in Colorado on a day when the water was rushing at a violent speed. Thankfully, our guide was well-covered and sat behind us. I was starving with hunger after that river trip, and these cookies would have been a fantastic treat! Love the filling.

  13. HAHA! This may me cry laugh. I much pretty the sight of your biscuits than the image burned into your eyes that day. You know he had to feel a draft – the perv.

  14. Not MY idea of a fun outing but I love the biscuits.

  15. hahaha, believe me it’s not a Canadian thing! I truly LOVE your writing, I’m so happy that I found you, you make my day!
    Obviously, I’ll go with the friendly bubbly and the sunset.. The biscuits are lovely.

  16. I think rafting would be fun if I had time to prepare myself for it. Otherwise I would prefer the sunset cruise. Thanks for sharing:)

  17. I can’t swim too well. So such a day would TERRIFY me to no end. Congrats on not disowning your husband!!!!

  18. I love your stories!!! I’m not a huge fan of champagne so I think I would go rafting, it could be fun, but with a well dressed guide and if you changed the champagne for sangria I may think about the cruise!

  19. I would definitely go for sunset and Champagne!
    These biscuits look very inviting.

  20. These biscuits looks adorable 🙂 and so yummy ~ and i love that they’re so cheap to make!

    Poor you! I’d much prefer a sunset cruise too 😉 but men hahaha doesn’t always understand what we want 😛

  21. I’m still laughing. You are such a great storyteller! You biscuits look divine, and far more civilized than your trip was to say the least!

  22. Great story. I’d much prefer the suset cruise and champagne, like you.

    Good looking biscuits as well!

  23. These look like an absolute treat! They really do look like store bought biscuits..

  24. Your bikkies look lovely, but after an experience like that I think hard liquor is in order. Lots of hard liquor!
    You’d think the guide would extend the keep-hands-and-feet-inside-the-vehicle-at-all-times rule to other parts of the body as well. Especially with nasty sharp rocks around!

  25. Oh god I would hate to go white water rafting. Love monte carlos.

  26. Sunset cruise, always the sunset cruise! I’m an unbelievable wimp in the waves at the beach so I can’t imagine what I’d be like rafting, I’d probably die of terror. Surely the guy must have realised he was on display. Maybe they don’t care or are they completely oblivious?

    I just made a second cup of tea for the morning and one of your monte carlos would be perfect with it.

  27. Charlie, I would pick champagne too! The biscuits look great!

  28. Hilarious!! You should have said something smart to him when he yelled at you for your attention. Ha! That’s the type of trip my husband would also plan…something HE likes to do and that I wouldn’t do unless someone forced me. Men! 😉

  29. Your biscuits, which I think we may call…cookies in America, look divine!

  30. Well, that’s one ride you won’t be forgetting for quite some time, if ever. Too funny! These biscuits look delicious and the fruit makes them healthy, too. 🙂

  31. These look incredible – so much better than the store bought variety (which I’ll confess to not really liking). Great effort!

  32. You always crack me up!!! What a sight 🙂

    I am with the others, he was definitely wanting to show his gear off, you even got a “person invitation” :0

    I have done the white water rafting and have nearly been killed doing it too! I was his in the face by a paddle, scratch and bruise by rocks and held under water by a waterfall!! Whilst all that was fun, I think I would prefer a champagne sunset cruise 🙂

  33. I’ll take some biscuits and the sunset cruise…thank you very much. If I ever go white water rafting in my life, I’ll look for a guide with long tight shorts.

  34. That really takes the biscuit. Typical of Canadians don’t you think? All that Scotch Presbyterianism!

  35. he he he your story had me in stitches! Champagne sipping wins hands down every time for me.

    The monte carlos look fantastic…I think I’d need a lot more than packet biscuits to deal with the kind of experience you went through 🙂

  36. I laughed out loud in my office when I read about your adventure. I can tell you that “free balling” is not standard practice here in Canada. I’ve never witnessed it anyway, even on a romantic adventure like white water rafting. I’d be up for one of those biscuits anyday….

  37. Okay, so while I was reading this absolutely wonderful blog.. I saw those Monte Carlo Biscuits.. and I found myself not being able to read much else lol. These are so darn scrumptious.

  38. That was so funny – but on a serious note, how could the guide hope to conduct a safe journey for everyone after distracting them so much. It would take at least a bach of those divine looking biscuits to recover from such a rough (and certainly not romantic!) trip.

  39. Haha, you really made me laugh there, what a great story!

  40. Oh dear! All those balls flying about 😛 Have you seen Jackass and the older man with the…well I think you might be able to guess!

  41. Let me apologise up front for having a good laugh reading your story – talk about a difference of opinion between you and Carl on what you were looking forward to.
    🙂 Mandy

  42. oh yes quite nasty indeed. Absolutely love the monte carlos though!

  43. Hiya Hotly Spiced (and you almost got called Hotsy!) .. crumbs I laughed and what a wonderful story to tell … I think I’d rather go freeball rafting … tales of ribald laughter for many years ahead … and probably with champagne and the setting sun at times too…

    That’s crazy funny … cheers – Hilary

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Hilary, Thanks for your lovely comment. I’ve just read a post on your blog but for some reason I can’t seem to comment. There’s no name/url option and the options that are there don’t work for me. Maddening!

  44. Absolutely hilarious!! No, Canadians don’t do this, I can at”test” to that;) Bizarre and definitely unromantic, lucky you have these lovely cookies to nurture your bruised memories!!

  45. These look so wonderful! I bet they taste amazing.

  46. Hahaha! Oh my gosh-I would take the champaigne sunset cruise over free balling on the river raft ANY day! haha This just made my day-thanks for the laugh 🙂

  47. lol, “free-balling” 😀 Never heard the expression before – love it! I love the look of these biscuits – they’re like something they sell in England, but a nicer, home-made version. I haven’t tried them in years, thanks for sharing!

  48. Charlie! Wow, adventurous 😉

    Champagne and those delicious biscuits, for me. Please.

  49. OH I’ll take the sunset cruise please, though the free balling guide could provide some entertainment 😉 xx

  50. Hi Charlie, I thought I had posted a comment here…I must have forgotten to press Post. I concur with Barb, of Profiteroles and Ponytales, free-balling is definitely NOT standard practice. Although I have had my own experience is a restaurant downtown about 20 years ago. Not a pretty site, that’s for sure.
    I went white water rafting on the Ottawa River when I was about 18, it was quite the experience — no balls flying about though. I do love your stories, Charlie.

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