Raspberry Shortbread Slice and…Sweet Sixteen

I’ve had a surreal weekend.

On Friday night Carl and I went to an event to raise money for Kids with Cancer.  Because I knew the organisers they asked if I would mind arriving early to help set up and then work the crowd selling raffle tickets.  I told them I would be only too happy to, so Carl and I, with Archie and Arabella, arrived early and tried to be helpful.

I was wandering around the near empty room with my mind on a thousand different things when I heard a voice say, ‘Charlie?’ and I turned around and standing in front of me was a man wearing a very smart suit who was was about six foot two with lots of dark hair, incredible eyebrows and smiling at me.  He said, ‘Charlie Louie, I recognised you straight away.’  And I looked at him rather blankly because I’m terribly vague and I wasn’t sure who he was.  He very quickly told me his name and I was so shocked I gasped.  I hadn’t seen him for a quarter of a century.

I didn’t know what to say so I blurted out something ridiculous like, ‘What are you doing here?’ and he said he was there for the fundraiser which was the only answer to such a stupid question.

Raspberry Shortbread Slice

We met just after my sixteenth birthday.  I was down at the snow on a family holiday.  I had arranged to meet my parents at one of those restaurants they have halfway down the mountain for lunch.  When I walked in I could see my mother sitting at a table with some other people.  She had run into her tennis partner, Joanne.  Joanne was with her husband and their children and I was introduced to her son.  We all sat at a big wooden table but after a while we teenagers became bored with the adult conversation so we went outside and played in the snow, pushing each other over, holding each other down, rolling down the mountain, laughing uncontrollably and just being complete fools but we had the best afternoon.

I didn’t see him again for the rest of my holiday but a few days after I arrived home he phoned the house.  He asked if I would like to go to a Midnight Oil concert with him.  I told him I would love to.  We had a great time at the concert and got along very well.  He was very polite, passionate, caring, witty and told a good story.  We had a lot of laughs.  I found out that he actually lived walking distance from where I was living so after the concert he walked me home.

We started seeing each other and had many more dates that included going to The Clash where he held on to me really tightly because I was terrified of all the punks, a night at Luna Park, nights at the movies and we were both into jogging so we’d go running together as well.  He was a devoted fan and even came to some of my swimming competitions.  He bought me a beautiful gold necklace that was elegant and understated and it wasn’t even my birthday.  I think I still have it!

He was pretty much your dream boyfriend.  We dated for about six months and it was becoming quite intense so for no better reason, I broke up with him.  We spent more time together when we were about 18.

When we left school we went to different universities, then his parents sold the home and they moved to a different part of Sydney and I lost touch with him.  I heard he’d graduated as a lawyer and that he’d then spent some years in the North Pole doing something with environmental science.  A few years ago I heard he was back in Australia, that he’d married and was now working as a barrister.

So on Friday night I was standing there with raffle tickets in my hands and he, in his smart suit  was right in front of me and I hadn’t seen him for all those years.   And it didn’t seem like it was all those years ago.  It felt like it was just the other day.  He’d come straight from his Chambers and his wife, also a barrister, was about to join him.  We had a lovely, warm and friendly chat.  He asked after everyone in my family, he remembered them all – you have to be good at remembering things if you want to be a good barrister!  We discovered we’re living in the same suburb and that he is once again, within walking distance.  I introduced him to Carl and he met Archie and Arabella and said he didn’t think it was possible they could be so old – older than we were when we were dating!

We caught up again at the end of the night.  As he was leaving I wanted to give him a big hug mostly because I’d been the one to end our relationship and he was hurt very deeply.  I didn’t give him a hug, I just told him how wonderful it was to see him again and left it at that.

He was always a nice guy and he still is – he bought more raffle tickets from me than anyone else!

Have you ever had that moment where you’ve run into an ex?

I’m still without the internet so while I’m in the queue to speak to the phone company I bake.  Here’s something I thought would be good for the kids when they come home from school.

Raspberry Shortbread:

Makes:  16 squares

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  I believe I made this for less than $10.00.

Raspberry Shortbread slice straight out of the oven!

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cup self raising flour

For the Topping:

  • 2 tbspns raspberry jam
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 2 egg whites

Beat butter and sugar, add yolks then flour.  Roll out on a greased lamington tray.  Spread with jam over the top.

Beat whites of eggs until stiff, add sugar and beat well.  Add coconut and spread over jam.

Bake for 20-25 minutes in a moderate (180C/375F) oven.

This recipe is by Jenni Browne.

Want to keep in touch?  Let’s be friend on Facie!



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  1. What a sweet encounter. It’s been awhile since I’ve run into an ex-boyfriend. But when I do, it makes me even more glad of the guy I am married to now. None of the other old flames could compare. 😉

  2. Aw, how lovely! I don’t really have any proper exes, mostly just few-months-before-I-ran-away exes, but I still dread running into most of them! 😛

  3. Oh that’s a nice story! I’m glad that it was good. I haven’t really run into exes very much although I would hope that the encounters are similarly civilised 🙂

  4. What a lovely encounter for you both. It is really very odd given the fact that Adelaide is a small city, but I’ve never run into any of my ex boyfriends.
    Maybe they see me first and run the other way!

  5. I think I’d do everything possible to avoid most of my ex’s; I haven’t made great choices in the past! This is a lovely story though; I’m glad you had a chance to catch up with your old flame.

  6. What an amazing story; and so nice that you could meet again in a positive way! I imagine it would have been very surreal!

  7. Hi Charlie Louie .. amazing story and so wonderful you all got on so well .. I hope the fundraising went well .. cheers Hilary

  8. What a sweet story! and a nice guy!

    My ex-husband works in the same building as me, so I will save the ‘bumping into ex” stories for another time…
    of all the places..in all of Melbourne…the same building!
    T xx

  9. That’s kinda nice to run into your ex 🙂 He seems like a wonderful man~ Can’t believe you lost contact with him for such a long but managed to bump into him again and live within walking distance again!

    Unfortunately, my ex wasn’t a great guy…and last time I bumped into him…we just acted like we didn’t know each other ~

  10. That’s a lovely story 🙂

  11. aww.. how sweet. i hadnt meet my ex- for quite some time already. anyway nice shortbread you have there!

    Latest: Meh-meh Goats

  12. Oh. My. Gosh. I would have gone red and thought to run off to the bathroom to hide (which may or may not have been something I did previously when running unexpectedly into an ex). How lovely that you have such fond memories of him and that he’s still the nice guy you remember from 16 (albeit all grown up now!)

  13. It sounds like you handled the situation perfectly…and sold him the most tickets so good for you!

  14. Oh dear. I don’t want to meet my exes from my teenage years. Best left in the past. I am unfamiliar witht he term lamington tray, but can guess. I think I would cut that into four huge pieces and split it with my husband.

  15. Wonderful story … but in the end, I’m thinking you should have given him a hug. OH well … I’m a hugger. 🙂 … Fortunately, I live in a different part of the state from where I grew up and went to college, so the odds of such a story as yours is very remote. But hey – it is a small world and most of us have tales of bizarre encounters.

  16. How nice that you were able to reconnect. And, frankly, aren’t you glad you ran into him at a nice event rather than have him pass by your yard and see you all frazzled and dirty? Ok, maybe that would only be me always frazzled and dirty in my yard, but still. . .

  17. A sweet and touching story, sounds like the families could be friends.

  18. I’ve had several “exes” find me via Facebook, and it has been lovely to reconnect. Life moves on, but it is so nice to see how we have all meandered and, hopefully, landed softly.

    Great event and organization to support! And the slices look easy and delish.

  19. Oh, I love raspeberries! Must try this.

    That’s wild that you saw him like that – wow!

  20. You handled what could have been an awkward situation quite well. I’m with Gretchen on the “I love raspberries.”

  21. I’m only 21 and I have been dating my boyfriend for more than 5 years so you can imagine I haven’t really had any other serious relationships hahaha although I did date a guy when I was 15 and, after breaking up (my fault too) I found him a couple years later and it was weird but ok, we were to young!!

  22. Great story. My run-ins with exes are usually 30 seconds of small talk, then “Ok, take care…”

  23. I think you did handle well the encounter…I can only imagine the initial surprise…
    The raspberry bars look great, like the coconut topping with egg white.
    Hope you have a wonderful week ahead 🙂

  24. Really great story. This reminds me of a Russian saying “the world is round”, meaning we will meet again.
    In my head I am going through ex’s and imagining what it would be like running into them – some more pleasant than others.

  25. I don’t have an ex. I married the guy I met at 17. 😉 Nice story, Charlie!

  26. What a touching, well-written, poignant post.

  27. What a lovely story, so nice to hear of such a nice reunion, Charlie. I have not bumped into old boyfriends, it might be weird! The Raspberry Shortbread squares look great.

  28. What a surprise indeed! It would be nice if you could remain friends after ask these years. I’ve known my hubby since I was 4 years old, and ever been together since I was16. That was a liking time ago now! I tell him I can’t be bothered breaking in anyone new, so he better stick around!
    Lovely shortbread, that topping sounds delicious! Hope you get some joy with the phone company- good luck!

  29. What a beautiful story! And you reminded me of the Midnight oil! yes, it was quite popular at a certain point in Europe! (Now I will have their famous song in my head for the rest of the evening!).

  30. What a lovely story. I love how you incorporate life events into every post. It’s really admiring 🙂 and that slice sure looks delicious.

  31. Kids with cancer is such an amazing cause and such a wonderful event to be apart of :). And just look at that shortbread… so delicious, sumptuous, and wonderful 🙂

  32. I found you because you found me on A Frank Angle. I really enjoyed your blog and I’m glad to know you’re out there. It’s really unique and you’re an engaging storyteller–and from the looks of it–an amazing cook!

    I also chuckled when I read your About Me section with the tidbit from the publisher who rejected your writing because you weren’t famous. I had a publisher tell me the exact same quote during the Christmas season (do they have identical scripts that they read from). So I blog and pray while I contemplate strutting my chubby ass naked down Main Street to become infamous enough to be published, 🙂 but in the meantime. . . All the best to you.

  33. I hope your kids know how lucky they are coming home to such fabulous baked goodies. I’m sure they do!

  34. Wow. That ex-boyfriend encounter was rather drama-free. But, a cute story, nonetheless. Great shortbread!

  35. Sounds like a wonderful encounter! Isn’t it funny to bump into people like that? Small world. This shortbread looks awesome!

  36. sounds like a great encounter! Useful and so cute!

  37. I’ve never run into an ex but several of my girlfriends have come across my exes in business. Nice and easy slice.

  38. GREAT story. I have an old flame I found on facebook (should of married him-I think..) We have not befriended each other on FB…yet! Not sure if he is divorced…had heard he might be. He LOOKS GOOD! Plus does not live in USA…dang!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Give him a call Kellie. I’m sure he’d love to hear from you. Such a shame though that he’s not in your part of the world.

  39. What a minefield, for the both of you! Yet, you both handled it very well and left with a possibility of a friendship. And your kids got an invaluable lesson in how to handle a tricky situation. Not bad for a night out, eh? And this shortbread of yours sounds delicious!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks John and yes, I have a feeling we might be seeing each other again as he was invited to the event by mutual events (strangely enough) and when our friends found out that we all know each other, they said they’d have us all for dinner. Here we go!

  40. Heh, it really is a surprising small world after all sometimes. I was in the middle of Paris walking down the avenue des Champs-Elysées one day with a new girlfriend, and ended up running into an ex – that was… “awkward” :p

  41. wow what a sweet story. I do not want to run into my ex ever. Our break up was sour.
    But your story is movie material. Loved reading it and thanks for sharing.

  42. What a gorgeous story, I actually played it out like a movie in my head as I was reading it.
    Since I have been with my Carl since I was 17 I only had 1 serious boyfriend before him that I was with for a year. He broke my heart, but then I broke his after I got together with Carl. We remained friends though and we are still friends, but I cant stand his wives, any of them he has had so far. xx

  43. Such a nice story, and not one most could tell about ex-es, I am sure. That shortbread sounds delightful!

  44. I’ve always though it such a good thing to run into an ex, it’s almost a way of putting the final note and laying to rest a chapter of my life (some good, some not so good). I’ve only got one or two left to run into!!

  45. I haven’t made shortbread before- thanks for the recipe!


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