Friday, August 10, 2012


When we’re young - to clarify, I mean those of you who slot into my vintage; we who were young yesterday; and are mature today; now I’ve sorted that out, I’ll return to where I began - when we were young we believed we had a one-way ticket to love. However, it didn’t take me long to think beyond the box; I bought a book of tickets, rather than just one sole ticket. Our tender, innocent hearts were bent or broken more than once. Mine was, but I had a good supply of band-aids and spare tickets on hand to see me through.

There were times I felt down, but never out. Like “Scarlett O’Hara”, I believed “tomorrow was another day”; it still is. And just like Scarlett, I picked myself up; took a look around and realised that a new day invariably brought with it fresh challenges, hopes, dreams; and another, maybe even improved, un-flawed person of interest. Perhaps it was the new boy in town or the tanned Adonis flexing his muscles at the beach who deserved a second glance and closer examination, even if from afar and unbeknown by him, the unsuspecting subject/victim! Feeling down isn’t fun unless it’s the down an Eider duck has generously donated for a quilt!

We soon learn that reality isn’t like the lives depicted in novels or in movies where the scripts are pre-written; and then erased and rewritten to suit; where questions have already been answered on the pages that follow; or when the next scene unfolds upon the screen. If the author or director doesn’t like where a plot is heading, he/she deletes or yells “Cut!” whichever applies; and then starts all over again on a new vein. If that doesn’t work, they delete or cut until the story makes sense; culminating in an ending befitting the plot and the images in their mind.

The hero with his penetrating eyes; an errant lock of hair falling across his broad brow; his teasing, come-hither lips parted slightly with a hint of a sneer seductively tempts his quarry to heed his bidding. His defenseless prey (and reader/viewer) helplessly surrenders to his “come-hither-ing”. If you are a male reading this, change the above to “heroine”; you fill in the blanks.

I’m a “black and white” person, but it’d be un-Christian of me not to notice there’s a lot of “Grey” matter about lately; and I’m not going to miss out on all the fun…and games. I feel like jumping on the bandwagon or bouncing up and down on that down-filled doona.

I thought I heard a strong wind outside; I was floored when I learned it wasn’t wind! It was all the heavy breathing engulfing the mountain at the moment! While out driving the other day, I noticed every second house had fogged-up windows. When I discovered the real cause, again I was floored! The fogging wasn’t caused by log fires! Obviously, there’s nothing bland or boring about having a little grey in one’s life!

Showing great restraint, here are my somewhat grey recipes!

Christian Grey B & B (that's "Bread and Butter", not "Bed and Breakfast"!) Pudding: Preheat oven 180C; grease and line loaf tin. Pour 200ml each milk and cream into saucepan; stir in 2tsp Earl Grey tea leaves. Heat until not quite simmering; leave at this temp for 10-12mins; add 75g sugar and 1tsp vanilla essence; whisk; pour in thin stream into 3 beaten eggs. Slice 6 croissants on shallow angle, getting 4 thick slices from each. Dip slices into mixture until well-soaked. Line bottom of tin with slices; sprinkle over slivered almonds and roughly-chopped dark chocolate; continue layering; reserve some almonds and chocolate to sprinkle over top layer. Carefully pour any remaining liquid around tin edges; bake 40mins or until set.

Grey’s Cupcakes with Butter Cream: Preheat oven 176C; fill 2 cupcakes pans with liners or grease well, Beat 1c unsalted butter until creamy; add 2c sugar; cream until light and fluffy; add 4 eggs, 1 at a time; beat very well after each addition. Beat in 1-1/2c S.R. flour along with 2tbs dry Earl Grey tea; add 1c milk and extra 1-1/2c S.R. flour; stir until just combined. Fill pans 2/3rd full; bake 20-25mins; rotate halfway through for even baking; cool thoroughly. Frosting: Cream 1c unsalted butter until smooth; gradually beat in 4c icing sugar; zest 1 lemon over frosting; add 3tbs lemon juice or Limoncello; stir until smooth; spread or pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Add 1tbs Earl Grey tea leaves to frosting for extra “oomph”, if desired.

Vanilla Grey Tea Cake: Preheat oven 176C. Lightly grease and flour 8-inch round cake tin. Combine 1-1/2c sifted plain flour, 1/4c cornflour, 1-1/2tsp baking powder and 1/4ts salt. In larger bowl, beat 1/2c unsalted butter, 3/4c raw sugar, vanilla essence and 1tbs finely chopped Earl Grey loose tea, until light and fluffy; add 3 room temp eggs, 1 at a time; beat well after each addition. Add flour mixture to wet mixture; pour in 1c full cream milk; mix until just blended - don’t over-mix; immediately pour into pan; bake until inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 25mins. Cool in pan 12mins before serving.

There you go! My abridged version - "Three Shades of Grey"!


  1. Pity about the B&B...

    But all sounds good!

  2. So where's the sexy bit, eh?

  3. Hi Lee,

    I noticed after I was grown and married that life wasn't as black and white as my parents portrayed it, but various shades of gray.

    Your recipe sounds good. :)


  4. I can't make up my mind which is the most fun... coming here for the stories or the recipes.

  5. As usual your writing "slays me" If you ever get the urge, you could very well write a book. Peace

  6. make me blush! I'm keeping that for myself!!!!

  7. Keep coming for both, Peter! I bet it's nippy up your certainly is here on this mountain! Give Gympie a hug for me. :)

  8. Hey, Lady Di! Great to see you! I hope all is well with you. Hugs. :)

  9.'s a bit like that isn't it, Janice....that dastardly shade of grey slips in when you're not looking or prepared for it!! :)

  10. Lets go back to the steamed up windows again.