A to Z Challenge – Xmas

XMAS: Abbreviation for Christmas

My trusty 1976 dictionary contained only 26 X words.  It did however have Xmas as one of the 26 words so I am kind of grasping at straws and using an abbreviation – it was difficult finding a suitable word.

So in keeping with the Xmas theme I am sharing with you a fabulous Xmas cake recipe. For the last 10 years, in late October early November, I make at least 20 Xmas cakes for friends and family using a recipe given to me by a friend.  This was her mother’s recipe so it is at least 2 – 3 generations old.  Enjoy.

Bobbie’s Christmas Cake

Place in a large pan

  • 1/2 1b butter
  • 1 & 1/2 1bs brown sugar
  • 1 x 15oz tin of fruit salad
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 1200 grams  mixed fruit
  • 2-3 teaspoons various spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice)

Bring to the boil, simmer for 1 minute and cool

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When mixture cool add

  • 4 well beaten eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of golden syrup

then add

  • 2 cups wholemeal flour
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Mix all together 

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Line the bottom  of 9 inch cake tin with paper

Bake 130C for 3-4 hours 

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Notes:

  • The mixture of metric and imperial measurements is as it came from Bobbie.
  • Rather than icing the Xmas cake, decorate the top with almonds and/or glaze cherries before putting it in the oven to cook.
  • I use less sugar than the recipe states.
  • It is okay to double the recipe and I often use different size tins depending on who I am baking for.  Baking time will differ with size of tin used.
  • I have fan oven, so I lower the oven temperature to 120/125C

Thanks Bobbie for your recipe

A to Z Challenge – Quandary

QUANDARY: State of perplexity, difficult situation, practical dilemma.

 

Some questions just can’t be answered.

A couple of years ago, I was in my local supermarket standing in the aisle where the water is housed.  I was after some water with gas – the fizzy type.

I was distracted by someone in my peripheral vision.

She was about 80 years young

Immaculately dressed

And small in stature.

She stood beside me and perused the shelves of water at her eye level, my chest level.

We acknowledged each other with a smile, eye contact with an understanding that maybe we had known each other in another time.  Like minded humans, very comfortable.

Standing together mesmerised at the incredible selection of water.

Spring water, natural spring water, well water, still water, natural water, sparkling water, water with vitamins, water and lime, rose-water, water for energy, organic water and on and on.  Water in plastic, water in glass, water in cans, water in boxes. 6 packs, 12 packs, single bottles.

Finally a choice made.  Reaching on tippy toes for a glass bottle, she clasped it firmly in both hands and read the label.

Looking up at me with a perplexed look on her face she asked a question

“How do they know that this 1000 year old pure spring water expires in May 2016?”

A to Z Challenge – Pen Friend

PEN FRIEND: col Pen Pal – friend with whom one corresponds without meeting.

 

Pen to paper – who writes anymore

I can’t remember when I learnt to read and write.  As a young child, reading and writing was something I did at school, and when the bell rang for the end of the school day, I played.  At home, reading or story writing was not something my parents encouraged me to do.

My sister and I were brought up in the days of that classic saying “children should be seen and not heard”. There was no encouragement from our elders to actively participate in conversation or debate, and critical thinking was definitely not on the radar. To interact with adults was considered rude. Our contribution to problem solving was never required, even if the problem was related to us.  Our opinions were considered unimportant as decision making was the responsibility of grown-ups.

So my sister delved into the world of books and in a simple turn of a page escaped into the worlds of fantasy and adventure and I discovered the world of writing.   As a youngster, reading was not something I enjoyed, but at the age of ten, I found and replied to an advertisement in a magazine for a pen pal.  This was the start of a long letter writing relationship with a girl from Malaysia who was exactly my age.

I grew up on a small Pacific island in the years when the sight of an aeroplane was a novelty. At school, we were allowed outside to watch the Calibration planes fly over and land on the airfield nearby, a truly exhilarating experience.  Now, the thought of corresponding with someone from the other side of the world was a bigger thrill especially when our letters could be in those planes flying overhead.  I was so excited receiving her letters addressed to me.  I would devour every word that spilled off the pages and imagine her life in Malaysia and hoped that she would be doing the same with my letters.  In my best handwriting,  I responded to every comment she made; celebrating her achievements and sympathising with her disappointments. Meticulously I wrote my news, and surprisingly I had so much to tell her. This was my way of overcoming the “seen but not heard” philosophy of my parent’s generation.  Someone was hearing me.  I felt liberated.  Several pages later, the letter was neatly folded, inserted into an envelope, addressed, stamp attached and posted.   The wait for her reply seemed forever, and that reply sometimes took weeks to arrive.  I was never disappointed.  For the first ten years our letter writing was fervent.  We were pen pals!

 

A to Z Challenge – Life

LIFE:  Active part of existence, business and pleasures of the world

 

 

Playing trolley tag in the supermarket

Aisle much narrower than the norm

Harassed employee unstacks

then restacks shelves

Clutching coupons he appears agitated

Scrutinises then grabs selected product

Must be a big specials day

Shopper dithering over meat selection

all I want is the lamb shank displayed in front of her

I lean on trolley and wait my turn

Be patient

I wonder

What they are thinking

as product mechanically put in trolleys

Choices made

Would I buy that?

Checkout

Pimply faced boy starts the operation

Lamb shank scanned

Loyalty card swiped

Card inserted, pin keyed

Payment made

There done!

A to Z Challenge – Jim Jams

JIM JAMS: Delirium tremens; fit of depression or nervousness

Delirium tremens: a severe psychotic condition occurring in some persons with chronic alcoholism, characterized by delirium, tremor, anxiety, and vivid hallucinations

 

Stop!  I thought jim jams were pj’s, pyjamas, sleep wear.

This is when my trusty dictionary is replaced by Google.  So what does google say:

Colins Online Dictionary:

  1. a slang word for delirium tremens
  2. a state of nervous tension, excitement, or anxiety
  3. (informal) pyjamas

So how did pyjamas morf into jim jams?

 

A to Z Challenge – Honour

HONOUR:  respect highly, confer dignity upon, acknowledge

I honour my mother

 

She has the reputation of being a master “ei” maker on the island of Rarotonga.

An ei is a garland made of flowers worn around the neck or on top of head.

Mum picks flowers from her garden with the love and care that bestows any living thing, respecting the gift of nature.  In her garden frangipani, gardenia and hibiscus flourish.

She creates each ei with joy and tenderness, her hands gently transforming flowers into beautiful garland, a story unfolding. She looks on with pride as she gifts them to family and friends.

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Mum and I wearing her “ei” ©hk photography

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