What I’ve Learned This Week.

Hello, and a very happy Friday to you.  This week … or is it this month in general?,  seems to be positively whizzing past!   There are only 9 days left (as of today 17/2/2017) of this month!   Y’know .. considering that February only has two or three days short of the other months, it seems (to me at least) to go twice as quick!

I’ve learned this week … that Little Cobs (my Grandson aged 5) still (apparently) believes that I can do ‘stuff’ with Lego.  I can’t.  To be honest, I’m unsure whether it’s misplaced faith, or out-and-out humour which keeps him asking.

He hands the big red storage box of Lego over to me (for that read: shoves the box into my hands) with the instruction:- “Build me something Grammy!”, he has this smile on his face teamed with a twinkle in his eye which tells me that this little chap is holding in hysterical laughter as he enjoys watching me squirm and groan as I roll my eyes and experience the pain of being a non-starter in the game of Lego Builder of the Year!  (at which I lose BIG TIME!).  But he allows me to struggle as he watches me take out a brick, peer at it through my glasses and just when I think it might ‘fit’ … he takes it off me with the words:  “Give it to me Grammy” … and he sighs a tired sigh which says:  ‘Give it to me and Grandad.  We know what we’re doing.’

This week I also learned:  That I LOVE those blow torches which you see professional chefs using!

They’re called a ‘Cooks Blow Torch’  –  and I’ve had mine for . . . .  (wait for this) . . .  about 6 years.  (I know, I know!)  It was bought as a gift for me, from daughter No.2,  and should have been taken from the packaging AND USED when I first received it.

To be honest:  I looked at it when I received it and was fully up for using it….  however … I read the instructions and they scared the living snot out of me.  Everything went back in the packaging and it’s stayed in there since.

But … I found a recipe for some cupcakes in a Sunday Supplement Magazine and SOOO wanted to make the cakes.  The recipe gave an option of putting the cupcakes under the grill, or using a Cooks Blow Torch to brown off the topping.  So … since Mr. Cobs was there, I told him to hang around the kitchen while I tried this new (old now! sheesh!) toy out as I was scared silly of burning the house down … or me!  But …  OH.  MY.  GOODNESS!!!  I have found out that I LOVE Cooks Blow Torches!  Aw my stars, these things are magical!  Although mind…  please, if you go out and buy one, do be careful with them because they can be dangerous – they are a blow torch after all,  … but ohhhh I LOVE mine!

(…And daughter No.2 is really very pleased that I’m now using it!  LOL)

Now this next ‘thing I learned’ is probably not news to folks from the USA, but cor, was it an eye opener to me!

I learned this week that …  In the U.S. you can buy bras with in-built gun holsters!  Now see, this both tickled me, and at the same time, my brain said:  “Well that would be totally useless to you kiddo!”.  You see …  I have a little too much .. erm … no.  Hang on.  Let me put this another way.  I, uhm  …  .  No. No.  Wait.  I’m sure I can get this worked out.   I’m afraid that there would be a problem with me having an in-built gun holster in my bra beeeecauuuuse ...  I don’t have enough spare room to begin with.  There.  That sorts that out.

I tuck my cell (mobile) phone down my bra, because one really can’t look lady-like and carry a cell phone – but I can only tuck it down the right side of my bra, for if I tuck it down the left side, I found out that it makes my heart race.  Yes.  Seriously.  I’m not joking.  I can feel my heart begin to quicken and pound hard in my chest after a short while of having my cell phone stored on the left. So I stopped carrying it around on that side of my body pretty darn quick once I realised that it only happened when my cell phone was on the same side as my heart.

Now a cell phone is very much slimmer than a gun – so I don’t think I would be able to hide one adequately.  I guess I could just hang one on a chain around my neck …. although trying to pull it up could cause an accident if it caught on the bra.  Mmm.. I think I’d better think it out again! (as the song from ‘Oliver’ goes)

Now I know that I’ve learned an awful lot of other things this week, but for the life of me I can’t remember what they are.  Had I been a sensible Cobs, I would have made a note of them like I normally try to do, as I learn things, so that I can share them with you.  However, apparently this week, sensible wasn’t managable.  Not even for a numbskull like me!  tsk tsk.

So  … shall we go straight into the jokes, because I know that’s all you’re here for?

Ok. …  get ready … here they come:

Q…  What is invisible and smells like carrots?    …. A:-Rabbit Farts.

Q…What do you do when you see a spaceman?  …A:-Park Your Car, Man

Q…What do you call a Bee who’s having a bad hair day?  …A:-Frisbee

Q…What do you call a pig that does karate?   A:-Pork Chop

Q…What’s the best way to carve wood?  …A:-Whittle by whittle

Q…How does a lion like his meat?   …A:-Roar

Q…What kind of horses go out after dark?  …A:-Nightmares

Q…How does the man in the moon cut his hair?  …A:-Eclipse it.

and I bring to you  . . .   a beautiful poem . . . .

My eyes are full of tears, 

and they can no longer see. 

I wish that you were here, 

to chop these onions for me.

Finally ….

For those of you who might be wondering what the Cup Cakes were which I made this week and used my Blow Torch on …. here’s the recipe, along with a photo of the finished cakes.

I’d invited Little Cobs round to Afternoon Tea, and told him to bring his Mummy of course!  His school was on its half term break this week so I thought it might break the week up for him, and give his mummy some brain chill time by inviting them both round to afternoon tea.

There were little sandwiches, tiny sausage rolls (cocktail sized), and cocktail sausages because he loves them, and one or two other things which I know can tempt him – which probably aren’t on the Queens Afternoon Tea list of fun food, but they’re firmly on Little Cobs list.  I wanted to make him some cakes.  I made Lemon Meringue and Strawberry Cupcakes …  the recipe for which I’d found in the Sunday Supplement magazine which came with one of the weekend newspapers.  He LOVED them.  So much so that he asked if he could have another one.  So did his mummy!  (I have to admit … they are rather more’ish’.  You have been warned!)

lemonmeringue-and-strawberry-cupcakes

Lemon Meringue and Strawberry Cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

cook time 20 minutes, plus cooling.

FOR THE SPONGES

  • 100g (4oz) baking spread (such as Flora)
  • 150g (5oz) self-raising flour
  • 150g (5oz) castor sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 2 eggs
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 7g (¼ oz) freeze-dried strawberries.  If they don’t have the really tiny chopped up dried strawberry pieces, then do what I did,  —  using the back of a wide bladed knife, press and crush a little at a time of the dried strawberry pieces until they’re tiny enough.
  • ½ jar homemade or shop-bought lemon curd

FOR THE MERINGUE TOPPING

  • 2 egg whites
  • 100g (4oz) castor sugar
  1. You will need a 12-hole muffin tin lined with paper cases and a piping bag fitted with a plain 1cm (½ in) nozzle (optional). Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
  2. First make the sponges. Measure the baking spread, flour, sugar, milk and eggs into a large bowl and add the lemon zest. Use an electric hand whisk to beat until light and fluffy, then fold in three-quarters of the strawberries. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases (see tip), dividing it evenly among them. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden, risen and springy to the touch. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.
  3. When the cupcakes are cold, use a small sharp knife to cut a circle (about the diameter of a £2 coin) in the centre of each cake and scoop out a walnut-sized piece of sponge to leave a hole. Spoon 1 teaspoon of lemon curd into each hole, making sure the curd is level with the top of the cake.  (You can buy a little gizmo which will remove a ‘plug’ of cake in just the right size.  I found mine quite some time ago, on a cooks website.  But there must be lots of places you can get one, – if you think you’ll get use out of it).
  4. To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites until stiff in a large, spotlessly clean bowl using an electric hand whisk. Gradually add the sugar a little at a time and continue whisking on full speed until you have a stiff glossy mixture.
  5. Use a small palette knife to spread some of the meringue mixture on the top of each cupcake, or pipe the mixture on if using a piping bag, and place back in the moulds of the muffin tin. Use a blowtorch or heat briefly under a hot grill to lightly brown the tops of the cupcakes – watching carefully as it only takes a minute – and sprinkle over the remaining dried strawberries to serve. Allow to cool and enjoy!

If you don’t use the measurements shown above, but instead use ‘cups’ or something else – then Google will be your friend for the conversions.

If you use a different system of cooking heat, again, ask Google and it will give you the conversion to what you use in your country.

Close ups so that you can see them better ….  although I’m sorry about the blurry images … they were the best I had.

Well that’s another week done and dusted.  Have you learned anything this week?  Do share, as I’m sure I must bore the arms and legs off the proverbial donkey with my ramblings, and I’d love to do some of your learnings!

Have a fabulous Friday….  and a truly wonderful weekend.  Try not to get in a twist over stuff – and that includes Politics.  There are enough people to do that, give yourself the weekend off.

May your days be peaceful, may any visitors you have come bringing warm smiles and happy hearts, and may the Fairy of Fun sprinkle you with happy dust.

Sending weekend squidges and soft little kisses to your head!  Stay safe, stay warm, stay happy, be good to each other and … be good to yourself.  You’re worth it.

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