I thought it might be a good idea to bash a post out whilst waiting for the flea man to arrive - his ETA is 'between 08.30 and 13.00' and it's now 11.30. I'm starting to worry that he's already been here, tried our notoriously temperamental door bell, got no response and cleared off again. Which would be not only very bad from the severely bitten Big Man's point of view but very annoying from the point of view of the person who got everything up off the floor in readiness for the spraying. That would be moi. Here's a tip on how you can tell there are fleas in your carpet; your cat won't lie down on any surface lower than 3ft. Hence Otto is currently asleep (or trying to sleep, in between my accusational rants at him) on the work surface in the kitchen. Yeah, I know it's not very hygienic but I'll get the Cillit Bang out later....
Anyway, that's by-the-by. I wanted to write about last Thursday when I did A Very Good Thing. We got a letter from Macmillan a couple months back asking if we would hold a Coffee Morning to raise funds. I talked it over with Mac, my manager and we decided to go for it. The home I work in is surrounded by sheltered accomodation flats...talking about incredibly independant old people here who own their flats and go out shopping in their mini-bus each week, garden, walk laps of the grounds in a healthy stylee - not sad, isolated, poor pensioners. We're building up links with our neighbours so I invited them to the fundraiser. Well, I invited their spokeslady Betty and she did the rest. I sent invitations to the school-on-the-corner; put our event on the Macmillan website; heck, I even baked. Peanut Butter Cupcakes and Best Lemon Bars if you're interested. I took the makeup we'd had donated plus plenty of other stuff Boots had given; found lots of items for raffle prizes (because I haven't got enough life left to use all the body lotion sets I've received at Christmases and birthdays lol!); and went to local supermarkets to ask for cake donations.....Co-op and Sainsburys, you rock! Tesco and Lidl, you stink! I was very nervous beforehand and also worried that I wouldn't be able to cope with everything on my own but Red very kindly came over and was a great big help plus one of the carers, Twinkle, gave up her afternoon off and was also fab. I couldn't have done it without them because we were totally over-run with guests.
Lakota has asked about the Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake. It was divine, my dears! The recipe is from a fantastic book I got (I think) from eBay called The Great American Bake Sale. I'm a massive fan of American cookery books and although they can be tricky to use, because they measure things differently to the UK, they're fine if you have the American cups and liquid cups jug. Mine came from the US but I assume you can get them online. I also have an absolutely fab book that I bought ages ago called American Cooking in England - it's written by Delora Jones, an American ex-pat who gives all sorts of measurement conversions plus she tells you what American ingredients are called in the UK. Did you know that what we call chick peas they call garbanzo beans? Very, very useful but sadly out of print right now. Delora does however have an updated version coming out next month though at £28 it's a bit steep if you're just a casual American recipe user. I see there is ONE copy of The Pocketbook Guide To American Cooking in England on Amazon for £3.99.....
Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake - makes one 9 x 13-inch sheet cake
1lb SR flour
1lb castor sugar
3T cocoa powder
1t bicarbonate of soda
1/2 pint Coke (not cheapo version, must be the Real Thing!)
8oz butter or margerine
4floz buttermilk (I used regular milk with a biggish squeeze of lemon juice)
2 eggs, well-beaten
1t vanilla extract
4oz mini marshmallows
Preheat oven to 175C
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa and bicarb in mixing bowl. Combine Coke and butter/marg in saucepan and bring to boil. Pour over dry ingredients and stir to blend. Mix in buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and marshmallows (batter will be thin). Pour into greased and floured (I use Wilton Cake Release instead. Get it at The Range or Lakeland) 9 x 13-inch pan. bake 35-38 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes then spread with warm frosting.
4oz butter or margerine
3T cocoa powder
1lb icing sugar
5oz chopped, toasted pecans
Combine butter, Coke and cocoa in saucepan and bring just to boil. Pour over icing sugar and blend until smooth (I did this with my stick blender). Stir in pecans. Use while warm.
This is just gorgeous, if not a bit sickly. I found it took longer than even 38 minutes to cook because it's a very runny batter in a biggish tin so I had to cover it with foil half way through to stop it burning whilst it cooked. You don't HAVE to put pecans in the frosting but it makes it damned delicious if you do. And no, I don't have any photos - it didn't last that long. You can find the recipes for Peanut Butter Cupcakes and Best Lemon Bars in The Great American Bake Sale too....only 46p plus postage on Amazon.
Go gettit folks!!!!!