Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Make a Wish . . .

"Make a wish, then close your eyes,
Forget all the lows, just go for the highs.
Dance to the moon, yes, climb to the top,
Dance to the stars, with a spring and a hop.
But if that star fades and you think it has gone,
I'll always be there - to switch it back on."

Most people have friends. When I think back through the years, I have always had a lot of what I would call acquaintances, but very few true friends. I can count the true ones on my fingers. You know the type of people I mean . . . I mean the type of people that you can tell your deepest, darkest thoughts to and you know they will understand, and they will keep them to themselves. They might not always agree with you, but they will respect your right to think what you think or to do the things you might do . . .

When I think about it, in my whole adult life I have never, up until these past few years, had a friend that I could tell all my thoughts to, except for possibly my sister. When you are living in an abusive situation you just can't reveal those types of things to people. Saying it out loud makes it real. Telling someone, means you might have to do something about it, and doing something about it is not always an option . . . especially if you think you might lose your children. Saying it out loud gives a voice to the feelings you might be having . . . like maybe you really are stupid, or useless . . . or unlovable . . . or, God forbid, unwanted . . .

I'm happy to say that I have lots of friends now . . . people I can trust with my darkest voices, and my deepest secrets. Some of them may live on the other side of the world and I might never have touched their hands in person, but our hearts have touched. Just knowing that they think of me daily means the world to me. I am so grateful for this Internet thing, for it has opened my heart to possibilities and dreams . . . and it has brought a lot of very wonderful people in to my life . . . my invisible friends. Invisible, but no less important than the ones I can see and touch, and in some ways even more important than the ones that are tangible. I have never been very good with the spoken word. I get all tongue tied and words just don't come out the way I want them to . . . but with the written (typed) word I come alive. Words and thoughts spring from the tips of my fingers with abandon and freedom, unfettered by my natural shyness.

I have a little day calender for this year, 2009. It has on it the artwork of Mary Englebreit, and each day has a lovely thought. Monday's thought was "Friends are the family you choose for yourself." (Edna Buchanan) Underneath the words there is a picture of these little girls sitting around a tiny table and having a tea party together with their teddies.

I like that thought. It warms and touches my heart and when I think about it, each and every time I sit down to write here at Oak Cottage, it is like a little tea party I am having with my friends, and I feel like I am with family. I'm so grateful for that, and for you . . .

I bet you are all wondering what my new stove looks like! Here's a picture of it, all shiny and new, and filled with possibility! It has a ceramic top, like my old one. I love ceramic hobs. They are so easy to keep clean and I find they work quite well. I have two ovens. A upper grill oven and a lower bake oven, which is also a fan oven. With my old stove I had the choice of using either a fan or a regular oven, so I will have to get used to this fan oven. I think they cook quicker and at lower temperatures. That is something I will have to study and play with a bit. I think Todd did quite well picking this out by himself! I cooked him a nice supper in it last night and then for dessert . . . why . . . I made Lemon Meringue Cupcakes!

*Lemon Meringue Cupcakes*
Makes about 9

Imagine your favourite pie in a lovely little cake that you can hold in your hand, and that is just the perfect size for . . . you! Golden and buttery with a gooey lemon centre and topped with luscious meringue. It's all good.

115g butter, softened
100g white sugar
2 large eggs
115g self raising flour
the grated zest and juice of one lemon
3 TBS good quality lemon curd

To finish:
150g sugar
3 egg whites

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cases, or butter it really well and dust with flour, tapping out any excess. Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Sift the flour over top and then fold it in. Stir in the lemon zest and the lemon juice.

Using a dessert spoon, spoon a dollop into each muffin cup. Make a tiny indentation into each dollop with the back of a teaspoon. Drop a tiny dollop of lemon curd into each indent. Top with the remaining cake batter.

Bake for about 17 minutes, until well risen and golden, and a toothpick inserted into the centre of one comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Let cool for a few minutes before removing completely from the tin and on to a wire rack.

Place the egg whites into a bowl. Beat until soft peaks form, then continue to beat while slowly adding the sugar. Beat until they are stiff and shiny. Using a piping bag (if desired) pipe a whirl on top of each cake. Place the meringue topped cakes onto a baking sheet and pop them back into the oven. Bake for a few minutes longer until they brown slightly.

**Alternately you can make an Italian Meringue frosting. TO do so place 2 egg whites and the sugar into a bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Beat constantly with an electric mixer until the mixture is thick and glossy and stands in peaks. Pipe this mixture on top of the cupcakes and let set for at least 30 minutes before eating, for a soft meringue, or for at least 3 hours for a firm meringue.


  1. Ooooh Marie -- You made your cupcakes. They are beautiful!

    I am so glad you got your new oven. It is so shiny and pretty! You will make so many wonderful dishes with that beautiful oven!

    I am so sorry you went through such hard times alone. You are such a wonderful, sweet person -- I feel so lucky to have met you. Your words bring so much happiness into my life. Thank you!!!


  2. What a LOVELY oven!! You must be so happy!!

    I so agree with what you have shared here, Marie. I have been on some similar paths myself. It has not been easy to find true friends, especially ones who live closeby...but the internet has been a help in this way, for sure. Thanks for sharing your heart here.

  3. OK my friend...where can I get a conversion table so I can make these cupcakes??? They look so good...and lemon meringue is one of John's favorites... and I don't have a clue about the amounts you listed. Isn't that sad! Is America the only country that doesn't teach our students to be fluent in both measuring systems?

    Like you I am amazed by the friendships that can be made over the Internet. I have met so many nice people that I care about that I may never meet but they are my friends.... and then there is you. You have become a part of my daily life and thoughts. You are not my invisable friend or Internet are my friend... as real to me as any friends I have. You are dear to me and I know that I can tell you both my joys and sorrows, my faults and my accomplishments and you are there for me. Thank you for that. I count on you and you never let me down. I hope that you know that I am there for you too....except Sunday when I regret that I did not get your email about your stove and I am sorry...

    My fond dream is that we can meet in person one day. Some how I am sure that will happen. Until then, I cherish the friendship that we are blessed to have through the cyber world. God bless you sweet Marie.... oh....and enjoy that new stove.

  4. Just reading Grammy Staffy's comment it occurs to me how lucky we are here, people like us, in their 50's, specially, because we learned good ol' pounds and ounces plus the european measurements which, in my view, are more precise than English. The American cups of this and that and sticks of butter tend to defeat me a bit and I have to work it all out in ounces or grams before I start! Australian recipes use cups too but I think their cups are different from American. Ooh this internet has a lot to answer for!

    Posh oven there. My mum took ages to get used to her fan oven but swears by it now.

    love, Angie, xx

  5. I just heard rain hitting my bedroom window.... I can't believe it. I had to get up and go see it for myself...just in case I was dreaming...and it is real rain...Yeah!

    I asked you to send us some of your rain and you did. Thanks for sharing because we need it so badly. You really are amazing Marie... and always willing to share.

    Now then to be a good friend I need to keep my end of the bargain and send you some of our sun... I am trying to send sunshine your way. Is it working??? I hope so.

  6. Your new stove looks fabulous! I know what you mean about friends. I always had a hard time making them, and still do. Other than a few good friends down here and you, the only real friends I have are my Invisible Friends! But I prefer quality over quanity. :)

    I wish we lived near each other. Ben's serious about his diet and asked me to quit baking. I'm going to die.

  7. love the new oven...

    sorry haven't been by...

    it's 26F here this morning...brrrr!!!

  8. Yes, Marie the internet is great and has brought us to know and love you so much.

    I am so happy for your new stove. It is just as I had in my head. I know how weird can I be with stoves dancing in my head. But just knew it would be the right one for you. Yes Todd did a splendid job!

    I don't know how you topped yourself but those cupcakes look fantastic! Sort of like they will be sinfully delicious! I will have to make them on a day my sugar is sort of low and then delight myself with one. ooo they look very good.

    Blessings and bushel baskets of hugs,
    Ruthanne oxox

  9. A very sweet and sincere post Marie. Friends are very important to me too, I'm an only child so my friends are, in many ways, like my family. I love all my cyber friends too, each one brightens my day. I love your new stove, it has a cute personality and I know many delicious meals and treats will be made there. Todd did a good job. Well happy cooking to you and I wish you a lovely week.

  10. You are so right about true friends. They are very hard to come by. I think the friends I have now are more like the aqaintances you mentioned. I too love the internet and enjoy keeping in touch with others . I love the new stove. It will be well used I'm sure. Have a lovely Wednesday. 'On Ya'ma

  11. Oh, Marie! Please, if I am very sick or dying...would you bring me one of these lemon meringue cupcakes?! ;o) These look like great joy to eat...and I Can't to try the recipe--being a great lover myself of anything with lemon...or meringue! Your new stove/oven is wonderful!! A ceramic cooktop...OH, I dream of one of stove. I so know how you feel about true, true friends. Your path of friendship has been similar to my own. True-heart friends are few, but the most special. You are among mine! :o) LOVE YOU HEAPS! ((BIG HUGS))

  12. Good morning Marie
    A good friend is such a blessing. My sister is my best friend, but she lives far away. I am happy for you now find yourself surrounded by the kind of friends you need.
    Your new stove is awesome. There were 12 robins drinking out of my little pond this morning but by the time I got my camera they were gone. Such a wonderful sight!
    Hugs, Rhondi

  13. I love the stove! It will be so fun for you to experiment and find how it works best. Friends whether near or far create a sense of peace and joy, I am so happy that you feel that now so completely. Yum on the cupcakes. I would never have thought to do merengue. Lovely! Hugs from California!!

  14. Wow, you've got me in tears once again. We have so many things in common...your feelings, fears, and struggles so often mirror mine, even though our circumstances are different. You express things I've not known how to express and it is such and emotional release when I see you having the courage to express things I still can't. I hope you know that you have become very important to me. I feel we've known each other. You feel like a member of my friend family.

    The cupcakes are incredible!!! And the stove makes me quite jealous!!!

  15. Your new oven is beautiful! I'm sure you are having fun breaking it in!

  16. I love those cupcakes!!

    As ever, spot on about frienship.

  17. Marie!!!! I want a lemon pie now!!!!aains!! look lovely and I love lemon pies!!

    Your oven is lovely.
    Marie you know how I love you and Todd too!!! ejem!!! Gloria

  18. Sweet Marie, You deserve the best, both in the lovely new oven and many special friends! You've come so far from where you must have been. You are very courageous and remarkable. My heart goes out to you. And, about those cupcakes, they look so fabulous my wish would be to snatch one off the computer screen!

  19. What a grand spanking new stove! You will delight in using it! Another lovely post. You never cease to amaze me with your writings! As we are the sum of all of our experiences...the bad as well as the good...our God has definitely shaped you into a warm, loving, creative, talented,and compassionate lady who brightens the hearts of so many! Especially your dear friends via the internet world! We love you, Marie! We celebrate when you do; we are sad for you when you are down; and we keep you in our prayers. You were a patient woman while you were enduring your past and I know you have the patience within you to wait for the right card company to want your cards! It will happen one day...I just feel it!

  20. Marie - Eleanor Roosevelt said that, "The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams." Forgot to add that in my previous message.

  21. Oooh! I LOVE your new oven, and those cupcakes sure look great, too!

    And I loved reading your wonderful thoughts on friendship.

  22. Your new stove looks lovely! Lemon meringue cupcakes sound delicious. They look great!

  23. Ooh I'm so glad you made your cupcakes - I was intrigued by the idea! They look lovely, as does your shiny new oven :D

  24. I am so happy you got your new stove. It is lovely.

    I am going to have to try those cupcakes. My husband loves lemon.

    Thank you for your thoughts as alwyas.

  25. Love the new cooker MAJ! And I gonna try those cakes too.
    Gaz xx

  26. Loved this post, I couldn't agree more with what you said about friends :)

    Love your new stove, and the cupcakes...well YUM!

  27. What a lovely post. Friends are very special people, indeed.

    Love your new stove, and the lemon cupcakes sound SO delicious!

    Have a wonderful day.

  28. Yes the internet is wonderful, i am totally amazed at the friendships I've made because of it. Marie those cupcakes are beautiful!!! I love them!

  29. Good morning everyone!!

    Just wanted to say how lovely your website is, lots of fresh colours, and pictures!
    How yummy do those cup cakes look? I would love to find a recipe for white choc, and strawberry muffins ready for Valentines Day!
    Ahhhh!!!!!!!!! I am getting really stressed out over Valentines Day already! Last year I was really down, and to compensate I ate A LOT of ice-cream! I really hope this year will be different! Don't you think there is always so much pressure on everyone to "get it right" with Valentines Day cards/booking meals way in advance/flowers/gifts... the list goes on!! However, I have found a new way to send greetings, and this all down to my lovely friend Alice. She sent me an e-Card for Christmas, (she was in New Zealand over the festive season)and I thought it was such a cool way to send greetings, I have now been converted!
    I have trawled the internet and have found some really cool sites, but my fav one so far is called I found it really easy to use and the best thing is that it's free! Lots of different themes of cards to choose from, and lots of funny, and cute ones too. There is a great application where you can load your own photos and add them to the card.(This is called Face It) I put one of my mum in there and sent it to her, he said it made her smile. You can load different photos of your friends into different cartoon characters! My favorite one is the cartoon of Elvis dancing!
    Just wanted to share my findings with you! Hope you have a good Valentines Day whatever you do!
    Keep up the good work, and keep making yummy cakes!! :-)
    Kind Regards,

  30. I love that new stove! I bought a new one this year but couldn't get one with two ovens because it wouldn't fit in the spot I had. Enjoy! blessings, marlene

  31. Love your new stove Marie! Those cupcakes look yummy too!

  32. Exciting stove!! It's beautiful! And the cupcakes are v cute too.

  33. Yeah on the new stove!! Todd did a great job!!!


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