OK, I'm all better, well my desktop PC is thanks to the people at Avira who sent me to STOPzilla which fixed my virus problem. I was tearing my hair out at one point, if I hadn't at least had my laptop I would be totally bald by now LOL. As I said, I think the malware was delivered by an email which I stupidly opened. It purported to be from UPS about a delivery problem. As I was half expecting something to arrive by UPS or at least something had been delivered by them, I was dumb enough to open it without thinking properly.
Raquel Welch has been on Good Morning America a couple of times this week, the first time to promote her book Beyond the Cleavage and today just to chat about life in the US. She is incredible, at 69 she still looks as good as she did years ago in her movies - I don't know if she has had any face lifts, she doesn't look like she has, but her figure is great too, in fact I am as jealous as hell. Of course I didn't start off looking as good as she does; she must spend a great deal of time on preserving her looks and energy. She doesn't appear to have any aches and pains which seem to go with old age either. Sigh.
I was rather disappointed that due to so many medical appointments this week not to mention my computer problems, I didn't have time to make any Hot Cross Buns this year. Good Friday without them is just not the same. Matt has bought me a Lindt gold bunny for an Easter gift which I will try not to open til Sunday. They are rather delicious though and I will have to restrain myself. Maybe that's why Raquel looks so good, she doesn't have to fight herself over chocolate bunnies. Tomorrow I am going to cook a roast of lamb for dinner and have invited a neighbour to join us. It is a rather large lump of lamb too. Lamb to me is a traditional meat to serve for Easter although so many people in this part of the world don't seem to enjoy it. When I lived in the UK, lamb was not so scarce and therefore not too expensive, but although much more readily available here these days, it is still a very expensive meat.
I have mentioned before that I am a sucker for carrot cakes, especially the icing part. Yummy, I just found this recipe, through an email, on Cooking.com so thought I would share it. I don't have the ingredients handy otherwise I might be tempted.Easter Basket Cupcakes Source: Easter Treats: Recipes and crafts for the whole family Active Time: 20 Minutes Total Time: 45 Minutes Makes 24 cupcakes My mother made these cupcakes for me when I was growing up, and they are just as much fun to make now as they were then. Children can help peel the carrots, measure dry ingredients into a large bowl, and stir together the wet and dry ingredients. Place bowls of icing, coconut, and jelly beans on the table and demonstrate how to construct the first basket. Let the children assemble the rest. They can choose red licorice whips for the basket handle, or try one of the new fruit-flavored whips that come in colors as varied as yellow, orange, and pink. INGREDIENTS For the Cupcakes: 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 cup vegetable oil 3/4 cup buttermilk 4 large eggs 1 cup granulated sugar 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 1 pound carrots, peeled, grated (3 1/2 cups packed) 2 cups chopped walnuts 1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut 1 cup drained canned crushed pineapple For the Icing: 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 1 teaspoon grated orange zest 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 cups (1 pound) confectioners' sugar, sifted For the Decorating: 3 cups coconut Liquid or paste food coloring 72 jelly beans, in assorted colors 24 red licorice or other fruit-flavored whips DIRECTIONS FOR THE CUPCAKES: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, granulated and brown sugars, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the grated carrots, walnuts, coconut and pineapple. Using a wooden spoon, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined. Spoon into the lined muffin cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. FOR THE ICING: In a bowl beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer set at medium speed until light and fluffy. Grate in the orange zest and vanilla. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time. Continue beating until light and creamy. You should have about 3 cups. TO COLOR COCONUT: Dissolve a few drops of liquid or paste food coloring in 1 teaspoon water. Put coconut in a lock-top plastic bag and dribble dissolved food coloring over it. Seal bag and massage food coloring into the coconut until it is evenly distributed and no white streaks remain. TO ASSEMBLE: Spread the cooled cupcakes generously with the icing. Press the coconut onto the icing to resemble Easter basket grass. Press 3 jelly beans into the coconut grass on each cupcake. To create the basket handle, insert one end of a licorice whip into one side of a cupcake. (If you experience difficulty inserting the licorice, pierce the cupcake with the tip of a paring knife to ease the way.) Insert the other end into the opposite side of the cupcake, to form the semicircular handle. TO SERVE: Serve the cupcakes immediately, or cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill for up to 12 hours before serving.