Saturday, September 1, 2012

Funeral Blues, Quilts and Clocks, No Bowling. MRI.

On his recent blog, Bob Scotney had an audio of the poem Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden which was used in Four Weddings and a Funeral. I found that to be the most moving scene in the whole movie. I made sure to have a copy of the poem it impressed me so much, but Bob has gone one further and has the audio. Not sure who is reciting, but it is very well done although I liked the movie version.

I think I’ve mentioned before that when I lived in the UK 37 years ago, quilts were not a biggie, on my horizon anyway. To me at that time, quilting was something quiltdone by thrifty housewives taking patches from all kinds of remnants of cloth and making a quilt from it. So when I first arrived in Canada, I was astounded to see they were a really big thing here. In the farmer’s markets you see them for sale at pretty high prices, people have quilting bees and some stores specialise in them and I can’t tell you the amount of times I have seen quilts being raffled. I have also seen TV programmes about special quilts and so on. All very surprising to me. I forgot to mention quilting competitions. They really do fetch a lot of money, but then the quilters put a lot of effort into them. What made me thing of this was something I saw on Grandfather Clocks which, wen I was in the UK, was something some people had and most of us didn’t, but I had no particular desire to own one and didn’t know of anyone busting to acquire one. Nothing that special. Once again, in North America, they are extremely popular. I don’t know how people put up with the chimes. As you will gather, I have never had any particular desire to own either of these items.

What a fiasco, I am actually writing this on Friday. We headed out to the bowling alley, and got held up in traffic. In the first place there was lots of it around and in Pin_Animation1the second place there was a bus broken down on the main street. We got to the alley 10 minutes before our game to discover the door locked. Headed back to the car and someone called that the door was now unlocked so we went inside and waited. Absolutely no-one else turned up. According to the young man running the place today the door somehow locked itself. We think the few other bowlers who were due probably found the door closed and went back home. Oh well - when we come back from vacation!!! We drove home through more thick traffic. I have never seen traffic round here so bad, might be because it’s a holiday weekend, but don’t see why.

Tonight we are finally going to eat the skirt steak I bought a week or two back. Will let you know how it is on Monday. Just as well to have some cold meat left over as Matt has an MRI at 4:55 p.m. on Sunday which they say may well take a couple of hours. He even has to take his own CD.

The picture of this recipe caught my eye a few days ago, and I decided to share it because it looks so delicious. How many people, these days, would make the effort for this cake, I don’t know, but anyway, here it is. It reminds me of the cakes my mother used to make for me when I was a very little girl although probably not with strawberries.

Strawberry Birthday Cake


Active Time: 40 Minutes

Total Time: 3 Hours 15 MinutesStrawberry birthday Cake
10 servings

Click here to find out more!This classic cake is perfect for a birthday - just team with strawberry ice cream. For fancier occasions, such as bridal showers or even a small wedding, decorate with colored marzipan.

For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

6 large egg whites, beaten to blend

1 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

For Filling and Decorating:

4 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream

1 cup strawberry preserves

2 pounds strawberries, hulled, sliced

1 pound strawberries, hulled

1 1/2 pounds marzipan (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper; butter paper. Dust pans with flour. Combine first 4 ingredients in bowl of electric stand mixer. Add butter and mix with whisk attachment until mixture resembles moist crumbs. Add milk, egg whites and extracts. Mix until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely.

DO-AHEAD TIP: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap well with plastic and store at room temperature.

Using long serrated knife, cut each cake layer evenly into 2 layers. Using electric mixer, beat 2 1/2 cups cream in large bowl until firm peaks form. Place 1 cake layer on platter or cake plate. Spread cake with 1/3 cup strawberry preserves. Arrange strawberry slices evenly over preserves. Spread enough cream over strawberries to cover (about 3/4 cup). Repeat layering cake, preserves, strawberries and cream two times; top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining whipped cream over top and sides of cake.

Using electric mixer, beat remaining 2 cups cream in large bowl until firm peaks form. Place whole strawberries over top of cake, points up, leaving 1 1/2-inch border. Using pastry bag fitted with large star tip, pipe cream up sides of cake in vertical lines. Frost top border of cake with remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate until whipped cream is set, about 2 hours.

DO-AHEAD TIP: Can be made up to 6 hours ahead.

ALTERNATIVE MARZIPAN DECORATION: Instead of decorating the cake with piped whipped cream and whole strawberries, roll out half of marzipan between 2 sheets of parchment paper into thin (about 1/8-inch thick) round. Using 9-inch round cake pan as template, cut out 9-inch round from marzipan. Set round aside.

Knead scraps into remaining marzipan, then roll out between sheets of parchment into 14 by 10-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle into two 5-inch wide strips. Place 1 strip carefully against side of cake, pressing gently to adhere. Place remaining strip on opposite side of cake, covering side of cake with marzipan. Place round on top of cake. Press down edges.

Gather marzipan scraps. Color with green and red food coloring if desired. Decorate with hand-molded berries and vines.

DO-AHEAD TIP: Marzipan covered cake can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate

Have a great weekend



  1. I thought about using the Funeral Blues clip with John Hannah but decided to go with the straight audio as it seemed more appropriate for my post. Thanks for the link Jo.

    1. I thought the clip you used was great Bob.

  2. Cake sounds really good. Sorry no one showed up for bowling.

    1. I just hope that the one guy, who travels by bus, didn't show up and find the door locked. Its possible some of the bowlers just turned around and went home. There are only a few of us on a Friday anyway.

  3. All that traffic and then no one showed up, hmph that just sucks. And yeah, great poem.

  4. Hi Jo .. loved that film .. now cakes like that .. they're the best! I love marzipan ... the bowling sounds a right pain as you say ..

    Cheers Hilary

    1. I haven't had marzipan in years, I used to like it, but it isn't much used here. I loved that movie too, seen it a couple of times.

      Your comment went to spam once again. No idea why.

  5. I think the reason its a big thing in Canada is because it is not common that there are quilting especially in the city.

    1. In fact it seems to be very common to have people making quilts, particularly the Mennonite or Amish peoples. You are right though, probably not in the cities.