Monday, January 7, 2013

Bowling, Snow, Downton, Taxes.

Today is our first day of Monday Senior’s League bowling after the holidays, I hope I do as well as on Friday.

Sunday it snowed on an off all day. Enough to cover the snow already in place, but not enough to cover the bare roads and driveways which will please the homeowners and drivers. People actually have the nerve to walk on the snow in the park and spoil its pristine beauty, how dare they!! Actually I would think it would be quite difficult to walk in the snow at the moment. Dogs don’t have a problem, but humans do as it is several inches deep.

Downton AbbeyDownton Abbey begins its third season on Sunday night. At the time of writing I haven’t watched it but some of the cast were interviewed on Good Morning America so I do know that his Lordship loses all his money which makes me assume that the reason her Ladyship’s mom, played by Shirley MacLaine, comes into the picture is that she has been asked to rescue the Crawley family financially. After all that’s why his Lordship took an American wife in the first place although they apparently fell in love at some point way before the series started; except in season 2 he was open to a bit of an affair with one of the maids. When I saw them being interviewed, I had no trouble recognising the men but the women looked so different from their parts I would never have realised if they hadn’t posted a picture of each character as they were interviewed.

Came across an article about Gérard Dépardieu, the French actor, who has nowCORRECTION Russia Protest been granted Russian citizenship – he has left France because of the proposed tax on millionaires amounting to 75% of their income. I don’t blame him, I would have skedaddled too. I personally don’t believe in taxing the rich disproportionately just because they have more money. Where is the incentive to achieve if all you are going to end up with is huge taxes. The rich will always be in a position to “bugger off” if necessary. In Russia there is a flat rate tax of 13%. In the picture he is holding up his new passport and is dressed in local costume.

There used to be a café in Emerald Isle, NC, which served custard ice cream, which I loved, and a seven layer chocolate cake, which I also loved. Always had trouble deciding which one to choose. Sadly they closed down a few years ago. The following recipe makes me think of their cake.

Mile-High Chocolate Layer Cake

Source: Casual Cuisines of the World - Diner

Makes one 3-layer, 9-inch cake; serves 10

Click here to find out more!With a typically American love of exaggeration, any multilayered cake might be Mile High Choc Cakedubbed "mile-high." But watch the expressions when this towering cake is presented, and the name will seem perfectly fitting. Rich and crumbly on the inside and covered with dense frosting, it's a chocolate lover's delight.

For Cake:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk

For Frosting:

2 cups heavy cream

15 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch cake pans.

FOR CAKE: In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Set aside. In the top pan of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over (not touching) simmering water in a pan, melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the cooled chocolate and the vanilla and mix until blended. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Tap them on a countertop to rid the batter of any air pockets. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then invert the cakes onto the racks to cool completely.

FOR FROSTING: In a heavy saucepan over high heat, bring the cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, butter and vanilla, stirring constantly until both the chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is smooth. Place the pan in the refrigerator and stir every 15 minutes. The frosting will begin to set after about 50 minutes and will be quite thick. Check every 5 minutes near this point for a spreadable consistency. (If the frosting becomes too thick, let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until it softens to a spreadable consistency.)

TO ASSEMBLE: Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a 12-inch cake plate. Spread the top with one-fourth of the frosting. Place the second cake layer, flat side up, on top of the first, and flatten gently with your hand. Spread the top of the second layer with one-third of the remaining frosting. Place the third layer, flat side up, on top and again flatten gently. Frost the top and sides of the cake quickly, using all of the remaining frosting. Using a flat-edged knife or icing spatula, make quick movements to create swirls on the top and sides of the cake. Let stand for about 1 hour to set the frosting, then serve at room temperature.

Have a great day



  1. That's odd
    I posted a comment earlier but can see its not here - lost in cyberspace somewhere no doubt.

    We've seen Series 3 in the UK so won't spoil it for you. Quite addictive though isn't it? Can't wait for next series to be made/shown

    Day 2 of our strict diet ... no alcohol and no carbs so loads of eggs and salad and water. Its only for 7 days so we'll survive!

    1. Saw the first part last night. Excellent as always. Really enjoyed it. 2 hours long and was disappointed when it ended.

      Not sure I would like that diet. How much do you expect to lose? David will lose more than you anyway.

  2. Flat tax rate! My husband has been saying that for years. Everyone pays the same amount.

    1. I agree with your hubby then Diane. I think its an excellent idea. Maybe we should all move to Russia.

  3. That cake sounds rich.
    Still hoping for snow.
    And 75%? That is insane.

  4. Hi Jo
    David cracked first. He's just opened a bottle of wine - and its only day 2 LOL
    Since getting home from Fuerte in late September we both gained around 7lbs - mainly as we were dashing up and down to London to visit MIL after her fall so we were grabbing sandwiches and crisps etc instead of eating properly. The weather has been bad and we haven't really done any walking .... then Christmas!

    I reckon we can lose 7lbs before we go away on 16th simply because it has gone on so rapidly - I sure hope so anyway.

    1. Good for David. I know what you mean though, so easy to gain a few pounds here and there. Hope you lose it again before you go away. Where are you going? Fuertaventura?

  5. Loved Downton and the two hours went by too fast. I did not want to know ahead so did not see any of the spoilers. The only thing I would have changed is Shirley Mac Laine's hair. It detracted from her character, I think. All you can see are those poofs of very red hair covering half her face, otherwise, everything else was perfect, the costumes, the acting, and the sets.

    1. I agree with you about her hair but I figured she was supposed to look like an older version of a flapper. It really was enjoyable and as you say, 2 hours just flew by.

  6. Yum, looks like a great treat!

    As for taxes...I only have a problem when the middle class and poor are paying a higher percentage of taxes than the rich. If the rich are paying their fair share, fine, but expense of those with less.

    Hope bowling went well.

    1. I think the flat rate tax idea is good.

      Yup it did thanks Sia.