Cherry cupcakes

What can be more delicious than some cherry cakes from scratch? And it is really simple.

So here goes:

about 3 handfuls of cherries, pitted  or  one jar drained

one large cake pan lined with paper or two cupcake pans lines with paper cups

Mix in a large baking bowl, till fluffy:

200g margarine or butter

200 g sugar

aroma: vanilla sugar or 1 tsp. of Grand Marnier

2 – 3 eggs, one by one till fluffy

 

Sift on top:

200g flour

2 tsp. baking powder / soda

Stir in carefully, making sure all ingredients are well-mixed. Put spoonfuls into your cups or tin. Bake at approx. 190° C / 375 ° F or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Personally, I am like a Poppins and can always sniff out a finished cake or tart a few minutes before my timer can ring. Cool down slowly, the cakes can be left in the warm oven with the door opened.

Frost if desired or if you are making it as a whole cake, try out some Streusel:

100 g each of flour, sugar and butter, mix till you have a crumbly mixture and crumble it over he top of your unbaked cake. Along with whipped cream, deeelicious!

Ah yes, my latest fun line:

Und wenn ich die Schokolade im Dunkeln esse, finden mich vielleicht die Kalorien nicht.

(If I eat chocolate in the dark, the calories will perhaps not be able to find me)

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cherry cupcakes

 

 

Wrap a Wreath of W(hite)Roses

This is for fun when you have nothing else to do for 10 – 15 minutes and feel like a quick-fix for your home and / or garden. The only prerequisite is abundant creativity and a few cheap items which can be found in any sizeable garden.

Start out with a ring. Mine is metal with holders (cf. infra) which I found at a crafts fair, but you can just as well use a sturdy styrofoam ring, a ring of straw bound with raffia, willow branches bound with string, anything you can use as a base. I like the metal ring for the sake of its being stainless steel (rostfrei und unkaputtbar, ca. €16) and endlessly re-usable. I redo my wreath every couple of weeks.

The first layer is long supple green branches. Here I have used cherry laurel or Kirschlorbeer (prunus laurocerasus). Lay one branch end to end with the next, slightly overlapping the ends. Start at one point (12 o’clock) and work your way around clockwise. If you don’t have holders like my ring, simply wrap some raffia or string around your base.

The second layer can be from the same plant or a different one. Since I was clipping overhanging branches, I had yew or Eibe (taxus). Start at 12 o’clock again and overlap the branches. Take the younger, supple ones and cut away anything that is in your way. Now your base should be green.

In the photo on the left you can see the green leafy base. In the photo on the right is an example of what the wreath can look like when placing an artificial rose wreath on top. Personally I prefer fresh flowers, which I have in abundance, but they dry up so quickly. That would entail replacing them every day (alas, no time!). I have also tried the florists’ trick with the little tube vases of water tucked inside the branches. It goes without saying that this variant also takes time and patience and flowers that will last.

My quick-fix is mixing fresh green leaves and single artificial flowers (cf. photo in the middle). I have different color schemes according to the season or holidays, for Easter I am more into yellow and orange with ‘forsythia’ and ‘daffodils’. Now in June with the high temperatures, I opted for white ‘freesias’ and blue ‘hyacinths’.

As before, start with the longer stems, always tucking them in clockwise fashion, then the shorter stems and finally the short stems with the largest blooms,  in this case large white ‘roses’.

I like adding little ribbons in matching colors pinched in the middle with wire. The wires wrap around the branches, helping to hold down any stray ends and slipping stems.

The final touch is wrapping longer lengths of ribbons in different widths and colors and tying a big bow,  a little off-center for the best effect.

The raffia to hang the wreath on the wall with has an extra knot every ten cm / four inches. If the wreath has to switch spots, then I can hang it at different heights depending on the wall –  or simply hang it out of the way. Laying it on a large platter and putting candles all around or in the middle is another way to use your wreath.

Wishing you fun with your wreath!

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Hedwig’s Hundred Household Helpers – Scintillating Silverware

Here is another simple and inexpensive, very old household trick for scintillating silverware and shining silver jewelry :

  • Make sure that no artificial patina coating will be removed off your silver items, you may regret it later. Some silver handles have been treated with a coat of dark color to make them look old20180630_silberbad 2.jpg
  • Take a large bowl or basin – depends on the size of your forks and teapots and jewelry – and line it with household aluminum foil, shiny side showing
  • carefully place your silver pots or necklaces inside
  • Add in a few tablespoons of household salt
  • Pour in hot water until all silver items are well covered
  • Let the bowl stand for a few hours, ensuring that all silver surfaces are exposed to the salt water and aluminum
  • Take out each item and rub the silver gently with a soft cloth, changing sides often to take off the oxidized coating
  • Smile as much as you can to shine along with your sparkling silver20180630_silberbad.jpg

Have you heard this one?

Says one neighbor to the other: “My husband is in his metal age”.

Inquires the neighbor, “Whatever do you mean, ‘metal age’?”

States neighbor no. 1 flatly, “Silver in his hair, gold in his teeth and lead in his legs.”

Cheers!

Hedwig’s Hundred Household Helpers – deep drain drainage

Meet my wise white owl Hedwig (whom we all know from Harry’s Owlery). She has flown in to help us with quick-fix, inexpensive and (last but not least) ecologically-friendly ways to get our household in better shape. Our problem was the kitchen drain. The plumber warned us never ever to use Drano et alia again, as that would inevitably and eternally damage our water pipes made of concrete. We tried to coax our drains not to get clogged again – the repair cum cleaning job is rather time-consuming and not so cheap – but Ollivander’s wands refused to do the trick. A friend stumbled over a nice online article the other day and – it works! So here goes:

In a mug or cup mix equal parts of salt and soda. Pour into your previously cleaned drain and wait a moment.

Then pour in the same amount of clear vinegar essence (Essigessenz) and watch the white foam bubble up.

Wait for a bit and wash it all down with a goodly amount of hot water.

Enjoy your bath and basins again!

Have you heard this one already?

  • “From my bedroom, I can watch the sun set .”
  • “That’s nothing. From my bedroom, I can watch the kitchen sink.”

If you’re not grinning, you should work on your double meanings….