Friday, August 8, 2014

Birthdays, Brilliant Buddies and Back to Blogging!


First up, my poor little blog has been somewhat neglected of late because I've been unwell... again!! I'm sick of being sick, but, of course, I know full well there are souls out there far, far worse off than me, so I'll try and keep the whining to a minimum.

I don't want to bore you, but at the same time, I don't want to be mysterious, so in a nutshell, I have a hiatus hernia. If you're not familiar with the condition, it's when the stomach protrudes up into the chest because of a tear or weakness in the diaphragm. It's actually not uncommon, however some people (bless them) experience no symptoms. I've suffered bad heartburn for years, but over the last 6 months, I've had a whole lot of new and exciting pains, and problems with eating. It's been trial and error with medication, but I am starting to feel a little better, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


I had initially been planning an entirely different post to this, but it all got a bit convoluted so I've put that particular idea on the back burner for the time being because I need to thank a couple of wonderful people, and I really don't want to delay that any longer. Plus, I also want to share my Burtonesque cake with you. Yes, I know. I'm stretching the definition of "Burtonesque" outrageously here, but indulge me! ;)

My husband, Danny, had a birthday this week and he requested a Chocolate Ripple Cake. (Did you notice the wee black and white striped candle?!). Despite appearances, this cake is the easiest cake on the planet to make. In fact, it's not really "cake" at all. I'm sure other countries might have their own interpretation of this dessert, but the Aussie version is made by cementing Arnott's Chocolate Ripple biscuits (cookies) together with whipped cream to form a horizontal log. The log is then covered with more whipped cream (I always sprinkle grated chocolate on top too) and then it's refrigerated for at least 6 hours, during which time the cookies soften to the consistency of cake. By cutting the cake diagonally, you get the (Burtonesque) striped pattern. (I also make a Halloweenie version of this dessert by colouring the whipped cream orange.) If you'd like to try it, you can find the recipe here. Even if you can't get hold of the Australian brand of cookies, you may have something local that you can use as a substitute.


Of course, I can't have cake without coffee (mmm... coffee), and I always whip out my cappuccino stencils for special occasions. Danny actually drinks his coffee black, so this photo is from another occasion when I was able to use both of them. I got my skull and bat stencils from the Shape Foundry on Etsy.


For the birthday dinner, I made Japanese Gyoza, which is a favourite in my household. It's also not a difficult recipe, although it is time consuming making all the little dumplings.

Now... to brilliant blog buddies!


Way back during May Monster Madness, I was lucky enough to win a giveaway over at the lovely Yvonne's blog, Winter Moon! The prize was a gorgeous necklace, but as you can see from the photo, my package was filled with lots of adorable little treats. Thank you so much, Yvonne!


Then, a couple of weeks ago, I received a package in the mail from lovely Stacy of the Magic Love Crow blog. Why? Just because she's a sweetie-pie! If you aren't already acquainted with Stacy, she's an artist who paints delightful crow themed artworks and she sent me one as a surprise. Thank you so much, Stacy!

I'll have more to say about these two charming ladies in future posts. They, and many others of you in Blogland, have unknowingly been my Muses over the last few months. I may have been unwell, but you've all inspired me in many ways, and my brain has been buzzing with creative schemes that I hope to share with you very soon.


42 comments:

  1. Oh yes, I've had that chocolate wafer cake! So sinfully delicious. And I once shingled a gingerbread house roof with the same chocolate wafers. Man, were they hard to work with -- kept breaking like a sonovabitch.

    Sorry to hear about the hiatus hernia. No fun at all, that. Are you going to have a mesh put in to keep everything in its proper place? I have a friend who had that done.

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    1. Hi Debra,

      I can just imagine how frustrating that gingerbread roof would have been to make! Delicious to eat though! ;)

      I've never heard about treating hiatus hernias with a mesh. I know there is a surgery to treat it but I don't really know what's involved, and I've heard it's not particularly effective. Is your friend feeling better?

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    2. Yes, she is. I know the mesh is not always 100% effective but when it works, it works well, from what I've heard. Of course, people still have to be careful not to strain themselves, etc.

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  2. Oh dear, my mum had that same thing ... not very pleasant, I know. I hope you find a medication that works for you, Emma! She had my dad make a little wooden incline to put under the mattress so her head would be higher than the rest of her body, and I know that really helped at night. :)

    And she also used to make that cake ... wow, talk about memories all of a sudden! We don't have those ripple biscuits, but like Debra mentioned, we just use chocolate wafers up here in Canada.

    Lovely gifts and nice alliteration, BTW. ;)

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    1. Hi Insomniac's Attic,

      I have raised the head of the bed and it really makes a huge difference at night. Eating is more of a problem. I'm in the process of trying to identify the foods that make me feel worse. :)

      I'll have to look up the chocolate wafers you use in Canada!

      Haha. I have an awful addiction to alliteration! ;D

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  3. (She's back; and she brought a cake)
    Sorry to hear about your health issues:-/

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    1. I just had to bring cake, Variations On Light! :D

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  4. Spoil that husband! Wow on dinner! and the CAKE! Aren't You the masterful one!
    I hope you are on the mend! your summer is creeping up , but first!!! Is the best time of all!! The extrodinairy gifts of love are the very BEST medicine of all!!
    Yippy! your back!!! xoxoxoDebi,

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    1. Aww... thank you, Debi!! ❤

      You are soooooooo right! And I'm looking forward to all the Halloweenie mischief our online gang will get up to this year! ;D

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  5. Oh Emma, I'm so sorry you've been unwell. I'm sending you wishes of wellness x

    It's so lovely to have you back in blogland, I always look forward to your creepy posts.

    I'm glad you liked your package, I absolutely love the crow artwork too :)

    Finally....what can I say....that cake looks bloody awesome! I have to try making one!

    Have a wonderful weekend with your family, and belated birthday wishes to hubby <3

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    1. Thank you so much, Yvonne! ❤ I wish my photo of your goodies and Stacy's painting were better but it's been so dark and wintry this week that I couldn't get a decent shot in natural light and had to make do with artificial. :/

      For something so simple, the cake really is yummy! I'm sure you'd have some kind of biscuit there that would work as a good substitute. :)

      I'll pass all the lovely birthday wishes on to Danny! xo

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  6. don't you hate when life gets in the way... i hope for a full recovery and thank you for the cake... mmmmmm cake!

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    1. Thank you, Jeremy! :) Yes, tuck in, there's cake for everyone!! ;D

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  7. Yum! That all looks so delicious! I know what you mean about being sick frequently, this year has been horrible for me, I've spent about half of each month struggling with something, be it a cold, a stomach virus, or debilitating body and head aches. I have a crappy immune system which is partly to blame. :/ I hope you get better soon. ^^

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    1. Thank you, Ms. Ladyfair! I'm sorry that you've been struggling with your health too! It's very frustrating because plans go completely astray! I hope you're feeling better soon too! ❤

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  8. Well, HH sounds like crap :( It must be pretty awful having it flare up. I hope you continue to have feel-good days

    But birthday cake is good. You're right about everywhere having a version of this (I got mine from a restaurant in Bristol UK, and it uses chocolate chip cookies and sherry and cream. Same deal, assemble and leave.) Your cake does look very Burtonesque, and yes, that candle is perfect. So, just put a piece of cake in the post for me. Thank you.

    Talking of stuff in the post, Yvonne and Stacy (who are both shiny stars of the Blogoverse) sent you some gorgeous things! I love the painting and that bag of goodies is so sweet!

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    1. Yes, HH is pretty crappy, Rhissanna. I'll just have to figure out some new strategies to get it back under control because I don't want it controlling my life.

      Oooooooh... chocolate chip cookies sound like a fab substitute, and I forgot to mention that you can always liquor up the whipped cream too! ;D

      Yes, Yvonne and Stacy are definitely shiny stars of the Blogoverse! I do adore our little Blogland community!! ❤

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  9. Glad you are feeling better. The cake looks so good and goes well with cappuccino.

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    1. Thank you, Julie! :) Yes, creamy cake and cappuccino... Mmmmm! ^_^

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  10. What a lovely (and yummy) cake!! I'm sure we have something similar here, but I can't think of it at the moment.

    SO sorry about your hernia issue!! I hope you and your doctors find the best solution for you VERY soon.

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    1. I did a bit of googling and according to Wikipedia, the American version of this dessert is called an "Icebox Cake" and the British version is called a "Zebra Cake". :)

      Thank you, I hope there will be a solution too! ❤

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  11. We do hope that you are feeling better soon.... dear Lady Emma....
    My (similar condition) During some of my severe coughing spasms ...the muscle wall separates and lower ribs try to protrude.... very painful...
    Our best wishes to you and yours....

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    1. Thank you, Dr. Theda! :) Your condition sounds very painful and unpleasant! I'm so sorry that you have to cope with that kind of pain! :(

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  12. Belated wishes for a very happy birthday to Danny, hope you're on the mend yourself, Emma. And dang, gurl; your homemade confectionery showcases some mad skillz! I'm impressed by your commitment to All Things Goth down to the most minute details ~ that candle's adorbz (and I totally see the Burton influence).

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    1. Thank you so much, Mina! ❤ I'm always trying to contrive a way of including black and white stripes or skulls into... well... pretty much everything, really! Haha. I picked up the striped candles from a little children's boutique that was going out of business. Sadly, there was only one small box of them left, so I'm rationing them out. ;) I must have a bit of a google and see if I can get some more online.

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  13. Here's hoping you get permanently better soon, Emma!

    That cake looks like it's been grilled! haha! Still looks mouthwateringly delicious though!

    Cool and ooky looking coffee shapes!

    Speaking of black coffee, there's that pretty oft used phrase "I like my coffee like my men-black", but an even funnier version that's in a song "I like my coffee black just like my metal"! haha!

    I can't wait to see what these creative schemes of yours are!

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    1. HA! So it's a Rorschach test cake, Chris! I see 'Beetlejuice' and you see Barbecue! ;D

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  14. You are a lady of so many talents Emma! That cake and those gyoza look absolutely delicious, and I love your fabulously Gothy attention to detail in the candle and coffee stencils :) I have my feathers tightly crossed that you are on the mend, and I cannot wait to see what creative schemes you have in store for us! I'm so glad they've given you something positive to focus on when you've been feeling so unwell xx

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    1. Aww... thank you, Bec! ❤ The gyoza really is very easy, just time consuming. I usually make 3 batches at one time and then freeze 2 lots so they're ready to go, down the track. :)

      I get ridiculously excited over little things like candles and coffee stencils. I'm quite tragic really! Haha.

      Yes, there's nothing like a little creative scheming and plotting to get one's mind off life's little frustrations. ;) And I hope you'll be feeling much better soon, too, sweetie! xo

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  15. So sorry to hear about your health. I hope you are feeling better now.
    Happy late birthday!
    Those cappuccino stencils are amazing! I didn't know they existed. I will have to get some. I don't know why but I need a skull on my coffee in the morning. I just do :)
    Also your cake looked delicious so I'll be trying that out soon too :) So glad to see you back!

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    1. Thanks so much, Jessie! ❤

      Yes, the cappuccino stencils are fun and not at all expensive. Skulls definitely make a good thing even better! ;) I wish they would come up with some more shapes. A raven would be great! Perfect for a Poe party!

      You must be in serious countdown mode right now!! Very exciting! xo

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  16. Any ailment that interferes with something as basic as eating is a terribly thing to have... because one must find a way to fix it, and until that happens life can be so very stressful. I'm glad the meds are working a bit. I pray you find just the right treatment.

    It's so good to see you blogging. Now I'm off to daydream about that delicious cake. With skully coffee of course. ;-D

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    1. Thank you, Magaly! ❤ It's especially frustrating trying to plan meals for other family members when my own food choices are so limited. I am starting to feel a little better now though, so I'm tentatively experimenting with food at the moment, trying to figure out if anything in particular is making me worse.

      Yes, cake and skully coffee... Mmmmmm! :D

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  17. Oh Emma, I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. It's a shitty condition, not being able to eat or drink what you want, when you want. I have heart burn regularly (because of anxiety) and it sucks. What you have must be many times worse. I hope you figure out a way to get it under somewhat control soon.

    That cake looks amazing! Gotta love easy-to-make tastiness :)

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    1. Thank you, Ms Misantropia! ❤ Anxiety is awful, so you have all my sympathy having to deal with that. I've had my moments of anxiety, particularly at night, waking in a panic, and it's just a terrible, helpless feeling.

      I love anything that's high-impact but low-effort! I seem to be endlessly busy these days and if something is too complex or fussy, I just haven't got the time to deal with it. I'm constantly on the look-out for clever and quick. :D

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  18. Hey Young Lady ;o)
    So happy to see you ;o) I'm trying to catch up on some blog posts, before the super moon tonight!
    I am sorry about your hernia! When I was ill, I was throwing up so much, I got a hernia, where my belly button is! It doesn't cause me any problems! Touch wood! But, I would like to get it fixed! It sticks out!
    That cake looks so good! I am making that cake! And, I love that candle! Too cute ;o)
    I love Japanese Gyoza! Yummy! You talented lady ;o)
    Gorgeous necklace and goodies ;o)
    Enjoy the painting ;o)
    I'm feeling better ;o) I have to remind myself sometimes, how damn lucky I am!
    Big Hugs ;o)

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    1. "Young Lady"! Haha. Bless you, Stacy! You do know I've got a 17 year old son, right?! ;D

      Oh, you poor thing, getting a hernia on top of all the other health horrors you were experiencing. ❤

      Thank you so much for the lovely painting! Sending it to me was such a sweet gesture! xo

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    2. You are still young ;o) 17 years old is nothing ;o) LOL! Hugs ;o)

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  19. I hope the hernia will be fixed soon! I love the Magic Love Crow paintings! Sending hugs and well wishes! I love those coffee stencils!

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    1. Thanks, Laura! ❤ Yes, Stacy's paintings are lovely. They're full of warmth and emotion.

      The coffee stencils are fun! Wish they came in more Halloweenie designs. :)

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  20. How cute - you share the same birthday as Lord M - his dinner was not nearly so grand. Just a steak with mushrooms and peppers. Your dinner looks positively splendid! Hope you feel better soon but don't apologize. I all know life takes priority over the blog and that shit happens (I have not blogged for a year and 1/2 due to kitchen/ bathroom/ landscape remodel). Love the stencils - was just thinking this morning I need some of those so thanks for the link. Feel better soon - good karma coming your way from Colorado!

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    1. I'm so glad that you've returned to Blogland, Lady M! And a Happy Belated Birthday to Lord M! Steak with mushrooms and peppers sounds plenty grand to me. I bet he loved his birthday dinner!

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