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Category: Slices of Life

Baby Possum Rescue

Someone knocked on my door tonight to tell me there was a baby possum on the footpath in front of my house. I went outside and found a tiny baby ringtail possum crawling along the ground. I don’t know whether he’d fallen out of a tree, or off his mother’s back, but there he was, alone and vulnerable. There was no sign of the mother.

But there are plenty of cats and dogs in my street, and if I’d left this poor little mite there, one would have got him. So I scooped him up.  He was tiny, furry and very cute and looked so bewildered, poor little soul. He was just big enough to sit in the palm of my hand, with a long curly tail hanging down.

I wrapped him in a microfibre cleaning cloth and tucked him against my chest. He scrabbled himself up out of the cloth, just enough for his face to poke out. He put his little face against my skin and went to sleep.  And of course, I was instantly in love.


I looked for signs of the mother until it got too dark to see, then I phoned a wildlife rescue vet clinic, and made arrangements to take him in. I took a couple of photos but I was more worried about frightening or distressing him than taking a good photo, and besides, each time I put him down, he tried to climb back onto my hand. So my photos are pretty blurry. But the one below is someone else’s photo of a very similar looking baby ringtail.

 
I was sad to hand him over, but he needs specialist care, and I know they’ll take good care of my little furry baby. I’m also feeling sad for the mother —if she’s alive — not knowing where her baby is.  Life for wild creatures is tough.

A trifle for Christmas

It’s Christmas Day and all over the world people are celebrating. And feasting.

Here, it’s summer time, but because so many of us have ancestry from the northern hemisphere, we all still dream of a white Christmas (though many of us have never experienced snow) and the shop windows are full of fake snow — even while we’re roasting in the heat.

A lot of people still eat the full traditional Christmas dinner, with roast (baked) meats and vegetables, followed by the traditional plum pudding. 

I love plum pudding, but this year I made trifle instead. If you’ve never made trifle, it’s easy — more a case of assembling a dish, rasher than cooking. In this case, I bought sponge cake, sliced it thin and made a kind of sandwich with lemon curd (home made — also easy)

Put a layer of cake in the bottom of the bowl, sprinkle it with sherry (or orange juice), then layer in fruit, custard, fruit, jelly (jello) and repeat the process. I always use fresh fruit –  for this one I used mostly mangoes and lots of blueberries, strawberries,  youngberries and raspberries, but I’ve also used other fruits in the past — bananas, passionfruit,  peaches, apricots, kiwifruit — anything yummy, really. Mostly I try to use fresh fruit, but if fresh fruit is in short supply, a little added good canned  fruit, like sliced peaches, is fine. 

The final layer is freshly whipped cream topped with fruit. It’s light and yummy, and even nicer the second day.  (In fact I did all except the final whipped cream and fruit layer the night before.) And perfect for dessert in the warm weather.

Do you like trifle? Do you usually have plum pudding for Christmas dinner or not?

Wishing you all the best for the festive season.
Anne xx

Edible gifts

I’m very fond of making edible gifts — really it’s just an excuse to make something fun, and then give it away so that I’m not tempted to eat it myself.

This year I made “Christmas crack” and white chocolate nougat. Both are quite easy to make but look pretty and, wrapped in cellophane, make lovely small edible gifts. The nougat is on the right. I use a “cheat’s recipe” passed on by a friend. Her recipe only used almonds, but I switched it to almonds, pistachios and dried cranberries to make it more Christmassy. When I put it on my Facebook page, so many people asked me for the recipe, I thought maybe it ought to go here, as well. So here’s the recipe.

 

The other thing I made—and I often make this for Christmas, as it’s so yummy and people always love it — is called “Christmas crack”. It’s a layer of salted crackers with toffee baked over (and into) them, then chocolate melted over that and sprinkled with toasted nuts – I use flaked or slivered almonds. It’s made as a slice, and you chill it in the fridge and then break it up.

It’s toffee nutty salty chocolatey goodness — and be warned, it’s addictive.

Here are two of the little bags  of Christmas Crack that I gave to friends at a pre-Christmas author dinner. There are heaps of recipes on the web, and here’s one.

All the very best for the festive season. I hope you have a peaceful and happy time, with good food and good company.