Monday, March 21, 2011

Beach House Birthday

My grandma turned 100 yesterday, or at least she would have, had she been living.  So I made her a cake and we threw her a party.

Was that rain we had all day, her tears from Heaven? Maybe but.......... They could only be tears of joy, as she had a great life.

She lived through all the big historical events of the twentieth century, before they were actually history.

Marrying and bearing her child in the Great Depression.  That economic disaster and the subsequent war, robbed her of having more than one child.  My mum.  But she never complained, she just got on with it.

Supporting her husband  and brothers through a world war.  Luckily, they all made it back, pretty well intact.

Enjoying the post war boom of the 1950's.  It allowed them to start a thriving business, that gave them the means to travel Europe in a London Taxi and buy their own home after, 20 years of marriage. 

Until this time, they never had anything in the way of capital. 

She told me of a time during the Depression, when she had 2 pennies left until their next pay cheque was due.  My grandfather got one weeks work out of every 4, cutting railway sleepers. That was the way the Australian government shared the available work out to the unemployed during those times. That week's wages, had to last the month. So down to her last two pennies, she bought a shank and boiled it up.  She drank the broth and my grandfather ate the shank. Now that is selflessness in the extreme.

She lived through the social revolutions of the 1960's and '70's. 

She was a greeny, but she never thought of it that way.  Nothing was wasted and things were constantly being recycled and re purposed.  We laugh at that today, but she walked very lightly on the planet, without knowing it.  That was just her way.  She didn't bother to drive and grew all her own vegetables.  She was true to the fact that hardship can teach you how to live well and graciously.

She was incredibly thrifty and made what she had, go a very long way.

She was such a strong woman. A women of her time.  No one much remembers her now and when I am gone, she will be all but forgotten.  You know, like those people you see in those early streetscape movies and photos.  They are now all gone, but once made up the fabric of society.  They built this fabulous country.

She is you and she is me.

So here's to you darling grandma, you were a fashion plate and a pin up girl and you were beautiful. You made me what I am.

I miss you and I love you.  You taught me to live each day, as though it was my last. To treat everything with respect, and to thine own self be true.  I am living by those lessons for sure.

And here's grandma's chocolate birthday cake recipe. The Beach House Brats are still enjoying this in their school lunches. One way I guess, they can have a piece of their wonderful great granny.

Easy Chocolate Tart

1x 250g (9oz) packet of chocolate biscuits. I use tiny teddys, but any plain chocolate biscuits will do.
100g butter melted
Process biscuits to fine crumbs and mix in melted butter. Press into greased 23cm  (9 inch) pie plate. Refrigerate until needed.

200g (7oz) milk chocolate I use cooking milk chocolate but you could also use dark cooking chocolate
125g (4.5oz) melted butter
Half cup caster sugar
1tspn vanilla essence
4 eggs
30g cocoa sifted

Melt chocolate in a small bowl over a saucepan of simmering water..... allow to cool slightly.
In another bowl place butter, sugar, vanilla and 1 egg, blend until pale and creamy. Add the chocolate mixture and blend until smooth
Place remaining 3 eggs in another bowl and whisk until pale and thick. Add the chocolate mixture and cocoa and whisk to combine.
Place the pie plate on a baking tray and pour the chocolate filling into the prepared crust. Bake at preheated oven, at 180 C or 350 F for 40 minutes.
Dust with icing sugar and serve warm or at room temp with double cream or ice cream and berries.

Lots of Love Carolyn.


  1. Hmmmmmm Yummy Yummy
    looks delicious!!!
    Happy happy birthday

  2. And I bet your granny is smiling down though those raindrops. Very touching please pass the tissues.
    xo Cathy - who seriously needs a piece of that cake!

  3. I love this...what a beautiful tribute to your grandmother, obviously someone who had a huge impact on your life. This was so beautiful and I am certain she was there with you in spirit for sure! Now that cake.....OMG, that looks ridiculously good...I would have a very hard time limiting myself to just one piece so maybe its a good thing you didnt' include the recipe.....but if you post it and if you insist I may just have to make it :)

  4. Beautiful party for a beautiful lady!

  5. Great idea!
    Can't wait for the mouth is watering.

  6. What a beautiful post for your grandma and I know that she is with you and apart of you. :) I wish my grandparents were still around, now that I am older, I value what their lives were (not that I didn't, I just understand more now) and would love to talk with them. :)
    Your grandma sounds like an amazing woman for sure. :)

  7. That'ss sooooo special. Your grandmother sounds like an amazing women. I love it that you threw her a party! I'm sure she would have appreciated those delicious-looking cakes. I'm salivating from here!


  8. That is such a sweet thing to do for her! And that cake looks delicous!! *commence craving*

  9. your grandmother reminds me of my mum...from a different era when nothing was wasted. it's lovely that you are remembering her this way and celebrating her life. that chocolate cake looks amazing!

  10. Such a wonderful tribute to your grandmother! You and I both have rich heritages. The brownie cake looks divine! I'm sure she's smiling about now.

  11. This is so sweet Carolyn! I love that you gave a party for her anyway! I'm sure she was loving it! hehe

  12. I clicked on for the recipe but was, instead, super blessed to read about your Granny. What a wonderful tribute!


  13. What a lovely and inspiring tribute. I really liked the nod to history. I've always thought along those lines too. I'm sure she loved seeing that cake. Pretty sure they have birthdays in Heaven. :) She must have been very special and so are you for remembering her is such an uplifting way.
    Thanks for sharing on Motivated Monday at BeColorful

  14. I'm loving your recipes, thank you. Have a fabulous day, what a wonderful way to celebrate her birthday xxx


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