Friday, January 29, 2010


ARGH!!!! AM I REALLY FIF-FIF-FIF-COUGH-COUGH? (she hits the floor)

“If it was only the other way! If it was I who were to be always young, and the picture that were to grow old! For this--for this--I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give!"
- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Generations ago the women of our family made a pact with the devil. Birth dates move around, jump up, jump back, a little black magic and time fades and we retain our beauty, our youth for always. Our sons grow up, our men turn gray, yet we remain forever young.

Or was it that summer day long, long ago, that day I drank from the fabled Fountain of Youth, that legendary spring that gives back the gift of youth to anyone who sips of its clear, cool water? I vaguely remember that afternoon after driving up to St. Augustine in the old green station wagon with dad, Sue, Michael and Andrew, climbing up and wandering around the ramparts, posing in front of the statue of the old Seminole, buying plastic swords in the gift shop and, yes indeed, patiently waiting in line to visit Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth. And of course I, basking in the aura, the mesmerizing glow of the golden rock, drank that tiny paper cup full of this magical elixir! Little did I realize, mere slip of an 8-year old that I was, how this one sip would change my life! But drink I did! And can’t you tell? Need you even ask?

Inside every older lady is a younger lady wondering what the hell happened!
- Cora Harvey Armstrong

“She’s not getting older, she’s getting better!” So why try to hide, why run away from ‘fessing up to the truth? For years I played with fire, avoiding the question, allowing lies to slip out from betwixt my lips. Changing the subject when the subject was broached, feigning ignorance, pretending that I just hadn’t heard. Was I afraid that merely uttering the number, any number, would age me in and of itself as if touched by the Evil Witch’s wand: that my hair would turn gray, my face shrivel, my shoulders hunch, my youth wither and fade? Yet there comes a time in a woman’s life when she, throwing caution to the wind, stands up (shoulders back, boobs out, please) and proudly exclaims “I am 50 years old! Yes, yes, believe it or not but it is so!” Oh, we can take the high road: color our hair, botox the face, plump up the lips, redo the bust, the whole nine yards, and run away from who or what we are, live behind the veil of illusion, pretend to be what we are not, but, you know, you can’t run away forever! It takes more than that to stay young. Like the young man staring at the horrible portrait, it catches up one day.

Old age ain’t no place for sissies.
- Bette Davis

Is there, you ask, a magic formula? Maybe. But, then again, maybe it’s not so secret. A kind heart, a happy soul, act young, think young, laugh a lot. Half a century! Wow! Seems like practically forever! My life has been a series of adventures, ups and downs, zigs and zags. I haven’t achieved half of what many people have achieved by 50 and at times I think my life has been boring and uneventful, yet, as my brother reminded me to do every so often, I try to look at all I have done, all I have accomplished, the places I have seen, the people I have met and the friends that I have made. Everyone, I believe, lives their own adventure, has a tale to tell, a book to write. And as we get older we realize that there is most definitely something to be said for aging, adding up the years, getting, yes, older; lines may mark our face, we may have to work that much harder to keep the body looking good, we may have to swallow our pride and accept the fact that strangers no longer call us “Mademoiselle” but now say “Madame”, our teen sons may scoff at us and accuse us of no longer being in the loop, of not understanding how things work today, but we know that many of their worries are long behind us, we can wend our way through the world getting by on knowledge gleaned over the years, revel in the joy of acting as wild and free as we feel, confident in who we are and the road we’ve traveled to get here, no longer concerned about what others may think of us, laughing at their judgmental eyes. We are who we want to be, know how to get up every morning and face the world, sure of what we have become over the long years.

We turn not older with years, but newer every day.
- Emily Dickinson

Time is fleeting, life is ephemeral, youth is a game. As Dorian Gray stayed young, so his portrait aged, the image withered, the eyes grew sunken and evil, jealousy, hatred painted lines across the face. Youth, lovely youth stared back out at him from his mirror, yet inside he aged, the age of struggle, spite, meanness and fear. His youth was mere shadow, beauty seen between squinted eyes. Beauty, as they say, is in the eyes of the beholder and I am satisfied with the beauty inside, the youth that makes me laugh and cry when I feel the urge, the youth inside that allows me to be crazy with friends, silly with husband, not afraid to kiss in public or laugh out loud. I spend my days baring my soul to you who read what I write, feeling the bond of old friends, doing what I love best: writing. And baking. Baking what gives me pleasure, brings pleasure to others. Baking what I want, when I want it, how I like it. And eating without guilt. I am actually liking being grown up!

May you love all the days of your life.
-Jonathan Swift

And I baked: Sweets for the Sweet! Perfect, delectable, chewy, nutty, not too bitter chocolate brownies for the boys, scrumptious, tangy, fluffy, intriguing Lemon Sponge Pudding for JP and I. Or maybe we can mix and match! Lemon and chocolate are so perfect together. And, besides, it’s my birthday and I can do – and eat – just what I please!


2 ¾ oz (80 g) bittersweet chocolate (Lindt Excellence 85%)
2 ¾ oz (80 g) semisweet chocolate (Lindt Excellence 70%)
1 1/3 cup (300 g) unsalted butter
2 ½ cups (500 g) granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ tsps vanilla
5 large eggs
1 ½ cups (180 g) sifted flour (sift before measuring)
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped pecans, walnuts or a mix of both

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 15 ½ X 10 ½ x 1-inch (38 X 27 x 2-cm) jelly roll pan (mine has ½-inch sides).

In a large heat-proof (pyrex) bowl over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolates and butter together, stirring up from the bottom so it melts evenly and quickly. Remove from the heat while some of the chocolate and butter are in small chunks and stir until everything melts. Return to the pot of simmering water if needed. This process allows the chocolate-butter to begin cooling as it melts. Allow to cool slightly.

Using a whisk or wooden spoon, stir the sugar, salt and vanilla into the chocolate-butter mixture. It may be grainy. Now, using a wooden spoon, beat in the eggs, one at a time, just until smooth and blended after each addition. The batter will turn from grainy to smooth and creamy.

Stir the flour and coarsely chopped nuts into the batter just until blended and smooth.

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth to even out and make sure it fills all the way into the corners.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until puffed and shiny (it may begin to crack) but still moist. Don’t forget that it will continue to bake a bit after removing from the oven and you want moist brownies!

Cool the brownies in the pan on a cooling rack before cutting and eating. Lots of brownies.


Serves 6.

1 cup (200 g) sugar, divided
3 Tbs (45 g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
3 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs lemon zest
1/3 cup (50 g) flour
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup (80 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup whole milk (I used half low fat milk + half light cream)
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (if you don’t have cream of tartar replace with a few grains of salt and a drop or 2 of lemon juice)

Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C). Butter 6 individual ramekins or pyrex bowls.

Remove and set aside 2 Tbs of the sugar. Separate the eggs: place the yolks in a large mixing bowl and the whites place in a separate bowl preferably plastic or metal.

Cream the butter with the rest of the sugar (1 cup less the 2 Tbs) until blended and fluffy. Beat in the yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition until blended. Beat in the vanilla and the lemon zest. Add the flour and the salt and beat just until combined. With the mixer on low, beat in the milk and the lemon juice. It will be very liquid.

In the separate bowl with very clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy and then until soft peaks form. Continue beating the whites as you gradually add the 2 tablespoons sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Fold the whites into the yolk/lemon batter just until incorporated and you have no more chunks of whites.

Using a ladle, fill the 6 ramekins with the batter almost to the top. Place the filled ramekins in a large baking pan (placing a piece of newspaper on the bottom of the pan keeps the water of the water bath from boiling) and very carefully (so as not to get any water in the lemon batter) fill the pan with hot water, so that the water is halfway up the ramekins. If you like, place the baking pan in the oven and then pour in the water; this will avoid you having to lift and move the baking pan after it is filled and risk splashing the water into the batter.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes. The tops will be puffed up, maybe ½ to 1 inch (1 – 2 cm) above the rim of the ramekins, and a deep golden brown.

Remove the baking pan from the oven then carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath onto a kitchen towel. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Like a soufflé, the tops will sink a bit when cooling.

Serve hot or warm – they can be eaten later but are best when fresh from the oven or just slightly cooled – with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream.

These mini soufflé puddings will have a top layer of puffed, light as air soufflé and the bottom layer will be creamy, almost like a pudding. They are tart and lemony like the best of lemon pies but warm, light and soothing and oh-so elegant.

The top soufflé layer.

The creamy pudding bottom.


Asha @ FSK said...

oh Jamie! you are adorable!! :)) Many many happy returns of the day!!!! wish you another 50 of a blast!! :))))

sunita said...

What scrumptious desserts! Ad yes, I share all of your sentiments regarding age:-)

The Cooking Ninja said...

I always feel we women aged gracefully like a fine bottle of wine.

Love your lemon souffé n your post card. :)

diva said...

hope you had a super birthday Jamie!! Well deserved treat. And so stunningly gorgeous as well. Lovely post, you made me smile. I can't wait to grow old gracefully ~ i am sure despite the wrinkles it shall be a glorious affair. LIke your pictures say, women don't age, they get better!! :D xxx

Rambling Tart said...

Happy HAPPY birthday to you, Jamie!! :-) Your puddings are gorgemous!!! ;-)

Nora said...

Happy birthday Jamie! What a delicious way to celebrate - TWO lovely treats! Definitely one of the perks of being a grown up is that you can really treat yourself when you want to. :D

Happy Cook said...

Brownie looks so so moist and delicous. I am waiting for hubby and daughter to be back hom and i do so much wish i could grab few of those brownies from my screen.
I have always wanted to make a souffle, but i am afraid it might colapse, your look beautiful.

Hilda said...

Gah! If you only knew how badly I want one of these souffles Jamie. I may have to go make some souffles just because now. You are evil! and beautiful, and witty, and kind, and too many other wonderful things to list here. Happy birthday gorgeous!

Barbara said...

Happy Birthday!
Take hope. I have a daugher older than you and I still feel young!
Age gracefully is what I say.

Love your lemon pudding-cake. I was actually looking in my old cookbooks last week for the recipe! Funny. Copying now.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Unlike Diva I am looking forward to growing older DISgracefully! I am totally coveting these lemon souffles, I adore lemon puddings and the little glass dishes are so sweet.

Hope you had a wonderful day, I was not around online much the past 48hrs but I was thinking of you.

Mamatkamal said...

Happy birthday!
Lovely post. Your souffle looks delicious!

Heavenly Housewife said...

You are one fabulous looking fifty year old daaaahling... most suspicious LOL.
Wishing you a wonderful and happy birthday, and may all your wishes come true.
*birthday kisses* HH

LoveFeast Table said...

Happy Birthday, Jamie! We hope you have a year as sweet as your desserts!! They look great and so do you~at 50!! Here's to "Feasting" on "Life" & "Love" ~two things that keep us young at heart!! Your cyber-gal-friends, Chris Ann & Kristin

Trendsetters said...

happy birthday
great looking souffle

Barbara Bakes said...

Happy Birthday! 1960 was a great year to be born! I'd love a luscious lemon dessert on my birthday too!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I loved that post! Happy Birthday and may you have another great 50!

Those Brownies look awesome and that pudding must be delightful!



My Carolina Kitchen said...

Happy birthday Jamie. Hope you have many, many more. I say getting old isn't for sissies.

Your lemon puddings are luxurious. Perfect was to celebrate a birthday.

asiangrrl said...

Jamie, personally, I think you're taking the high road by embracing the magnificent woman you are and saying to hell with what society might demand of you.

And, you make fabulous brownies and souffle puddings. Happy birthday, babe.

Cristie said...

Happy Birthday Jamie! 50 isn't so bad. I turned 50 in May and I'm still alive. I've earned every line and gray hair (that I color) that I have-- life is good.

I loved your lemon soufle's. Delicious. I hope you ate three of them.

Sari said...

Now I know your secret! I see the Fountain of Youth really works! :) You are wonderful and your writing and baking are so nice, funny a sweet! I made a chocolate souffle yesterday and I think I will make your lemon souffle tomorrow, it looks divine!

Elra said...

Happy birthday Jaime, may you have many many more. What can be more delicious then these two delicious dessert?

Jessica said...

I wanted to eat these right out of the pictures! They appear delicate and light, heavenly!

Marti said...

Happy Birthday! Seems you've found a beautiful part of your celebrations!

Y said...

No joke, that is seriously how I would love to celebrate my birthday too - whether it's fifty or fifteen (as I thought you were originally going to say ;P). Fifteen, at heart, right?

Anushruti said...

Dear Jamie it has been a pleasure knowing you. Sending you oodles of love and hugs and congratulations for having scored half a century.

Nanette said...

Happy Birthday mia cara and thank you for inspiring me by your brave and wonderful example!


TasteStopping said...

As you have stated so eloquently here, with every year that passes, I find myself more comfortable with who I am becoming, farther away from that time of my life when I judged myself too harshly or made too many demands of my spirit. So, I am right by your side, loving what the years bring me (and you) especially when it is the freedom to bake and eat whatever we want! Your lemon souffles look amazing and I want one right now. But, I guess I have to pay the price and actually...make them! :D Happy Birthday.


Deeba PAB said...

Absolutely gorgeous Jamie...a celebration of all things good...including you, my dear friend!!
Your picures are gorgeous, and I can't choose between the two. I might just have 1 of each!! {HUGS sistah} Love ya!!

Amedy said...

looks so delicious wanna one of this right now

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

Happy happy birthday, Jamie! I'm following on your heels with that big birthday, and if I needed a reason to feel great about it, here it is in lovely you and your lovely post.

buffalodick said...

Every stage of life is an doesn't allow you to stay anywhere, except in motion. I have reached an age where my one foot is still going forward, but my eyes look back, more and more..

SallyBR said...

Well, I am right behind you turning 50 this year... must be good omen that I found your blog today and fall exactly in this wonderful post!

The lemon souffle pudding can only make the big 50 very sweet!

Happy Birthday!

Melanie said...

OOOh these look so delicious--I love lemon pudding-lemon ice cream-lemon everything--these are next on my agenda.

Connie said...

Honey! Fifty is fabulous!

And so are those souffles. I may give them a whirl tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday! 50 isn't so bad. Now that you're in that decade, however, it's time to clean up your grammar. Please say, "for JP and me," not "for JP and I." To test for correctness, simply remove the other person's name and see what sounds better. For I? No. For me? Yes.

JP and I had lemon souffle. I had lemon souffle. Yes.
JP and me had lemon souffle. Me had lemon souffle. No.

Diane {} said...

I saw this on foodgawker and oh it looks so good! I'm following and can't wait to see what you make next.

Aparna said...

Love reading your posts! And you said perfectly as usual. Getting older is no more about worrying over silly superficiaL things and being comfortable with oneself and what one wants.

Many happy returns, once again, and wish you many, many more such birthdays. Btw, you don't have to wait for your b'day to eat what you want! :D

Jamie said...

@buffalodick - That's a vry lovely thought. Thank you.

@Susan/Wild Yeast - Oooh Yay for you and early Happy Birthday. Thank you!

Jamie said...

@SallyBR - Wow! What a year this will be with all of us turning fabulous 50! Happy Happy to you! So glad you found my blog too!

Jamie said...

@Anonymous - Yes yes yes I always check my grammar and am as pickyoon as you are. I even realized that I was making a mistake as I wrote but was too lazy to pause! Thanks for being the Grammar Police. But why not use your real name?

Dharm said...

HAppy Birthday Jamie! When you can bake as well as this, who cares how old you are???!! Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, age is nothing but a number - its how young you feel (mentally not physically!) that really counts! Bring on another 50!

shaz said...

Many, many, many happy returns of the day Jamie. Reading your happy post, we can definitely see the youth and vitality still flowing through your veins :)

Great combo of cchocolate and lemon desserts - yum!

Sophie said...

Happy Birthday, dear Jamie!!

Hip Hip Hoeray!!! Yeah!!! Congrats!!!

Your 2 divine desserts look grand, as allways!!
I especially love your lemon souflées!!!

MMMMMMMMMMMMM,....A real feast!

RJ Flamingo said...

Welcome to the next level - it's about time, my dear - we've been waiting for you! Hope your birthday, and everyday from here on out, was as awesome as you are. <3

Oh, and I'm definitely stealing that lemon soufflé pudding! :-)

sarah said...

lovely post, happy birthday. The lucky ones grow old, that's what I say :-)

albanyice said...

After reading your blog for the past year your age is now the same number as my waist. I plan on increasing my days to the gym from 3 to 5. Happy Birthday and you sure have the women's age admition right on target. Love and regards to all

Half Baked said...

hope you had a wonderful birthday! lemon AND chocolate perfection!!!

Nina said...

Hope you had a fantastic borthday Jamie.The lemon souffle looks fabulous....the lil glass dishes are lovely!!!

Chow and Chatter said...

Happy Birthday great brownies and souffle you look wonderful for 50 wow

Jamie said...

@albanyice - Thanks so much Howard - and a hug to all of you over there in Albany! So sorry about your waistline - JP complains about the same thing - but isn't life yummier this way? Can't wait to see your bagels!

bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) said...

I looove the title of this post. Hysterical! For someone that's reached 50 you are looking nothing like it... it's all in the way you feel! Happy Birthday again! I'm sure you had a blast! Great pictures!

Jamie said...

@Bethany - Thanks lovely friend! xoxo

And, yeah, ya gotta laugh!

Junglefrog said...

Jamie!! O my God you turned 50 and I missed the moment... So sad now... Funny also to realize that we are both Aquarians... (my birthday is only days away..) I hope you had a wonderful time and wishing you many more great years!!

Sippity Sup said...

Happy Birthday! GREG

Katherine Aucoin said...

Happy Birthday!!! your souffle and brownies both look stunning!

thanks, for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Happy Birthday!
I love Oscar Wilde..
Such beautiful birthday treats. Those souffle puddings are a wonder.

lisaiscooking said...

Happy Birthday!! Your lemon souffle puddings look luscious. Possibly my favorite thing for dessert. I'm already thinking of making a lemon cake for my birthday next month.

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Happy birthday in arrears, Jamie. I hope you had a great day. I so wanted to make some bread.....hmmmm...but....lots of ♥ and best wishes for the coming years!

Mowie @ Mowielicious said...

Jamie, you are the most fabulous 50 year old! Happy Birthday again darling xxx

Those lemon souffles look lovely by the way!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Happy Belated! If I am achieving all you are in 10 years time, I will be one lucky lady! Loved the recipes, especially the lemon puddings. Saving this one for sure! Can't believe there are grammar olice on your BIRTHDAY POST!!!!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Happy Belated Birthday darling Jamie! You are hilarious and I love your take on life. Here's to another sparkling half century! :D xxx

Lisa Michelle said... wow wow. Hibiscus with that amazing sounding and looking vanilla mascarpone - blueberry jam swirl is blowing my mind, err palate right now. They are simply mouth watering and gorgeous!! I wish I could taste!

browniegirl said...

I'm so late, so late, missed this very special date. I hope that this year and all the years ahead will be your best ever sweet Jamie. Your writing style is just so beautiful. You have packed a whole lot of living into 50 short years!! The year I turned 50 was the most wonderful year for me and life has gotten better. Not life in general but life from my perspective. I am so comfortable with who I am. And yes, I also look back and wonder where have the years gone? How did it happen? My baby turns 28 in May. Wasn't it just yesterday that he was a tiny baby, nuzzling at my swollen breast and seeking life's sustenance? When my ma was 57 I thought she was ancient! HAHA!! If only I had known!! I have 2 adorable grandsons now to keep my arms full and my hands busy!! And I LOVE IT!! So welcome to the club darling. Enjoy the ride. As I say, I am on the right side of 50 and the right side of 60!! Your brownies and lemon souffle are stunning!! Well done. Love Colleen x x


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