A sweetener to raise funds for the Philippines

Wellington Squares
Wellington Squares
Chocolate Caramel Sqaures with a coconut shortbread base

The nippers’ school are holding a cake sale in aid of disaster relief for the Philippines tomorrow. I’m sure this is a scene that will be repeated across the land tomrrow! This gives me an opportunity to make cakes and also eat them with a good conscience. I’m looking forward to doling out my hard earned cash on lots of goodies tomorrow morning. No doubt many other schools are doing similar. I made what we, in the Murphy Smith family, call Wellington Squares. Don’t ask me why. These are a speciality of my youngest uncle but I found a most amazing recipe online years ago and have been using this ever since. I can no longer find it online so I am going to share it here with you but on a condition.

I got an email from a friend during the week who is very proud of her niece who, completely unprompted, decided that she wanted to raise funds for the victims of the tornado in the Philippines. Off her own bat she investigated which charity she would like to send her funds to and chose the Red Cross. So she plans to do a 10km sponsored walk. Now she is a couple of months younger than Nipper 1.0 and I know he would find 5km challenging, never mind 10, so I’m very impressed.

What does this all have to do with my recipe you might wonder? Well what I would like you to do is this: if you think you might ever use this recipe, please sponsor my friend’s niece in her sponsored walk. Not only will you help the disaster stricken folk in the Philippines, you will make an aunty very proud and a young girl very chuffed! You will also be able, like I, to eat these calorie laden delights with a clearer conscience.

Wellington Squares
(Makes 32 squares of a smallish but perfect nature)
125g butter
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
90g dessicated coconut
115g caster sugar

100g butter
100g brown sugar
397g tin condensed milk
2 tbsp golden sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

200g dark chocolate or 100g each dark and milk chocolate
I usually make this the night before I need it as the base and filling must be cooled before adding the chocolate topping which must also be allowed to set.

Preheat the oven to 180degC/ Gas mark 4 and grease and line a 18 x 28 cm tin. I usually make this in a small roasting tin but I have also made them in a square brownie tin – they just end up deeper.
Melt the butter (I usually pop it in a pyrex bowl in the microwave for 30 second blasts)
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add coconut, sugar and melted butter and mix well together.
Press into your prepared tin and pop it in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes until a very light golden colour.
Take it out of the oven but leave the oven on for now.

Put butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk in a thick bottomed saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring all the time, until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved.
Bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring all the time. It will turn a light golden colour. No matter how very, very tempted you are do NOT taste this. You will burn the tongue off yourself!
Pour this over the cooked base and then return the lot to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes. It will deepen in colour and bubble.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Once cooled start prepping the chocolate topping. Melt whichever chocolate you have chosen in a heat resistant bowl over a pot of boiling water. Spread over the filling and allow to cool before placing in the fridge to set.
I usually remove the whole slab from the pan and cut into squares. You can cut them really quite small as this is a very rich little treat.

Podcasters needed: be a Friend to the Elderly

Two days later than I should have I am now kicking in on the Blog Action day action. This year’s focus is on Poverty. I was swishing an idea about in my mind that I would write about what I learnt when I was researching my essay last year about Early School Leavers. However something has since landed in my inbox and it really involves an actual action rather than just writing about it. Unfortunately I cannot personally action this as I don’t produce a podcast but I am appealing to all my podcasting friends and contacts to weigh in and be a friend to the elderly. Age is a significant factor in poverty and with all the economic doom and gloom in the news at the moment we all know that many people’s pensions are being decimated by forces beyond their control. This kind of poverty coupled with declining health and mobility can really isolate older people and Friends of the Elderly are aware that a friendly chat can do wonders to alleviate what might seem like impossible pressures. We all know that even talking to someone else can give us new ideas for coping with problems and offer us avenues to fix issues or people we can turn to in times of strife. If you are an older person in isolation those chats can sometimes become very rare and so you miss those opportunities to break out of vicious cycles that society can offer us.

I met Dermot Kirwan from Friends of the Elderly recently because he contacted me through my work with the IIA. Dermot is an inspiration, a man full of energy and ideas. I heard from him again recently because he emailed me a MP3 file of an ad that they have recorded with Christy O’Connor Jnr. They can’t afford to broadcast the ad on radio and are seeking donations to help them do so.

However it also occurred to me that this ad is in the perfect format for podcasters to include it in their own shows. So please be a Friend to the Elderly and include it in your next show.
ChristyOCGenFinal.mp3, 462k