Monday, 25 July 2011

Cuddles, couches & Winnie the Pooh

Last night one of my children came out and said he had finished his last book and needed something else to read.

I LOVE that this happens.  It reminds me how much he LOVES to read.

I love that my love of reading has been embraced by all 5 of my boys.

I am ever so aware of what a gift a love of reading is.

It is one of the few activites that we can do alone.

It can provide both solace & relaxation.

It can provide advice or humour.

It provides an opportunity to slow down and think.

It allows us to think of things we may not otherwise.

My 11yo EATS books.  It is not uncommon for him to read 3 novels in a week.

How fabulous!

I am somewhat envious.  Envious that I don't allow myself the time to do the same.

My bedside pile of books is a little out of control.

And I can't resist picking up new ones that take my fancy when I see them for fear of forgetting and not having them there on the bookshelf to look at sometime down the track.

I love houses that have bookshelves.

I love what looking at peoples book collections can tell you about them.

I love the feel of books, I love the smell of them.  I love cover design.  I love different typeface. Most of all I love words.

Last night when Mr.11 came in he noticed a book that has been sitting on the couch for a bit.  I have been meaning to re-read it.

I was sitting on the couch reading and listening to music.

It was a copy of The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. 

I was reading this very book when I met Hubster 24 years ago.

I loved it.

I have ALWAYS been a huge Winnie the Pooh fan.


And I am very interested in Eastern Philosophy.

He read it after me.

He loved it too.

And it just seemed serendipitous that it should have appeared before mr.11 yesterday.

I think it may well help him through his nightmare ordeal that I wrote about in my recent post here.

Here's a snippet of the foreward.

The little ones were already tucked into bed and were fast asleep.
Hubster offered to read it aloud to the big two (13 &11).

We sat snuggled on the couch as he read to us.

Magic moments.

And we will do this every night till the book is finished.

I hope the kids love it as much as we both did.

But I think both of us will love it more this time as we share it with our lovelies.


A pithivier is the French term for a pie made with 2 discs of puff pastry. This one is filled with frangipane and cherries!
I saw it on Rick Stein's French Odyssey the other night and thought it looked gorgeous. I am a HUGE fan of almond in pastry! This is my adaptation of his recipe.
Desserts are not my forte so I was apprehensive but it turned out beautifully.  I was very pleasantly surprised and will definitely make it again.
I served it to a friend visiting from Paris.  She told me it was better than the one she had there .....but she might have just been being polite!

  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter (do buy good quality butter, it makes ALL the difference!)
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cups almond meal (I ground my own and did not remove the skin)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons Kirsch
  • 1 1/2 cups cherries with pits removed (I used Morello Cherries)
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry

Preheat oven to 220C.

With one piece of puff pastry cut out a 25cm circle.

With the other make it 30cm (THE LARGER ONE IS THE TOP!).

Place in fridge while you make the filling.

To make the filling, mix together the sugar and butter until light & fluffy.

Beat in the egg and 1 of the egg yolks.

Stir in the ground almonds, flour and kirsch.

Now gently fold through the cherries.

Place the smaller puff circle on a baking sheet.

Mound the frangipane mix in the centre. DO NOT SPREAD IT AROUND.

Be sure to leave a 2 cm edge all around the edge.

Lay the larger disc on topand crimp the edges to seal.

Make a small hole in the centre to allow steam to be released.

You may decorate the top if you like.  I did- cause I wanted to make it look perdy!

I scored radiating arcs from the centre.  If you do this be careful not to strike right through the pastry.

Now brush the Pithivier with egg wash.

Bake for about 15 minutes and then lower the temp down to 175C for 35 minutes.

Be sure to check the cake as it may brown quickly.  If so cover lightly with foil to protect it.

Here's how it turned out:
Serve with good Vanilla bean icecream or whipped cream...or jsut as it comes! It is sooooo very delicious!

I was listening to this Bille track when Mr.11 came in last night.....perfect.


  1. I love that you're a fellow book lover sharing books you adore with your little ones! I was an avid reader (and I only say "was" because I just don't seem to have the hours in the day anymore for the reading I would love to do) and I love curling up on the lounge reading my boys one of the books I've kept since my own childhood. It's blissful and your evening with hubby reading to you and Master 13 and 11 sounds beautiful. I hope it continues to help you all through this difficult time xxx

  2. Gorgeous post.

    I do believe I may have read this book around the time I met My Man too! Thanks so much for the reminder, I must dig it out.

    Yes. Is there anything more heartening than a voracious reader in the house? We have a few too. :-)

  3. Hi again, we seem to be on the same wave length, I love reading, my partner loves reading, my kids love being read to (My one year old also eats books - literally). I also love this book and its philosophy. I read it for the first time in my twenties and reread it earlier this year. I have written about a favourite excerp here -
    Have a nice day....


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