I often think about how I would act in front of the Queen of England.
The term “lady-like” does not come to mind when I think of myself — I hate sitting with my ankles crossed. It’s not natural! Or curtsying? Yikes…I don’t know about that one either — I don’t think I’m coordinated enough to lightly shake her fragile hand and do a half-pliet at the same time. Also, what the heck do you talk to her about? Do you talk to her at all? Am I supposed to dance for her? Make balloon animals? Perform my rendition of Broadway’s “Cats”? That’s a lot of pressure. She might prefer The Lion King…
In my fantasy world, the Queen and I would be sitting in two giant comfy chairs in her extravagant living room, where there is a faint background hum of subtle classical music. While she tells me story after story of her past romantic affairs that no one knows about, we sip tea and coffee out of tiny delicate gold-trimmed cups that sit beside some scones that I made for her. She loves them. She ate six. It turns out that she finds me so charming and charismatic that she wants me to move to England for the sole purpose of our weekly afternoon gossip sessions. I do this. Life is cool.
Sounds reasonable. I’m sure this happens. It’s…casual.
I’ve made a list. A list of behavioral faux pas I’ve observed over the past few weeks. Imagine if we all had the courtesy and politeness required when interacting with Her Majesty?
Okay, I agree, that’d be a bit much, and pretty boring, but really all I’m talking about is common courtesy, people. Basic manners. Simple things that seem like common sense, but for some reason, I’ve noticed that apparently, they’re not. Taking a general interest in someone’s life, when they are constantly interested in yours, is common courtesy. Smiling when you see someone instead of frowning or having a scowling look…common courtesy. Asking how someone’s day was…common courtesy!
THINGS YOU SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT DO WHEN YOU ARE A FUNCTIONAL MEMBER OF SOCIETY
1. Saying “hello” to the person behind the counter before starting to speak – GOOD
2. Not reciprocating a “How are you” question – BAD
3. Holding the door open for someone, even if its your dog (especially if its your dog) – GOOD
4. Holding the door open for someone, only to let go at the last possible second to make it completely awkward and unmanageable for the person about to walk through, resulting in pain. – BAD (was that too specific?)
5. Remembering names – GOOD
6. Forgetting names – BAD
7. Using “please” and “thank you” on a regular basis – VERY GOOD
8. Interrupting someone when they talk – VERY BAD
9. Asking how someone’s day was – GOOD
10. Chewing with your mouth closed – GOOD
11. Batting someone’s face when they’re sleeping – BAD (I think it might just be Kitten that does this, but if you do it…stop it. Weirdo.)
12. Complimenting someone – GOOD
13. Telling someone they look like Jane of the Jungle because they’re having an “off” hair day – BAD
14. Giving (welcomed) hugs – GOOD
15. Answering phone calls or texts in the middle of a deep face-to-face conversation – BAD
16. Referring to someone’s hobby as “stupid” to their face – VERY BAD
17. Asking about someone’s hobby because you really care – VERY GOOD
18. Baking lemon cupcakes – GOOD
19. Pairing the cupcakes with a blueberry compote – GREAT
20. Topping the cupcakes with an airy meringue – EXCELLENT!
There are a lot more where that came from. But these are truths. Necessary truths. Specifically the last three…and number seven. And eleven…
These cupcakes came together better than I imagined. I got home from work, took off my blazer, and got to baking. There was no recipe written down anywhere, and I never even tried to look up suggestions on how to make a perfect compote. I simply looked at the recipe for my mom’s favorite lemon cookies and made it into a super moist, fresh, lemon cake. The flavor is perfect. The texture? Lighter than freaking air.
Mama was happy. And we all know that when Mama is happy…say it with me…everyone is happy!
I topped it with a perfectly sweetened blueberry compote, and whipped up some meringue. And as you can see, I had a little bit of pyro fun with a small torch. 🙂
The Event Blossom theme this week is Something Blue. Adorable! These cupcakes with the blue wrappers are a perfect pair for a summer engagement party. Make sure to take a peek at what Kim did with this kit on her blog!
Perhaps the Queen might enjoy them too…I’ll consider making them for her for next week’s afternoon tea.
Now, please, try these cupcakes.
Come on…I said please!
Lemon Cupcakes with Blueberry Compote and Meringue
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup non-fat half and half
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
1 tbsp lemon zest
juice of two fresh lemons
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin pan with papers.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth and pale.
4. Add eggs, beat well on high.
5. Add vanilla, beat well.
6. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Beat for about 30 seconds.
7. Add half and half, lemon juice, and zest until evenly distributed. Do not over mix.
8. Fill cups 1/2 full and bake for 18 minutes.
Note: These rise a LOT. I was not expecting this. So you’ll notice that this says to fill the cups 1/2 full instead of 3/4 full. There’s a reason for that. Do as I say. (Please..)
2 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp water
1. Simmer all ingredients in a small saucepan for about 8 minutes. The blueberries should start to pop and the mixture will begin to thicken. Stir occasionally.
2. Remove from heat and let cool. If it is not thick enough, add 1 tbsp corn starch and place back on the heat for another couple of minutes. Let cool completely before using on cupcakes.
6 egg whites
5 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1. Beat egg whites until frothy.
2. Add sugar until stiff peaks form.
3. Add vanilla, continue to beat on high.
4. To test if the meringue is ready, you should be able to hold the bowl upside-down for 30 seconds. Yes, 30 nerve-racking seconds.