Cheerful Chicken and a Tricky Trifle …

Yesterday, my parents and my parents-in-law came for our annual triple birthday lunch, both of my children and I have birthdays around September/October and we’ve got in to the habit of hosting a lunch to celebrate all three in one go. I decided to try a new bread recipe – Ficelles with Truffle Oil. These were incredibly easy and satisfying to make, first in my mixer with a dough hook, they then rise a phenomenal amount, they are then cut into strips and left for a second proving. The smell of the truffle oil was amazing, it filled the kitchen. Alongside the ficelles, I served one of my family’s favourites, Lemon Chicken with Herbed Rice. The combination of paprika and flour coated chicken, drizzled with a lemon, soy, olive oil and balsamic vinegar was a winner. To follow, we had a choice of Beetroot and Chocolate Cake and/or Trifle. It’s been a long time since I made a trifle and chose to make all the components from scratch. Vanilla cupcakes were used for the base layer, soaked in sherry, these were followed by raspberry jelly – I used frozen raspberries and leaf gelatine both of which worked a treat. Now for the ‘tricky’ part – the custard. I’ve made vanilla custard before and have never had an issue with curdling. Yesterday however, I did have such an issue. When my second batch curdled, I was convinced I’d have to resort to my tin of ‘Bird’s Custard Powder’ – I decided to look to Google to help me out and after sieving, blitzing, adding a tiny amount of cornflour (custard made without starch is particulally prone to curdling apparently) and gently re-heating, I had a custard that I could use on my trifle. As custards go, it wasn’t the most solid but the taste was definitely there. Our trifle was topped with lightly whipped cream and caramel-chocolate chunks. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food:

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My mum, who’s blog is here: www.leadupthegardenpath.com asked me yesterday about collaging photos, it reminded me that I can do this too, hence my photos of our food from yesterday. If you get the chance, take a look at her blog, she is after all where I get my sense of creativity from!

Trimming and then Trying a Tree …

I spent much of yesterday afternoon trimming our laurel shrub that was no longer a shrub, it was definitely more of a tree. The consequence of it having grown completely out of control was that a great deal of light was blocked from reaching our garden and our kitchen, I only realised how much light had not been getting through once I’d literally cut it down to size. My youngest helped me by pulling branches down as they were sawn off. I think we cut down more than half the height of the laurel and whilst I was worried that it would end up looking very bare, it has turned out to look ok. Once we had finished sawing and chopping, I spent half an hour trying out a simple tree design:

I think this would work well in a variety of colour combinations, hopefully, I’ll try some out this week.

Autumnal …

Now that my lovely husband and my equally lovely oldest son (he made me write the last bit) have equipped our shed/studio with light and heat I have been able to draw and doodle in to the evenings this week. Creating pictures with people as the subject has never been something that I’ve been very confident with however, when I saw this idea I really wanted to have a go myself. Autumn being very much upon us I decided to try some fairly autumnal colours and this is the result:

Final Flourishes for Fishfest …

It’s that time of year again, time for Fishfest 2013. I’m really excited to have a stall at the Arts and Crafts Market again and today, I put the finishing touches to the layout of my stall:

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I know Fishfest won’t be in the dark on saturday but I couldn’t resist taking the final picture. Hopefully we will all be really busy, it should be the best Fishfest yet !