A Day of Celebration …

It’s been a while but I think I’m rediscovering my creative ‘mojo’, certainly in the kitchen anyway. We had family for lunch yesterday to help celebrate a range of birthdays which are all really close together. It’s something we do every year but couldn’t last year due to my dad’s ill health. It was wonderful to have him there yesterday alongside my mum and both of my parents-in-law, as well as my husband and boys.
I really enjoyed getting everything ready – we’ve had our roof re-done and the scaffolding only came down on Saturday, luckily the sun shone and we were able to open the doors from the dining room onto the garden:
IMG_1085
So far as the food was concerned, I made a mac ‘n’ cheese with red peppers and chorizo, buffalo inspired chicken, a potato salad and green beans. I made the mac ‘n’ cheese first thing in the morning which freed me up later on to concentrate on other things. These were the food choices of my 2 boys as one has just had his birthday and the other will be celebrating in just a few weeks time.
Desert came in the form of cake and plenty of it. We had rocky road cupcakes – even the buttercream icing contained melted marshmallow!

Rocky Road Cupcakes

Alongside the cupcakes we had freshly made doughnuts. I used a Mary Berry recipe and although it was originally intended for filled jam doughnuts, it worked really well for ring doughnuts too:

Rocky Road Cupcakes and doughnuts

To finish off we had some delicious rhubarb vodka which I bought a few weeks ago at the Abergavenny Food Festival – nobody else liked it quite as much as I did but then that’s no bad thing as there’s plenty left for me to enjoy!

Let Them Eat Cake …

The title refers to my family eating yet another cake to celebrate my parents’ 70th birthdays  rather than the much disputed quote allegedly made by Marie Antoinette! The cake took a ridiculous 8 hours to make – baking, making the decorations, making the lemon curd to sandwich it all together and then the final arrangement of the decorations. The heat that we have been experiencing here in the UK did not really help with the latter but I got there in the end:

 

It was seemingly enjoyed by all, it was particularly lovely to be able to share it with my Canadian cousin and his family.

Something Fishy, Birthday Celebrations and a Colourful Curry …

I thoroughly enjoyed painting today. I used salt to add texture to the sky within the fish – it was good to use it again and had forgotten how effective it can be:
IMG_2706It was my parents’ birthday lunch at the weekend. It went really well, there were a few surprises along the way and luckily all the food turned out as well as I had hoped;

Chicken Risotto with White Truffle Oil, served with Foccacia Bread was our main course. This was another recipe from Katie Quinn Davies ‘What Katie Ate’ and it was very tasty indeed. To follow, we had a choice of 3 desserts:

Tiramisu has been a long term favourite and here we had our own individual servings. I’d made the sponges and had assembled the puddings the night before, this gave the sponges plenty of time to soak up the coffee and brandy.

Strawberries dipped in melted chocolate and served with the buttery-est of shortbread biscuits went down well too.

I couldn’t give my parents a special celebratory lunch without meringues, it’s amazing how egg whites and caster sugar can transform themselves in to such deliciousness!! The leftovers were good the next day too 🙂

Yesterday we had a hot, spicy and very colourful curry. The weather has not been great so far this week and this hearty dish was just what we needed to brighten our day:

 

Food for a Birthday Celebration …

It was my husband’s birthday during the week and we had a celebratory meal with our boys and our parents yesterday. It was a real luxury to have the day to prepare so I really made the most of it.

Our main course was a delicious chicken and herbed rice dish, served with raw green chilli as an optional extra. To follow we had a choice of three cakes. First off were the lemon slices, these were a very simple tray bake that had been sliced and then drizzled with a lemon icing.

Next, there was a Fruit Loaf, the recipe being from Paul Hollywood and was a real success. The fruits kept it moist and the lemon icing gave sweetness.

Fruit Loaf

It was no bad thing that both the Lemon Slices and the Fruit Loaf weren’t too sweet as our Rocky Road Cupcakes more than balanced them out:

Rocky Road CupcakeUnderneath was a Chocolate Cupcake, on top was a frosting that was a combination of melted marshmallow, cream, butter and icing sugar. The ‘Rocky Road’ was melted chocolate which had a variety of sweet things sprinkled and dribbled over it. Whilst these cupcakes required more time and effort than normal, they were definitely worth it!