Saturday, 31 December 2011

Frappy Mirthday!

A long time ago, at uni, we realised - almost too late- that it was our house mate's birthday.  We didn't have a cake, we didn't have candles BUT it was all O.K as we had alphabet potato shapes.  Unfortunately, we didn't have a H or B.....but not to worry we had an F and M.  That's when 'Happy Birthday' became 'Frappy Mirthday'.  It's stuck in my head over the years.

*Luckily I had all the correct letters today!
Anyway, today is Mr C's birthday.....and it's a BIG, SPECIAL one that calls for SPECIAL things and extra effort.  So I decided to bake.  From the photo yesterday (and the one above!) did you manage to guess what sort of cake it is?

Surely, you must have guessed by now?

uh huh, you got it - RAINBOW CAKE!

It's quite fiddly and time consuming but totally worth it for the gasps of amazement you get as it's cut and boy does it taste good.  I followed the tutorial over at Pippa's Long Stockings and it worked out well.  I chose lemon curd (as it is ADORED in our family) to go in between each layer along with butter cream. 

Happy 30th Birthday Mr C!
Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, 30 December 2011

One week

Can you believe it? Almost a whole week has gone by.  This time last week I was..... the allotment harvesting my Brussels sprouts ready for Christmas Day.
......and tugging my red cabbages out of the ground.  You just can't beat braised red cabbage - delish!

........gazing at the decorations on our tree, reminiscing and wondering HOW it was Christmas 2011. Didn't the year just fly by?

........imagining all the food that we would be tucking into the next day.

Ah.  I do love Christmas and they way it brings everyone together. I hope you all had a lovely time.
Today I have been busy preparing for a certain someone's special birthday.
Can you guess what I'm making?

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Feeling festive

Hello! I know I've been gone for a while, but I'm still out there!
It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas at home! We LOVE preparing for Christmas in our home and now that it is December it seems OK to start getting ready! I've been busy indulging in festive activities which all kicked off with my Christmas cake making.

Mmmmmm! The smell of the fruit steaming in sherry was truly wonderful!

Icing the cakes is the fun part! I decided to make one giant cake for us and then lots of small cakes to give away to colleagues.

Don't they look sweet!

My next crafty moment involved making a wreath for our front door. A local church was holding a  'festive florals' workshop.  It was a great experience watching experienced florists work and learning lots of top tips from them whilst slurping down my first mulled wine of the year.  Ah mulled wine, don't you just love it?
All the materials were set out for us including lots of lovely bits to decorate with. I was positively SQUEALING with excitement when I saw all the sparkly bits and bobs!

Not too bad for my first attempt!
It has definitely made me want to attempt more floral projects.  A new year's resolution perhaps?

Right, I'm off to put the lights on the tree.
I hope you're starting to feel festive too!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Down on the allotment we've started clearing the raised beds before winter sets in.  There's still plenty to harvest though and yesterday I enjoyed collecting the squashes and pumpkins on our pumpkin patch. After the spell of sunny weather the pumpkins have turned from green to vibrant orange.

I enjoyed my break from the back-breaking digging to arrange them all in a pile. Quite a collection isn't it?  Those pumpkins are destined to become pumpkin pies.  Mmmmmmm! We love a good pumpkin pie in this household.
I'm particularly looking forward to trying these Turk's turban squashes. They look so attractive and you can see how they got their name! Anyone got any recipe ideas?

Monday, 3 October 2011

The surprises continue....

If you read my last blog post then you'll know about my surprise anniversary weekend treat.
Let me fill you in on Saturday's surprises.  Come with me on my journey through the day and discover each moment of simple pleasure as I discovered it.

On Saturday morning I woke up and.............
Marvelled at the beautiful landscape in the morning light..........
Fired up the stove for an early morning brew...............
Took delivery of a breakfast hamper............
Drank my tea whilst basking in the morning sun........................
Enjoyed my cooked breakfast.

All that excitement and before my usual day had even begun!
Well, next I was informed that I needed to get dressed ready to explore the farm and meet some of the inhabitants....
Then it was time for another surprise activity down by the lake....
When we got there I saw that there was some equipment waiting for us......
We managed to create this ....
.....and then we paddled to the other side of the lake to enjoy a delicious picnic.
In the late afternoon we headed back to our place for a cuppa.....
Next the girlies baked bread to make pizza bases........
Whilst the boys got the camp fire ready.
Next stop was the wood furnace to cook our pizzas.....

Before enjoying another camp fire meal.............

It was a pretty perfect Saturday in my book.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Top Secret. Shhhhh!

It's hard being the only one not in on the secret but also very exciting!
This weekend Mr C and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.  Mr C planned a surprise weekend away (such a lovely idea!!).  I knew we were going somewhere and that some of our friends were coming, but I had no idea where, how, when or what we were doing. My goodness, I pressed Mr C, begged for clues, tried to guess, guess and guess what we might be doing or where we could possibly be going! He would not budge on it and was very determined that this would be a S-E-C-R-E-T despite my best efforts at sabotage. On Thursday night I was told to pack a bag and I can tell you it was HUGE as I wasn't given any clues as to what I would need so I packed an outfit for every occasion.  No, really I did. I could laugh at the 'posh frocks' and heels now!!

On Friday night I was on strict instructions to leave work on time and be ready for an adventure! Gosh, I was excited but a little nervous too. We got in the car and we were off....hooray!!
The guessing game continued for most of the journey until we pulled up at......
This tent was to be our home for the weekend! At this moment I realised how well my husband knew me as I couldn't have chosen a better venue myself!! It was peaceful, beautiful and back to nature.  No electricity and no distractions. BLISS!
We set about lighting the stove, the paraffin lamps and the candles to get the place ready before our friends arrived.
The Farmer came to check we were OK and bought us a basket with ingredients to make a beef stew.
I did the food prep whilst Mr C got the fire going outside ready for us to cook on.
Our friends arrived, night fell and we sat around with glasses of red wine, chatting, laughing and star gazing.
Of course, the stew was followed by marshmallows roasted over the fire.
If, like I did, you thought all this was exciting enough, just wait for my next update! There were still many more surprises to come!!!