Party Prep 🥂

Tomorrow we are hosting a Birthday BBQ for our Daughter and her friends for her 21st.

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Today is prep day and we have been out shopping, the BBQ meat is from Iceland, as I saved some vouchers especially for this purpose- just the normal Burgers, sausages plus spices Chicken Wings and Tiger Prawns as they are her favourite – we are not going OTT. I have some Field Mushroom and Halloumi for the Veggies 😋

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I also got some frozen Macaron- they are so pretty and taste amazing and at this price I couldn’t make them.

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For a healthy sweet kick, sliced watermelon

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To go with savoury I am making 2 basic salads, one a giant Cous Cous Salad – I boil this in plenty of water for 10 minutes or until tender, drain and pop back into the pan with a good glug of olive oil to keep it from sticking together – I am leaving this to cool, and will add finely sliced spring onion, cucumber, red pepper and a whole pack of chopped coriander and mint, Stir though with salt, pepper and lemon juice till ‘right’

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The other a homemade coleslaw

IMG_4089I make this in the Magimix with the slicing and grating blades – I could make it in the Thermomix, but it Chops the veg and I prefer it sliced – this will be finalised tomorrow.

Instead of a Birthday cake, I am making 21 cupcakes, the base recipe I use is from Nigella’s Domestic Goddess book. These will be made tomorrow.

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I make my own icing sugar in the Thermomix a kilo of icing sugar costs £1.70 on Sainsbury’s website, a kilo of Aldi granulated sugar is 59p

IMG_4067I add 250g of sugar and a teaspoon of cornflour to the Thermomix bowl and whizz at speed 10 for 10 seconds, stop, shake the bowl, and whizz again for another 10 seconds – I pop a sheet of kitchen roll between the measuring cup and the lid to prevent a billow of icing sugar

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Repeat this till the sugar is used – hey presto – a kilo of icing sugar 🤗

I am keeping these simple with pale pink rosette icing with shop bought ‘toppers’

When Grace was tiny, she couldn’t pronounce ‘Grace’ and as everyone called her Gracie, she shortened her own name to Ce-Ce (see-see) that was lengthened to Cupcake – like Families do 🙄  So her birthday cake had to be Cupcakes 😇

IMG_4080For drinks, I said I would provide a toast drink, we are making Strawberry Dachari’s for those who like them from Homemade frozen Stawberry purée , vodka, Lime juice, crushed ice, whizzed up in the Thermomix 😉 Aparently Cocktails are very ‘in’, I personally would prefer an Expresso Martini 😇

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We also have a huge bottle of Prosecco to toast her with – I might even share it with others 🤣 Loads of soft drinks too

I am sure she will have a fab night, they are going onto a night club afterwards – we will be on Cleanup duty then flaking out 🤣 Just one more 21st to go (youngest) then they can arrange their own parties 🤗

Cocobay Coconut Rum Cocktails Party practice run

Our darling daughter is 21 next month, we are having a BBQ party for her and her friends, or pre-drinks as she calls it.

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Lovely Aldi have send me a bottle of their Cocobay Coconut Rum to try, and it is just perfect for Summer party cocktails I am testing 2 I am only making a glass of each today, but this will be made into big jugs for the party.

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Cocobay Mojito –

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Take 6 or so mint leaves and pop them in a glass, add a teaspoon of sugar of sugar, the juice of half a lime and with the end of wooden spoon bash together till the mint oil is released into the sugar and lime – it smells delicious.

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Add a measure of Cocobay and top up with a third of a glass of crushed ice and top up with soda water – this is so light, refreshing.

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Cocobay Cuba Libre

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Lets keep it simple, Cocobay Coconut Rum, Lime and cola for each glass a measure of Cocobay

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juice of half a lime and top up with crushed ice and cola

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These will keep the girls happy whilst we BBQ their food – I’m really looking forward to her ‘Big birthday’ I’m sure I will post more nearer the time 😉

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Thanks to Aldi for sending me the Cocobay – it’s delicious and a bargain price for a party.

Rosemary & Lemon Pork Chops, Watercress Salad Lazy Sunday Afternoons

We had a great day yesterday, a delicious Greek lunch with the family followed by a quick shop to buy Youngest’s birthday present With him. The only downside, was me, having a middle age women’s ‘moment’ on the hottest day of the year so far – not attractive 🤣 I looked like a beetroot on legs 🙄 Of course my sons were very sympathetic – not…

We start our Lazy Sunday with coffee in bed, then a late breakfast with Youngest and our daughter who stayed last night.

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Aldi smoked salmon on scrambled eggs with toasted split muffins.

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Today, we are having a chilled day, hubby is planning to do a little gardening, I am prepping dinner and getting everything sorted for the working week – dinner will be Aldi Pork Chops marinated in Rosemary, Lemon and olive oil.

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Aldi Pork Chops – I put into freezer bags to save space

These will be griddled (BBQ not ready yet) and served with buttered salad potatoes and a lovely watercress salad – yum..

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Into a large freezer bag, I add a good glug of olive oil, the juice and zest of a lemon, a handful of chopped fresh rosemary (or a teaspoon of dried), salt and pepper.

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Squish it together with the Pork Chops ensuring they are all covered – leave for at least and hour.

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When ready, heat up your griddle or pan, pop some salad potatoes in salted boiling water and cook till tender.

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Place your chops on the griddle and cook till golden brown on the outside and just cooked in the middle – place onto a warmed plate to rest for a few minutes.

Drain the potatoes, add some butter and season to taste, toss it all through.

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Dress the plate with the lush watercress, Pork and potato’s.

We will eat this is the garden, for the first time this year, with cold white wine and the Honey Panna Cotta and Rhubarb for pud.

 

Birthday Treat for Hubby…

It’s Hubby’s Birthday today 🎉

As a surprise, I have booked us into a lovely little hotel, which is close to a fabulous Spanish restaurant that serve the most amazing Tapas.

He works hard for us, and he deserves to be spoiled on his birthday.

Here is the link to the Restaurant

See you on Thursday x

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A Birthday lunch, Mussels for Tea, and start the Christmas countdown 🎄

Today is Mum in Law’s 85th Birthday, she is a special woman, she lost her husband when Hubby was just 4, he was the youngest of 4 kids.  She bought those kids up with no social help, they were her everything.

We are taking her out for lunch to a place we celebrated her 80th with a big family party, she moaned about the portion sizes being too big, even though she has a ‘pensioner portion’, then enjoyed a huge pudding of ice cream and Shortbread  😉 She will be spending the rest of the day with other family members that have come down from the mainland to visit her as a surprise. If they’d let us in on the ‘secret’ we could have booked a bigger table 🙄

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As we will be eating a lot earlier than a usual Sunday, I bought some Aldi Mussels in White wine sauce for us to try tonight.

I have made a seeded loaf, so that we have something to ‘dunk’. Also made a few rolls for work lunches, to go with bacon and lentil soup made last weekend.

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It has been such a lovely weekend, shame it has to end.

Happy Birthday Mum B xx

PS she loved the cakes 😊

Normal service will resume tomorrow 😇 My postman has been busy bringing me the makings of Christmas – 5 weeks to go – I have Hampers to fill 🤗 I hope you will enjoy my makings 😀

I have already had some orders for fudge from friends, so December looks like it is going to be busy 🙃

Birthday Treats and Baking…

My Birthday is 3 days before Christmas, as a child it was a pain, never had Birthday parties, as friends would be away visiting family, or we would be and it all sort of merged into one with Christmas. As an adult, going out for a birthday meal is no fun, full of Office Christmas parties and tinsel and Turkey.

When I met my lovely Hubby, he surprised me with an ‘Unbirthday’ a month before my real one, and this has carried on. He is treating me to a very special meal out tonight at a very upmarket restaurant which uses as much local produce as much as it can, and the food is out of this world….  the last time we went was 2 years ago and  we still talk about the meal, it was that good 😊 It not the type of place you take photo’s but here’s the link to their website of anyone is interested Thompsons

Anyway, it is also my Mum in Laws Birthday on Sunday, she will be 85. We are taking her out for lunch at a place she loves i.e. They do massive puddings – I think it must be a hangover from war time rationing, but a lot of older people I know are the same, they do love a good pud 😉 And if I make it to 85, I will eat whatever I please 😇

She has most things she could want, she has 4 children who all do their bit in one way or another, so I decided to bake her some cupcakes, as I know they will be appreciated.

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I use a basic Nigella recipe from ‘How to be a domestic goddess’ here’s the Link

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I start by making the icing sugar for the frosting in the Thermomix 200g granulated sugar whizzed on speed 10 for 30 seconds, I put some kitchen paper under the measuring cup to prevent a snow storm 😇 Then add 10g of cornflour, this acts as anti caking, you can leave out if you like, then blitz on speed 10 for another 30 seconds – done 🤓 I make this in batches and store in a lock and lock as I Bake quiet a lot .

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I am making the cake batter in the Kitchen Aid, as I like to see the consistency. Pre heat the oven to 200, then Weigh out into the mixer bowl 125g sugar, 125g chopped butter, 125g self raising flour, 2 large eggs, a blob of vanilla bean paste and a splash of milk.  Using the beater attachment, start slowly and build up the speed till the mix is smooth and silky, you want this dropping consistency.

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I line a muffin tin with individual cupcake papers, and I use an icecream scoop to put the mixture in each case, I put the ice cream  scoop in a jug of water, this stops the cake mix from sticking.  The scoop method ensures you have even amounts of mix for each cake too 👍

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Bake the cakes for 15-20 minutes till golden on top, remove from oven and place the cupcakes on a cooling wrack.

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Time to make the icing – now this is where you can get creative, the colour and flavours are up to you, I am doing 2 lots, one lemon flavoured with a splash of yellow colouring, the other vanilla flavoured pink icing. For each batch, I start with 120g butter and 350g icing sugar, whisk together for approx 4 minutes till pale, add your flavouring I did 1 tsp of lemon flavouring (more intense) and 2 drops of yellow colouring for lemon, and a half teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 drops of pink colouring.

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I have put piping nozzles into each icing bag, 1 large star and 1 small star, fill the piping bags with the icing, I then put them into the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up a bit, not too much or it will be too hard to pipe.

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I am not the best at piping, and I watch in awe and admiration these amazing people who say, just do this and that and they have produced a stunning product which you would not want to ruin by eating…..  I do my best and I think it look pretty.

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Currying Flavour…

We’re having a little get together today, it was my Daughters boyfriend,  Jake’s birthday on Friday, so they are here for dinner.

Now my darling Hubby has many hidden talents, but one of them is cooking curry,s, he doesn’t often get the time to cook, but does enjoy it, so, what with it being a Bank Holiday weekend, we are in for a treat 😊

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Hubby is prepped and ready to go 🤗

My contribution is dessert, Jake’s favourite is Stawberry Pavlova, so Meringue has been baked and will be stuffed with a mix of whipped cream and Greek yoghurt and a loads of sliced strawberries.

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I use 3 egg whites (save the yolks for lemon curd) and 175g of white sugar and a dash of vinegar to keep it chewy in the middle. Whisk the whites till they are full and thick, add the sugar whilst still whisking and they become all glossy and shiney, as you add the sugar squeeze in a splash of vinegar. I have made this into a large meringue which I cooked for 2 hours on 95.

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Need need a lie down now….. 🤓