Party Time… 🍸🍹

Just a brief one today, we have been busy getting stuff sorted for the party – I don’t think the queen has this much fuss – I know it’s self inflicted, no sympathy required 😋

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Hubby is on garden duty, the gazebo is up, chairs and tables ready to positioned, electric is available for the DJ boyfriend- neighbors have been warned/invited – thankfully  sadly this will all be over by 10pm at the latest 🤣🤣

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I have been baking, which is lovely on the hottest day of the years so far 🌋

As I said yesterday I use Nigella’s cupcake recipe, it’s simple and tastes great

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for 24 cupcakes I mixed 250g unsalted butter with 250g sugar and a blob of vanilla bean paste, till light and fluffy, add 4 eggs, one at a time to the mix, then add 250g of self raising flour about 1/4 at a time – add a little milk till the mixture is ‘dropping constantly.

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Spoon into the cases, don’t overfill them, half to 3/4 full is enough

IMG_4100Into a preheated oven (200) for 15 minutes, then leave to cool.

 

I made the icing sugar yesterday, the buttercream icing is simple, add 250g unsalted butter to the mixing bowl with a small blob of vanilla bean paste, beat till pale, then carefully add 500g of icing sugar, a bit at a time so it doesn’t look like a snow storm in the kitchen.  You can colour this at this point – I am making 2 batches, one natural, one pale pink.

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Spoon you icing into a large icing bag, with a star nozzle at the end, in today’s heat I popped this into the fridge for 20 minutes to firm a little.

IMG_4106I start with a blob of icing in the middle of each cake, and with a continuous swirl.

Decorate to suit – these are truly easy to make and look lovely, even if I do say so myself – great fun to make with kids 🤗

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The salads are finished off.

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The watermelon sliced and plated.

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The cakes arranged.

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Cocktails are go…

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Hubby is Grill King

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Lets Party……….

 

 

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 🤗

Sunday lunch for late spring – Duck Breast, Pomme Anna and Asparagus

Sunday Lunch for 2, not cool enough for a full on classic British Roast, but too cool for a BBQ.

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I am using a pair of Iceland Duck breasts (defrosted) and will make Pomme Anna to go with it, Asparagus .

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The Pomme Anna is one of those dishes that looks and tastes amazing, but is pretty simple to make.  I start by preheating the oven to 200, then peel and very finely slice 2 medium potatoes.

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Melt some butter (100-125g) and grease 2 small baking dishes, lay the potatoes in the dishes, with a layer of melted butter and seasoning between each layer, I am also adding some thyme for flavour, finish the layers with butter and a dusting of salt and pepper, press down well then into the oven for approx 50-60 minutes till golden and cooked through. You may want to cover with tin foil for the first 30 minutes, then remove, and press down again to brown the top.

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In a cold frying pan, lay the defrosted duck breast, skin side down and turn the heat to medium and render down the fat (I keep this duck fat for roast potatoes).

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When the skin is crisp and golden, sear off the underside of the breast and pop into the oven for 5-10 minutes and then remove and rest for the same time.

Whilst this is resting, Panfry the Asparagus with butter, salt and pepper.

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To serve, remove the crisp buttery potatoes from their dish, slice the duck breast and eat with whatever you fancy.

Perfect for late Spring 😍

I have also made Panna Cotta and Raspberry Coulis for pud – done these before, so here is the eRecipe it also gives a recipe for Polenta Chips which are lush 😜

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.

New Years Eve… and relax…

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Hubby Hates this pic – Shhh don’t tell him x

We were once that couple who used to be the life and soul, New Years Eve was planned for months, what dressing up outfit where we wearing, made, never bought….

Then the kids grew up, and started going out themselves on New Years Eve, and we became emergency taxi’s and drinking and partying were off the menu.

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This year, we could have gone out, but instead will plump for a bit of peace and quiet, whilst the kids swan off to party the New Year in – I’ll  be content with a glass of wine and a Midnight hug from hubby 😍

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However you celebrate welcoming the New Year – I wish you all the best for 2017 x

Happy Families….

Our ‘Big boy’ and his girlfriend are home today – so we are having another ‘mini’ Christmas – I love it when the kids are all together, they do love each other very much, even when they are ‘bundling’ each other – they are nearly 23, 21 and 18 – when does the ‘wrestling’ game stop 🙄

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Anyway – big hugs, squishes and lots of gossip to catch up on 🤗

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Dinner tonight is a simple Spag Bol.

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With garlic bread and salad, an easy dinner whilst we catch up.

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Tomorrows meal is a more elaborate affair, with all 8 of us together for a family feast 😍