So I’m starting this new thing. Really it’s an exercise for myself, a way to push myself to write more frequently. I’ve been so cross with myself for not keeping up with regular blog posts over the past few months, so I’ve decided to force myself to make changes. I made a commitment to start this blog in order to share my recipes and foodie experiences, but work and life seem to keep getting in the way. I put a lot of work into all of the recipes I share here and between my full time job and my family life I often struggle to find the time to do it.
So welcome to my first monthly round up, where I’ll be sharing all the things I’ve cooked, eaten and baked over the last 4 weeks.
This month stated off with back to school and back to that boring old routine. It’s always such a bore after the summer holidays to get back to homework and laundering endless polo shirts and PE kits. It has also meant earlier bed times, which means I’ve needed to get my arse in gear to cook dinner earlier. I had two wisdom teeth taken out, so we’ve been eating a lot of soup this month, much to Stink’s dismay. But aside from all this mundane stuff we’ve also celebrated a wedding, a couple of birthdays and even a new arrival!
The Wedding Cake
I know right? What a great subject to be starting with! At the beginning of this month a very good friend of mine got married. One of the nicest things about being able to bake is that I always have a gift to give. So I was absolutely honoured to make a wedding cake for the happy couple! I can’t take all the credit though, I had a lot of help from my talented friend and colleague Shannon, and it wouldn’t have been possible at all without the steady driving skills of my husband.
It was the third wedding cake that I’ve made and by far the biggest, with four tiers of semi-naked sponge decorated with purple and white flowers, seasonal fruits including figs and blackberries, Meringue kisses and of course a sprinkle of glitter! I find making wedding cakes such a joy but also truly terrifying. It’s a lot of stress to be responsible for such an important part of a wedding day. I must admit to a couple of sleepless nights and nightmares about collapsing cakes. I wonder if that will go away with time?
And of course the wedding day itself was beautiful! Set in a sprawling old Manor House in the glorious Wiltshire countryside, adorned with rambling roses. The sun came out in time for the photos, the champagne flowed and the bride and groom looked gorgeous!
My husband turned 29 this month so we celebrated, as we always do, with a party at home. Unfortunately this year the weather wasn’t on our side. It was a grey and drizzly day but it didn’t put Jake off from spending the day outdoors with his new barbecue. The new barbecue has been quite exciting for him. I’ve never seen this man get out of bed with such a spring in his step, but when there’s meat to be smoked he is up at the crack of dawn!
He chose a huge piece of belly pork to cook for this party. It was a fairly hefty piece of meat,so I removed the ribs and we cooked them separately. Luckily there was quite a crowd in the end, including adults, kids and a couple of dogs. I made a fair few sides to go with the meat and we followed it with chocolate brownie and Birthday Cake, which for Jake is always a carrot cake. The tiny house was absolutely full to the brim. It was pretty chaotic and I’m glad that the rain held off enough for us to spill into the garden.
BBQ Party Menu:
- 10 hour smoked belly pork with a sweet chipotle rub.
- Bbq chicken wings, with homemade sweet and spicy barbecue sauce
- Mac and Cheese
- Boston Baked Beans
- Watermelon and Feta Salad
- Salsa, tortilla chips and pimento cheese dip
September is a busy month for birthdays in this family and now it’s even busier! Our nephew Leo arrived in the middle of this month, just days after Jake’s birthday. Stink is overjoyed to have her first ever cousin, and to no longer be the baby of the tribe! I’m so proud of my brother in law and his lovely partner for making such a beautiful little human. It reminds me though of what hard work it is having a new born. Not only are you sleep deprived, but everyone wants to come and see the new baby. Putting on a lunch and hosting a house full of family is the last thing any new parent wants to do and driving to North Devon to visit grandparents is out of the question. So we decided to make life easy for them and invite the family over to our house. It was a really lovely day, and so special to have 4 generations under one roof. I decided to cook a simple lunch of roast chicken, bread and salads, followed up with a cheeseboard. I made scones and caramel-apple cake for afternoon tea before Nanny B, Great Nanny and Pops had to drive back to North Devon.
Easy family lunch menu:
- Tarragon and Lemon Spatchcock Chicken
- Roasted Grape and Roquefort Salad
- Green Beans, Rocket and Basil
- Garlic and Herb Fougasse
And lastly, I treated myself to two new books this month. I figured as I had two teeth forcibly removed from my mouth that it was a fair compromise.
The first one was Olia Hercules new book Kaukasis which is a collection of recipes from the part of the world where Europe become Asia. It’s an area of this planet that we don’t hear much from in terms of cuisine and having read this book from cover to cover, I can’t understand why. Every recipe is intriguing, the pictures are breath taking and the stories of the people she meets in this journey are beautiful. As if her first book Mamuschka wasn’t amazing enough, Olia Hercules has gone and re-ignited my wanderlust all over again!
The second book I treated myself to Simple by Diana Henry. I must admit, I’d never actually heard of this writer before but after a little research I realised she’s kind of big deal in the food writing world. I picked this book because I liked the cover picture and I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from it. What I discovered was a book rammed full of new ideas, bold flavours and recipes which fit in to my busy schedule. The narrative is completely down to earth, noting that the average home cook doesn’t always have unlimited time and funds for complex recipes and exotic ingredients. I love every single recipe in it and I’ll definitely be looking out for this author when I next go on a book buying spree!