A nice birthday

Sunday 7th February 2016

Today was my birthday. We won’t mention how old I am. The morning started with present opening, which Max had to help with.

Max helps me open my presents

One of the presents I had asked Chris for was a monopod for the camera. Chris hadn’t wrapped it as the box was so big. I was a bit confused as I knew the size the monopod was supposed to be, and, sure enough, when I’d opened the box and removed all of the bubble pack, this is what I found.

A big box for a little object

After that I had to get up and cook dinner as I had invited Dad and Pat to lunch. When they arrived, however, it allowed me to play with my off-camera flash cable.

Dad and Pat

We had roast lamb and pork for lunch, followed by sherry trifle, and then, later in the afternoon, I produced my Birthday cake, which I’d made on Friday and decorated yesterday. It’s another lemon drizzle cake, with lemon curd and lemon buttercream filling, covered in icing. It wasn’t decorated quite as well as I would have liked, but it tasted nice.

My birthday cake

Although my birthday was quite busy, I had a nice day. After Dad and Pat had left I was glad to sit down and have a rest though.

A year ago today

My cousin, Linda, and her daughter, Lucy came to stay. We went shopping and had lunch out and then walked around Creekmoor Ponds when we got home.

Linda and Lucy

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Happy 60th Birthday Chris

Wednesday 18th November 2015

My husband Chris was 60 years old today. That’s pretty scary. I don’t like the thought of us getting old. But, I wasn’t going to let that spoil the day. So we woke up and had presents (we’d gone out yesterday evening and bought his main present: a new office chair, which will hopefully arrive in a couple of weeks time.

It had been extremely windy overnight, but nonetheless I chose to take Max down to Lake Pier at Hamworthy. Sometimes after high winds you find all sorts of interesting things washed ashore (like boats!). Today I questioned the wisdom of my choice as I got out of the car as I was nearly blown away. Not only that, but there was nothing interesting on the beach at all.

But what we did have was a mixture of stormy skies and blue sky, which made for some good photos. This one was taken from the beach looking back to Lake Pier.

Lake Pier As we were in Poole Harbour the waves weren’t very big, but they were quite foamy, and Max was a very happy boy playing in the sea. Happy Dog

As ever, once we left the beach and walked up to the cliff top the wind subsided. I know that seems the wrong way round, but it’s always the same here. I think it’s where the wind whips across the open expanse of Poole Harbour.

Anyway, we walked around the cliff top, and then went to Ham Common Lake, where Max had a nice swim, before heading back to the beach and the wind, which was playing havoc with Max’s ears.

Max's ears were getting blown about by the wind We walked back along the beach to Lake Pier. Lake Pier

And then we walked down onto the short stretch of beach between the pier and the marine base. There was a young guy taking photos down there, all kitted out with his tripod. Walking the dogs I don’t get to carry a tripod with me (I have too much else to carry!), so I just have to content myself with hand-held photos. I didn’t think this one was too bad though.

Boat After that we came home and had lunch. And then I embarked on my next project: a birthday cake for Chris. I roughly followed the recipe that Nadiya, the winner of this year’s Great British Bake Off used in the final. So it’s a lemon drizzle cake, filled with lemon curd and lemon butter cream and covered in fondant icing (which I’ve never used before). I was quite pleased with the result. Chris' birthday cake

And it tastes good too!

In the evening we had an Indian take-away, a bottle of Champagne, and we watched The Apprentice. So all in all I think it was quite a good birthday for Chris.

A year ago today

Obviously it was Chris’ birthday, and we went out to a local pub for lunch.
The birthday boy pulling a silly face

A baking day

First off, I decided to make a Lemon Drizzle Cake with poppy seeds. I was going to try Dan Lepard’s recipe, but instead settled for Mary Berry’s recipe from her ‘Baking Bible’, which I have used before, and with is simpler to make.

Making Lemon Drizzle cake

Here the butter, sugar, eggs and lemon rind are ready to have the flour added prior to mixing.

Lemon drizzle cake with poppy seeds

Ready to go in the oven.

Lemon drizzle cake with poppy seeds

The finished article – totally scrummy!

Apologies that the lighting isn’t very good in my baking photos, by the way. Despite having two big windows, I can’t get decent light in the kitchen.

My second baking attempt was from Dan Lepard’s ‘Short and Sweet’ and was a Pear Tart with Chocolate Crumble. I thought I’d try out Heston Blumenthal’s recommendation of using coins, rather than baking beans, to blind bake my pastry case.

Blind baking a pastry crust

The jury is still out on whether the coins are better than baking beans, but they are very convenient and much easier to handle.

Pear Tart with Chocolate Crumble

The finished tart. It tasted really good, although I could do to cook the pears a fraction more next time, and use a little less chocolate crumble.

27 January 2012