Thursday 2 February 2012

Birthdays & awaydays!

It's a strange fact that 3 of my very favourite men in the world have birthdays within 5 days of each other in January....first my Dad, then Wolfgang Amadeus and finally Paul! So I suppose you could say that I'm a true oldest friend (40 years in 2013) is also one. As my darling oldest nephew & my youngest sister were born a little earlier in January, too,  it can be a very expensive time of year in our household!

So my Dad turned 75 a week or so he has suffered ill health through most of his adult life, this is a huge reason to celebrate for all of us! His birthday is also our wedding anniversary (we married as a special surprise on his 70th!) so it's quite a day...

We just had a small family dinner at a local restaurant owned by our great friend David...Annie Bailey's . It's where Dad's surprise 70th party (and, therefore, our wedding reception!) was the place is full of happy memories for all of us. I, naturally, baked the cake...

which was chocolate...with malted milk chocolate frosting...

and it was absolutely enormous! We told the guys in the kitchen to take a large slice and then the rest went home with my parents to be finished off ...which it was, eventually! A lovely, lovely evening.

Paul & I have a little tradition of going away for a long weekend near to his birthday. We try & go somewhere new, and make sure that Alice can come too. You may remember that last year we stayed in West Wittering in Sussex...this year, we chose Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast. You can read more about the weekend on my other blog but I thought you'd like to hear about Paul's birthday lunch on this one! We went to a place we've often read about and wanted to visit...
The British Larder near Woodbridge.

It didn't disappoint. Everything was gorgeous...the menu changes daily, and they strive to be truly local. There is even a set of weighing scales on the bar and customers are encouraged to bring surplus fruit & vegetables from their own gardens...or any other be bought & used in the restaurant. Great idea!

Paul chose the venison scotch egg with homemade piccalilli & celeriac remoulade to start with...

I loved the pickled carrot & radish salad with toasted sourdough...but the real star for me was my dessert...

vanilla pannacotta with blood orange granita & a garibaldi biscuit. I can taste it still!

The granita was sharp, sweet, bitter...absolutely divine. The British larder is highly recommended and we look forward to returning!

A couple of weeks ago, I met my great friend and fellow blogger Hummus Boy for lunch at a favourite London restaurant, Great Queen Street in Holborn/Covent Garden. It's always fabulous here, to my mind...I've reviewed it before on this blog so I won't do so again. But I MUST mention our desserts...(see a theme here??)

Salted creme caramel...(only a touch of seasalt, not actively salty!) I can't believe that I ordered this (neither will Esther!) I have a lifelong aversion to anything eggy or milky...but my brain misread the creme caramel as creme brulee and when it arrived I was SO glad! Just so gorgeous...vanilla-y, caramel-y, not too creamy. A delight.

HB's featherlight 'beignets' (or tiny sugared doughnuts) with rhubarb jam and thick cream...ooh, so glad that he's the sharing type of friend! We almost clashed forks in our eagerness to devour the hot, crisp-yet-soft delights!

January was a good month - but I confess that I'm happy it's February! It's just that bit closer to Spring...and I'm planning my vegetable garden for the year. It's only tiny, so I allow myself the luxury of growing a few unusual things instead of carrots & potatoes. More soon...the ground is still hard as iron, after all!

I hope that you're full of inspiration and excitement for the seasons to come, too. xoxo


  1. First I must say how beautiful the new look is. It really seems three dimensional and I kept expecting for things to pop in and out. Love the lace and flowers too. It's not uncommon at all for people to gravitate toward the same signs--it happens more than it doesn't. Or sometimes it's certain planets in signs that repeat. And finally I must say how cruel it is that I am awake at 6:30am and soon to sleep and now I've seen all these amazing deserts (and I have no such aversion to eggy/milky in fact adore them) so my slumber will be filled with the nightmare of sweet treats. And I won't even get a bite for real. If only. It all looks wonderful. ♥

  2. Hi Rachel :) I'm loving this look too !

    oh I didn't recognize any of the food you guys ate except for the doughnuts lol... gosh, I need to get out. I like the idea of the fresh hot doughnuts with the side dishes to dunk them in :) I can just see a custard or Bavarian creme, and a bit of hot fudge on the sides... yum!
    Off to see the other blog now :)

    Denise of Ingleside, PEI

  3. How lovely, Rachel! You sure had lots to celebrate this month! My big/busy birthday month is in December. Your dad's chocolate malt cake looks divine, as do all the other desserts on this post. It's wonderful to be able to celebrate with those we love. I'm sure you're glad that January is over now. I'm with you...bring on February and hurry up Spring! Sending love and hugs,

    Rosinda xoxo

  4. Oh what fun!!! Your January is like our December is!!!! Like Rosinda, we have my middle daughter's birthday, Rod's father's birthday, our second granddaughter's birthday, my son-in-law's birthday and get the idea!!! So, along with Christmas, December can be a bit stressful but oh so fun, too!!

    I remember last year's birthday celebration....I wish continued good things for your dad....may he blessed with many, many more....along with many joyous days of wedded bliss for you and Paul....I can't wait to hear about your weekend away....we are about due for one ourselves....this is great inspiration....and planning your garden? Oh....yes, I long to....

  5. I do not show up often enough on your blogs (sorry as I am on holiday). Happy birthday to your father and I apologize for such a late wish. Everything looks so delicious. Especially the cake you baked.

  6. It would seem that many congratulations are in order - birthdays for your father AND Paul, plus that anniversary! The food sounds amazing!


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