Sunday, 4 August 2013

Summer time and the living is easy...

Actually it has been incredibly busy.  Would you like to join me for a nice cup of tea and a catch up?  There has been so much going on that I have neglected you and that won't do at all.  The sun is shining and the table is set, outside of course as we must make the most of this lovely sunshine.  The Winter and Spring seemed to be so long that it seems wrong to be inside at all.

 The new tablecloth fits perfectly over the little table.  I bought it from Brussels when hubby and I went to the Jazz Festival.  It was so pretty and I just could not resist all that lovely embroidery.

Can I tempt you to a cake?  Do try a Rose and Elderflower one.

 The rose petals are fresh picked and some from this rose bush helped to colour the Rose and Elderflower syrup.  I love this syrup, quick and easy to make and delicious to taste. The recipe, comes from 'Prepped' by Vanessa Kimbell.  She tells us to use red scented rose petals but as my red roses are regretably not scented I used some red petals and some of my yellow scented ones.  It looked so pretty stewing in the bowl but the smell was incredible.

 How about a little Elderflower cake with fresh fruit?  This recipe was from the Waitrose magazine a few years ago now and definitely rates amongst my favourite cakes and I make them all year round. I usually make them a smaller size than the recipe suggests as 8 would vanish in a trice in our house, and also I don't feel guilty eating a little cake, so fairy cakes or mini muffin size are perfect and daintier on a cake stand.  As we are past the time for fresh elderflowers I picked a few blackcurrants and raspberries to go on top.  


The blackcurrant bush has done very well for it's first year but it has become much larger than I anticipated so some of the branches are now amongst the gooseberries!  Despite a mass cut back of the raspberry canes last autumn they are now as Triffid like as ever and now sending up new canes in the lawn! 

Now what else has been happening... 

Younger son turned 21 and had a chocolate orange birthday cake.  I forgot to take a picture when it was cut so you will have to imagine the four layers of sponge soaked in orange liqueur, layered with orange liqueur butter cream made with a sugar syrup.  The outside was coated in a chocolate ganache and hand made praline.  It's a good job you are only 21 once as it took me a whole day to make but definitely worth it and as a good cook himself he appreciated the effort.


Then our dear daughter redecorated the house in preparation for her A-level exams. Walls, doors, windows and even inside drawers - I think everyone's knowledge of History and English improved! 

 Of course the end of exams and the end of school was heralded by the Prom and that meant shopping, shopping, shopping, shopping, shopping (are you worn out yet?  I definitely was) for the Prom dress.  Who would have believed it could be so difficult.  Eventually, the day before we went on holiday (I will tell you all about that another day) we found one that she liked, they had the right size and it fitted BUT she didn't like the skirt's half lining under the chiffon as it had a split up the front and she really wanted a full lining.  This meant that on the day of the Prom I ended up relining the dress.  In order not to add extra bulk at the waist I ended up cutting the top of the new lining with a soldering iron to stop it fraying. It was all worth it in the end though, she looked so beautiful.


Well that is just a little of all that has kept me so busy, I shall tell you all about the holiday soon.