Week 27 – meeting Rachel Allen and coping with a hangover

IMG_2832.JPGThis is going to be a short post as I am feeling tired and hungover after Andrew’s birthday celebrations last night (his actual birthday is next weekend but he had a party last night, for which I made this amazing – even if I do say so myself – cake!).

As you can imagine, the week was spent on the cake – baking it on Wednesday, buttercreaming it on Thursday, and decorating it on FrIday. It was a real labour of love and when I was making the dragon I wanted to give up a couple of times, but was glad I persevered. I’d never made the sponge before and was delighted with how that turned out too, so will be sharing the recipe with you very soon.


Our meals were light and speedy to take into account the time I’d need to spend on the cake, and apart from a nice Vietnamese rice and prawn salad I didn’t really make anything of note. However, I did get to have a tasty review lunch at my local Slug & Lettuce (review coming soon), and on Wednesday I was invited to meet Irish TV chef Rachel Allen at the launch of Ballymaloe relish in the UK.

I have eaten the relish before as my Irish friend Annette had bought me a selection when she last visited us in London, but it’s recently launched in the UK via Ocado and in many Tesco supermarkets. The relish is delicious with cold meats and cheese, but Rachel shared some of her favourite recipes with us, including Irish soda bread:


And sausage rolls with a lining of the relish:


Not only was Rachel absolutely lovely (I had been told that she was exceptionally friendly by fellow bloggers) but so were the guys from Ballymaloe who were at the launch, including Jasmin (daughter of the Ballymaloe founders Myrtle and Ivan) and her children. I came away from the event thinking how lucky I am to  have these kind of opportunities thanks to this blog. And now I am desperate to go to Ballymaloe.

The plan for this week is as follows:

  • Monday – chicken kiev, jacket potato, veg
  • Tuesday – salmon with pesto and pasta
  • Wednesday – monkfish and veg
  • Thursday – a light meal of eggs as we’re flying off to Rome at stupid-o-clock the following day, and we’ll be there for the rest of the week.

Until then, here’s another photo of my lovely cake! Please share any Rome tips you have in the comments, as we’re completely disorganised and haven’t planned anything for our trip yet …


3 Replies to “Week 27 – meeting Rachel Allen and coping with a hangover”

  1. eatnbmerry says: Reply

    Dragon extraordinaire. Bravo!

    1. Thanks! I still can’t quite believe I made it … I never expected it to turn out so well (hence the boasting!).

  2. ann.knatt@turnerbutler.co.uk says: Reply

    Am sure the cake tasted as good as it looked – well done!
    Rachel comes across on tv as being really nice. She does say ‘perfect’ a lot though!!
    I love the massive knife/fork/spoon on wall behind her.

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