This last week has not been especially eventful in my kitchen, although the Great British Bake Off kitchen saw the final, with Nadiya being crowned a very worthy winner. I am so pleased she won: I thought she consistently produced great bakes throughout the series, and she seems like a genuinely lovely person as well. I’ll be spending today making my final entry into Mummy Mishap’s Great British Bake Off Bloggers 2015 challenge – I have already won star baker twice for my chocolate crunchie frangipane tart and oaty chocolate millionaire’s shortbread, so I’d love to win for the final week … we’ll see.
I also treated myself to a copy of Nigella Lawson’s new cookbook ‘Simply Nigella: feel good food’. As well as enjoying all of her recipes, I also admire the way she writes, and will happily sit down on a cosy armchair and read her books for hours. I am sure I’ll be making a few of her dishes over the next few weeks.
The highlight of my week was this weekend, when three friends visited for the day while Andrew was out watching the rugby (he was not a very happy bunny after the match as Wales lost, but at least they are through to the quarter finals). Annette had travelled across from near Cork, and Susie and Katharine had a slightly shorter journey from Surrey, although they are originally South African.
They had all had the fab idea of putting together ‘foodie penpals’ style parcels for me, and so I ended up with some Irish and South African treats. How lucky am I? This is what I received (the picture below shows most of my Irish and South African goodies, but some of them have been stored in the freezer for later, and others have ALREADY BEEN EATEN).
- All the ingredients to make my own peppermint crisp tart, including peppermint crisp chocolate bars, tennis biscuits and caramel cream (Susie also made a tart – and a milk tart – which I ate quite a lot of throughout the day!)
- Koeksisters doughnuts
- Muesli rusks to dip into my morning coffee
- A bottle of Amarula and Amarula chocolate truffles
- A jar of spices
- Romany cream biscuits
- Ghost pops crisps (addictive, I munched through the remains of a family-sized bag when they left!)
- Tomato bredie spice mix
- Durban curry spice mix
- A tin of granadilla (passion fruit pulp)
- A chocolate log bar
But the treats didn’t stop there – Susie and Katharine also gave me some Dreamies and a catnip toy for the cats, a crazy cat lady tea towel (moi?) and a traditional Cape Malay cookbook. Isn’t that wonderful?
- Guinness truffles (for Andrew, but guess what? I think I’ll be eating them!)
- My favourite Lily O’Brien’s chocolates
- Shamrock shortbread
- Butlers hot chocolate (basically lumps of chocolate that you melt into cream to make hot chocolate – amazing!)
- Irish sausages (a lovely breakfast for today in a sausage sandwich)
- Irish black and white pudding
- Irish cheese
- Smoked salmon
- Taytos crisps (cheese and onion are Annette’s favouruites)
- Plus two Irish cookbooks as she also owns and runs Darkwood books so had kept a couple of traditional ones aside from me.
Don’t I have such kind and generous friends? I was thrilled, and was glad I’d made an effort with the food, especially this Rolo cheesecake to celebrate Katharine’s birthday. I didn’t really need to do much in the way of entertaining though, as the kitties were excited at having a lap each in the house and fawned all over us (the catnip and dreamies might have helped).
Well, I have enough treats to see me through a long and cold winter, so I’ll have to ration myself a bit so I don’t end up eating them all in one go and falling into a sugary food coma! I am trying to show restraint with my menu this week, so am planning the following, on top of porridge for breakfast, soup for lunch and a selection of gym classes:
- Monday – Anglesey eggs for this week’s meat free Monday
- Tuesday – I am out to a Guardian Masterclass to hear from some famous bloggers including Niamh Shields from Eat Like A Girl so am very excited to learn from the experts
- Wednesday – pasta with smoked salmon (from Ireland!)
- Thursday – Swedish meatballs
- Friday – salmon with vegetables
- Saturday – chicken kievs, jacket potato, mushy peas
- Sunday – roast duck
Do you have anything nice planned for this week? I’ll be finishing off this peppermint crunch tart made by Susie: