Monday, September 9, 2013

Another Year....

Well there was no denying or avoiding it, yesterday was my birthday - honestly it seems to come around far too quickly because I feel like I say that alot, but in all honesty, I don't mind because I know I'm going to get to spend the entire day with Mr B and my Mum and Dad and, to me, that is the best gift of all.

 Yesterday morning Mr B and I had the opportunity for a bit of a sleep in seeing as we weren't due at Mum and Dad's for breakfast until 10am, although that didn't stop me being awake at 7am poking Mr B in the ribs whispering 'It's my birthday!!' until he woke up.....

I was lucky enough to get an early birthday present from Mum and Dad a few days ago which solved all my wardrobe dilemnas because they had brought me this super gorgeous retro dress to wear yesterday - I love Love LOVE it and felt like some sort of vintage princess all day in it.

After a quick photo shoot, Mr B and I headed to Mum and Dad's for breakfast. I'm sure Mr B was holding out hope for eggs and bacon, but Mum and Dad know me well and dished up this beautiful Poached Spiced Dried Fruit with Spiced Honey Yoghurt - it was absolutely divine and I could easily have eaten bowl after bowl of it....except Mr B polished off the leftovers before anyone else got a look in!

Poached Spiced Dried Fruit with Spiced Honey Yoghurt - Serves 4
1/2 cup brown sugar
1.5 cups water
grated rind of 1 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean - split lengthways and scraped
400g dried fruit (apricots, apples, pears and dates)

Combine sugar, water, lemon rind, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean and scrapings in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to the boil. Boil for 3 mins.

Add the dried fruit. Cover. Reduce heat to low and cook for 45 mins, stirring occasionally or until fruit is plump and tender. Serve fruit warm with syrup and yoghurt.

To make the yoghurt, combine 500ml thick greek yoghurt with 1-2 tspns of honey and cinnamon to taste.

After breakfast we headed into town for a spot of window shopping. Earlier this year a Peter Alexander shop finally opened up in Hobart and I have been dying to go in for a browse. I have never actually brought myself any Peter Alexander pyjamas because I have issues spending more then $10 on anything I'm going to just lounge around in and most likely spill my dinner on before I go to sleep, but that doesn't mean I don't love looking at them!

Mum and I browsed in and out of every sale rack we could find and if it all got too girly and lingerie related, Mr B and Dad hung around outside the store trying their best not to look suspicious....

I felt bad for them loitering around out there so told Mum to go and get them.....but when they came into the store they didn't like anything I tried on so they were quickly sent back outside!

As it turns out the sale racks had to wait because unbeknownst to me, we had a lunch date!

As soon as we drove down into Salamanca Place I started thinking 'please let us be going to Jack Greene's, please let us be going to Jack Greene's.....' 

And we did! Yay!!! It was right on 1pm rush hour though so we were informed it was a 50 minute wait for food but we managed to survive that by playing musical tables around the restaurant. The third table we tried was not too breezy, not too small, just right and just in time for our meals to arrive!!

Mr B ordered his beloved mini burgers. Last time we were here we discovered that they have a sample plate where you can pick any 3 mini burgers so I think this time Mr B decided to try the blue swimmer crab, the wagyu beef and the duck - of course he said they were all awesome, but I just love them because they are so tiny and adorable!!

Mum ordered a vegetarian burger with balsamic mushrooms, grilled halloumi and eggplant relish which looked delicious and had a piece of halloumi the size of my head in it - I'm so having that next time we go!! Dad had a battered fish burger, I had the lamb and halloumi koftas with grilled flat bread and we all shared some chips and onion time we go I'm also getting a bowl of the chips and onion rings just for myself, no sharing, they are that good and whatever they were seasoned with is pure gold.

Bellies full, it was time to head home for a nap presents.

I got absolutely spoilt by Mum and Dad with some beautiful new jewellery, including a pink pearl necklace and tree of life pendant, and some pretty new scarves to add to my growing collection! 

I also got this handy dandy lingerie travel case.....I think Mr B likes it a little too much....

And what birthday of mine would be complete without shoes?!

Nearly 3 years ago now, Mr B discovered this giant shoe sculpture in a paddock on his way home from his buck's weekend. Then last year on my birthday, Mum, Dad, Mr B and I stumbled upon the artist's miniature version for sale in a local gallery....and now look at them right here in my lounge room!

Cue lots of squealing and general awe on my behalf. LOVE!!!

Now I think Mr B and my parents conspired on this next part which normally would bother me, but on this occasion I think it worked out very much in my favour so I'm prepared to let it slide!

Mum and Dad brought me a brand new mixer! And whilst my old mixer is only 4 years old, I do use it flat out and it probably feels like it is about 60....

Plus there was that time I put the stainless steel mixer bowl in the microwave to soften some cream cheese...

And that other time I got a spoon wrapped around the beaters....

Ok so it's had a fairly hard life in it's 4 years and is probably due for retirement / downgrading to light duties which it can do now that I have my brand spanking new swish shiny (and did I mention blue??) mixer!

Here is where the conspiring comes in because Mr B brought me this Wilton Decorating Tool Caddy!

Cue more excited squealing and then lots and lots of babbling as I tried to verbalise all the things I could make in my new mixer and then decorate with all my new many ideas so little time!!

I have looked at these decorating tool caddys and ooohhh'd and aaahhh'd over all the goodies in them and walked the appliances aisles at the electrical stores day dreaming about a whiz bang new mixer many times, but I never thought I would be lucky enough to own not one, but both of them.

My Mum whipped up some delicious chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, complete with pirate candle at Mr B's insistence, for afternoon tea.

When this photo was taken I had Dad in front of me with his camera, Mr B to the side of me with our camera and there were flashes going off left right and centre, I didn't know which way to look or to smile and was more concerned that my candle had been burning for so long the pirates head was going to melt all over my cupcake!

After Mum and Dad went home, Mr B told me he had to spend some time in the kitchen getting my 'cake' sorted out so I took the opportunity to put some of my presents away, throw on one of my new CD's and put my feet up.

Although I did think it was slightly odd when Mr B asked me if I felt like sweet or savoury and when I said I didn't mind he said he would just do half and half......

About an hour later when Mr B emerged from the kitchen singing Happy Birthday he was carrying this enormous platter full of fresh scones - one was even complete with birthday candle!!

It was only last week on Fathers Day that I complained loudly to Mum, Dad and Mr B about how much I was hanging out for some good fresh scones with jam and cream and how you couldn't find many places that actually had them on the menu anymore. As it turns out, Mr B was listening!

 Half of the scones were plain and half were cheese and it didn't take long for the butter, jam and cream to appear. These were delicious and after a day that seemed to be full of food, a much lighter all-in-one dinner / dessert!

Basic Buttermilk Scones - 2 ways

2 cups self-raising flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Pinch of salt
60g butter, chilled, chopped
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup grated cheese
Extra buttermilk, for brushing
Butter, Strawberry jam and whipped cream, to serve

Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Position oven rack in the top half of oven.

Sift flour, sugar and salt into a bowl. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Make a well in centre of mixture. Add buttermilk. Using a flat-bladed knife, stir until a sticky dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until just smooth. Divide dough in half.

To one half of the dough mixture, add the cheese and gently work through the dough.

Using a lightly floured rolling pin, gently roll out each portion of dough out until 2cm thick. Using a 6cm round cutter, cut out scones. Press leftover dough together. Repeat to make 12 scones.

Place scones, just touching, on prepared tray, making sure to seperate your plain and savoury ones.

Brush scones with buttermilk and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden and hollow when tapped on top. Serve the plain ones with jam and cream and the savoury ones with butter and if you have cheese and tomato relish floating around, they are pretty good with some of that too!

So there you have it.

That was my birthday.

And I loved every single second of it spent with my amazing family who I would be lost without. Thank you all for just being you xx


Mrs B xx

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