I've had another Birthday. This seems to happen every year without fail. Last year was a special one with Treehouses, a Cocktail Party and a Cake of Cheese. How do you even begin to compete with that? A trip to The Three Chimneys comes pretty close. Breakfast in Bed from Boy and Girl even closer. Don't you just love the "Toast with love hart egg".
I was actually very spoiled by family and friends and received lots of lovely pressies and as always there were many with a foodie theme. There were even themes within the theme. Bring on the Cheese.
A set of beautiful Cheese plates to match my Camembert Baker and practical and pretty cheesewire which I'd spotted at Connage Dairy on our #HighlandFoodieRoadTrip Plus a book of Cheesy Tips from the friend who failed to deliver on the promised Cheese Afternoon Tea ;-)
I was somewhat jammy in receiving a selection of Preserving goodies. A fab tin tray which I'd spotted in Debenhams and subtly pointed Foodie Loon in the direction of. A huge book of further ideas for the Self Preservation Society, funky tartan and festive jam pot covers and a selection of bottles and jars for making and decanting my ever increasing supply of fruity booze.
Edibles and drinkables next with olive oil, herbs, spices, funky wineglass tags and a miniature bottle of Hendricks. The story behind this being that when we were at The Three Chimneys there were miniatures of Hendricks in the Mini Bar but I couldn't bring myself to pay £8 for the gin and a further £3.50 for the tonic. The best of the foodie rest included a teacup cushion, Tunnocks Teacake bag, Russian Doll dishes and an electronic light up pepper grinder. The "Keep Calm and have a Cocktail" napkins were in homage to my 40th party and I reckon a Come Dine With Me Party could well be on the horizon.
Late to the party was a gift from friends who have just returned from a holiday in Toronto. Lots of exciting Canadian foodie goodies. Interesting to learn about the sweet desert Icewine made with frozen grapes. I hope they'll be making a return visit very soon as the Maple Butter and Maple Roasted Cashews are long gone and I NEED more.
One of my foodie gifts that didn't make it into the photos was a copy of Nigel Slater's Eat. That would be because it was being put to good use in the kitchen. Lots of ideas within this lovely new book caught my eye but the one I chose to try out first was Smoked Haddock with Lentils from the "On The Hob" section.
I got some lovely pale smoked haddock (never the fluorescent yellow stuff) from Gourline Fish Merchants in Gourdon and this dish showcased it perfectly. I improvised a wee bit with the recipe and used creme fraiche as opposed to cream and tinned as opposed to dried lentils. The green lentils are very filling and make a perfect earthy accompaniment to the light and smoky fish. I've previously used them in a similar way alongside grilled sausages. I'm linking up to Farmersgirl Kitchen with this post for #DishOfTheMonth I suspect that Eat will be providing me with inspiration for this blogging challenge for many months to come.
We dined at Rock & Oyster for my Birthday lunch and enjoyed a fantastic feast of fish washed down with a glass of fizz. Alas no sign of the requested candle on my whitebait. Boy went straight for the scallops whist girl tucked in to a slightly off menu fishcakes and wedges combo. Manager/Head Chef Ryan was on holiday but his staff ensured we enjoyed a lovely meal as his guest.
Last year my final pressie contained tickets for a visit to Munich for the Christmas Markets. This year I'm not going quite so far but it is another item ticked off my bucket list. A stay in a Lighthouse. We'll be spending a night in one of the lighthouse keepers cottages at Buchan Ness Lighthouse. Will hopefully manage to squeeze in a date before Christmas. Can't think of anywhere nicer to spend a cold dark night curled up in front of a cosy fire. Things are getting scored off this bucket list of mine too quickly.
Note to self : Must add more to ensure happiness at birthdays still to come.