July is the month of birthdays and it’s been busy with family, friends and work beginning to wind down for the summer
Make – Chocolate Giggles from Sweetpea Pantry
I usually have basic ingredients in so baking at a drop of a hat is no problem, however in early July I discovered some delightful flour mites decided had to set up home. Out went many a kilogram of various flours, in came snazzy new Sistema flour storage (got to love TK Maxx).
We’re not one to use boxed mixes here. Not that I’m against them, you could argue that it was a kitchen cupboard full of various Betty Crocker mixes that got me interested in cooking from an early age. During our flour drout LB declared she wanted to bake. I’ve been aware of Sweetpea Pantry for a few years and they have recently started to be stocked in Sainsbury’s so I decided to pick some up for us to try.
I did find the mix was easier to handle with a quick spell in the fridge, but they made delicious biscuits that didn’t change shape while being baked. I’d certainly consider using Sweetpea Pantry packs again. It was nice to work with flour we don’t usually buy.
Eat – Banana Monkey Birthday Cake
For months LB has told me how she wanted a monkey and banana for her birthday. Her 1st birthday cake was rabbit themed, her 2nd was an unimpressive quickly flung together affair so for her 3rd I wanted to make an effort again. After some googling I came across this fabulous monkey cake at Happy Home Baking that used coco pops for the monkey fur.
Though tip from me, make sure you read (any) recipe properly before you start it. There was me thinking this was typical banana bread only to realise I was about to make my first genoise sponge in a very long time.
I’m really pleased with how well the cake worked out and it was delicious. The dark chocolate ganache meant there wasn’t the sickly sweet taste you get from loads of buttercream. LB approved, but she hasn’t stopped telling me that birthday cakes should be princess cakes like the one she had at her best friend’s the week before. Thanks LB.
Get – G&T stirrer
I seem to be getting a bit of a reputation for my fondness of gin. Weirdly I’m not a big drinker but do enjoy the odd tipple. I seemed to have a gin themed birthday. Sipsmiths VJOP and tickets to Gingerline Juniper Manor from Hubs, Sipsmiths Sloe gin off my sister then this adorable G&T stirrer from a good friend.
Read – Tartine Bread
I’ve well and truly fallen off the real bread wagon. I was introduced to Tartine Bread at work and the bread produced from the book is truly delicious and (I hope) achievable. LB bought me a copy for my birthday.
First step, not kill my sourdough starter…
Go – Thomas Land, Drayon Manor
Thomas Land, not somewhere you’d have thought I’d mention on the blog. During term time weekdays Drayton Manor have a good offer of toddler and parent for £20. Given I feel I’d have to take an extra mortgage out to take LB to the other well known Staffordshire theme park with kids TV tie-in, My friend & I decided to treat out girls to a day out for their birthdays. LB’s first trip to a theme park.
She’s clearly a thrill seeker and squealed away with excitement on a twisty, Turney, pirate ship type ride that I was willing to finish soon. If you have little ones I highly recommend a visit we spent nearly 6 hours there. If you’re local they do good annual pass deals and cheap entry after 3pm.