What has Gourmet Mum done? 12th November 2012

It was Joshua's 4th birthday this week. It was lovely that he understood what was going on so much more than last year. Sadly I had to cancel his party as he was too poorly (another tummy bug), but he soon forgot about that with distraction of opening his pressies. After buying lots of Disney Cars 2 toys, he decided he loves The Octonauts best. Kids eh.

Move over McQueen, The Octonauts are Joshua's new favourite thing (at the moment)

When he was better, I sent Joshua into school with a birthday cake to share. I was planning on making something to rival Jaime's rocket cake, but with poorly boys to look after I played it safe with Lisa Faulkner's Easy Chocolate Cake recipe (from her lovely book) which is really easy and completely delicious. I kept it simple, making a big rectangle cake and decorated with chocolate frosting (shop bought) and white chocolate stars. Joshua was not happy about the prospect of sharing his birthday cake, and complained about it all the way to school. I'll take that as a compliment.

Does this look like a boy who wants to share his birthday cake?

At the weekend we had our traditional annual fireworks party and BBQ with all our neighbours. 30 of us, kids and grown-ups, wrapped up warm and braved the cold to enjoy. Mr Kay was in charge of the fireworks display (which he takes extremely seriously) and he did a great job. There was plenty of ooooh's and ahhhhh's.

Oooohh... aaaahhhh... etc

Some of the other dads took charge of the BBQ, or Braai as our South African neighbours say, and we had a pretty impressive amount of meat to enjoy. Having South African's at a party meant that Boerewors were on the menu, and hot dogs were served in a Vetkoeks (literally translates as 'Fat Cakes' which are calorific savoury donuts). That was a delicious combo. Mr Kay brought a large keg of home brew, which went down a treat.

What an organised BBQ. Can you spot the boerewors?

The older kids loved the whole experience, chasing each other in the dark, munching hotdogs and watching the fireworks of course. Daniel, being one of the youngest, sat snuggled in his buggy and enjoyed the display with a bottle of warm milk.

Make mine a pint....of milk.

Joshua, who innocently thought that the fireworks party was actually his birthday party, enjoyed his first sparkler that evening. I looked at him waving it around and wondered how on earth my first baby had gotten so big so quickly. It was one of *those* moments, which other mums will understand :)

I'm trying to be organised and save time and money in the run up to Christmas. I find making a meal plan for the week helps me with this greatly. Here's what we're having this week, but check out Mrs M's blog for more weekly meal ideas:

Monday - Easy Beef Chilli

So... last week I abandoned my Monday night beef chilli in favour of a baked camembert for two and a bottle of red. Great start I know, but it was one of those days. On the plus side, the beef chilli has been sat in the freezer since, and will taste better as a result.

Tuesday- Beer Braised Pork with Savoy Cabbage

This recipe is from one of my favourite blogs The Amateur Chef which features great recipes with helpful step by step videos. I'm delighted to have found a recipe to use up the remainder of Mr Kay's homebrew leftover from the fireworks party.

Wednesday - Creamy Bacon and Leek Linguine

Requires four ingredients, ready in 15 minutes and the whole family love it. This is one of my lifesaver recipes, perfect after a crazy Wednesday.

Thursday - Easy Butternut Squash Soup

This butternut squash soup is a doddle to make. It requires just 15 minutes hands on time as the butternut squash is baked whole in the oven thus you avoid the awkward job of peeling and chopping a raw butternut squash. A great veggie meal served with crusty bread and butter.

Friday - Night Off!

Mr Kay is eating out on Friday so it's fish fingers all round! The boys will have them with chips and beans and I will have mine on a sandwich with tartar sauce and salad. It's actually one of my favourite things in the world, a really good fish finger sandwich!

Baked Goodies

This week I'm baking some delicious goodies from another favourite blog of mine, written by the lovely Sian, Fishfingers for Tea which is packed with great family recipes. Her Apple Crumble Cheesecake Bars look completely divine (plus I have lots of apples to use up) and her Lemon Curd Maderia Cake looks like an easy twist on a classic. My family are going to be mighty pleased.


Enjoy your week, keep warm and keep well!

Filipa x