We've been on a bit of a jaunt; a sojourn up North to visit my parents for a couple of days, and take some in-person birthday wishes to my father.
It wouldn't be a proper birthday without cake, and it wouldn't be me unless I took a little of the North London Kitchen to the North East. So I whipped together another Ottolenghi recipe to try for D's cake.
I also plotted with my Mum to make some bread on Friday so we could have a dinner of bread and salad. As I think I've mentioned, my adoration of all things bread comes from D, and this especially applies to the Italian breads, so with my Mum dutifully having made the ferment for the ciabatta before we arrived I promised to finish it and add some focaccia to the feast.
It all worked out very well indeed; the cake was ready for tea and cake when D got home from work, and a few hours later we had mounds of bread with fresh salad from the garden, roasted tomatoes and cheeses, served with great glasses of wine. Wonderful.
Apart from the great food and company there are other exciting things about being home: I get to use D's amazing camera. The pictures today come from his amazing Nikon, which somehow made even the ciabatta starter sitting on the side look exciting and professional. I've definitely got to get me one of those!
p.s. The only disappointing aspect of the weekend was the icing for the cake. It was supposed to be a lovely thick cloudy maple syrup cream cheese icing. Instead it was so runny when I mixed it that I had to add a tonne of icing sugar, which rather ruined the effect. According to everyone else it was fine, but I was very disappointed. Methinks perhaps it was because I used low fat cream cheese. I have never yet managed to get cream cheese icing to work. I think it'll get one more try, with a full fat cheese, then I might just give it up and look elsewhere for icing ideas.