Friday, 28 June 2013

Cake, Competitions and 'Jack' Sparrow!

My day off work was a bit of a washout! It rained more or less all day, though it brought with it much action on the wild bird feeders!

There were many Goldfinch charms visiting and bringing their babies along. I also saw a baby Blue Tit and its rather dishevelled parent but I couldn't get good enough footage of the new guy! I did manage to get some footage of 'Jack' Sparrow, he looks great! I've attached the video I made of the birds today. Hope you like?

In the post today my new exercise bike was delivered along with my prize from Arriva, who all week on Facebook had been holding a competition for a free weekly bus ticket. I was Wednesday's winner and I am 'made up' as I don't have to pay for a ticket this week!!

Me and my voucher for free bus travel!
As planned I made my Strawberry Mousse Cake with Morello Cherry Drizzle today. It has three different types of cream in it!! Very fattening!

For the biscuit base
·         200g digestive biscuits
·         100g butter, melted
For the mousse cake
·         4 sheets of leaf gelatine or I used one 10g of vegetarian powder (to 6 sheets)
·         142ml carton single cream
·         500g carton fromage frais. I couldn't get fromage frais so had to use mascarpone
·         140g golden caster sugar
·         finely grated zest 1 small orange
·         4 tbsp orange juice
·         400g strawberries
·         284ml carton double cream
For the sauce
·         250g Morello cherries
·         3 tbsp orange juice
·         2 tbsp golden caster sugar
To decorate
·         mixture of strawberries (some halved), cherries.
·         icing sugar, for dusting


  • Put the biscuits in a plastic food bag and crush using a rolling pin. Melt the butter in a medium pan, then stir in the biscuits. Tip this mixture into a loose-bottomed 24cm round cake tin, about 5cm deep and press down evenly. Chill.
  • Make the mousse: submerge the gelatine leaves in a large bowl of cold water and leave to soak for 5 minutes. Heat the single cream in a small pan until it just comes to the boil. Take off the heat. Lift the gelatine leaves out of the water and give them a good squeeze to get rid of the water. Stir into the hot cream one by one – they will dissolve immediately. Leave to cool slightlyI warmed up the single cream and then added a 10g sachet of vegetarian gel.
  • Beat together the fromage frais, sugar, orange zest and juice with a whisk or wooden spoon. Stir in the cooled cream and gelatin mixture and the cut strawberries. Crush just a few of the strawberries against the sides of the bowl and stir again to ripple through, leaving most whole.
  • Whip the double cream lightly to soft peaks, then fold it into the strawberry mixture. Pour into the cake tin and leave to chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight, until set.
  • To make the sauce, blitz all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Chill until ready to serve. (The sauce and the mousse can be made up to a day ahead).
  • To serve, run a knife between the mousse and the tin, lift it out of the tin and take it off its base. Put on a serving plate and pile a mixture of fruits on top to decorate. Dust with icing sugar and serve with the sauce.
The Result:

An utter disaster! David, mum and myself all had a portion. The cream mousse didn't seem to have set very much. It didn't taste of anything really and then when putting the cake back into the fridge. It slipped off the plate and I tried to catch it with my hand.

Oh no!!!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

First Blogger Post.

I have kept a journal since I was 16 years old. Indeed I still have all the old diaries so I can look back at the person I was at a given date.

Last January 2012. I started sharing my 'journal' online via I had hoped that it would become a record of the daily avian species that visit my inner city garden, of my holidays to UK zoo's and also accounts of my many days out with fiance David. 

However 2012 was not the best year for myself. In March after booking a weeks holiday to Norfolk to visit as many animal parks and zoos in the region. A week or so before I was to leave for the motorways with David, my father sadly became ill with pneumonia (and other complications) and died midweek when I would have been away. Luckily I had cancelled the holiday to be by his bedside. My WordPress blog continued to record the bird visitations to my sunflower seeds, mealworms and fat balls. (It became a bit of a distraction). 
Dad (Graham) and I
In May, David and I 'finally' got the keys to our first house, so the remainder of the year was filled with painting and decorating and demolishing!
David and I with the house keys!
However the final months of 2012 was a bit of a disappointment, with my work at the University of Liverpool drying up as my main student fell ill in October, meaning I had to claim Job Seekers support for three months as I had no other students and no other hours! Cooking and baking became my 'new' distraction.'

Chocolate roulade.
Cherry trifle.

Mid 2013. I am in a far better place. We are almost nearing the end of the renovation to the house. David and I have got it 'just so!' 

The Dining Room.
I have also just completed my second week in a new placement at the Royal Liverpool Hospital as a Support Worker for a sight impaired admin officer. So far so good. I am enjoying the work and it could possibly be more permanent than the university work. Alongside this I am also invigilating the odd exam at the university of Liverpool, which I also enjoy! So work wise I have lots going on. 

Outside of work I am currently nearing the completion of a 'romance' novel I have been writing since January but life seems to be getting in the way of finishing it. I have three dates to look forward too for days out!

  • Summer Classics in the Park: 23rd August. Hopefully the summer will come back and bathe Sefton Park, Liverpool with lovely weather as I want to see the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic perform some well known classics.
  • Southport Airshow: on the 15th September. Hope to go and see the Eurofighter visit once again.
  • British Musical Firework Championship in Southport: 5th October, hope to visit on the Saturday. This has become a regular date on the calendar. 

Garden bird visitations: I have several Goldfinch charms visiting my sunflower seed feeders and they are now starting to bring their babies. Just now (7.30pm) I have seen at least three babies all begging for food! What a racket they make!

I also have a new regular to the fat balls, a male House Sparrow. So with a day off work planned tomorrow. I hope to catch a glimpse of 'Jack' Sparrow and get video footage of him for you. While I also plan on baking a fruit mousse cake for Wimbledon!

But this evening I am kicking back and relaxing, listening to Hans Zimmer's 'Man of Steel' soundtrack while enjoying a glass or two of Pinot Grigio!