Diehards

Thursday, 19 June 2008

The Chicken Factor





The birthday trauma is over!

I got Rogan to make the cake. Just look at these snaps and you'll see what a success that was. I recommend placing an order if you live near enough to pick one up: as well as looking fabulous it was delicious. As I wasn't making it I decided to go for total culinary bling, so chose a Horlicks flavoured sponge and got him to fill it with Nuttella and top it with chocolate ganache and smarties. I would never have been quite so adventurous, in fact I would never have thought of Horlicks at all. I always think of Horlicks as the kind of thing old people think children should drink before bed. It worked really well though, the cake was moist with that desirable springyness and tasted great. As for the Nuttella, well, that is a staple in this house and one of our favourite things is smearing it onto hot pancakes where it melts slightly. Cold in the middle of the sponge cake layers it was scrumtiously fudgy. The chocolate ganache added depth and a touch of sophistication and was gloriously melty, like chocoalte butter. Actually it would be great on crumpets. The best bit, for me, though was the smarties: with the moisture of the cake the shell coating softened so your teeth were able to sink straight through to the chocolate, and they just looked so bright and cheery.

As for the gifts, luckily Stevie had recently snapped the head on his badminton racket, so after some internal debate - was it too much of a needy present? - I trawled the internet to get him a new one and had it strung to his precise specifications. I hope it is a slightly better one than he would have bought himself. Unfortunately the blasted thing didn't actually arrive on time so thank goodness I also got him a book of Norse Legends (I'll read it after him!), a chocolate pig from Rococo Chocolates, a tin pecking chicken and a book on chicken management. Those last two because we have a tradition of getting him something chicken related every year. I can't remember how it started, but am apt to believe he would be disappointed if chickens in some form or other didn't feature. The book on chicken management was a lucky find and he's been regaling us with chicken facts: did you know that a hen can suffer a prolapsed vagina if an egg she is trying to lay is bit on the large side, and the other hens on seeing her vagina hanging there will think it a tasty snack and eat it, thus killing the poor thing? There's plenty more where that came from! Perhaps next year I'll just get him a chicken suit.

Bob got him a rather nice linen shirt: roomy and cool looking, it makes him look a bit like a foreign correspondent. To ensure an aura of celebration we broke open a bottle of fizz when he arrived home from work. We meant to do it as he entered, but these things never go quite to plan and I was ironing a table cloth at that particular moment, so we had to send him into the sitting room alone while we put the last few touches to the scene: got the candles on the cake and lit, replaced the manky old table cloth and got everything on the table. I don't suppose it did him any harm.

17 comments:

Conan Drumm said...

Yum cake, permission to drool? The chicken stuff is fab, keep it coming!

Carole said...

You made the cake sound absolutely scrumptious. Sounds like a good time was had by all. Chickens are also not fun to live in the same house with. Let Steve know that before he orders 100 baby chicks.

Eryl Shields said...

Conan ~ drool away, but not on the cake.

There are some very interesting chicken facts in the book I might have to do a weekly chicken post.

Carole ~ oh lord, I'd have to move out if he did that! I wonder if that threat would stop him!

debra said...

Happy belated birthday to Stevie! The cake looks and sounds wonderfully decadently delicious! I wish I lived closer--I would definitely order one.
I suspect that Ohio is a bit too far, yes?
I have hens---for the eggs. They do have some rather.......chicken-like habits. Although humans have their own less than kind and compassionate habits, too.

Eryl Shields said...

Debra ~ I suspect that chickens who get to live like chickens are meant to, whatever that is, don't go around eating each other's cheeky parts! Though in the wild a hen with a prolapse would die anyway, so maybe this is how they 'put her out of her misery.'

If I had space I'd love to have chickens for fresh eggs. I have 'the egg lady' though, up the road, so it's the next best thing.

Kim Ayres said...

Rogan only uses free range eggs in his cakes :)

Really glad the cake worked out. Great photos! The one at the bottom of the post is particularly good when you click on it and get the larger version and can see the ganache sliding down the sides...

Nuts, I just drooled on my keyboard...

Hope the racket arrived safely!

Dr Maroon said...

In spite of myself, I do like the look of the cake. It's got something. Is it art? Maybe. Is that Ayres' boy Rogan?
I've checked the webasite, it is.
What the effing hell's going on down there?
Having said that, I do like the look of the cake.
As iI say, in spite of myself.
Was the linen shirt ethical? I've got a couple of linen shirts, the exploitative one is by far the most comfortable, as are the trainers.

Dr Maroon said...

Just spotted your comment Kim, Alright! Don't overegg the pudding [sic], you want return trade, the proof of the thing's in the eating, no offence Rogan, but did you wash your hands? Just asking! I was thirteen once.
Back off and let them eat it.

How much for one three times that size, delivered?

What?

If you're gonna test something, test it properly.

Eryl Shields said...

Kim ~ It arrived the next day and Bob wrapped in psychedelic paper so it looked like a giant lolly-pop.

Doc ~ You have linen trainers, from where?

Dr Maroon said...

Trinidad and Tobago

Eryl Shields said...

Doc ~ you're just too cool.

Mary Witzl said...

Well, you damn near ruined my diet with your description of that cake, then I read your chicken anecdote and that sort of helped. Sounds like a great birthday, though, and good for you!

I have a friend who collects chicken memorabilia. She has one of the largest collections you've ever seen: egg cups, paintings, cartoons, statues, clocks, deviled-egg holders, tea towels -- the works! If she ever visits, I'll have to arrange a meeting!

Eryl Shields said...

Mary ~ I didn't even know there were such things as deviled-egg holders. Your friend sounds marvellously eccentric.

Conan Drumm said...

Sorry Eryl I just have to ask the good Doc, was the left from Trinidad and the right from Tobago? Or vice versa?

Dr Maroon said...

All we can say for sure Conan, is that it's a mystery.

Eryl Shields said...

Conan ~ not sure that there is anything 'good' about the Doc.

Doc ~ ah, never mind.

Conan Drumm said...

Oh dear, I thought perhaps his bona fides had been established by some of you bloggers in that part of the world.