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.