Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Plans, Chocolate Cake and Pretty Flowers

Who is looking forward to Easter?

I am for one. I am not picking up a paint brush until Tuesday despite a workshop full of vintage treasures awaiting a lick (or three million) of white paint. I've been working seven days a week lately with loads of custom orders and some business consultancy jobs for clients. It's a great mix for a rewarding career (if you can call it that, more just work than any career, at this stage of life for me as a mum at home) but it does mean that work can pile up if I don't plan it all well. I've had some lovely pieces to paint these last few weeks and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you over the next week but for this evening, I've poured a little glass of champagne and am making a few plans for our Easter weekend.

Phil's parents and one of our very close friends are joining us for lunch tomorrow. I didn't grow up with many (any!) religious traditions but Phil is very particular about Good Friday and Easter routines - no meat allowed, only fish. I freaked him out when we were first living together and suggested eggs and bacon for breakfast on Good Friday. I've since learnt and enjoy a big festive seafood lunch.  I've bought a whole snapper each for the adults and flathead fillets for the kids, as well as fresh king prawns, fresh bread, and ingredients for a pomegranate, goats cheese and walnut salad.  I'll be baking the snapper with herbs and lemon, and pan frying the flathead fillets in breadcrumbs. For dessert I'll be whipping up our best chocolate cake. This is our family favourite and I use it for most celebrations. For the kids birthdays I have a huge round pan and triple the recipe. However I usually make it in a Tupperware bundt/gugelhof silicone form.

easy chocolate cake recipe

This Chocolate cake recipe just might be the easiest recipe in existence  - it takes 5 minutes to measure everything out and mix. One of those wonderful recipes that you just toss all the ingredients (including melted butter) into the mixer and then into the oven.

Our friend Jane served this cake years ago so we call it Jane's cake.

3oz (85g) butter
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoon of cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1 cup Self Raising flour
2 eggs
Vanilla extract (or essence)
    (N.B. in Australia our cup measure size is 250ml, I think the US is different)

    1. Place flour, sugar, cocoa, milk, vanilla essence & eggs into mixer bowl.
    2. Melt butter and pour over ingredients.
    3. Beat well for 4 minutes (the mixture will turn a much lighter colour).
    4. Pour mixture into greased cake tin and bake for 45 mins in moderate oven.
    5. Let the cake cool for 5 mins in the tin then cool on a wire rack.
    easy chocolate cake recipe

    If chocolate cake is not your thing (!!) we made this pavlova roll, with mascarpone, balsamic strawberries and basil last weekend and it's really light and delicious and not overly sweet.

    pavolva roll karen martini

    We have made this a couple of times, first seeing it made by Karen Martini on Better Homes and Gardens. It sounds more complicated than it is.  The recipe is here.  We just used strawberries but her recipe includes raspberries as well.

    pavolva roll karen martini

    I'd love to hear what you have planned for Easter? Do you have a big family lunch or something more chilled. My best friends from uni are heading off camping by a river out near Cumnock - that sounds good to me. I could do with getting totally away from everything!  I am however looking forward to having Phil home and taking it easy. I hope the weather stays deliciously warm and sunny and we can get to our favourite beach.

    Wishing you and yours a wonderful and happy Easter.

    See you next week with more painted furniture and a review of a wonderful new sanding tool

    Fiona xx

    1 comment:

    1. Have a happy Easter Fiona with your family. We are having a fairly quiet Easter as we are finishing off preparing our house for rental, so will do a few jobs and perhaps go out for lunch (Perth) one day near the beach. I have stocked up on seafood also for a bbq tonight, we have always had fish on Friday. Two of our adult children have gone away, which I am happy about as its the only time they get a longish break to get away from the city and go camping or stay with country friends. Looking forward to my seafood!


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