It's been a nice birthday despite the fact of surgery having to happen just before it. I got a few very nice gifts and ones I really did want! I know we've all had those 'you really shouldn't have' type gifts for any occasion really and I've certainly had my fair share as well. I have to admit though when it comes to the present my mother gets me, she really listens to what one wants and find the perfect present to go with it!
This year I got 3 kind of major presents from every one as well as a couple of 'get well soon' presents from my hubby but since this is a cooking/food blog above anything, I'll make mention of the gifts I got that are related to that!
The first one was a present to myself a bit before my birthday... ok a couple weeks before but oh well! It is something I've been dabbing a bit in because these are made entirely of almond flour in their original form but getting the batter right can be quite a science! This present should help me a great deal though because it's a French Macaroon Kit. And not I'm not talking about the coconut style macaroons that most people seem to know all too well (although those aren't half bad either and I have made them, have eaten them and will no doubt before the winter is over make them again LOL).
It includes a recipe/instruction booklet, a silicone mat with all the markings on it needed to make the prefect shape/sized french macaroon from where you should stop with adding batter to where they should spread out to in the 'wait time' before baking and this odd looking but wonderful device also made of silicone to help squeeze the batter out in the right amounts. I know this little device already because I have a smaller one meant for thinner sauces like home-made chocolate sauce or other type sauces. It comes with a couple different tip pieces and even one to keep it closed between batches.
I look forward to getting enough energy back (and time) to attempt these again. I attempted them once and they were SOOOO runny. They were good tasting but they didn't fluff up, they spread out all over the pan and just so many things went wrong with them that they weren't even suitable for a 'first attempt' here on the blog. Heck the cookie part wasn't even good enough to bother making a filling of any kind for them.
I hope this kit will help me with this adventure. Don't even feel as though you have to do cooking completely on your own! There are so many things out there now a days to help you along your way, to help save you time and over all to help save your patience level! Home-made down to earth cooking does NOT have to take forever! If you can afford kits like this, DO IT! They are a life saver in the kitchen and will make you look like a gourmet cook on top of it all!
I'll include my next gift which was from my dear husband... it was a kind of didn't know about it type gift but sometimes those are the best ones! We went to do a bit of shopping after I got my stitches removed the day before my birthday and came across a rather nice and very heavy duty type roasting pan. Non-stick and made of a heavy metal... not cast iron but next best thing I would say.
There were 2 types though and although the main dish of it was the same, the tops were different. They cost almost 40euro and when we saw the very first one, we thought it wasn't worth the cost because I could get a good heavy glass roasting pan with a very similar top for quite a bit cheaper or borrow my mothers (it's not like I use a pan like this more then a few times a year any how) but then we as we stood there in line to check out, we saw the 2nd one. This is what made it a deal breaker... the first one had a glass lid that could only handle something like a 160c (320f) or so. 40euro for a pan that couldn't promise that it's own lid can't handle the higher temps needed for roasting, nah. But this 2nd kind had a lid made of the same material as the pan itself... heavy, non-stick and on top of it had a 2nd purpose, it's a grill pan on top of it! Oh yea baby! I've wanted a grill pan for quite some time now but the really good ones always cost so much and I did kind of want a roasting pan of my own as well. Now that we found this one in this all-in-one kind of pan, I was sold.
We bought it and my first dish is going to be made in it either tonight or tomorrow and that will be attempting roasted fall/winter veggies in it. The next dish is already planned for it too and that will be on our 10year anniversary November 23rd (next week!!! *BOUNCE*) and that will be grilled duck breast slices and grilled veggies to make some sinful duck fajitas which I'll also make some home-made cranberry sauce with rum in it to go with! Just going to go with the flow of what I know goes well with stuff like duck/wild game and take my chance at making things for it... no recipes, no looking things up, just going with it all.
I have a 3rd present for my kitchen that I got my folks but I will wait for another entry to write about that one because I'm not really ready to reveal it yet. The time will come though! It's something I've wanted for a very very long time now (we're talking years here btw) so once I get the energy and motivation again to start diving into my kitchen work, I'll reveal this last present. For now though, I want to concentrate on what I'll be making for my wonderful husband for our anniversary dinner and what to make the rest of the time he's off. He only works for another 2 days, has the normal weekend off, works 2 more days and then has another 5 days of of vacation! He's gonna be so sick of my clean then dirty then clean then dirty kitchen by the time he is done with all of his vacation/holiday days off that I think he'll be ready to go back to work just for a break from it all! I mean this month is only just going to end nicely with days off and then he'll have a few weeks of normal work but then his normal week long vacation time will have to hit yet too for Christmas through New years... yep, he'll be tired of it all by then I'm sure!