Birthday party and family dinner

Ah the weekend!!  We had a lovely Saturday.  Jeni came out from the city as Dave was away training for a cycling challenge he is doing.  It was lovely to see her – as always.  It is so funny living so close to her after all these years of living hundreds/thousands of miles away from each other!  She got the train right to Melton and we went to pick her up at the station before heading out to Bacchus Marsh.  Ruby had been invited to a birthday party there by one of the girls from Blossom Guides. 

 We dropped Ruby at the leisure centre and then went into the town centre for some brunch.  Alexander was doing the usual ‘I’m not the one at the birthday party’ huff but we won him round with bacon, eggs and a gingerbread man!  Jeni spotted some craft shops so she and I nipped in there while Michael took Alexander and the dog to the park.  The craft shop was lovely but God knows how they make any money, I bought three buttons (75c in total) and Jeni bought some needles for about $2 – last of the big spenders, us two!!  We found the boys at the park and sat in the sunshine for a wee while and then went back to get Ruby.  She seemed to have fun and it was nice seeing her running about with the other wee girls.

We came back to Melton and Jeni caught the train home.  We went to the shops to get some ingredients for dinner tomorrow.  We had invited the Stewarts down – finally!  I thought I was sorted with what I was going to make – it was all stuff I had made before but I didn’t really account for the fact that I wouldn’t be able to get some of the same stuff here!  I was standing in Coles (the supermarket) staring intently at two boxes of gravy wondering which one was most like Bisto and a random bloke came up and said, “Are you gluten-free?”  I replied, “Erm, no, I am foreign!  I don’t know which of these I need!”  He carried on, “Ah right, it’s just that my wife is gluten-free and she can have that one, but not that one.”  Bless him, more info than I needed but very sweet that he thought to help!  I was also thwarted in my search for a big block of puff pastry (I could only get 8 inch square sheets) and wee willie winkie sausages (small, thin, skinless sausages) but I got the nearest things I could and came home to get started.  T minus 24 hours!

I made my friend Lynn’s yummy steak pie – or my closest approximation of it!  The steak part has to be made the day before so it is great for when you have people over for dinner and you need to be doing a million things at once, this can just be finished off in the oven because most of the work is already done.  I also made the cheesecake so that it would have time to chill in the fridge – I am glad I made a practise version last week, firstly because it was scrummy and I really enjoyed it but secondly because I knew it would taste better the next day.  Hurrah – another thing I could do in advance!  While I was pottering in the kitchen, Michael hoovered every square inch of the house – I turned up my Glee soundtrack so I couldn’t hear him but it did look nice when it was done!

After the kids had gone to bed we sat down to watch a DVD.  I found a wee cardigan that I had started for Jo and Craig’s baby MONTHS ago – I had nearly finished it, just the sleeves to do, so I did some of that before bed.

I got a lie in on Sunday but got something of a rude awakening when Michael had a really long shower and neither of the kids noticed that Larry needed out so he relieved himself in a pretty big way on the tiles!  Michael cleared that up while I went for a shower, unfortunately Michael had used all the hot water (which takes some doing!) but I didn’t realise that until I had shampooed my hair – brrrrrrrrrr.

Michael took the kids and dog out for a walk while I chopped up the veg and potatoes for tonight.  I put the pie together which required some jigsaw techniques in my big deep dish baker with the sheets of pastry.  It looked a bit boring when I put the top on so I cut out some stars and a Union Jack and made a Australian flag on the top!!  Makes a change from wee leaves anyway!  I never really understood why people put pastry leaves on the top of pies so a flag seemed to make just as much sense!  It turned out like this …

which is not as clear as it was before it was cooked but hey ho, you get the idea!

Our table only really fits six people – or eight at a push – so we put the kids on a picnic table.  Ruby made some place cards for everyone – names and a wee picture.  I folded some napkins for the kids the way we used to when I worked at the restaurant – Ruby thought that was dead posh!

The Stewarts (minus Derek but plus Luke, Chloe’s boyfriend) arrived, the kids went to play outside while my oven hummed and hawed about actually cooking the food.  Just when I thought it wasn’t going to do it, it finally did and dinner was ready!  Steak pie, new potatoes, roast potatoes, carrots, broccoli, sweetcorn, yorkshire puds.  I am always a bit nervous about feeding other people because I will eat anything so I am never sure if what I am serving is actually nice!!  Everyone ate everything though so it must have been ok!

We had the cheesecake for dessert with some homemade strawberry sauce.  While I was making it Ruby said, “Can’t you just buy strawberry sauce?”  Well, yes, I could but that’s not the point is it?!  The recipe I used made LOADS so we will be having that over ice cream for dessert a lot this week!

We had a bit of a blether after dinner and then they all went home and we set about the dishes and spoke to my folks on Skype.  It feels a bit like a normal Sunday, which is nice!

No shopping or library today so we’ll have to do that tomorrow!

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