15th June 2024 by emmadurnford

15th June 2024

Chris and Monika came over today with Branston the dog as an early Father’s day visit. They also came to help out with some tasks around the house. Chris had volunteered to help in the garden and the cut the out of control holly bush (almost tree) down in size so we can shape it and it will be more manageable in the future. Monika brought their new carpet cleaning machine and volunteered to have a god art our hall carpet which I am ashamed to say, has never been cleaned! They both worked very hard and Monika spent literally over three hours and I can say that the carpet looks like new. They both did a lot of work and also bought an interesting looking box with a ribbon and card for Fathers Day tomorrow.

As a reward (and we are genuinely really grateful), we had promised to treat them both to a three course dinner. I was responsible for the starters, accompaniments to the main course and the dessert. The starters comprised of a seafood trio - miniature prawn cocktail, smoked salmon slices and (cheated here) - crab mouse with chilli sauce. The main course was a large leg of lamb cooked pink (Colin’s contribution) with (by me) two large jugs of gravy, roast potatoes and green beans. The dessert was an experiment but as Chris and Monika are family I decided to use the as guinea pigs. We had bought back some cherry kirsch (40%!) and also two massive jars of cherries in juice from our trip to Germany. I wanted to attempt a deconstructed Black Forest gateau. I had bough some chocolate muffins which Colin does not like (apparently) so I started by slicing them thinly and putting them at the bottom of the dessert bowls. I had previously added a little kirsch to the cherries and juice just to taste and had whipped double cream with some icing sugar and yet more kirsch. I layered this up and finished off with a little sprinkle of cocoa powder. I have to say it was rather delicious and even Colin ate the chocolate cake. Critical feedback was to also soak the chocolate slices in kirsch (from Chris) and add more cherries and juice (Colin). All in all a success I think and a very productive day.

Branston was very good as he was limited to not going in the hall when th carpet was being cleaned and not going to the end of the garden because of all the holly leaves. He waited patiently for the odd snack whilst I worked in the kitchen, just patting the back of my leg when he needed attention. I think he was on fox patrol when I took this after dinner!!
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