Monthly Archives: January 2008

Birthday cake

It’s my son’s 17th birthday today and here’s a picture of the cake I made him. Black devil chocolate cake from Elisabeth Pedersen’s (NZ) Really reliable New Zealand cook book (and it is!).

The cake is finished off with a ganache icing, grated chocolate and chopped roasted almonds. Plate decorated with flowers from the garden – self heal and comfrey flowers. The place mat was embroidered by my son’s late Great Great Aunty Nita Davies who was an outstanding exponent of the art – such intricate work I just can’t imagine the patience and finesse required to achieve such beautiful results. I have inherited a lot of her work and consider it a true treasure… as she was.


The Uncommon reader by Alan Bennett

I read this book in one sitting (or to be more precise, lying). Funny and quirky the book explores the transformational power of reading by imagining The Queen as a new convert to the activity. HRH’s discovery that the Mobile Library is visiting the palace is the catalyst for her journey into the world of books. We learn a little about the books she reads but more about the impact they have on her inner thoughts, her outlook on life, even her relationships with her subjects. Her minders and the policitians grow increasingly concerned about what is happening to HRH – the dangers of reading! – and there is a subplot about their various attempts to thwart her reading habit. Reassuringly none of these work and it all comes to an appropriate climax with a surprise ending. All in all a superb little book. Highly recommended.

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