Monday, February 20, 2012

A breath of fresh air, and a birthday

Some weekends disappear so quickly that it's like they were never there: Friday to Monday is almost an overnight experience. Thankfully, other weekends are slower, calmer. Like a lifeboat, they rescue you on Friday evening and allow you to catch your breath before you return for a new working week.

This weekend was of the lifeboat variety. I finished work on Friday having done the things I needed to do, and we had few weekend commitments, no real errands.

On Saturday, we went for a long bike ride, something I always enjoy. Cobwebs disappear from my mind when I'm outdoors and active, and I find lower intensity casual (non-ball!) exercise to be perfect for unwinding. Running wakes me up but cycling calms me down.

We also finished watching these two episodes of Dr Who, the conclusion to Rose Tyler's time as the Doctor's companion and an explanation of Torchwood. As someone who came to Dr Who late in life, these episodes were before my time...but they may have been the best of the ones I've seen (I started watching about half way through Season 3, I think).

I also finished Zeitoun, by far the best book I've yet to read this year. And I finally updated my 2012 books spreadsheet.

On Sunday, I bought fig and fennel sourdough bread. An indulgence (especially as some people would make their own ;) ) but a worthy one I think.



And last but definitely not least, it was my brother's birthday. An opportunity for dinner, presents, and celebrating his 25 years.


I truly don't know how he went how he looks in the above picture, to, well, an extra 20-odd years and a considerable amount of height.

My Mum was responsible for making my brother's cake, but I wanted to make him something edible to complement the more standard, gift-wrapped gift. And so, his birthday was also an opportunity for baking.


Vanilla biscuits with a drizzle of lemon icing, to be specific.



Vanilla Biscuits with Lemon Icing, to say Happy Birthday

Makes about 30-40 biscuits, depending on size
Adapted from these two recipes on Taste.com.au 


Ingredients
For the biscuits
185g butter, margarine or non-dairy spread (I used Nuttelex)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1.5 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour

For the icing
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Method
For the biscuits
Preheat oven to 180'C and line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter / non-dairy spread and sugar, until white and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Stir in the flour. Mix well.  

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for ~30 minutes. Then roll out the dough between 2 pieces of non-stick baking paper, to about 1cm thick. Cut shapes or roll into balls.

Bake for 10 minutes, until just starting to go golden. Allow to cool on the baking trays and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing
Mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle onto the biscuits, or pipe on using a piping bag.


As it turns out, my Mum make a lemon cake, so these were a surprisingly complementary choice :-)



What did you get up to this weekend?

18 comments:

  1. What great looking biscuits. And your mother's cake looks incredible too. I hope your brother had a wonderful birthday.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The cake and biscuits look great! I know what you mean about riding - I love riding to get places - rode to work and into the city at lunchtime and feel I am getting back into enjoying it - though racing the trains on the bike path does puff me out :-) I only do it to ride over roads where the boom gates are down, mind you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now racing trains is something I'm not in the habit of doing...but you make it sound rather fun :) There is something magical about cycling as a form of transport, even aside from the joy of swishing through the air (especially down hill). I wish I did it more often.

      Delete
  3. omy goodness Kari!! I loooove lemon flavored stuff, especially cakes and cookies!!! Mmmmm. And how funny! Yesterday it was my friend's 25th bday too, and we spent all day together haha. I'm pooped! And I love that lifeboat metaphor, very clever and accurate description. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clearly it was a birthday sort of weekend :) I hope you and your friend had fun! I'm glad you like the lifeboat metaphor, I was worried it might not make sense so your comment is appreciated.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. It really is, definitely amongst my favourite breads ever!

      Delete
  5. what a fun way to celebrate his birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh I need one of those long slow weekends! Life seems to be on fast forward at the moment. Those biscuits and cake look delicious. It is all about blackberries in our world at the moment, but I think they will take a backseat to chocolate next weekend as it is Dad's birthday and the family birthday cake must come out to play.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you get your slow weekend soon. I was quite desperate for it and it was a huge relief! My Dad's weekend is also next week - chocolate may come out for that too :) It's a birthday bonanza in my family in the first few months of the year.

      Delete
  7. Pretty cake, I like all of the fruit around it.

    Cycling is really good for clearing your head- I love when I can get just out of city limits where it's a bit quieter and ride for a few hours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's amazing isn't it? It does wonders for changing my mood.

      I liked my Mum's cake too :)

      Delete
  8. I desperately needed a lifeboat weekend too, and so spent the time with my parents, watching BSG and Downton Abbey, baking, and meeting up with a few friends for coffee. Your time sounds wonderful, and happy birthday to your brother!

    P.S. David Tennant is the only Time Lord of my heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you got a rescue weekend too! Mine was pretty wonderful, sometimes the simplest things really are the best.

      I think I might love David Tennant, just a little. Although I have come to accept the latest Doctor too, as an alternative but not a replacement.

      Delete
  9. Sounds like a fabulous weekend! I got to go to my favorite museum, so had a rather grand time myself!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now I want to know what this favoured museum is! Hopefully it will appear on your blog...

      Delete

I genuinely appreciate all comments and the time taken to post them. Occasionally, I may need to restrict commenting to registered users in order to halt large volumes of spam. If that happens, I will lift the restriction within a week.

Want other ways to interact? Bite-sized thoughts is on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/bitesizedthoughts) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/bitesizethought).