Party Party Party Party Party Party Party MUSICA
We go from party to another around here, from Tea Party to Birthday Party! Lots of our girlfriends are having a birthday month, lots of new babies are being born, but you may have noticed on your calendars, it’s also someone else’s birthday on Sunday, and she would be 147 years old. ♥
H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y
So what makes sense for today’s blog is cake and presents! Right? First we’ll have cake, and then we’ll have presents. OK? That’s the normal way for a Birthday Party! And never forget, we are the normal ones! ♥
L A V E N D E R P O L E N T A C A K E
This Lavender Polenta Cake is a plain cake alright ~ really easy to make, deliciously moist with an amazing crunch, plus, it’s gluten free — but the recipe, which I got from my girlfriend Siobhan (“Shivon”) when we were in England, calls for ingredients that aren’t “everyday” fare. Don’t let that stop you, because if you’re like me, and something tells me you are, this cake will become a standby. The recipe calls for fine yellow cornmeal (or polenta flour) and almond flour. Our supermarket carries them, but I’m pretty sure that won’t be true everywhere. You can order them from the lovely Bob’s Red Mill web site. If you’re not familiar with Bob’s Red Mill, you are in for a treat. They also have everything you need to cook for a gluten free diet.
The recipe also calls for superfine sugar, which my market does not carry. But I made my own, I just whirled regular sugar in the blender until it was superfine. Super easy!
No problem coming up with a pound of unsalted butter, allowed to come to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until it’s . . .
. . . pale and light.
Then stir in the almond flour . . .
. . . and vanilla.
Beat in six eggs, one at a time (Don’t worry, I’m putting the recipe at the end of this as a party favor! ♥)
I’ve made this cake with orange zest and juice, lemon zest and juice, and this time, with lime zest and juice. All are truly wonderful, it’s up to you. And btw, if you haven’t used one of these wonderful microplane zesters yet, we have them for you in our webstore, because they are a must-have tool! No more knuckles in your food! You pull the razor-sharp edges across the fruit, the zest collects on the top with no pain or strain at all . . . it makes it so easy to measure too.
So you fold in the zest and juice . . .
along with the polenta (cornmeal) flour, salt and baking flour … just pop it all in,
along with dried culinary lavender flowers (just click there to get them on-line). The recipe calls for three tablespoons — and this is correct. Don’t worry, it will not taste like soap, just so very light, and pretty in the cake.
This cake serves a lot of people ~ twenty four! It’s perfect for a party, but you can also halve the recipe very easily and bake it in a 9″ cake pan. I wanted the big cake for our Tea Party but I don’t have the called-for 12″ cake pan, so I bake mine in this 12″ iron frying pan, which works perfectly.
Into the oven it goes until the house is filled with fragrance and the cake is brown. Let it a cool a while, flip it over onto a serving plate and it comes right out of the pan.
And this is it, close up. Delectable! Also addictive. Here’s the recipe as it will appear in our new book!
It’s your party favor, but there’s more.
And I have some heartstrings for you. ♥ Starting with our Royal Baby Gift Giveaway.
Vanna left for the beach hours ago, but she didn’t forget to draw a name before she hopped into her yellow convertible 1959 T-bird and sped off, sunshine glinting off blonde curls blowing in the ocean air. What a life that girl has!
Such a happy thing, a Baby Book, filled with love and hope and firsts for everything. I’ve been loving the stories from our Girlfriends of babies coming, of new grandchildren on the way. I did not envy Vanna’s position of choosing just one winner. I did ask her to try hard to get me someone who’s expecting a baby into their family. And she did that. Oh yes, she did that.
I’m thrilled to announce that the winner of this trio of gifts is a first-time mommy to-be who is decorating her own Peter Rabbit room for her first born child coming in September, a real “birth-day” . . . she’s having her own little Prince, and her name is OLIVIA. So happy for you dear Olivia, congratulations to you and your whole family! Let us know when the time is right and we will hold hands on this blog and say a prayer and say, “Pushhhhhh.” We can be a big help! ♥ (Mas MUSICA)
So now, I have another little gift for you in honor of Beatrix Potter and you don’t even have to pin the tail on the donkey! If you CLICK HERE, you can print out this name tag on card stock (just put it into your printer like regular paper, the printer will do the rest) . . .
. . . and then when you come to one of our book signings next month (and as we drive across country) you can wear your name tag and we’ll know we’re Blog Girlfriends ~ I’ll know you, and you’ll know each other! Fun! (Kellee is going to put this name tag on our EVENTS page, just in case you forget where it is.) ♥ And if this isn’t quite enough, I have something else for you . . .
. . . I’m thinking maybe a nice parting gift for everyone would be something to read?
Because we got a surprise on Friday . . . at our California studio . . .
Oh yeah girls, your books arrived! Early! Boxes and boxes of books, A FINE ROMANCE ~ Falling in Love with the English Countryside! is born. What a cute baby! Sweet smelling with ribbons and everything! (I’m secretly screaming inside, how about you? Did I surprise you? They surprised me! :-)) The first page you have to read is Page 9 where I mention you.
And now these two darling girls, Kellee on the left, and Sheri on the right, with lots of help from our wonderful Alfredo, our right-hand man (on the truck but not looking at the camera), will ship their little fingers to the bone. The books will leave the studio as they were ordered … the first of you to order will get yours first. I have no idea how long it will take to get them all into their envelopes with addresses, so please be patient with us, because these two are the hardest workers in the world and will get them out as quickly as humanly possible!!! Look how strong they look!
So of course, we are celebrating birth-days and dreams come true. Our Twitter Girlfriend Janie made us a Dream Banner to match the Bon Voyage Banner she gave Joe and me when we went to England (you’ll see it in our book, in the stateroom on board the ship). She made just a few for anyone who might want to focus on a dream for themselves. They come with their own little envelope, and they’ll be in the web store on Monday. ♥
And the last gift today, in honor of Beatrix Potter and Olivia, and all of you with new babies in your lives or hoping for one, or dreaming of one, or remembering what it was like to be one ~ these are the two games we used to play on our babies faces when I was little and the oldest of eight children. The babies love it.
That’s it Girlfriends, for today, just another day in paradise. Happy Birthday Beatrix! Congratulations Olivia! Click teacups! Eat cake! Happy weekend! See you soon! xoxo