Cake, cake, and, er, more cake?

Oh I do love Sundays. Once all the housework is done and everything sorted, it is just nice to put the kettle on, make a cup of tea and just relax. And the weather is beautiful today! The sun is shining and it’s not absolutely freezing.

So this week has been fairly tough in terms of running. Getting back into it after skiing was hard. But after the first run it eventually got back to normal.

Monday – 6 miles with an average pace 8mins20sec. Normally I find running at this speed quite easy but it was really tough.

Tuesday – 4 mile interval run. I did several intervals throughout this run and then ran slowly after each one so average pace doesn’t really mean much.

Wednesday – 3mile lunchtime run with a guy at work. I saw this as my easy recovery run as we were chatting and just enjoying the fresh air. Average pace of 8mins26sec.

Thursday – 5 mile tempo run. Between miles 2 to 4.5 I maintained a steady 7mins50sec (total time of 39mins56sec, which I think is my best 5 mile yet!).

Friday – rest day, and boy did I need it!

Saturday – this was my 10 mile long run. I got up early on Saturday, walked Alfie and then set off. During the first mile I wanted to go home as I just couldn’t be bothered. But I persevered and got into it as I hit the second mile. Here are my average paces for each mile:

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I’m over the moon with this. The run was hard, don’t get me wrong, but not impossible and I wasn’t dead by the end (I was ready for home though!) This has really made me consider running the half marathon faster than 8mins/mile.

Best thing about this run? I got beeped by someone. TWICE. Once at the start of the run and then at mile 9! I mean seriously, I’m wearing glasses, looking sweaty, dishevelled and basically about to keel over. Fairly chuffed with that haha. There are some weird men in the world!

After the run I showered and then shovelled about a kilo of oatmeal into me (long run = Anna the Hungry Beast). Then Ben and me had to dash around to his mum’s house where we were helping to prepare for her birthday open house celebration.

Ben helped with sorting the drinks out and I took charge of the food (let’s stick with what we’re good at!) It was quite a casual affair to be held in the afternoon in her house with drinks and nibbles so there wasn’t masses to prepare but there was enough to keep us busy before 1pm! Ben’s mum and me had previously gotten together the week before to decide on what nibbles to go for and I think in the end we were very happy with our selection!

I made tomato mozzarella sticks:

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These were basically mozzarella balls, a sliced cherry tomato and a bit of basil on a cocktail stick with salt and pepper. Simple! Thankfully simple considered I had to assemble a million of them haha.

Then there were smoked salmon and cream cheese blinis:

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Again very easy. We bought pre-made blinis, put them in the oven for 5 minutes. Then smeared cream cheese on top, added a torn piece of smoked salmon and then sprinkled a garnish of dill on top.

I made hummus the night before so we had that with crudités and bread sticks:

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I don’t think this was my best hummus ever. Because I made twice as much as usual it wasn’t as lemony and garlicky as before. But it was still OK!

The most tricky thing to prepare were the cheesey garlic mushrooms:

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I used THIS recipe. It was quite fiddly cutting out stalks and preparing the filling. This was the most time-consuming nibble to make, but luckily we had enough time.

Along with these home-made pieces, we also had garlic bread, Doritos and salsa, cocktail sausages, and sausage rolls:

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It went down very well I think. Almost all the garlic mushrooms went. They were so good – totally recommend! It was really relaxed and lovely with Ben’s mum’s friends milling around enjoying the food and drink and chatting with everyone. Ben and me tried to make sure that his mum had nothing to worry about, which meant we were dashing about a lot! But I loved it. I love doing things like this (like when we had the Boxing Day buffet round ours).

My parents also came and my dad shocked me once again by bringing round a home-made apple tart that HE had made. Well, that’s TWO baking adventures he’s had in one week.

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French custard, home-made pastry…oh my goodness. The guests at the party went crazy for this. Luckily Ben and I even got to take a couple of slices home with us. Amazing! And yes, it tastes pretty darn good.

As much as I wanted to try the tart I thought I’d save myself for the birthday cake though (I have since munched on the tart at home though obviously).

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The cake was made by the same lady who made our wedding cake. The cake is perfect because Ben’s mum loves the gym and goes all the time. I just love the dumbbells and towel! So cute. And it tasted AMAZING. It was vanilla sponge with jam and buttercream.

While the cake was being cut I luckily managed to reserve a corner piece (well, I had worked hard all day!) – losing out on the first corner to Ben’s uncle who got in there quicker (mental note: must improve my speed on these things). Corner piece = more icing. Then as there happened to be another normal piece floating about I had that too. Can I just clarify that they were little pieces? Like the size of an IPhone (and that is an official cake measurement just so you know Winking smile).

However, the third piece was just plain greedy, even I will admit. Ben and me were haggling over sharing this third piece but couldn’t find a fair enough way to split it so that both of us a) got enough icing and b) got enough buttercream. In the end Ben just said “Oh for goodness sake, I’m having my own piece”. Well…if I’m pushed to it!

I felt I had very successfully rewarded myself after my long run after all Open-mouthed smile

Then after all too soon Ben and me quickly tidied up so his mum didn’t have to and then collapsed onto the sofa to chill and reflect on such a good day before going home (with some leftovers in tow – hurrah!)

Such a good day and everyone looked like the had a good time. We were shattered in the evening and had a nice early night. So today we had a nice lie-in, did the housework and now we’re just relaxing. Perfect.

How has your weekend been?

What nibbles would you/have you made for a party? I think the best advice I can give is, don’t make everything. Make a few really nice things and then do more simple crowd pleasers alongside (i.e. cocktail sausages).

What do you hone in on at buffets? The savoury stuff or the sweet?

18 thoughts on “Cake, cake, and, er, more cake?

  1. Cheesy garlic mushrooms sound great! I wish running at a fast pace was easier for me, but i will keep working on it! I like to have fresh vegetables and humus/ ranch some type of homemade sweet and something simple like pulled bbq sandwiches out of the slow cooker when we have a big group people over.

    • It’s never hugely easy I have to say as you always just want to get more fast so you’re always pushing yourself a bit harder…endless cycle! Ohhh pulled BBQ sandwiches are so good – never made them myself but always enjoy other people’s hehe.

  2. What an adorable birthday cake!! The detail is beautiful, and so appropriate for Ben’s gym-loving mom! Two years ago, my friends made “dumbbell cupcakes” for my birthday. There were little black free weights sitting atop each one, along with colorful confetti. So cute!

    I absolutely love that your dad made an apple tart for the special occasion. What a stud! 😉 It sounds (and looks) like he’s becoming quite a kitchen master. However, I think my favorite item at the buffet would have been your garlic cheesy mushrooms. Oh. My. Heavens. Three of my favorite flavors all in one bite? Swoon.

    Mozzarella and tomato skewers are one of my go-to appetizers, too. So easy, and so good. I also love making Greek salad skewers (feta, kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumber), and/or serving cucumber slices topped with hummus and feta cheese.

    Happy Monday, Anna! <3

    • I know how cute is that cake! Oh wow I love the sound of your dumbbell cake too. It’s just so nice when something is so personal to the person. Makes it realy special.
      I know, my dad is slowly taking over the baking world one creation at a time haha.
      Your Greek skewers sound really good – I would have done something similar but Ben hates olives (boo!)
      Have a great week!

  3. All that food looks delicious! Those mozzarella/tomato skewers look fantastic and pretty easy too. I also love that you made homemade hummus. I’ve gotta try that!! Also your speeds are pretty impressive. I’m super slow when I run (although usually I run with Jack and he stops to sniff/pee a lot) but I’d love to improve my speed. Any tips??

    • Hummus is so easy to make and so yummy!
      Haha I ran with Alfie once, then never again. Too difficult to navigate him! I increased my pace by lots of short runs that had intervals in them. So I’d run 2 miles but then run 100% for like 15-20secs, then slow right down again to really slow for 30sec-1min, then do it again. Then after a while I increased those runs to a bit longer with a few more intervals in them, and then longer intervals. I found that really helped.

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