An old friend said this morning as we passed at the school gates: “Isn’t it someone’s special day tomorrow?” I must have looked blank. “It’s your birthday, isn’t it?” Yes! I said. It is! Except I’d completely forgotten. This never used to happen. In my Twenties, the build up involved wish lists (no necessities, luxury items only). My Thirties’ birthday lists were marked by a mix of both luxury and practical, tending towards the practical by the time I was 38. And now I need a reminder. Ridiculous, really. Actually, I do have a present for one of you. My lovely friends Claire & Lucy, who blog over at Crumbs, have written a family cookbook. And it’s brilliant. I’ve used so many recipes from their blog over the years and this book brings the best of them together, along with lots of new stuff. I’ve just made their eight-apple cake, mainly because they tell me it makes a great breakfast cake. And tomorrow, I’m definitely eating cake for breakfast. Anyway, they’ve sent me a copy of their new book to give away so if you fancy, just leave a comment on the blog or facebook page and we’ll settle this in the normal* way next week.

Current white in the fridge: Cave de Beblenheim Pinot Gris 2013, £8.29 on offer, Waitrose
Waitrose have got a World of Wine Showcase on at the moment and the shelves are full of weird and wonderful wines. Pinot Gris is the same grape as Pinot Grigio, but it’s known as Pinot Gris in France. The gorgeous Alsace region is Pinot Gris’ spiritual home and makes wines with more fruit and oomph than most Italian Pinot Grigio wines. And I don’t know whether it’s because I’m surrounded by windfall apples at the moment, but this wine tastes like baked apples with a touch of honey. Utterly gorgeous, I’m going back for more before it all goes. 

Current red in the rack: Venturer Series Old Vines Garnacha 2013, £4.79, Aldi
Sent to me by the Aldi PR people, this is one of the wines in their new six-strong Venturer Series range, along with a lovely Vermentino and Nero d’Avola from Sicily among others. The idea is to seek out the more off-the-beaten track wines for this range and they’re all under a fiver. This one’s from Spain’s Carinena region, is loaded with bramble fruit flavours and a dash of vanilla and its purpose in life is to make midweek suppers just that bit more enjoyable. (A slice of apple cake for pudding also worked wonders). 

Peace out, winos x

1. Competition closes on 23rd September 2014 at 11.59pm.
2. The prize draw is open to any UK resident over the age of 18.
3. My mother will pick out a name at random and her decision is final (it’s her hat).

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  1. Well happy birthday! Maybe a sip of Whispering Angel to go with that apple cake…

  2. Yes yes please! I just emptied my cookbook shelves yesterday to give them to my nephew who's off this w/e to Uni (and although many of them dated back to 1987 he was thrilled!) Most of them I hadn't opened in 10 yrs as now only cooking family meals and no time for fancy twiddling! Crumbs sounds great!

  3. ps HAPPY BIRTHDAY.. no problem that you forgot as long as your husband remembers!!

  4. Happy birthday Helen – have a super day. Do love the sound of Crumbs.

  5. Aw! It's your birthday! It was mine on the 16th – love September!! Hope you got lots of delicious goodies and the cake lived up to expectations (it's Lucy's recipe, but I LOVE it).See you soon!

  6. oh I do fancy, love Claire and Lucy – although I am always over greeting the wrong sister. Who doesn't love a cook book. Their blog is ace, expecting great things from the book.

  7. Happy birthday – hope you are having apple cake! The book looks great, I'd love to try it

  8. Do love a good cook book as husband will testify. More cakes for the IWC bods I feel. Happy Birthday Helen x

  9. You're never over 38 are you? 🙂
    Intrigued by the Aldi wine, often look at their wines but never brave enough to buy them.

  10. Oh, happiest of happy birthdays! Don't forget to tell us what lovely wine you celebrated with.
    (ps – do you *really* have to be a UK resident to win the book? Really??? GAH.)

  11. My apple tree now relieved of 8 apples the cake is all gone as so delivious, so time to make afew more cakes and share with friends like a nice bottle of wine!!!

  12. I've been on a bit of a Grenache kick of late, and seeing as I'm going to be home next month, that Aldi wine sounds like a must have. Just wondering if I can get my brother to venture into an Aldi though.
    Belated happy birthday!

  13. Hope you had a great birthday Helen. I also took my nephew to couple of cooking and food events at local DC venues as he loves cooking and planning to move to east coast. I am glad he learnt few quick recipes there and quite sure these will help him in future.

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