A Free Range Life

Last night I laughed so hard that there were tears rolling down my face. There were six of us in my home for a formal dinner consisting of three courses straight from the new book ‘A Free Range Life’ by kiwi chef Annabel Langbein. Over the course of the evening I showcased ten of her recipes. I was truly amazed at how brilliantly they all turned out and how impressed my guests were. Every recipe was a hit and it was even fun explaining the ingredients that went into each item at each course. Needless to say the ladies of the group are excited to rush out and purchase their own copies of this fabulous book. I thoroughly enjoyed planning the evening and presenting the evening in a formal way. It’s not often that you get the excuse to be a little bit fancy! I love birdcage’s and took the opportunity to indulge a cheeky $12 at Kmart to purchase one and create a rustic bird theme for our dinner. We were perhaps a little too eager or over the top with the fairy lights, and although they don’t come out so great in the photos, they really did add to the atmosphere of the evening. For a real cheesy twist we also had some Table Talkers which were cards with questions written for you to ask people to find out different things about them and their lives. I had such a great night and have been very tired today. The life of a Mum doesn’t afford you any sleeping in!

The Annabel Langbein Recipes used were:
Entrée: Asparagus Tarts with Smoked Paprika Aioli
Main Course: Juicy Jerk Chicken with Roast Vegetable and Chorizo Salad
Dessert: A medley of Chilled Strawberry Mousse, Ice Cream Sandwich, Rocky Road and Caramel Crumble Slice
Party Favours: Old-Fashioned Chocolate Sauce, Blackjack Barbecue Sauce

Here is a glimpse of the evening:

The Table Setting

Rustic Dinner Birdcage Setting

Birdcage centrepiece

Birdcage Centrepiece

Birdcage Table Layout

Bird Name Place Setting

party favour for rustic theme

Menu and Table Setting

A Free Range Life Menu

Entrée

Entree Asparagus Tart with Smoked Paprika Aioli

Entree of Asparagus Tart with Smoked Paprika Aioli

Entree of Asparagus Tart with Smoked Paprika Aioli

Main

Main Course Juicy Jerk Chicken with Roasted Vegetable and Chorizo Salad

Main Course Juicy Jerk Chicken with Roasted Vegetable and Chorizo Salad

Main Course Juicy Jerk Chicken with Roasted Vegetable and Chorizo Salad

Dessert Medley

Dessert Medley of Ice Cream Sandwich, Chilled Strawberry Mouse, Rocky Road, Caramel Crumble Slice

Dessert Medley of Ice Cream Sandwich, Chilled Strawberry Mouse, Rocky Road, Caramel Crumble Slice

Holding my inspiration of the night – A Free Range Life by Annabel Langbein

Amy Pearce holding Annabel Langbein's A Free Range Life Book

I can’t wait until summer properly arrives and I can continue to try more of the summer BBQ meals from this new book. At NZ$19.95, you can’t go wrong with it.

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Green Fingers

Today with the beautiful weather I felt inspired to finally purchase some more herbs and flowers for some pots and planters I have sitting empty. I would be lying if I said they were always empty but the truth is I let a few things die. When I was working full time I usually forgot to water them so they didn’t survive long. Now that I am a stay at home Mum, I think I can do a better job of keeping them alive. My mother-in-law planted me a variety of herbs when I had Israel, and I have managed to keep them alive since his birth! Tonight at 5pm I headed off to Bunnings to grab a few things before they closed at 6pm. I spent nearly that whole time in the gardening section. I saw the things that I had come for (coriander, rosemary, garlic chives and viola’s) but then there were so many other exciting things there too. I could have spent many hours there and would have had to buy many more pots to house all the new purchases I would had convinced myself I needed. In the end the only extra items I decided to buy were some Mizuna and also Dianthus because the label said they flower nearly all year round. That was my other hurdle when shopping – relying on the labels. I have no experience gardening and certainly don’t know much about species of plants either. I have much to learn and may be referring to Google a lot tomorrow when I plant them. I can’t wait for the viola’s to flower so that I can decorate those edible flowers on cupcakes!

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Always a birthday

Today I was back to crafts preparing for a couple of upcoming birthdays. When you come from a family of six and your husband from a family of seven there are going to be plenty of birthdays to celebrate, let alone adding your friends into the mix. I had to get a perpetual calendar so that I could keep track of them all.

These cards were very quick and easy to make, particularly as I was given some scrapbooking accessories, so the individual flower layers were pre cut this time so I could choose how to assemble. They would be easy enough to cut out anyway. I don’t actually own any fancy card making tools like punches or stamps etc, but just rely on good old fashioned scissors!

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