Before I left work, I asked my friends not to make a big fuss about it. So last Thursday, we decided to go to the cinema to watch The Avengers Assemble and then perhaps going someplace to eat afterwards.
On the evening, I was told that my friend Adam made a mess with the ticket booking for the cinema and we're now going to a different one that's further away from where I live. Alison and Cian picked me up and on the way we have to fetch Adam too.
When we got to Adam's place, he wasn't ready yet, so we went up to his flat. I was panicking a little bit because I know we're gonna be late for the film and I'm going to miss the trailers at the beginning! But oh well, never mind...
Adam's flat was dark, warm and smelled delicious. That was my comment when I got in. When I opened the door to his lounge, "Surprise!!!" shouted everyone. All my colleagues and friends were there. I was so shocked!!
I never had a surprise party. I've been involved in many, but this one was for me... The room was beautifully decorated with pictures of me and friends, balloons and the food... let's talk about food. The spread was truly amazing. Everybody contributed a dish or two. Some home-made and some store bought.
Alison cooked a delicious slow-cooked beef in hoisin sauce and Chinese 5 spice. Liam made canapés or burritos and chilli con carne. Mark baked fairy cakes. Janet brought her gooey caramel slice. Michelle with the Chocolate cake. Somebody brought salad which was a nice thought but I believe it was untouched... Anyway, that's just some of the food. It was a feast!
Later in the evening, I was presented with a gift that appeared like a book. I opened the box and it was the new iPad! Oh my God! Second shock of the evening. I would be more than happy with a cookbook, but an iPad... I was out of words. I was so touched.
No, we didn't go to the cinema that evening. And that party was just truly amazing. Great food, lots of drinks and wonderful company of friends (and an iPad)... I count myself very lucky that I have such amazing friends. I will miss them very much...
The next day, on my last day at work, I baked Nigella's Bacon Brownies. If you haven't tried this before, I urge you to try it. It sounds strange combining chocolate and bacon, but believe me, it's delicious. All I and Mae West can say is too much of a good thing can be wonderful indeed.
Recipe by Nigella Lawson
125 gr thin rashers of streaky bacon, cut into fine slices
2 tsp golden syrup
150 gr soft unsalted butter
250 gr soft light brown sugar
75 gr best cocoa powder
150 gr plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 large eggs, beaten
159 gr dark chocolate, chopped or use dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 190 C and get out a 25 cm square tin and line it, or do what I did by using disposable foil baking tray.
Heat a pan, preferably non stick and cook the bacon bits until beginning to crisp. Add the syrup, stir again and transfer to a plate.
Melt the butter over gentle heat in a medium sized saucepan and when it's melted add the brown sugar and stir with a wooden spoon.
Take the pan off the heat and add the cocoa, flour, bicarb and stir. The add the eggs and stir again.
The the chopped chocolate or chips and the bacon bits. Fold together then pour into the tin.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until it's still a little gooey inside. Let it cool a little and serve warm.