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I am so thankful to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for starting the IMK party. It is so much fun and I have made lots of new friends through the posts.  So here goes.

In my kitchen this September are….

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two Harvey Nichols Cocktail Masterclass Certificates.  Now there is no excuse for my husband not to make me a cocktail at the weekend.  See my ‘Anniversary Retox’ post to learn more about the fantastic cocktail class that I booked in the famous Harvey Nichols 5th floor bar as a surprise for my husband to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.

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I didn’t forget that wood was the traditional gift for the 5th wedding anniversary, so here is the stunning Yew wood pen and gift box I bought for my husband.  The pen was hand-made by The Wood Hut in rural Highland Perthshire, a small cottage industry that specialises in making beautiful wooden furniture, 5th wedding anniversary gifts and wooden rings.  The reason I chose Yew wood rather than Bur Elm, Oak or Ash is because my husband is a huge Lord of the Rings fan and Gandalf’s staff is made of Yew, which I like to think makes the pen a little bit magic.

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In Epsom we are lucky enough to be able to buy authentic Italian produce from Alio’s Delicatessen.  The family run business sells a vast variety of excellent quality goods from olive oils, freshly baked breads, an endless selection of pasta’s including wheat free and wholemeal fresh pasta, to Italian cheeses, cured meats, fine Italian wines, tasty olives and roasted mediterranean vegetables.  One of my favourite purchases is this fantastic Arborio rice which I use regularly to make risotto.

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I am personally not a fan of soft gooey home-baked biscuits.  As far as I am concerned biscuits should snap when you break them.  I recently discovered that ground rice was the secret ingredient for giving home-baked shortbread that perfect crunch.  See my Lavender and Lemon shortbread recipe.

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I made my delicious Chocolate banana cake to cheer myself up this week.  Watch this space for the recipe, which I will be posting very soon.

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Here are a chocolate tray bake and a blueberry cake with cream cheese icing that I made for a BBQ for another organisation that I volunteer for called The Old Moat garden centre. The charity is part of Richmond Fellowship and offers people with mental health problems, the opportunity to enrol on formal or informal training and work experience programmes in a realistic, commercial, but supportive environment.  I support service users with a wide range of horticultural activities.

In the second photo is my new fantastic Lidls picnic container that has two layers so you can carry more than one cake to an event together.  Sorry but this is the kind of nonsense that makes me very happy!

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Here are the beautiful cooking apples that I have just picked from the tree in our garden.  I feel an apple and blackberry tray bake coming on.

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Finally I have been reading The Miniaturist by Jesse Burton which I would highly recommend.  The novel is set in Amsterdam in 1686 and focuses on two women’s very different journeys to find a slice of freedom in a repressive, judgemental society.  The elusive miniaturist who predicts her customers fate through the miniature’s she carves for them, gives the novel a chilling and eerie sense of unease that makes it impossible to put down.

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Have a fantastic September.  Emma xx