This week our oldest boy turned 17.
Last year I wrote a post that contained photos of him on each of his birthdays since he turned 1, which you can see here, so this year's post will seem rather short in comparison!
We had a bit of a low key celebration this year, not that we tend to do fancy parties anyway, because James is in the middle of his Higher Prelim exams this week and next. He was relieved not to have an exam on the day of his birthday, but he did have one the following day.
Now that he is legally old enough to drive, he asked for driving lessons as his main present, but he also asked if he can wait until after his exams in May before he starts them so that he can have a good run of lessons without any interruptions. He did get a few other little gifts from us for now, as we couldn't leave him with nothing to open on his birthday! Of course Fraser (3) was very eager to help him unwrap them!
He had asked if he could have a chocolate overload birthday cake, similar to the one he had last year. These are great cakes to make as they involve very little skill whatsoever - just make the chocolate cake, cover in butter icing, surround it with chocolate fingers, and pile high with an assortment of chocolates. The chocolate cake I made was my old faithful recipe, which you can find here, although I didn't make it free from since it was going to be covered in so much non free from stuff! For the free from boys I made some Quick Chocolate Cupcakes. I'll post the recipe for them next week when my Recipe of the Week posts will start again, hopefully with much more regularity, like they used to be!
Anyway, the birthday cake....
James' choice for birthday dinner was no surprise, as he has asked for the same thing every birthday for years - homemade steak pie. I must confess to cheating a little this year though, as Wednesdays are such busy days for me between Cròileagan (Gaelic toddler group) in the morning and school pick up followed immediately by piano teaching up until dinner time, and so rather than making the rough puff pastry that I usually do, I used some ready made puff pastry courtesy of Sainsbury's, as well as a free from puff pastry by Genius. The filling was simply thrown into my slow cooker at 7am and left there to do it's own thing until 6pm when I separated it into two dishes for the two different pastries. Where would busy mums be without slow cookers?!
Back to the cake again.
The truffles on the top are the simple coconut/digestive/drinking chocolate/condensed milk truffles that were the first thing I ever learned how to bake when I was about 7 years old. James loves them, and they were also the first thing that he and David learned to make.
Finally, here is the handsome birthday boy with his cake, and his cute little sidekick of course!