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A lovely picnic and the come back of The Love Cake

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This weekend marked a year since Matt got down on one knee out the back of his parents’ house, while I was looking fabulously glamorous in my ugliest PJs – and asked me to marry him.
I don’t know how many times I have asked him since if he is really sure – and every time, he says yes.
I mean, I’m a pretty challenging woman at times, and I feel it’s only fair to give him him an out. But no, he swears he wants to walk down the aisle with me, even if I have been a slight bridezilla since I started planning our November 18 wedding.
Well, not so much a bridezilla – I mean Matt picked the venue, decided that it would be wonderful to have a chocolate ripple cake for our wedding cake (I so agree!!) and we have decided everything together, from colours, to bridesmaid dresses, and he was pretty much the boss of the honeymoon. He also wanted a band with drums … Done!
But I suspect I enjoy talking about the wedding a little more than him. But hey, I’m a chick – surely that’s to be expected!
Ok, ok – ill stop talking about the wedding!
Anyways … To recognise that a year has gone by since the proposal, Matt suggested we head out for a picnic at the Geelong Botanic Gardens. Brilliant idea!
We walked around for a little while, and picked a lovely, shady spot.

The Geelong Botanic Gardens are really quite beautiful – and it was in this vicinity where Matty presented me with the ring – a few days after his initial proposal.

I had a real Jamie Oliver moment as I cut up kabana in the outdoors. All I needed was one of those lovely wooden chopping boards he always seems to have on hand. No such luck this time around.

We also enjoyed some lovely cured meats and some cheese – from France. It was just a little bit fancy – smelly, and completely yum!!

For desert, there were strawberries – probably more for my benefit then for Matt’s – I figured it was a healthy touch to an otherwise fairly unhealthy meal.
I’ve never really been one to “cook” picnic food. I think it’s a great time to have nibbly, antipasto type stuff that doesn’t require too much fussing.
What do you think? Do you go all out, or just pop into the local deli for some delicious delights?
What else did we do to celebrate – well, I made Matty some “love cake” – this cake has a gorgeous story behind it and, if you like, you can read about it here. But otherwise – here is the recipe. Apple, Date and Pecan Cake aka The Love Cake.
Give it a try – feed it to the man or woman you love – you never know what might happen!


  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean, deseeded
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 4 tbs of hot water
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of baking soda
  • 5 cups of diced Red Delicious or Granny Smith apples
  • 1/2 a cup of pitted dates, diced
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Mix the first 9 ingredients, add apples and nuts, mix thoroughly.

Grease a ceramic or glass baking dish with some butter. Pour in the batter and bake for 45 minutes.


  • 1/2 a cup of butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6 tbs of milk
  • 2 ½ cups icing sugar

Bring the butter, brown sugar, salt and milk to the boil and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes and then add the icing sugar.

Smear on top of the cake and then serve.



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