I used to think it was really harsh to have your birthday during the school holidays. No one around! Never able to bring a bag of sweets to school! No party! No presents! Well, some, but only from boring parents and aunts. Usually away somewhere with only one or two other kids to play with – if I was lucky. Not fair – everyone else’s birthdays fell in decent months like May or October.
I’m not so bothered about handing out sweets these days – or even bringing a cake to the office. Now I think I’m lucky to celebrate my birthday with cherries, summer berries, ice cream and Pimms which all those November and March babies can hardly do!
And even though I didn’t bake my own birthday cake this time, for those who might need to, here are some suggestions. The classic, easy and seasonal strawberry cream Victoria sponge is good enough even for a special birthday, or the blueberry and cream one if it appeals more. Hazelnut Hungarian torte for the gluten free and red velvet for traditionalists. Just browse cakes in the recipe pages – there are a few there. No mirror glazed or hand-painted Instacakes in my repertoire though, warning – just edible ones.
Dinners, suppers, lunches now: one of those might have lemon potato wedges in it this week. I’d say just a salad will suffice to go with it, especially if it’s as gorgeous as sabzi khordan, Persian herby dish. Meatwise, if you include braising gammon in your meal plan preparations, you’ll get several days’ worth of salads, sandwiches and frittatas, not to mention the glorious roast on the day.
Thai fish stir fry is a quick option for one night; use any firm white fish in it like haddock or hake. Serve it with plain boiled rice, cook much more than you need and make the vegetable fried rice the next day. Leftover based meals are the best – tried pasta fritta yet?
And since I mentioned Pimms, here’s another drink to toast the summer with: strawberry fizz with prosecco and grenadine. My favourite.