I have just finished a week of celebrating my 25th birthday, and am justifiably exhausted!
It all began last weekend with my family. I made a rather cheeky request this year that my father cook a 3 course meal for all the family! This wasn’t just so my mum could have a break so soon after Christmas, but also to give my Dad a chance to do what the rest of us indulge in so frequently… Showing off!
First, there was a simply spectacular starter! The stuffed pepper re-awakened!!!
Cod fillet, chorizo, lemon zest, tomato pesto and toasted pine nuts, all baked to perfection inside a sweet red pepper! My mum actually helped him out in the invention of this beauty… I’d say it’s the third best thing they’ve created as husband and wife!
Successfully (and rapidly) polished off.
This was followed some time later by a devilishly delicious dessert…
A classic of my mother’s- Pear poached in port and spiced with vanilla and cinnamon, served with clotted cream
But what I really want to talk about is the main course. The truly irresistable
My dad has two classic dishes he’s invented in his 56 years. The first is “The World Famous”- a sandwich stuffed with the perfect proportion of ham, beans, cheese and good old classic brown sauce and grilled to a beautiful crisp taste sensation. This is just the kind of thing you crave on a rainy Sunday, or deserve in victory.
His other is Daddy Duck. A recipe he’s developed to perfection over a number of years and now finds a special place at at least one important dinner per year- ordinarily Christmas or Boxing Day but this time, I’m smug to say, it was my birthday!
And behold! I have the recipe!
- 4 plump duck breasts
- A sprinkle of onion salt
- A good knob of garlic butter
- One white onion, finely diced
- A 450g tin of plums in juice
- 110g of packed light brown sugar
- 350ml of mild chilli sauce (Lingham’s is a good choice)
- 60ml of soy sauce
- 60ml of lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons of English mustard
- 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
- A punnet of fresh plums
And here’s why we all love him…
First up, that outrageously good sauce!
1. In a saucepan over a medium heat, melt the garlic butter. Cook the onion until tender.
2. In a food processor, pour the liquid from the tinned plums. Pit the tinned plums, then add them to the liquid. Add the onion mixture, brown sugar, chilli sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and blend at high speed until smooth.
3. Pour the mix into a saucepan. Simmer on a medium heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
1. Pre-heat oven to 180
2. Take a large, heavy duty fry pan and place on a high heat, dry.
3. Score the fat of your duck breasts (criss cross with a knife) and rub the fat with onion salt. Now place fat side down in your frying pan. Sear them for 5-6 minutes, then remove and place fat side up on a high-ridged baking tray.
4. Bake for 18-20 minutes
5. Remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes. In this time, half your fresh plums and place flesh down on the baking tray the duck breasts have just been on. Pop them in the oven to spend 5 minutes becoming absolutely heavenly, then use as a garnish on your plate.
Finally, as though he hadn’t done enough, my feast was topped off with a couple of these
A so ensued an evening of Family Mario Kart War!!
You might think that’s the end of my birthday shenanigans, but you’d be mistaken.
The following day my Grandparent’s came round. Anyone born at the end of December or beginning of January will understand how difficult it is to find the right time and day to celebrate your birthday, but I have to say this was definitely it! Finally it was my Mum’s turn to get on her feet again. She cooked a scrumptious chicken roast dinner (chicken being, in my opinion, the superior of all the roasts) for us all to enjoy. This was also gift day! Before lunch I unwrapped so wonderfully thoughtful gift from my sister and parents, including a elephant charm bracelet from my sister I haven’t taken off since and the pièce de résistance from my mum- my super duper travel bag! And my loving Grandparent’s gave me £60 to use towards travel too, so I shouldn’t be hungry the entire time. 😉
After lunch, I was ready for a good, lazy snooze but the treats weren’t quite over…
My sister and brother-in-law took my all time favourite kind of cake and gave it a fantastical twist!
Ooooh, yes! A giant red velvet cupcake!
With a home-made strawberry compote centre!
Finally, Thursday 15th came which after such a lovely weekend I expected to just be any other normal day. Until I received a call from the post room telling me an urgent delivery was waiting for me!
Flowers and a balloon from my lovely silly sister!
And when I got home…
Diana saw to it that more flowers were waiting for me!
A few drinks and snacks at the pub with my mum and dad saw the occasion successfully commemorated, and that was that.
Next came London!
Friday was a nice Gin-infused night in with Josh, Stephen and Lilly- Josh and I successfully lasting into the wee hours with liquor and Bugsey Malone.
And the following day? Josh, Lilly and I went ON the London Eye!
Geddit?? ON The London Eye??
Finally, I crawled my way back home… and THAT concluded my birthday!
What a treat, eh?
Thank you everyone, for all the cards, well wishes, and everything you did to make it truly special 🙂