The Birthday Party Food


I hope you’ll excuse a birthday girl being a little slow getting to the birthday party photos. My birthday and party were two weeks ago, but the party night was closely followed by a wonderful Sunday lunch the next day at A Cena and then I was off to Venice. But my family – my daughter Nicola, son Jonathan and daughter-in-law Lyndsey did such a fantastic job of making it a party to remember. And wow! I do have great cooks in my family … even my 10-year-old niece Clara and 8-year-old nephew Leo were roped in to help at the last-minute as I’d forgotten how long it took to make the canapes … and my ‘little brother’ Adam and sister-in-law Ali helped too … so I just wanted to post some of the photos to show you what a great time they gave me and our guests and as a thank-you to them.

Nicola has become No.1 Family Blinis Maker – she’s perfected the art of making wonderfully light and gorgeous little blinis – and on my birthday she valiantly made 100 of them! Don’t they look fantastic! And they were.


There was a whole large tray or foccacia ligure and pizza margherita from Ruben’s Bakehouse.


And sourdough bread and Italian baguettes from Ruben’s too.


Half an hour before guests are due to arrive – Adam, Ali, Clara and Leo – are commandeered, with Nicola in charge, to finish the canapes.


Little crostini with Parma ham and fresh fig.



And all three plates of cicchetti.


I did a whole post on my son Jonathan’s master class in jointing chicken. The chicken at the party was the same one in the post, put into one of his favourite Moro marinades.


He also barbecued butterflied lamb.


Everyone was hugely impressed that he’d managed to perfectly barbecue the chicken and lamb for 35 people and get it all on to the table at the same time. I’d made Moro’s Winter Tabbouleh to go with the meat.


The main course was followed by cheese and then ice cream. I’d made three ice creams in the week leading up to the party: Lemon & Basil, Dark Chocolate and Raspberry & Blueberry Sorbet. I’d been pleased to find some little paper cups and plastic spoons just as you’d get in the best Italian gelateria. They looked great but Rob kindly served the ice cream and gave me mine first and said I should sit down with my guests … so a photo was never taken. I was too busy enjoying myself! There is a photo of the cake with candles alight (not as many as my years, I hasten to say!). Torta Caprese, of course. Of course, because it’s the ‘family celebration cake’.


And yes I did make it. Not because I wouldn’t entrust the job to either Nicola or Jonathan but because they were doing a lot already. It was a great party with all my closest family and friends. But the post is a thank-you to Jonathan and Lyndsey for hosting it in their house and to them and Nicola for some fantastic cooking.

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A lifelong lover of good food and travel; writer and book editor

9 thoughts on “The Birthday Party Food

  1. Super super super! I can almost ‘hear’ the laughing and the chatter and the clinking of glasses and china…. it’s easy to see how loved you are … not to mention the canapés (ugh!): they are such a labour of love! What a great menu too … mmmmm!

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