Some weeks ago, knowing Sean’s birthday was looming and that it was falling on a Sunday, I suggested he think of what he’d like to do. Often birthdays are an excuse for us to go somewhere special for lunch or dinner and it’s always fantastic. But this year, after so many busy weekends, the idea of leaving the house didn’t appeal to either of us. And just quietly, our new deck is still such a beloved novelty that we don’t really want to be anywhere else.
The day dawned dark and gloomy but well, you just make do, don’t you? That lovely sunny day we imagined was clearly not going to materialise. No matter. Onward and upward. The garden may have been grey and wet, but there was colour to use for table decorations. I don’t make a secret of my dislike of pink but I make two exceptions. Dresses for Alice and the roses that grow in our garden. We didn’t plant them and every year when they bloom I’m grateful for whoever put them there and that my Father in Law taught us to prune.
There was always going to be a lot of food in our day so I figured we should pace ourselves and start light. I chose a simple take on soft-boiled eggs and toast soldiers. I don’t usually go in for such cutesy adornments as faces on eggshells but the recipe, which I got from Not Quite Nigella, did it so I copied and when Sean sat down at the table, he laughed and laughed.
This recipe, Soft Boiled Eggs with Parmesan and Chive Toast Soldiers is going onto our regular weekend breakfast list. I think it took twenty minutes, tops. We did have a word with the chickens yesterday, urging them to give us our breakfast eggs today, and while we think they’re getting close, today wasn’t the day. Oh well.
In act of sheer, bloody-minded optimism, we went on with our BBQ lunch plans – we’d marinated meat yesterday – and the rain held off until mid-afternoon allowing us the pleasure of our first proper BBQ for two on the deck.
Such an eclectic meal – Chinese BBQ pork ribs, Greek BBQ lamb shoulder (which we stuffed with rosemary, thyme, garlic and anchovies and was exquisite), tabbouleh and a cucumber and radish salad. We feasted and thought happily of the left overs we’d be feasting on for the next few days.
Later, after we let lunch settle, I gave Sean the birthday cake he’d requested. Baked Lime Cheesecake, which I adapted from this recipe for lemon cheesecake. I think it’s safe to say a citrus flavoured cheesecake is his favourite dessert and I love an excuse to make it for him. I’ll tell you what was tricky – getting just the right shade of green in the mixture. I wanted very much to give it just a hint of lime-green tint, just for the sake of completeness. I think I got it right.
There’s really something to be said for keeping a day like today low key. Sean’s not one for being the centre of attention or having a fuss made – but he loves a good meal and a quiet day together and with the clucking of the chickens and late the heavy dose of rain, I feel certain I gave him just the kind of day he wanted.
Is there a better gift?