"Making the birthday person feel exceptional is the most important calling of the day."
Birthdays are traditionally a special occasion and, in the Cameron household, making the birthday person feel exceptional is the most important calling of the day. Most birthdays begin and end around a dinning room/kitchen table and fine-tuned preparation is crucial when organising a relaxed, hassle-free dinner party. Every second of groundwork is worth the effort and ensures you can sit down, unwind and have a glass of celebratory bubbles with your guests.
For my dad's recent birthday I started the feast with a tasting of hot pumpkin seeds and salted nuts. This kick starts the salivary juices and entices the palate for what is to come. Dad enjoys tomatoes in any form or fashion so I felt it fitting to serve a tasting of sundried tomatoes, balsamic seared cherry tomatoes and a dipping sauce of grated tomatoes with hot, crispy, white olive bread. This went down as a treat! Breaking bread together somehow binds a gathering in an intimate embrace.
Fresh fish is always a winner so pan-seared Norwegian Salmon with a Rich Man's Potato Salad, fresh green beans and a lemon wedge is a good choice. A classic beurre blanc sauce rounds off this main dish and allows the fishy flavours to come through.
I am in Pavlova mode - to the point that I've included traditional pavlova on the Hartford House lunch menu. I, however, have added a modern touch to make my recipe a unique variation on a theme. On this occasion I cut up a selection of fresh fruit, whipped the cream and presented the individual mini pavlovas for each guest to fill as they chose. This is home-cooked elegance at its best!
We rounded off the evening with espresso coffee and a few slices of oozing camembert with orange segments, candied walnuts and fresh herbs. Crisp Parma Ham on the side puts the sizzle into this dish.
The result was a stress-free meal fit for a king - for our king... Happy Birthday Dad!
I hope these dishes inspire you to serve up a feast when you next have a birthday to celebrate.
Take these recipes and try them.