Birthday Cheer

Last Friday was my birthday. I don’t really have any recipes to share from that day but I thought I’d share photos of the day with you all here. The food I ate wasn’t gluten-free, though I am inspired to recreate my own versions that would also be refined sugar-free and (possibly) dairy-free. The only thing that was almost gluten-free was my chocolate mousse birthday cake, the only wheat being in the cake base. The mousse itself didn’t have any gluten.

I went out to lunch with my grandmother. Here, I had a grilled roast lamb sandwich. It had said lamb, with baby salad greens, ripe pear, and mayonnaise. Something I’d definitely love to eat at home! It was so flavourful with the lamb and pear balancing each other perfectly.

Then there was dessert: a princess cake for me and a passion fruit mango mousse for my grandmother. Those marks on the mousse are chocolate smears! My grandmother and I were marveling over that for a minute or two. I said, “Isn’t that amazing!” Realizing what I said, “You know what’s amazing, though? That I think that a smear of chocolate is amazing.” Oi!

We shared a pot of green tea that had rose  buds or petals. The addition of rose added an interesting and pleasant floral note to the green tea. (I hadn’t really understood rose as an ingredient in food – I mean, I liked the sound of the aesthetic but I didn’t know how it added to something as a whole until I sipped that tea.)

I’ve never had a princess cake before, it was described as a white sponge cake with a raspberry mousse layer but it seemed there was more mousse than cake – something I don’t object to, of course. I enjoyed every bite.

Later, there were presents. A sweater my Mum knit for me, kitchen gadgets (including that cookie scoop you’ve seen here), chocolates, a bunch of baby bananas, baby mandarin oranges; a By Lauren Luke palette and a Queen tee shirt with Freddie Mercury in all his glory! I am, unabashedly, a massive fan of Queen and to receive such a gift, I’m sure that my heart skipped a beat as a rush of excitement surged through my being as I tore off the wrapping paper and saw the eighties-styled QUEEN emblazoned on the front. I was quick to change into it and wore it for the rest of the day, and the next.

The baby bananas and mandarins were a remembrance of things past: when I was little, for one of my birthdays I wanted a bunch of baby bananas. I think everyone kept asking me if I was sure – I was sure. My grandfather wrote on every banana, saying happy birthday and other well good wishes. I forget the name of the show now, but the reason for my wanting baby bananas was that I would watch a kids’ show whose host would always have a bunch of baby bananas that he’d eat at the end of the show. It was a backyard setting, he would do arts and crafts for children’s birthday parties and things like that. The story behind the mandarins goes back even further, to when I was a baby – well, more of a toddler but still. At that age I loved eating mandarin oranges. Once I fell asleep still clutching oranges in each hand. My grandparents tried to pry them out from my fingers but even sleeping, I held tight. My parents also did the same when we came home and they unbuckled me from the car seat, yet I still held fast on to them, refusing to let go.

Thus, this birthday the bananas and mandarins payed homage to those childhood moments.

The rest of the day slipped by: Chinese food for dinner, a chocolate mousse cake that my brother topped with raspberries for dessert; my little brother at my side to try to blow the candles out first. My aunt and I watched Cate Blanchett as an alter ego Bob Dylan on YouTube and we were amazed by her performance (for myself, this is even still after repeated viewings), to the point of confusing our pronouns; forgetting that a woman was playing a man. That’s good acting.


Next week, beginning Monday, we’ll get back to our regular program of recipes. I still have my meringue post, which has already been delayed because I decided I wanted more pictures for it and also hopefully a video – I hope that it isn’t much longer before I can share it with you! After that, chocolate for Valentine’s Day, then soup and perhaps salad as well. We’ll see. I have a backlog that I’m working down a little at a time, in addition to what else I’m doing what with responsibilities and family and also another blog project I’m working on that I’ll be sharing with you all in a little while.

Until next time,


12 thoughts on “Birthday Cheer

  1. Hi Z–
    Happy Belated Birthday! You’re birthday is about a day after my mom’s, very cool. 🙂
    I’m surprised your able to eat gluten, dairy, and sugar since this that is what you blog? Do you not have to do so? 🙂 Or do you do only on special occasions such as your birthday? I know that I’m that sometimes I “slip” and don’t eat the way I should but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Just wondering how you deal with it.
    By the way, the photos are beautiful. And the food looks delish! 😉

    1. Hi Ariana,

      Thank you! Yes, I am able to eat all of the above, although I ultimately prefer eating what I blog about here, particularly eating gluten-free. I generally feel better. I only eat wheat and dairy, sugar, etc. when I’m on an outing (unless I know of a gluten-free option) such as on my birthday or when I’m at a friend’s place. At home, I eat what I blog. Most of my culinary experience, especially baking, is rooted in SCD, gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free because of my brother who is recovering from autism as I explain on the blog’s about page and my family and I transitioned our diet so that we would all be eating the same way. I have little to no practical experience in baking with wheat and other gluten grains.

      Thanks for asking!

  2. Oh, what a sweet post, Zoe! Love all the stories with the history that you’ve included. Those baby bananas with the messages on them are just too cute. And you are Queen fan! Love Queen, too. Would love to see your t-shirt. 😉 My hubby used to play handbells in church and one time I went with his group to hear a famous handbell choir perform. They did Bohemian Rhapsody, Zoe. It was absolutely incredible! You would have loved it. Belated Happy Birthday! BTW, I got your DM. Thanks for being so gracious as always. 🙂


    1. Thank you, Shirley! Your comments always make my day. 🙂 I’ll put a picture up at some point of the Queen tee shirt – need to get a photo of it first! 😉 That is an amazing story, I shared it with my parents and sibs. We all love it! (My brother started humming “We Will Rock You”.) Queen is the only band that I’ve listened to that continually and consistently makes me feel uplifted, whether listening to one of their songs, reading (and sharing) the band’s stories and anecdotes, or reading/watching old interviews, I always laugh and am left with a smile on my face.

      Oh, good! I’m glad you got my DM – after being off Twitter for a while, for a brief moment I was back at square one: I spent what must have been 2 minutes looking for a reply button before I figured it out. D’oh!

  3. Happy belated birthday Zoe! It looks like you had a wonderful time. The food, especially that lamb sandwich looks incredible. That is so cute that you wanted baby bananas for your birthday when you were little. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Hi Melanie, thank you! I did indeed have a wonderful time, and I know! I really want to have that lamb sandwich again. Need to make it at home, maybe with some Udi’s bread.

    1. Thank you, Kim! It took almost forever to eat those bananas because they were so cute – the writing no doubt contributed to their cuteness factor! I ended up freezing the last three and making “ice cream” out of it.

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