There is something about February – we have five major birthdays in one seven day period, and another six more in the rest of the month.
In addition to celebrating the special days of my mother, my aunt, my godmother and my husband’s grandmother, to name just a few, it is also our only daughter’s birthday. And so, once again, I found myself catering for a large party, this time composed of 3 and 4 year-olds.
One of the first things I added to the must-have list was homemade sausage rolls. I say homemade, but I don’t mean that I make the pastry – I bought the fantastic rolled sheets of puff pastry which are widely available now, divided them into sections and filled the rolls with skinned, good quality, sausages.
These, along with the honey and mustard cocktail sausages, are always the first to disappear.
To try and encourage healthy eating, hummus was a must, accompanied by a large selection of vegetables to dip (peppers, carrots) and some baby tomatoes.
And, to try and sate our daughter’s appetite for cheese, I used cookie cutters to make lots and lots of little cheese shapes, including dinosaurs, trains, planes, hearts and turtles. All the fiddling and gentle pressing of the cutters in order to free the shapes without decapitating the dinos was worth it when they vanished in nanoseconds.
To complete the feast, I made two loaves of sandwiches (ham, cheese, marmite and a few sneaky jam ones), a pot of pasta with tuna, sweetcorn and cucumber, and dotted a few pots of crisps around the table.
Thankfully, the little hands grabbed and ate and ate some more, before being rewarded by chocolate breadsticks, blueberries and – what else – strawberry jelly!