Birthday 2019

8/08/2019 11:17:00 AM

Hi hi! I am finally blogging about my birthday celebrations this year! My birthday is at the end of April - and no, I didn't extend the celebrations for three months! Quite a few of the gifts I was lucky enough to receive were food related, like dinners and so on, and some of these were scheduled in quite a bit later than my actual birthday, so I wanted to wait for all of them to be done before blogging about it. Let's take a look!

First up: complimentary Birthday Nando's. Of course.

Birthday Nando's
Birthday Nando's

My big celebration is always my annual slumber party - a chilled out gathering at our place, with comfy clothes, and lots of snacks and wine. I always organise this for the weekend before my actual birthday.


We made a range of nibbly snacks - fruit kebabs, crudités and Nigella's gorgonzola and cannellini dip, guacamole, tomato and bocconcini skewers, loads of chips and crackers, and prosciutto-wrapped grissini. (We found gluten free grissini at the local deli so it was easy to keep everything gluten free and make it easy for our coeliac guest).

Party nibbles

Sandra also made meatballs in the air-fryer, which we served with a hot tomato sugo. Air fryer meatballs are so great! They go all crispy on the outside and stay juicy inside. Yum! We also wanted to make these gluten-free, and Sandra had the genius idea of crushing up some of the gluten-free grissini to use instead of regular breadcrumbs.

Airfryer Meatballs

For my birthday cake, I baked Bravetart's chocolate skillet cake in two twenty centimetre pans, which I split in half and sandwiched with cream cheese buttercream for an epic four layer cake. I also had some fun with some pink swirl piping to decorate! Both recipes are excellent, and I loved them.

Chocolate Devil's Food Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Chocolate Devil's Food Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

We wanted a gluten-free option as well, so I made a mini mountain of sago puddings with gula melaka. I thought the star of the show would be the layer cake with fancy icing, but my friends went nuts for the gula melaka puddings!

Gula Melaka Puddings
Dessert - gula melaka sago puddings; chocolate devil's food cake with cream cheese frosting

Oh wells, it meant lots of layer cake left for breakfast the next day and to share with family and colleagues! Yum.

Chocolate Devil's Food Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Chocolate Devil's Food Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

My actual birthday was a weekday, so it was just a regular work day. But I had a special dinner with my family. Mum made mee swa birthday noodles, my favourite!

Mee swa birthday noodles
Mee swa birthday noodles

And dad also steamed some super fluffy birthday buns!

Birthday Buns
Birthday buns

I was lucky enough to receive some awesome birthday presents this year - gorgeous flowers from my wife...

Birthday Flowers
Birthday flowers

... and a super cute sloth planter and fun Gaytime teatowel from my friend Adri. I still haven't decided what to plant in the planter - any ideas? I think it still looks cute empty though! Also, I know the Gaytime teatowel was a novelty/decorative item, but it's actually a super high quality microfibre teatowel and it's so great! I use it all the time.

Sloth Planter, Gaytime Teatowel
Sloth Planter, Gaytime Teatowel

A couple of weeks after my actual birthday, Sandra surprised me with a belated gift of NordicWare bundt and loaf tins, and icing decorating kits. (She saw that I had so much fun piping my birthday cake and thought I'd enjoy some specialised decorating tools!) I've obviously used the bundt pans heaps (lemon sour cream cake, marble cake and more!), and am looking forward to making some fun things with the icing tools. (I'm thinking cupcakes and pretty decorated cookies).

Bundt tins
Bundt tins

The rest of my gifts were incredibly kind and thoughtful meals. My friend Jess had us over for a Friday night Shabatt Dinner - she made a lovely roast lamb with veggies, and a salad with feta and granola for a sweet and crunchy element (unusual and super delicious - I loved it!)

Roast lamb dinner
Shabbat dinner

For dessert she made a lovely and healthy chia pudding with yogurt and spiced poached fruits with winter spices.

Chia pudding with mulled wine fruits
Chia pudding with yogurt and mulled-wine poached fruit

Our friend Alaina took us for a cake and ciabatta feast at Beatrix (688 Queensberry St, North Melbourne, VIC 3051). Beatrix deservedly has just gotten busier and busier over the years, so there was a waitlist when we went on a weekend afternoon. Owner Nat is such a legend, she wrote "VIP" next to my name! It totally made my day!

The Beatrix waitlist
The Cake Board at Beatrix


Coffees at Beatrix

Obviously I've been a huge fan of Beatrix for the past seven (!) years (see my first blogpost about them!) and they're still as wonderful as ever. I love that they're doing toasties now (in addition to the big ciabattas), as they're slightly easier to eat and a little smaller, meaning more room for cake!

Toasties! Front: Pine mushrooms, fior di latte, thyme & parsley aioli, pine nuts
Back: ham on the bone, goats cheese, quickled jalapeño

Going in a group of three did mean a long wait for a table, but it also meant we could try MORE cake. Win! Sandra loves the super-light chiffons; I love buttery pastry, crumble and custard, so the rhubarb custard crumble tart was absolute heaven! And I've always wanted to try a banoffee pie! Nat's version was, as expected, incredible. Crisp pastry, smooth and slightly bitter caramel, lots of fresh banana, heaps of whipped crème fraîche and a milk chocolate rubble. Nat also adds a little passionfruit to the banana mixture for a really welcome pop of sharpness. The overall effect is not too sweet, but still totally decadent. LOVE!

Cakes at Beatrix
Orange chiffon with sour cream glaze; banoffee pie; rhubarb crumble tart

As if that wasn't enough, we also got a cinnamon and apple scroll. The cinnamon scrolls are amaaaaazing! So soft and fluffy! Follow Beatrix's Instagram for updates and try to get one of these when they're fresh out of the oven.

Apple Cinnamon scroll at Beatrix
Apple and cinnamon scroll

And finally, our great friend An took us for a birthday dinner at Amok (119 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181). They're a modern Cambodian restaurant, and we loved the food! For me, the highlights were the pork belly bun, with succulent pork belly and loads of pickled daikon, and the grilled scotch fillet with a trio of dipping sauces. I definitely want to go back, and take my parents next time.

Appetizers at Amok Restaurant
Dinner at Amok - eggplant chips, soft shell crab burger, pork belly bun, cocktails

Grilled medium rare grassfed scotch fillet - Served with avocado oil mayonaise sauce, confit garlic Kampot pepper sauce, and lime chilli coriander sauce - $30.90

The desserts were also really fun! My favourite was the sweet crunchy red rice ball with avocado ice-cream, mango boba and toasted coconut.

Avocado ice cream dessert
Sweet crunchy red rice ball, housemade avocado ice cream, mango boba and toasted coconut

And those were my birthday celebrations! I tried to keep it low-key this year, with just one actual party, but it seems that the celebrations just kept going for the next couple of months, haha. I'm so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family in my life!

How do you celebrate your birthday (if you do at all)? Do you like to extend the celebrations or do one big party? Layer cake or gula melaka pudding?

You Might Also Like


  1. Happy Birthday Sarah!! That sloth planter is so cute. I guess the sloth face will be peeking out from behind whatever you plant? Will you post a pic? I don't know why I love it so much hehe.



My email address is sarahcooks [at] hotmail [dot] com.