Today is my gran’s 104th Birthday. Here she is, fourth from left, on a sunny holiday in Jersey with her sister. She says she felt ‘set free’. And here she is when she turned 100:
It’s hard to remember how remarkable she is, as she’s still so much herself, the Gran I’ve always known her as. She had brothers who fought in the first World War (she was the youngest of nine). Her husband spent most of the second World War in India, while she brought up their son at home. Before she married, she helped run the office for the family business. She cajoled one of the employees into teaching her to drive on the firm van! She has seen the arrival of television, microwaves, video recorders, the internet. We often use FaceTime so that she can see Ellie playing and say hello. She still lives on her own (albeit with lots of support from my mum and dad), cooks a little for herself, and reads voraciously.
Where do you even start with celebrating a 104th birthday? It gets harder every year to think of presents. But what she really appreciates is seeing us all, so we all came down to Somerset to celebrate, with food and cake, and E insisted on adding balloons too. She’s pretty clear that birthdays are all about balloons. She also insisted in opening all her cards and presents on my Gran’s behalf – she’s helpful like that. It was lovely to spend time all together, and for her to see some more of E in person: she’s changing so fast at the moment. I hope she remembers her Granny May, but even if she doesn’t we will have so many stories to tell her.
- That banana cake, again
- Rachel Roddy’s broccoli pasta – Five Quarters
Without a recipe:
- Supermarket pizza
- Oven fish and chips
- Steak sandwiches, with chutney and cornichons
- Pasta with beef ragu, roasted tomatoes
- Baked chicken with fennel, lemon, garlic and potatoes
- Some great recipes around for spring veg at the moment: Yotam Ottolenghi’s olive oil recipes includes a green veg stew with trout; Rachel Roddy writes about mixed, sauteed Roman greens, called misticanza; Nigel Slater’s broad bean and asparagus recipes;
- The New York Times has created this great interactive guide to knife skills.
- Never was there a better case of the headline not doing justice to the article. Shauna brings her beautiful, heartfelt writing to the most unexpected subjects: roasted garlic bean dip.