A Birthday Treat

September 23, 2011

Hi there, lovelies!

I’m feeling particularly chipper today…you see, it’s my birthday. And I’m a firm believer in doing whatever you want on your birthday. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Luckily I work for myself on Fridays, so I was able to take the day off for some birthday fun. 26 is an important birthday after all, it deserves a lot of attention and celebration – well that’s how it goes in my head anyway…

I’m being joined by my beautiful mum, who always believes in taking full advantage of the birthday situation and took the day off too! We’ve decided to treat ourselves to a day of lunching and, well, I’m not quite sure yet. We’ll see where the day takes us…Then later this evening I’m meeting friends for drinks and dinner. It’s all going to be rather marvelous.


This year I firmly instructed Ben and my family to go easy on the presents (I have my Wedding coming up in 5 months, which doesn’t exactly come free). I did request a few cookbooks, however, and am super excited to dive into Good to the Grain and Plate to Pixel.

Another book I requested is Hungry, by Guy Mirabella. Not only because I adore Guy’s recipes (his cookbook, Eat Ate, is well used in my kitchen – do you recall this Rhubarb and Ricotta Tart? I do…), I also requested Hungry because Guy honoured me with a little mention in one of his pancake recipes. My family knows Guy and his Sister, Rosa, and I’m sure mum slipped in at some point about my blog. Anyway, it turns out he kind of likes it… *blush*

I can’t think of many more cooks or chefs that I would be more thrilled to receive praise from. Guy’s passion and talent, beautiful home-style Italian recipes, and his emphasis on cooking with family are all incredibly inspiring. And I love his new book, it’s divine. Just looking at the cover, clearly a rustic, casual family lunch, I melt with feelings of joy and warmth. As you devour the pages of Hungry you will be filled with a real sense of love – love for food, love for family, love for life. The full title is ‘Hungry, food from my heart’ – and it really is.


Last night Ben and I made a simple recipe from Hungry, the Walnut Pesto. Pesto is one of my favourite things to make, the process is very cathartic, and takes me back to renting an apartment in Ortygia, Sicily, for six blissful days two years ago.

I really enjoyed this recipe, which is said to be common in Genoa. The walnut addition gave an earthy and refreshing flavour. We served this pesto with spaghettoni and spinach leaves (which wilted perfectly and gave an extra hit of veg, snap). Next up, I am itching to make the Stuffed Squid. With the Lime and Cranberry Cake for dessert. Yes, lovely.


And so, as a Birthday treat, I am giving away one copy of Guy Mirabella’s Hungry to one lucky reader. What can I say, I’m a little excited about the mention and just want to share this beautiful book! I will announce and contact the winner in one week, on Friday 30th September (be sure to email me your contact details if you don’t have them easily displayed).

All you need to do is leave a comment below, telling me what is your favourite dish to cook for your loved ones. But you know what? It can even be a favourite dish you cook for yourself. As long as it’s made with love

Heidi xo
  • Heavenly Ingredients September 23, 2011 at 7:06 am

    Happy birthday lovely Heidi, have a great day. Bit of indulging is very nice on a birthday.
    I think I'm going to pass on entering the comp – feel very fortunate to have won your last give away x

  • Leah September 23, 2011 at 7:29 am


    As you know I love to bake. I don't have a favourite cake or anything like that. I love to see my husbands face when he walks through the door, and he can smell a freshly baked cake, or cookies…muffins….or fruit bread! 😀

    Hope you have a really wonderful day xoxo

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) September 23, 2011 at 8:50 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY DEAR!!! I hope you day is filled with sunshine, laughter and lots of fun!

  • hollypop September 23, 2011 at 10:06 am

    happy birthday, heidi!
    what a great book!
    i love cafe 'aaaaate'(as we call it) in mt eliza. so good!

    i love to make my loved ones healthy tasty food which they seem not to make for themselves. sometimes it's a big slow roasted lamb with veggies and salads or make them really fresh juices with lovely greens and juicy fruit. om!

  • Lisa September 23, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Happy Birthday Heidi! I hope you are having a super lovely day. I know you told your family to go light on the presents but I'm sure they will spoil you with love.

    I adore cooking for my friends and family and what I love to do is cook something that they love and might not cook for themselves. It can be doing a roast chook for Mum (Dad doesn't like chicken), making apple turnovers for Dad, something spicy and exotic for my brother in law, something chocolate for my sister or a pavolva for S. The trick is when they all come together creating a meal that each of them will love.

  • Cassandra @foodmyfriend September 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Happy Birthday Little Lady!! My partner is a chef and I am a home economist, yet I always get lumped with making us dinner! Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love to cook, but it gets a little old being a one sided cook! I am a vegetarian and he is a meat eater so I am always on the look out for new 'versatile' recipes, if you will. My favourite 'easy, midweek' meal for us is lasagne. I make them in 2 seperate crockery mini loaf dishes. 1 vegetarian, and one meat and we eat them on the couch with lots of pecorino parmesan and a splash of red <3

  • Michelle Chin September 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    ah, so you're a libran? 🙂

    i always cook for my sister and my favorite dish would be miso braised pork ribs. it's recently featured on my blog and she loves it a lot! 🙂

  • Julia @ Boredom Abounds September 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Oh, happy birthday!

    I love to cook penne napolitana with loads of fresh parmasean – just like my Nonna used to make!

  • Ali September 23, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    I love to make Vietnamese Fun Rolls for my family. They taste amazing, are nutritious and my two small children absolutely love to wrap their own rolls – lots of fun.

    Hope you're having lots of fun on your birthday 🙂

  • Girl on Raw September 23, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Happy birthday girl! Oh you make me feel so old 😉

    I don't know what I am jealous of more, the mention you had in the cookbook of the 6 glorious days in Sicily. Oh I LOVE Italy.

    I hope you are spoilt rotten lovely and enjoy the day with loved ones and yummy foods xx

  • KittyCate September 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Happy birthday lovely lady!
    Hope you are having a wonderful day and get completely spoilt xx

  • Hannah September 23, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    I hope you have the most wonderful birthday, infused with as much joy, wonder, shimmeringness, and laughter as you yourself bring to the world.

    To answer your question, I think I have to say the dish I make for my mum for lunch sometimes, when she accepts my decree for her to take a breather and let me pamper her. Hot buttered toast with a bit of vegemite, topped with smooth creamy scrambled eggs and lots of freshly cracked pepper. 🙂

  • The InTolerant Chef September 24, 2011 at 9:27 am

    I hope you had a gorgeous birthday sweetie! Cookbooks are great pressies because everybrecipe is like a new gift!
    My families favorite dish is pork belly- slow baked with crispy crackle, and lots and lots of love 🙂
    Every birthday's special, so I think you should celebrate all weekend long!

  • Heidi September 24, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Thanks for all the incredible birthday love! I am overwhelmed 🙂 you're all so sweet. I am loving reading your comments about what you enjoy cooking for loved ones. Makes me feel all warm & fuzzy. Hannah – I think I need some of that Vegemite toast after last night xo

  • Iron Chef Shellie September 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Yay for birthday ness!! how lovely your man took the day off, I'm much looking forward to hearing all about the wedding too! 😀

    My favourite dish to cook… hmmm… *commence thinking pose* Pandan Chiffon Cake! It brings back childhood memories of going to the Chinese grocer and mum asking me what flavour I wanted, and I always wanted the green one. I never knew what flavour it was, it was green and I liked it 😛 So now that I have perfected it, it's so good to hear the praise from everyone who tells me it was just like the shop bought ones… then there is praise from people who never had it before and love it.

    Me, I just love it, the process of making it, and the airy fluffiness of eating it 😛

  • jessiebelle September 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Happy Birthday!

    I love baking as it gives me that warm fuzzy feeling cooking for those I love.

    My family love Roasts, Steaks and fish. My favourite dishes are Lasagna, Asian and Curries.

    I find baking cakes, slices and scones fun but my passion in for making cheesecakes, I make the same basic recipe I enjoy but like experimenting with new variations.

  • sem September 25, 2011 at 2:41 am

    Dear Heidi…

    I'm not a cook, I'm not a chef, in fact, I have battled with eating problems for quite a number of years now. I recently stumbled across Apples Under My Bed and to be honest, with each entry I read, food becomes a little less daunting and overwhelming and more an expression of self and joy.

    My dish starts with an egg. It's a simple dish. I like to whisk eggs, milk and some lovely cheese together, I guess the special part comes when I pour the mixture into the pan, watching for the perfect bubbles to form and slowly mixing until I have the perfect scrambled egg consistency.

    This dish makes me feel accomplished for many reasons. It's simple and it's delicious but most of all, it's something I can prepare and share with the people that I love most in life.


  • Anonymous September 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Happy birthday!!

    My favourite dish to cook for my loved ones is chicken, mushroom and leek pie. Everyone loves it, it makes us all feel happy, and the kitchen is filled with that delicious smell of baking!

    x C

  • Blithely Unaware September 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Happy Birthday and congratulations on the mention you gorgeous thing!!! Such an honor and well deserved.


  • Sahna September 28, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Happy Birthday! I also went to movida last week! It was quite an experience, 10 course banquet and too much beautiful food to handle! I've been a long time lover of your blog, your philosophy of food is just a but wonderful and inspiring. You've instilled in both me and my mother a passionate love for oats and nut butterI we're obsessed.
    Taking after my father, I love cooking anything and everything, showing the people I love how much they mean to me through food. But there is something about baking cinnanomy nutty treats, with the sun streaming into the kitchen, that just smells like love and comfort and makes me so happy. I especially love cooking healthy yet delicious breakfast muffins and granola for my family. It makes me feel like I'm looking after them twofold – by giving them something delicious and nutritious.

  • Heidi September 30, 2011 at 7:49 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Heidi September 30, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Hi Everyone!!

    I had a really hard time choosing who to give the book to. So may lovely comments about food and family and cooking for those you love. Thank you thank you for sharing your experiences with me 🙂 There were some lovely words about my blog also, so thank you, you're so sweet.

    OK: I selected the comments that most touched me and then used a random number generator to select which one actually won out of those 7. And the winner is…HollyPop!

    "happy birthday, heidi!
    what a great book!
    i love cafe 'aaaaate'(as we call it) in mt eliza. so good!

    i love to make my loved ones healthy tasty food which they seem not to make for themselves. sometimes it's a big slow roasted lamb with veggies and salads or make them really fresh juices with lovely greens and juicy fruit. om!"

    I'll be contacting you soon 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • Ashley September 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Awww, happy belated birthday! 🙂 I much rather my loved ones take me out for dinner rather than buy me presents these days…I much prefer spending time with people!

    And how cool is it that one of the most well known chefs knows and likes your blog! How exciting. 🙂