Jill's 50th and other birthdays

Today’s recipe: Sausage Pie
A photo of Sausage pie on a mixed plate.

I am absolutely terrible at remembering birthdays. A couple of years ago we were invited to one of my absolute best friend’s birthday parties and I completely forgot that it was her birthday on that day. We arrived at their home, chatted a bit and one of the other guests (who had flown from England to France for the event) mentioned that she had brought a special birthday cake with her. From another country, through 2 airports, 2 hour security checkpoint lines, with the icing still intact and no slices missing.

I turned a shade whiter than the icing. My friend Em has, of course, graciously never forgiven me…. I mean, I live a few miles up the road and can’t even remember to bring her present. (Please feel free to randomly send her presents and notes saying how sorry I still am!) She is not the first I have forgotten – nor will she be the last. This month alone, I am 6 birthdays behind. It’s actually a genetic disorder which even the excessive use of alcohol doesn’t seem to cure.

One time, I visited my parents for my Dad’s birthday and knowing my weakness for forgetting birthdays, I put the wrapped present on my bedside table so that I would see it when he brought in my morning tea. Yes, you read right. When I’m home in South Africa, my Daddy brings me tea in bed before he goes to work. After 17 years Joerg still can’t seem to remember to do this! I drank my tea, we chatted, Dad went to work and at some point during the day…

But then again, I really don’t mind if you forget my birthday (the 28th of October, and thanks for asking!). Really it’s no problem. That was different when I was little. I used to worry that my relatives suffered from the same genetic Birthday Forgetting Disorder, so I would call them a week or two beforehand to remind them. If you like, I could add you to my Automatic Birthday Reminder email list which gets sent out two weeks before my birthday (which is on the 28th of October). It will also automatically link you to the Birthday Present List, just incase you’re unfamiliar with my taste.

At the end of the day, birthdays are just a celebration of getting older, so why do we do it!? Don’t know about you, but I do it for the gifts. This is rather strange considering that Joerg and I don’t exchange gifts, which is partly due to the fact that my husband’s idea of a great gift is a power tool of some sort. You know, this will help me in my daily chores of building our house. Thank you dear. But I am being unfair, as I generally get to spend my birthday in some exotic place. One time it was on the floor of the ferry from Corfu to mainland Greece and another time on the plane to New Zealand. I love it all.

The main reason for this birthday post was to actually tell you about JILL’S 50TH BIRTHDAY PARTY which we went to a good month or two ago. Very good fun is all I can say. Jill and Dik are both great fun and the first time I met Jill she was wearing a beautiful WET dress – seems she had taken an involuntary swim. Some parties just can’t be controlled! She also has lots of good looking friends, but unfortunately no good photos as in most of them someone has their mouth open or is doing something else unappealing and I have sworn to never post a photo of people looking awful….so be nice to me! And then my battery decided to give up the ghost…

Anyway, Andrew and I were too busy flirting with the good looking guys, but I got the most gorgeoustest one’s phone number. So I had to tell him I was collecting signatures for World Peace – a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. There were a lot of Dutch people there and they are the tallest people in the world (no joke). I spent a lot of time chatting to the (very beautiful) Hennie (a woman’s name in Holland) and Anna-Mieke, both of whom are like 7foot tall (slight exaggeration). And the gorgeous (ex-) BA Stewardess Vicki (to whom we owe today’s recipe to) - I looked like a midget next to them and people had to bend down to talk to me (and pat me on the head). We shall NOT go into the fact that together they weigh less than I do and they can eat like horses without gaining weight, as I might have to rethink if I still like them….

I did, however, manage to take a halfway decent picture of my plate. Jill had organized a buffet for 100 people and asked everyone to bring something along so there was a huge variety of very good food. My absolute favourite is Vicki’s Sausage Pie which is always the first thing to go at any event. It’s in the top left hand corner of the photo and I can highly recommend it. It slices beautifully and at my “Not my 40th Birthday Party”, it was a great snack to hand out as I burnt the main course in the kitchen (something you will still hear about). And on top of it all, it is really easy to make and is absolutely delicious. I had two slices and was so full I had to wait ten minutes before hitting the dessert buffet!


240g ready made puff pastry circle
500g sausage meat (either bought, homemade or squeezed out of the casing)
1 pkt sage and onion stuffing (or use a different variety)
2 tomatoes, sliced
250g mushrooms, sliced
200g grated cheese

1. Mix the sausage meat and the stuffing mix and form into a rectangular shape. Unroll the pastry and spread the mixture down the middle, leaving enough space so that you can fold the edges up to seal it.

2. Layer first the tomatoes, then the mushrooms and then sprinkle the cheese on top. Fold the pastry around the mix, pinching to seal. Stick it in the oven at 200C (400F) for an hour. Delicious!!

(In France, sausage meat is called Chair de Saucisse. Vicki used the British Paxo sage and onion stuffing. You can use more or less tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese, depending on your preferences.)

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