What do you give someone who has everything? who doesn’t really want to go out anywhere? and whose favourite things are pretty much burgers and beer? You give them burgers for their birthday tea of course.
Unfortunately I have to be in London for James’ birthday today so we had his birthday tea yesterday. For the burgers I used some ruby veal mince I had in the freezer. Of course we don’t keep our own cows and veal is not obviously the ethical or compassionate choice, but we get our veal from the calf at foot dairy – the same place we get our raw milk from. Fiona raises her Jersey cows on grass and allows the calves to stay with their mother until they are about 8-10 months old. The calf has half the milk and we get half. One of the realities of consuming milk is that calves are born and thus realistically they get killed. Fiona slaughters the calves that aren’t joining the milking herd at 8 months or so after they have had a lovely life, living out in the fields – I think it is the most compassionate milk and meat you can get – see more for her approach to meat here. We are lucky that we have access to milk and meat that is produced with the welfare of the animal a high priority.
Veal burgers: 500g compassionate veal (check where it is sourced from); one egg; handful of breadcrumbs; za’atar; grated cheddar. Mix it all together, season, shape into burgers, chill, then fry. I had mine with salad and melted cheese on top. James had his in buns with ketchup. It made 7 decent sized burgers so we ate four and I have frozen three. No pictures because, as usual, we were very hungry and exhausted.
A birthday tea isn’t a birthday tea without some kind of cake. Last year I made James peanut-butter cookies with peanut-butter icecream and I wanted to do something different this year. I remembered that three years ago when Kathy was here for James’ birthday she made lemon lovenotes and James loved them so I thought I would make this as his surprise. I have used Kathy’s recipe – thank you Kathy (I left the recipe at home so hopefully I have remembered it accurately!)
Kathy’s Lemon Lovenotes: for the base – 1 cup of plain flour, 4 oz of butter, 1/4 cup of icing sugar; for the topping – 2 eggs, 2 tbs of lemon juice, 2 tbs of plain flour, 1 cup of icing sugar. Whizz up the base ingredients to make a dough and press into a pan. It is probably a good idea to grease the pan – I didn’t, and the lovenotes were a little tricky to get out. Cook base in oven at 375F for 20 mins – not sure what this is in centigrade so I guessed at 180 which was probably a little too hot. Whisk eggs until very frothy and light then whisk in flour, sugar and lemon juice. Pour on top of base and cook again for 20 mins. Take out of the oven and drench in icing sugar. Try not to eat them all at once.
Happy Birthday James xxx