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2010 September 1
by Romy

Recipe for “the best birthday weekend ever”*

2 people, 48 hours, easy – intermediate


* Luxury hotel
* Bathing suit
* French/Italian restaurant with overpriced wine
* Everything needed for a chocolate fudge cake
* DVD boxset of The Wire
* Infinite patience
* Discovery of red pesto from local deli


  1. Book the hotel two months in advance and spend the next 60 days bursting at the seams trying not to tell your boyfriend about the nice weekend you have planned. Make all sorts of plans that are not feasible/out of budget. Talk to boyfriend to see about stretching the budget, get rejected. Spoil surprise one week beforehand after keeping it a secret for more than 6 weeks.
  2. Get up very early the day before to be there for furniture delivery. Exercise infinite patience when trying to wake up boyfriend.
  3. Remain calm when delivery men show up two hours late. Remain calm when discovering that the expensive desk we bought is broken.
  4. Exercise infinite patience when boyfriend throws a tantrum and accepts my birthday weekend offer of packing up the desk all by myself and clearing the living room of tons of rubbish, cardboard and foam while he takes a nap. Run out of patience. Play with cardboard boxes when both have cheered up. Laugh and take photos when boyfriend gets his head stuck in the box.
  5. Make stunning pasta using recently acquired pesto from the local deli, rave to each other about how delicious it is.
  6. Bake cake (instructions below).
  7. Wake up early the next morning, head to breakfast place, have yummy breakfast.
  8. Pack bags, head to hotel to drop off bags, go into the city.
  9. Find the nearest massage place, buy boyfriend a 40-minute neck, shoulders, back and arms massage. Wander off for 35 minutes. Return to find boyfriend half-asleep though still standing.
  10. Go to Koko Black for “lunch”: a cup of hot chocolate accompanied by a mini chocolate muffin, chocolate shortbread, two pralines, a little cup of chocolate mousse and a little cup of chocolate gelato. Eat until you get sick. Eat another bite.
  11. Head to the hotel, strip down and climb into bed for a legendary nap. Wake up by taking a dive in the indoor swimming pool with glass ceiling, relax in the spa bath.
  12. Have dinner at a nice restaurant, feel sorry for self when boyfriend decides not to join you in ordering the chateaubriand which you’ve been dying to try. Say nothing but secretly hope he changes his mind. Reaffirm his decision to go for the chateaubriand after all by reciting countless convincing arguments. Decide to share bread and chorizo and peppers for a starter.
  13. Find a bottle of wine that costs less than 3 or 4 figures but still sounds nice. Succeed.
  14. Eat a spectacular meal including the best steak you have ever tasted.
  15. Look at each other with big googly eyes because really, how could this get any better?
  16. Make it better by ordering room service for breakfast the next morning, revel in only having to check out at 11.

Chocolate fudge cake (fool proof)



* 115g butter or margarine

* 115g caster sugar

* 2 medium size eggs

* 90g self-raising flour – sieved

* 25g cocoa powder


1. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a tin.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs and if the mixture starts to curdle, add a little flour.

3. Fold in the remaining flour and the cocoa powder with a metal spoon.

4. Pour mixture into tin and bake for approx. 25 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch.

5. Remove from oven and leave to cool before turning out onto a cooling rack.



* 30 g butter

* 200 g white sugar

* 15 g unsweetened cocoa powder

* 120 ml heavy whipping cream

* 7.5 ml vanilla extract


In a saucepan, combine butter, sugar, cocoa and cream. Stir over medium heat until a full boil starts. Cook at a full boil for 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour while hot over warm cake (poke holes with fork first). Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Serve alone or with ice-cream.

*Not my words

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