So the handsome-and-talented husband turned 40 on Saturday, June 11. Months in advance, I had organised a party with friends and family for the evening. His parents, older brother, best friend and wife all drove up to Berlin from various places in the Netherlands for the weekend. Whereas most of the Dutch contingent had been to Berlin multiple times, it was the brother-in-law J’s first trip to Berlin. So we were all keen on showing him Berlin and our ‘hood.
Birthday boy actually got dragged out of bed at 8am by his brother to go for a brotherly 10k run around Berlin. After a family breakfast, the handsome-and-talented husband unwrapped his cheesy birthday package from Tante Trudy in Amsterdam; quite literally cheesy, see the featured image of this post above. We spent a lovely day walking around our Mitte ‘hood and several tourist spots before a family dinner at Altes Europa then putting on our dancing shoes for the birthday party.
My friend, DT the international man of mystery, was so generous to lend us his penthouse apartment for the party. It’s a spacious space located at the border of Berlin Mitte and Wedding, with two terraces; one facing north and great for sunsets, the other looking south at Berlin’s TV Tower. In warm summer evenings, it’s the perfect space to have a party, outside till sunset then moving inside into the open-plan kitchen area.
I normally like to cook for parties myself, since that’s part of the fun and it’s a “healthy” stress for me. I wanted to have a family day with the handsome-and-talented one and his family, though, so I delegated the birthday cakes to my dear friend, Phil from Flavorphil, and Salma, who I met through her daughter Lana.
Salma and Lana are Syrian natives currently living in Berlin. Salma just started an initiative to empower the displaced less-educated Syrian women in Berlin, and you can read more about that on their Facebook page.
Now onto the party food porn!
Salma made a selection of Syrian dishes for the party. I asked for finger foods that don’t require eating utensils to reduce the amount of post-party clean-up. She came up with a combination of meat and vegan dishes like hummus, mahmmara (paprika dip) and meatballs. Everything was delicious
The vegan hummus: chickpeas, sesame paste, lemon juice, olive oil and toasted almonds.
The hummus with meat: as above but with tender lamb pieces.
Baba ghannoj: chunky aubergine paste, chopped onions, tomatoes and paprika, with crushed walnuts. Kano from the Syrian Foodie in London blog researched the topic of mutabal (alternative spelling mtabal) and baba ghannoj (lots of alternative spellings like baba ghanoush/ghanouj) and wrote about which is which on his blog.
The one that is a smooth aubergine paste mixed with yoghurt is mutabal. The chunky one with chopped paprika and tomatoes is baba ghannoj.
Bourak is a stuffed pastry and this one is with spinach, drizzled with sweet pomegranate syrup.
This is bourak stuffed with cheese.
We also had 2 types of köfte (meatballs): this one is chicken. The lamb I forgot to take photos of.
The handsome-and-talented husband with his plate.
What’s a birthday party without birthday cakes?
For some odd reason a lot of people asked about forty cupcakes. Cupcakes?! I’d take a proper slice of cake over cupcake any day! So Phil and I went for FOUR double-stack cakes, one for each decade and ranging from naked, semi-naked and fully-frosted to suit every level of sweet-toothed guest. We also had one chocolate cheesecake by Salma for the future and good luck.
Phil is a culinary baking genius and if you ever need a cake or anything food-related, you should definitely ping him. These are the cakes he made for Robert’s party…
Lemon-blueberry cake with lemon buttercream frosting: a lemony cake with blueberries topped with a sharp, lemony buttercream and decorated with blueberries and zests of lemon.
Chocolate cheesecake by Salma for the future and for good luck! This was chocolatey and tangy at the same time.
The handsome-and-talented husband managed to blow out all five candles, one on each cake, in one single continuous breath. Whooooo… Here’s to many more happy years!
A good time was had by all, and everyone loved the food and cakes, and went home with full bellies and doggie bags; haha, everyone now knows to always bring Tupperware to our parties.
Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate the handsome-and-talented husband, especially to those who travelled all the way to Berlin from the Netherlands! See you at 50!