Hip hip horray. Five sheep shop for the big big day. One of Max's favourite books. He actually knows the rhyme off by heart and reads it out loud as he turns the pages. It impresses Oli anyway.
So the birthday is on it's way and despite my attempts to play down the event there is supercharged excitement in the house.
'I am free in April' Max has been saying, then 'I am free soon.' Now, 'I am free on Sunday'. How am I going to break it to him?
The calendar on my computer has been popping up with '8pm Make Max's birthday cake' for the past 2 evenings. Why I thought 8pm was a good time to start baking, I have no idea. Glass of wine in hand, I've been pressing the 'snooze' option just to make it go away. But tonight I realise I am running out of time.
Baking. I do it sometimes and then it's out of my system and everyone is safe. I blame my tools, or really the lack thereof. Firstly, my Magimix is from the UK and needs a voltage converter the size of a microwave and an adapter plug I can never find. This evening I have resorted to the old fashioned wooden spoon. I think I could now arm wrestle a pit-bull.
My next problem is that I have, just the one, 9 inch cake tin. It's a challenge enough to get all the ingredients in the house but then I open the drawer and curse the day I only bought that one cake tin. At this point it is usually well past 8pm and the cake urgently needs cooking so (and now I remember doing the same last year) I pour all the mixture into my single tin and when it finally rises, I slice it through the middle.
Ting! To my surprise it seems to have worked. At the moment the cake is cooling down concave on a V-rack (the type you roast a chicken on). No wire rack, must get one.
In fact whenever a member of Dom's family come to stay (love 'em though I do) I realise how ill-equipped my kitchen is. There's the absence of the garlic press, the cast iron pan, the non-stick saucepan, the ice cream scoop, the spatula, the cutlery. I made the last one up, obviously.
So with a resolution to properly equip my kitchen by next year I will endeavour to put enough chocolate icing on this year's cake to disguise my culinary limitations. And in the mean time I can be thankful that my cooking is being judged by a group of hungry three year olds...