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PG column picBirthdays are funny things. They arrive without you really noticing and suddenly you are six years older. Which is what has just happened to this column – Paula’s Wines of the Week is now six. It was July 21st 2008 when the first bargain wines were recommended and since then I’ve been sorting out the bargains from the you've-got-to-be-kidding bottles for you. So it’s time for birthday cake and plenty of tasty wines to help wash it down.

cake sliceI’m rather fond of cake, particularly sticky ones that require plenty of finger and plate licking to finish them off. And such a cake should have enough substance to hold a birthday candle and still taste nice when matched with wine. What is this cake? Lemon drizzle yoghurt tatlisi – a moist, easy-to-make cake covered in lemon juice and sugar.

Set your oven to 180 degrees C (Gas 4) and find some plain yoghurt (a small tub or so), 3 eggs, 200g sugar, 250g of self-raising flour, melted butter (marg or olive oil spread works just as well) and a couple of lemons.

Grate your lemons into the yoghurt, egg, melted marg and sugar mix and gradually stir in the flour. If you add all the flour in one go there is a danger the cake mix will go lumpy, so a bit at a time is best, but a few lumps won’t hurt. Then pour the mix into a loaf tin and bake for 45mins or until you can stand it no more and you must get a closer sniff at the wonderful aromas coming out of the oven. Then pour on a lemon juice and sugar syrup mix (put 2 tablespoons of sugar and the juice of the 2 lemons in a saucepan and simmer for 10 mins) and leave to cool in the tin.

Finally add a candle, or six, then slice and devour with ice-cream/cream/crème fraiche or Greek yoghurt and of course several glasses of wine.

Beer tankardA look at beer this week. Why? Because Guinness just doesn’t taste like it used to and so the only way to get hold of a pint of the original is to brew it yourself. Home brewing allows you to recreate bygone beer tastes that aren’t available anymore.

I'm an expert, Tesco Wines by the Case says so. A Mature Times review of one of their special offer whites caught their eye. Shame they've posted it next to the wrong wine.

Italian flagDespite having a diverse culinary heritage inspired through invasion, it seems we British are more interested in mastering Italian cuisine than our own traditional dishes. A new European-wide survey by Apetina cheese found that 61% of the Brits that responded would prefer to cook as Pietro and Paola rather than Peter and Paulas. But I've got news for those pasta throwing wanna-bes – ravioli and macaroni have been part of British culture for centuries.