Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Birthday menu

I celebrated my birthday in Sydney with all the family last week, it was a lovely day even if a bit cold. And the menu was sumptuous--and a joint effort between all of us! Here's what we had:


Selection prosciuttos, salamis, olives and lots more. Thank you, Bertrand and Margot!


Home-made houmous with fresh bread. This was made by my younger son Bevis, it had a beautiful tangy flavour and lovely smooth texture.

Georgian(Caucasus)-style braised eggplants with pomegranate seeds. This was made by my sister Camille(who learned it from Georgian friends): the eggplant was sliced and braised in an electric wok with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and the pomegranates seeded and served with the eggplant on the plate. A gorgeous contrast of flavour, texture and colour.

Home made tuna ceviche with Nundle smoked trout and Nundle smoked trout pate. This was made by me(at least the ceviche! I bought the Nundle trout things--absolutely delicious. I made the ceviche with fresh tuna, sliced thinly and then simply marinaded in lemon juice, salt and pepper for a couple of hours. If you prefer, you can also leave it overnight--the tuna will then go completely white.

Prawns. Just served as is!

Selection of wonderful French cheeses. Served with water-crackers. Thank you, Pippa!

Main courses:

Pickled pork slow-cooked in a cranberry and brandy sweet and sour sauce. I made this, it's a Russian-influenced dish which can be cooked the night before and then reheated the next day(increases the flavour.) I simply braise a piece of pickled pork(from butcher or supermarket)in some butter, sear it all over then add pepper, herbs(I use tarragon or sage but you can experiment), splash brandy, cognac, armagnac or whisky over it, reduce, add the cranberries(I use dried) and then (meat or herb)stock to go up to about half of the piece of meat. Put a lid tight on, simmer for about 30 minutes, then add cranberry juice if you want or cranberry jelly, some brown sugar and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Taste(it should be rich and a little tangy.) Keep cooking slowly for another 45 minutes or so so meat is very tender. Add a little more brandy if necessary. If you are cooking it early and reheating, do this when you reheat, along with a touch more cranberry juice if you want. Take the pork out, slice it, reduce the sauce till thick then return the pork to the dish and warm through.

Roast chicken. Simply roasted by Louis with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Filipino-style Pancit(see Fran's recipe in previous post.)

Sauteed potatoes with garlic and parsley. Camille made these, they are thickly sliced, and cooked in electric wok slowly in olive oil and butter till they get a lovely melting texture.

Big bowl salad with lots of different ingredients.


My birthday cake, on special request, was a spectacular home made 'Russe' style cake of hazelnut meringue layered with coffee butter cream--my husband David's creation, which I'll write about at length in the next post!

Bought Black Forest Gateau(which everyone was too full to do more than nibble at the edges!)

Washed down with champagne or at least 'blanquette' style sparkling wine, and various other wines. A fantastic gourmet meal, and a beautiful day, thanks to all!

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