Iced Donut Croquembouche
There are basically two main food events on my calendar year. One is the Good Food Month in October now called the Sydney International Food Festival and the other is my birthday which for many years has been a casual BBQ with a Hawaiian theme (got to use my Hawaiian shirt for something) at my gracious brothers place which has a nice balcony view.
Each year I promise myself to keep things simpler than the year before but it never quite eventuated except for this year where I finally felt I managed to keep to my promise somewhat so I could spend less time prepping, cooking and serving and more time catching up with my guests and not feel so tired from all the lead up preparation in advance. To achieve this I kept the menu as simple as possible, to what my high expectations would allow :-), and concentrated on less but more substantial sized finger food and focused more on the BBQ rather than cold canapés — since it is a BBQ event.
Early guests were treated to Pacific Oysters with fresh lemon and a Pimm's Cocktail with lemonade, ginger beer, cucumber and lemon which I was inspired by at Sarina and Jordan's Wedding Reception — I'm always looking out for good food and drink ideas throughout the year for my birthday. The usual nibbles of Chips, Stuffed Olives, Dips, Carrot & Celery Sticks, Dolmades, Cheese and Crackers were on offer while the main finger food was:
• Aussie Stripy Saucy Sausage Sizzle
• BBQ Vegetarian and Haloumi Skewers
• BBQ Garlic Prawn Skewers
• Lemon & Rosemary Lamb Cutlets with Homemade Tsatsiki
• Cheese & Spinach Pastizzi and Vegetable Curry Pastizzi
and finally my own version of a Croquembouche made from Iced Donuts as my Birthday Cake topped with sparklers followed by Mini Ice Cream Cones. I like cakes and desserts for my birthday which are actually constructed from smaller bite sized desserts so there's no need for cutting, plates or cutlery. As a small parting gift everyone received my pocket sized concertina folded card of my 2009 Food Highlights.
A big thank you to my brother for doing all the BBQ cooking on such a hot day and providing his lovely home as a venue yet again and for my friends that helped serve the food and clean up the place — it was a huge help and very much appreciated. A special thank you to Chef Loz who tirelessly helped with all the food shopping, food preparation, making my food highlights card and buying the 60 donuts for my cake — your generosity and patience is amazing! This year I can honestly say I thankfully found more time to relax once all the food was cooked and served. Thank you also for all the wonderful and generous gifts which I look forward to drinking, eating and using — I'm truly overwhelmed. I would have loved to invite all my fellow food bloggers but unfortunately space was very limited this year in making sure I could squeeze in 60 guests including 4 kids and one baby. I'm already thinking of my next birthday which is the big '40' and I think I'll try to take it even easier on myself and perhaps get someone else to look after all the catering at a venue so I can relax for the entire time — I promise!
Other birthdays for Simon:
• 15 Jan 2012 - Simon's 41st Birthday - Coach and Horses Hotel
• 8 Jan 2011 - Simon's 40th Birthday - Centennial Hotel
• 10 Jan 2010 - Simon's 39th Birthday BBQ
• 4 Jan 2009 - Simon's 38th Birthday BBQ
PROS: Friends, good times, yummy food, presents
CONS: Time, money, lack of sleep
MUST TRY: Everything, especially making your own donut croquembouche
36 Pacific Oysters with fresh lemon ($13.90/dozen) from Christie's Seafood, Sydney Fish Market. Start time 1 pm, finish time 1.30 pm — you snooze you lose!
Pimm's cocktail with lemonade, ginger beer, cucumber and lemon
50 Aussie Stripy Saucy Sausage Sizzle with mustard, tomato sauce and onion
60 oven baked Cheese & Spinach Pastizzi and Vegetable Curry Pastizzi from Pastizzi Cafe in Newtown $12/frozen dozen
Eric's creative presentation of Hope's fried rice — rice never looked so good!
60 freshly baked donuts from DCM Yumnut Randwick, $1 each special
My Iced Donut Croquembouche Birthday Cake complete with sparklers
Various soft drink and fruit juices provided
Creative gift wrapping made from a magazine recipe page
SIMON FAVOURITE :-)
Food Highlights Card of 2009