Birthday 20165/12/2016 11:04:00 PM
Well, it was my birthday two weeks ago, and I have done some serious celebrating! It wasn't quite as epic as last year's Sarah's Birth Month, or the #sarahturnsthirty shennanigans of the previous year, but there was still a lot of foodie fun! As per usual, I like to do a series of small celebrations rather than one big party so that I can catch up with my friends properly. Let's take a look!
First up was my annual birthday slumber party - a group of girlfriends having a relaxed night in, with lots of drinks and food! It was a bit luxe compared to previous years - with real Champagne, and so many fabulous deli goodies like cheeses, pickled octopus, Spanish jamon, fresh oysters and more!
I also made salmon gravlax and a huge batch of pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese breads). Woohoo!
In terms of sweets, I made a batch each of Joy the Baker's browned butter white chocolate macadamia cookies and her milk chocolate cookies and cream cookies...
... and my birthday cake was Nigella's magnificent chocolate and raspberry pavlova. So delicious.
|Chocolate raspberry pavlova|
Some of my friends brought sweets as well, and the next morning my choices for breakfast looked like this!
|Breakfast: Cannoli, Chocolate raspberry pavlova, Cake pops, cookies|
PS my friend Alaina brought cannoli from T Cavallaro and Sons (the ricotta cannoli, especially, were amazing!), and my friend Jenni made ridic delicious cake pops in the shape of little sausage dogs. Cute!
The day after the slumber party, we caught up with some friends for a dumpling feast at Din Tai Fung (Level 4 Emporium, 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000). I've been a couple of times since my first visit, and have always enjoyed it. In addition to the famous xiao long bao, I really like the chilli fried chicken and the fried rice!
|Din Tai Fung|
|Din Tai Fung|
And afterwards, we grabbed a sweet treat at the Milkcow pop-up (The Strand, Driver Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000). These guys serve organic soft serve with fun toppings like crunchy caramel popcorn, macarons, fairy floss and more. I've visited twice since they opened and really like the rich creamy soft serve. (I even like it just plain, without toppings!)
|Left: Milk-a-ron - French macaron with toasted organic coconut chips|
Right: Black Pearl - cocoa-dusted scorched almonds w salted caramel syrup, a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel artisan sea salt
|Front: Burnt caramel, fennel & sea salt raised donut|
Back: Pistachio & spiced orange
For lunch, as usual, I redeemed my free Nando's birthday meal.
And for dinner that night! Drinks and dinner with some of my besties at House of Crabs (Basement, 34 Inkerman St, St Kilda VIC 3182). Cocktails! Sizzler cheese bread! Lobster fries! And a 500 gram serving of snow crab all to myself. Muahaha! I liked it just as much on this regular visit as I did on my previous (freebie) visit. Yay!
|House of Crabs|
Our group of six really demolished all that food...
After dinner, we retired upstairs to the Newmarket Hotel (34 Inkerman St, St Kilda VIC 3000) for more drinks - wine and sangria for my fabulous friends; a nice cup of tea for Sandra and I. We also shared one of the best desserts I've had in ages - the Weis gianduja chocolate cazuela. This was a huge dessert baked in an earthenware dish (or cazuela), which was kind of a cross between cake, pudding and cookie (!), with big chunks of melty chocolate, some pear, salted caramel sauce and ice-cream. So good!
|Weis Gianduja Chocolate Cazuela - Salted caramel, hazelnut praline & vanilla ice cream - $29|
The next day, my real birthday, was reasonably quiet. Sandra and I started with brunch at the always-reliable Elceed (610 Queensberry St, North Melbourne VIC 3051), where I really enjoyed the crispy crispy bacon in their BLAT.
Then we walked down the street to my favourite cafe, Beatrix (688 Queensberry St, North Melbourne VIC 3051), for a frankly ludicrous amount of cake.
|Front: Milk chocolate mousse tart with passionfruit poached pears in a macadamia crumb crust|
Back: Brûléed lime tart
The brûléed lime tart was just as good as you'd expect, but the milk chocolate mousse tart was really incredible! The milk chocolate mousse filling was softly set, with the richness of the chocolate balanced out by the poached pears. And the macadamia crumb crust was very crumbly and crisp - perfection. Nat said she just came up with this combo because she had extra passionfruit and extra macadamias. Amazing!
|In the box: Glim Glam (cocoa biscuit, chocolate cream filling, dipped in dark chocolate and topped with gold leaf), Lemon ricotta sponge roll with raspberries, Cocoa sour cream layer cake with fresh raspberries and chocolate cheesecake buttercream|
You'll see we bought some extra cakes to bring home - these were all ones I've been obsessing over after seeing them on Nat's Instagram feed! The glim-glam, the lemon ricotta sponge roll with raspberries, the cocoa sour cream layer cake with fresh raspberries and chocolate cheesecake butter cream. (Man, the name of that last one just keeps getting better!) I wasn't hungry enough to eat the takeaway cakes on the same day, but they made an excellent breakfast the next day. (And dinner too, whoops).
I was also really lucky to get some super-cool gifts from Sandra - gorgeous flowers, a cute helium-filled balloon (which, two weeks later is somehow still floating like it's brand new), a Kindle, the Too Faced limited edition "Peanut Butter and Jelly" eyeshadow palette (squee!) and some vintage Women's Weekly cookbooks! I am so excited to bake from those.
And dinner on my real birthday was with my parents at Vaporetto (Rear 681 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn 3122). You may remember I went to the Vaporetto bar back in March, and had really been looking forward to the opening of their eatery! I must admit that we found the service a little patchy, but it was only their first weekend, and the place was packed. I'm pleased to say that the food and drinks were uniformly excellent. Looking forward to going back again!
|Cocktails at Vaporetto|
Dem chips. Those tiger prawns. Wow.
There were a couple of post-birthday birthday treats too. My boss and a colleague of mine each surprised me with a cupcake from Cupcake Central! One was the classic red velvet, and the other was the very delicious dulce de leche. Such treats!
|Dulce de Leche cupcake|
And finally (yes, we're getting there), my buddy Adam shouted me dumplings at China Red (Shop 6, 206 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000). We were hoping to do Tim Ho Wan, but the lines were still really long. Soon, soon! China Red made a more than satisfying treat of a lunch!
|Dumplings at China Red|
And that was my birthday! So much fun! Yay! I feel very lucky to have such wonderful friends and family in my life!