Mum's Birthday Party: The PARTY!

7/16/2008 02:15:00 PM

The finished croquembouche. After all the day's dramas, I was so proud and relieved to have completed it! I may have even done a little happy dance once it was safely on the table.

See all the little caramel threads? They actually built themselves as I was building the 'bouche - as I transferred my tongs from the pot of caramel to the cone and back again, and rotated the plate, the little threads of caramel would follow the trail. Cool, huh? After the whole 'bouche was finished, I added a few extra caramel threads - using a teaspoon to drizzle the caramel over the cone.

The Dessert Buffet

From left - raspberry/blueberry frangipane tartlets, the croquembouche, madeleines.


Cheese 'stars'. I had a few bowls of these dotted about the place.
Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts. I had 3 bowls of these in various places around the house.

I had planned on buying olives, but we ran out of time that day. I don't think anyone missed them though.

The Table

Pumpkin and Bocconcini Skewers - I'd over-roasted the pumpkin and it was quite soft (whoops), but we managed to get a decent number of skewers. Phew. The chillies ranged from mild to very, very hot.

Beans wrapped in prosciutto

Bread rolls ready for sausages.

Quiches ready for anyone who was still hungry.

The cheese platter. Clockwise from left hand side: cornichons, muscatels, Brazilian guava paste, Bergader BlouBayou Cheese (it's German!), Double Brie, Cheddar.

The cheese platter and quiches stayed on the table, whilst the skewers and beans were passed around.

We had oysters as well, but I didn't manage to get a photo of them. As the menu had stated, we were supposed to have cooked prawns, but when my bro went to pick them up, they were raw! Whoops. I didn't have any time to cook them, so I stashed them in the freezer, and we'll have them for a treat sometime this week.

Hot Foods

Gruyère Cheese Choux Puffs - I reheated these in a 180C oven for about 10 minutes and then passed them around.

Flammkuchen - bacon flavour. I made 2 bacon and 2 chicken, and these were surprisingly very popular! My cousin Jacob did a super-job of passing this around. Thanks Cuz!!!

Su's Gyoza... a-freakin'-mazing!
She started frying/steaming the gyoza as I was onto the second round of flammkuchen. Man, it was smoky in the kitchen! And it was also very crowded in the kitchen, so it was a bit of a challenge co-ordinating the pans and knives and boards and food amongst all the guests. But still fun.

By this stage, all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and and sleep; my throat was killing from yelling to talk to everyone over the hubbub. And because I was sick, food just wasn't looking appealing to me. I cooked 1.5 kg of beef chipolatas on the stove, but I seriously couldn't imagine anyone wanting to eat more. But they did! It seems that everybody loves sausages! (All meat-eaters, that is). They were wolfed down ravenously.


At about 9, we moved into the lounge-room for dessert! I should mention now that over the course of the evening, a couple of balls had fallen off the cone - we'd had a few candles nearby which I think were slowly melting the caramel. But we moved the candles out of the way and the other balls remained firmly stuck onto the cone. Phew!

Sparklers on the 'bouche. Shh... don't tell anyone, but one of the polyester flowers caught on fire! I just picked it up and my mum and I blew it out, hee-hee!

After singing happy birthday, we passed the balls around on napkins. I was surprised that so many people really liked them. Did you know that profiteroles are a super-popular dessert? I should totally add them to my dinner-party-dessert repertoire.

Chocolate ball!!!

Cone halfway through...

Aftermath in the kitchen...

So, the party was a lot of fun. I've never seen my house this crowded before! We made only a bit too much food, and bought way too much alcohol. We've got heaps of drinks leftover! My parents had a great time, and people seemed to stick around quite late, which I assume means they were all having fun. I think a couple of people were having a bit too much fun... but that's all part of the party atmosphere. (Yelling out at me, "Chef! Where's your wine glass?!?! Drink more!! Meet my son!") I should add here, that I was beaten by my lovely cousin Catherine, who had TWO fathers interested in introducing her to their sons. I suppose it's a hazard of attending inter-generational parties.

My bro was awesome DJ for the night, mixing up a great selection of R&B and chill-out songs, and pulling out the Stevie Wonder for cake time. Stevie rules!

A big thank-you to my parents for letting me take control of the kitchen, to Dad for paying for everything and setting things up beautifully, to Su for her awesome gyoza and incredible help, and to Dan for DJ'ing and transportation! And the biggest thank-you to Mum, for being the best mum in the whole wide world and looking so lovely on her special day.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  1. Well done! The final croquembouche looks amazing. Sounds like it was a really fun night.

  2. Anonymous3:45 PM

    Well done Sarah! Such a lot of thought and preparation, it's such a shame you were a bit under the weather! Rest up, now!

    You've inspired me to try making a mini profiterole tower or my very own for my birthday.

  3. Anonymous3:50 PM

    Well done Sarah!! You did such a great job with all the food. You would make any Mother proud!

  4. Sarah, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the addition of the red roses to the cake, the red table runner and your mum wearing red - red is my favourite colour and this was a feast for my eyes!!! You did an amazing job and now make sure you give my girls lots of pointers when it's my turn to be spoilt by wonderful daughters!!!! Vida x

  5. All the food looked fantastic. Great job, you deserve a rest now.

    The croquembouche was definitely the star for me. It looked fantastic. I have to try and assemble a croquembouche too now.

  6. How did you get the balls to stick to the tower? Did you use the caramel or was it just placed against the tower?

  7. The croquembouche looks BEAUTIFUL!! You have taken entertaining to a whole new level, chica. You are my hero for doing all that and managing to keep a cool head. Well done; everything looks absolutely delicious. Wish I could have tasted some of it.

    Happy birthday to your mom!

  8. Anonymous7:00 PM

    hey Sarah the croquembouche looks awesome and specially those caramel threads... the whole caramel thread effect has come out really well... and the preparation is all very well thought... great job!!

  9. Your mum is spoilt rotten. Good for her! You did an amazing job. Now you can set yourself up as a pro caterer and start planning more parties... and get paid for it!!

  10. Anonymous10:26 PM

    Awesome post, Sarah. But even more awesome party! Had heaps of fun and lurved the food... altho one problem. I only had one widdle slice of the flammkuchen :( Cos when the second round came out I was busy sitting in your entertainment room watching your dad play gee-tar! And when I came out all flammkuchen were all eaten uppen. I was very sad. :(

    BUT that means you'll just have to make more for me next time ;) HEE HEE.

    Apart from the flammkuchen and profiteroles, my fave the whole evening were your cheese 'stars'. Best Cookies/Bread things EVER.

    Thanks for inviting me and my family!!

  11. Oh, I'm welling up!
    Everything is beautiful, Sarah, especially the happy picture of you & your mum!!

  12. Aw, well done! Everything looks awesome. Very inspiring - I so want to throw a big ol' party now :)

  13. Amazing job, Sarah! Your croquembouche looks delicious and beautiful. Your mum must be so proud!

    Happy birthday to her!

  14. Sarah, you are amazing! :)

  15. Anonymous8:14 PM

    This is the birthday girl!

    Many many thanks Sarah, for this lovely 'bash'. You made it so special for me. I am so lucky and
    am so proud of you.

    love mum

  16. Ah, it all looks amazing! Well done.

  17. Thank-you, thank-you!

    No rest for the wicked, I'm afraid, as I started an accounting class the next day and am now busy with homework, classes and part time work. I can't wait to have a sleep in!

    Even though the party was over a week ago, there are heaps of beautiful flowers that mum got as presents all over the house. So pretty.

    Thanh - I used caramel to stick the balls to the tower, and to glue them together. Mainly stuck them to the tower though, to keep the shape right. I think there would have been less gaps if I'd just used the tower as a guide, and stuck the balls to each other with caramel, but I was in a rush that afternoon, lolll.

    xox Sarah

  18. Sarah, I know I'm a little late to the party but - wow! What a mammoth task you undertook. I don't know how you did it (well, I kind of do, what with the prep posts and the sickness, yada yada...) but you sure did it well. The croquembouche made a stunning centrepiece and must have tasted great.

  19. My goodness, you must have been cooking and baking for hours beforehand. What a gorgeous party you created. The food looks absolutely amazing. Your blog is quite inspiring.


  20. That was a lot of work too, your mom must have been so proud of you :-)

  21. Wow you're brilliant! Your croquembouche is the real deal!!! I find it so hard working with sugar/ toffee but yours, was amazing!! I Bet they taste just as good as it looks, if not better! LOL. Now I wish, I had follow your recipe!



My email address is sarahcooks [at] hotmail [dot] com.