Mum's Birthday Party Preparations: The night before...

7/13/2008 09:16:00 AM

Good morning everybody!

Today is the big day. And guess who's not having any alcohol at the party? ME! This morning I woke up with a headache and a wicked sore throat. No prizes for guessing why I'm run down. Although I will add that working in the semi-outdoors in what felt like gale-force winds didn't help. Anyway, I've started my day with honey, tea and panadol, and I will keep myself doped up throughout the day. Obviously, med + alcohol = not good for your health, so if I keep needing panadol throughout the day, there will be no alcohol tonight for me. BOOOO.

And I should quickly mention - we hired 2x18 champagne flutes, 2x18 wine glasses and 18 beer glasses. Dad's bought 12 bottles of champagne, 12 bottles of white, 6 bottles of red (plus extras from Dad's cellar), 1 of campari, 1 of plum wine, and lots of coke/OJ/soda water. I'm bringing out a bottle of Pimm's from my private collection, and I'll have to send my brother out to get cranberry juice to go with it.

Dad is polishing the glassware, we're about to have birthday noodles and I've got some pumpkin roasting in the oven now. Here are some photos from last night. My kitchen looks like an pastry kitchen. YAY!

Last night everything ran smoothly, except for a drama with the sewing machine. As you know, Mum's supposed to be sewing the table runner, and late last night we realised that we'd lent the sewing machine to my aunty months ago and hadn't gotten it back yet. ARGH!!!! Luckily though, our uncle managed to drop it off at our house.... but didn't realise that he hadn't brought the plug for the machine! (So important). So my aunty came around at 12:30am to drop it off. Phew. Crisis averted.

Ok, the cooking.

1 quiche with mushrooms and cheese, ready for the cream/egg mixture.
Kitchen at around 7pm...
Spice mix for pumpkin...

Sweet shortcrust pastry for raspberry/blueberry frangipane tartlets. A last-minute addition to the menu.
Easy to use, lovely to roll out.

Filling the tartlets... no blind baking required.

The kitchen at around 8pm...
Defrosted madeleines!
Risotto. Home delivered at around 8pm. I was not going to cook anything extra for myself. Let the good people at Benedetti's worry about that.
Baked raspberry frangipane tartlets, the first tray (of 3).

Baked quiches and some tartlets.

Inside a raspberry frangipane tartlet. This one was "tested" by my mum and dad!

Decorating supplies, plus the savoury gougeres.
Choux pastry for the croquembouche!!

Baked balls. I only got 70 out of the mixture, which is the perfect amount for 35 people. As you know, "we recommend 2 balls per person". Mum says "of course, lah, otherwise people walk lopsided!".
Anyway, I didn't think there would be enough balls to cover my cone, so I whipped up another 1/4 batch. The Roux Brothers' recipe says it makes 110 balls. I must have bigger balls than them.
Testing to see if they'll cover...

Leftover bit of Careme sweet shortcrust pastry. Cook's treat!

Pumpkin. Spiced, ready for roasting.

Excess pastry shells. Not enough frangipane to go around.

My kitchen at around midnight... (notice: boiled beans for a canape, gladwrapped madeleines, 3 quiches cooling, raspberry/blueberry frangipane tartlets cooling, choux balls + tower).

And now it begins again!

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  1. Holy moley. This is turning into a saga.
    As soon as it's all over, you'll have to hit the scotch and have a nice lie down!

  2. Sarah, you are doing a marvelous job... can't wait to see the end result... hope you get better soon too... you should book a nice spa at the end of all of this and pamper yourself!! Vida x

  3. The party has finally arrived.

    I like the massive marble counter you have to work on. Are you reading recipes from you computer as you bake? You wouldn't want to spill any cake batter onto the laptop. :-)

  4. Awesome, Sarah! You are amazing! I can't wait to see the party, pa’ party party pa’ party people!!!

  5. cant wait to hear how it went Sarah, you are very ambitious! I think the most people i have ever fed is 10

  6. You're so organised, it's amazing. Hope you were feeling well enough to enjoy the party and that you had plenty of volunteers to help with dishes... :)

  7. Hi everyone, thank-you!

    Vida - I think a spa sounds like a fabulous idea!

    Thanh - Yup, I usually have my laptop open on the kitchen counter as I cook. Although if I'm doing something messy like rolling out pastry, I'll cover the keyboard with a teatowel. You won't believe how festy keyboards can get!

    Laura - Hehe yup, my Dad, my bro and his girlfriend all did the dishes on the big night. I just slept!

    xox Sarah



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