Popular Posts

10 August 2009

Mark's 30th Birthday Party

So, we recently celebrated Mark's 30th birthday. We entertained about 32 guests at our new house - and we had a ball!

I wanted to cater it myself (despite Mark urging me to arrange a caterer so that I would not have to worry about anything on the night). I decided to take the day before off work - and thank goodness I did. I will admit that this menu was a lot of work. I was very lucky to have some wonderful helpers, and despite being busy beforehand, I was very relaxed on the actual night, thanks again to my helpers and to being extremely prepared.

So, here was the menu...

Mini Caesar Salads
Mini Roasted Tomato and Bocconcini Salads with Pesto
Open Beef and Chorizo Pies
Mini Chicken Pies
Roasted Beef on Potato with Salsa Verde
Crumbed Chicken Strips
Sumac and Lemon Chicken Wings (see post from 22 March 2009)
Asian Beef Salad Boxes
Mini New York Style Cheesecakes
Mini Lemon Cupcakes scented with Cardamom

I have not posted the cupcake and cheesecake recipes - I searched www.taste.com.au to find the cheesecake mixture and for the lemon cupcakes I just used a basic cupcake recipe I found on www.taste.com.au and added a little cardamom and iced them with a lemon juice icing. It was a last minute decision to make them (originally I was going to buy a cake), but I am very glad that I did.

I was also going to have a chicken curry and rice box, but cut this as people were full and I could not be bothered.

In terms of timing, here is what I did in advance.

Week before
Make mini chicken pies and put them in the freezer.

Day before
Make pastry cases for salads and beef and chorizo pies
Roast tomatoes
Make aioli
Make pesto
Prepare mince and chorizo for pies
Make salsa verde

On the day
Make cheesecakes
Make cupcakes
Ice cupcakes
Roast beef and cut once cool
Make roast potatoes
Make asian salad dressing
Crumb chicken
Marinate chicken wings
Bake prosciutto
Make asian beef salad (but do not add beef or dressing)

On the night
Because all the above had already been prepared, on the night all we had to do was:
- fry chicken
- grate parmesan and put salads together just before serving
- cook chicken wings
- re-heat beef and chorizo pie filling and add hot to cases
- cook chicken pies
- put together potato and beef and top with salsa verde
- dress salads and put in boxes

It probably seems like a lot on the night, but it was really quite easy. I really did have some wonderful helpers.

Renee was with me pretty much all day Saturday. She helped ice the cakes, crumb the chicken, make the salads, clean up and then on the night she turned up not only as a guest, but she also brought her famous avocado and salsa dip and then helped again.

My mum was a wonderful help and one of the only people I trusted to fry the chicken, given she was the one who taught me to make it! Her and my sister Jess arrived early and were such a magnificent help with all the last minute preparations.

Rochelle also brought some dips (I wanted to have a few nibblies around for people to munch on) which was a fantastic help and very delicious, and helped on the night with the salads and many other things.

Sharon was also a wonderful help, along with Amber (if not for Amber I would have no photos), Shelley and Mark's mum Dianne.

So thank you to everyone who helped, I appreciate it immensely - your help enabled me to give Mark a really wonderful party, which is exactly what I wanted. But I definitely could not have done it alone!!

Asian Beef Salad Boxes

I really wanted to serve one of the dishes in some type of 'box'. A salad seemed like a good choice as it can be prepared in advance and no cooking is required. This salad was very simple and our guests seemed to enjoy it.

My quantities are not great for this, so I will just tell you what I included and you can include as little or as much of each as you like.

Beef cooked to medium and thinly sliced
Mixed greens (I used the 'Asian Salad Greens' mix you can buy in packets from the supermarket)
Spring onions
(If I had remembered, I would also have included toasted almonds)
Soy sauce
Lime juice
Caster sugar
Fish sauce


Combine beef, greens, tomatoes, cucumber and spring onions in a bowl. To make the dressing, mix fairly equal parts of soy sauce and lime juice, add a splash of fish sauce and a teaspoon or two of sugar. Combine well. Dress the salad just before serving.