I didn't feel like leaving our house on Friday night, and didn't want to pay for a babysitter.
So instead to celebrate my birthday I opted to host a dinner. It was billed as 'intimate' but the term reflected the cosy nature of the seating arrangements, rather than the modest number of guests.
We squeezed 16 people around two dining tables pushed together in the middle of our living room.
I had never served a sit-down six-course dinner for 16. And let's just say I ah, felt like I was on Master Chef when I was plating up the polenta mushroom pie and a couple of helpful friends spurred me on with reminders that I couldn't really spare the time to fuss about how the pie was sitting on the plate.
|Me looking like I've just cooked for 16|
|Get that pie plated up...|
One thing I avoid when cooking for a group is experimenting with new recipes. So each course was tried and tested and has already been published on these pages. However, the mushroom polenta pie was so buried here that by the time I found it I realised no readers ever would have.
And after the response last night I think this particular pie deserves a re-print. Quote from my dear friend Emily Besser: "I don't think people would realise how good it would taste from looking at the recipe and pics." So take the plunge. Check out 'Perfect' Mushroom Polenta Pie and see pics below of the process.
|Dalia follows my pedantic pie-assemble directions|
|Tofu Pecan Rolls awaiting the oven|
|Tips for assembling tofu pecan rolls|
|Looks just like a sausage roll...|
I made a double batch of the popular Tofu Pecan 'Magic'' Rolls on Thursday night, along with two large pots of Brazilian Black Bean Soup with Red Pepper and Lime.
|Brazilian Black Bean Soup|
|Dalia the fabulous sous chef|
|Garnishes for the black bean soup - don't forget sour cream|
So on my birthday all I had to whip up were two mushroom polenta pies and a couple of spinach and rocket salads. Desert and birthday cake were taken care of by two very dear friends - Emily (tiramsu) and Miream (double chocolate layer cake).
|Emily Besser's delicious Tiramsu|
|Miream's impressive, rich chocolate cake|
|My friends are very good wrappers|
Dalia was my invaluable sous chef on Friday, diligently cranking up the kitchen at 2pm and being a fabulous friend to Billie when she woke up. Jodie made the table look lovely, and read Billie not one, but three bedtime stories.
Thank you to my beautiful friends for making it a very special evening.
|The Morning After: Billie and I show Dalia our local beach|
|Billie contemplates the large swell at Bronte|