12 January 2010

Simon's 39th Hawaiian Birthday BBQ: Iced Donut Croquembouche (10 Jan 2010)

Iced Donut Croquembouche

There are basically two main food events on my calendar year. One is the Good Food Month in October now called the Sydney International Food Festival and the other is my birthday which for many years has been a casual BBQ with a Hawaiian theme (got to use my Hawaiian shirt for something) at my gracious brothers place which has a nice balcony view.

Each year I promise myself to keep things simpler than the year before but it never quite eventuated except for this year where I finally felt I managed to keep to my promise somewhat so I could spend less time prepping, cooking and serving and more time catching up with my guests and not feel so tired from all the lead up preparation in advance. To achieve this I kept the menu as simple as possible, to what my high expectations would allow :-), and concentrated on less but more substantial sized finger food and focused more on the BBQ rather than cold canap├ęs — since it is a BBQ event.

Early guests were treated to Pacific Oysters with fresh lemon and a Pimm's Cocktail with lemonade, ginger beer, cucumber and lemon which I was inspired by at Sarina and Jordan's Wedding Reception — I'm always looking out for good food and drink ideas throughout the year for my birthday. The usual nibbles of Chips, Stuffed Olives, Dips, Carrot & Celery Sticks, Dolmades, Cheese and Crackers were on offer while the main finger food was:
• Aussie Stripy Saucy Sausage Sizzle
• BBQ Vegetarian and Haloumi Skewers
• BBQ Garlic Prawn Skewers
• Lemon & Rosemary Lamb Cutlets with Homemade Tsatsiki
• Cheese & Spinach Pastizzi and Vegetable Curry Pastizzi
and finally my own version of a Croquembouche made from Iced Donuts as my Birthday Cake topped with sparklers followed by Mini Ice Cream Cones. I like cakes and desserts for my birthday which are actually constructed from smaller bite sized desserts so there's no need for cutting, plates or cutlery. As a small parting gift everyone received my pocket sized concertina folded card of my 2009 Food Highlights.

A big thank you to my brother for doing all the BBQ cooking on such a hot day and providing his lovely home as a venue yet again and for my friends that helped serve the food and clean up the place — it was a huge help and very much appreciated. A special thank you to Chef Loz who tirelessly helped with all the food shopping, food preparation, making my food highlights card and buying the 60 donuts for my cake — your generosity and patience is amazing! This year I can honestly say I thankfully found more time to relax once all the food was cooked and served. Thank you also for all the wonderful and generous gifts which I look forward to drinking, eating and using — I'm truly overwhelmed. I would have loved to invite all my fellow food bloggers but unfortunately space was very limited this year in making sure I could squeeze in 60 guests including 4 kids and one baby. I'm already thinking of my next birthday which is the big '40' and I think I'll try to take it even easier on myself and perhaps get someone else to look after all the catering at a venue so I can relax for the entire time — I promise!

Other birthdays for Simon:
15 Jan 2012 - Simon's 41st Birthday - Coach and Horses Hotel
8 Jan 2011 - Simon's 40th Birthday - Centennial Hotel
10 Jan 2010 - Simon's 39th Birthday BBQ
4 Jan 2009 - Simon's 38th Birthday BBQ

PROS: Friends, good times, yummy food, presents
CONS: Time, money, lack of sleep
MUST TRY: Everything, especially making your own donut croquembouche

Let's get cooking — Chop Chop!

36 Pacific Oysters with fresh lemon ($13.90/dozen) from Christie's Seafood, Sydney Fish Market. Start time 1 pm, finish time 1.30 pm — you snooze you lose!

Pimm's cocktail with lemonade, ginger beer, cucumber and lemon

Chips, Stuffed Olives, Dips, Carrot & Celery Sticks, Dolmades, Cheese and Crackers

50 Aussie Stripy Saucy Sausage Sizzle with mustard, tomato sauce and onion

48 BBQ Vegetarian Skewers of Haloumi, mushroom and capsicum with pesto

60 BBQ Garlic Prawn Skewers

51 Lemon & Rosemary marinated Lamb Cutlets with Homemade Tsatsiki, Signature dish by Chef Leong :-)

60 oven baked Cheese & Spinach Pastizzi and Vegetable Curry Pastizzi from Pastizzi Cafe in Newtown $12/frozen dozen

Eric's creative presentation of Hope's fried rice — rice never looked so good!

60 freshly baked donuts from DCM Yumnut Randwick, $1 each special

My Iced Donut Croquembouche Birthday Cake complete with sparklers

48 Aldi Belantis Ice Creams: Chocolate, Hazelnut, Strawberry and Vanilla $3.99 per 8 pack

Various soft drink and fruit juices provided

Aldi fruit juice $1.89/2L — actually tastes OK and is really cheap.

Last drinks: Tanqueray Gin & Tonic with fresh lime — thanks Nigel!

Creative gift wrapping made from a magazine recipe page

Full house


joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

I love that you listed receiving presents as a 'Pro'! LOL.

Ever since I had a bad encounter with doughnuts in my first ever trip to the US decades ago, I cannot look at a doughnut in the eye. That croquembouche looks amazing, if it wasn't for the doughnuts! :-)

Happy birthday again!

Shanks said...

I remember the first time I found your blog was reading your 38th birthday. Awesome spread of food - Yum!! Happy Birthday!!

Rilsta @ My Food Trail said...

Happy birthday! You still look like you're 29! :)

Looks like you had a fantastic day with all that food! The iced donut cake looks awesome!

john@heneedsfood said...

What a great looking spread.
Happy Birthday old man! I'll be celebrating my 40th next year in Santorini!

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

Happy birthday Simon, Looks like another fantastic year with girls in grass skirts and plenty of food!!

isyaantonius said...

Wow...what a b'day celebrations...would love to be part of your 40th *nudge2 wink2* with all that yummy looking food ... amazing ... Happy B'day again..

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Simon!! Love the fried rice. I haven't never seen such beautiful presentation. Lots of yummy food, you had a great day!

OohLookBel said...

Hope you had a fabulous birthday, Simon! Your party food looks wonderful, especially with the Hawaiian shirt :)

Simon Leong said...

hi joey, sorry to hear about your bad donut encounter. i knew a person who ate 2 dozen krispy kreme donuts in one weekend and could never eat them again. thanks for the birthday wishes

hi shanks, thanks for following my blog and hopefully you’ll still be checking it for the big 40 :-)

hi Rilsta, thanks for the birthday wishes. your too kind about my age :-) was a great day and i was really worried the iced donut were going to melt on me but thankfully had them in a cool room and they didn’t last long once they came out

hi john, sounds like a great way to celebrate your 40th, hope it’s a great one!

hi Maria, doesn’t get better than grass skirts and good food hehe thanks for the birthday wishes :-)

hi isyaantonius, i’ll hopefully be able to invite food bloggers to the next one if it’s in a bigger venue so keep following this space and remember to invite me along to yours :-) do you have a blog to follow?

hi Ellie, it’s pretty cool isn’t it. my friend eric is amazing with what you can do with presentation. fried rice has never looked so appetising :-)

hi Belle, was a great day. hawaiian brings out the best in people and colour i think. always a good background for photos too, makes people happier and more relaxed i think :-)

YaYa said...

I love reading the stats on your birthday blog - mindblowing! And no way you're 39 unless there's an aging portrait in your attic, hehe!

Simon Leong said...

hi yaya, oh yeah, i forgot about the aging portrait in the attic, but that's a secret just between you and me ok ;-)

Johan Donald said...

Happy B'day to you..Lots of yummy food, you had a great day!!!
Sydney Harbour attractions

SoRMuiJAi said...

Happy Birthday! You certainly know how to throw a great party! Must remember to bookmark and copy! hehe

Simon Leong said...

hi Johan, thanks for the birthday wishes :-)

hi SoRMuiJAi, everyone has got to have a donut cake once in their life ;-)

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