Saturday, May 5, 2012

Forever 21: Reloaded

Lighter on the left hand and fire extinguisher on the right..

FF added another candle to his already well lit birthday cake and could not get any more grateful. He refused to worry about getting another year older but simply rejoiced at  the  gift of being well and healthy. Although he wants to celebrate such  occasion, he  is not your all out, sociable, belle of the ball kind of person. He likes things quite, intimate with very little  limelight thrown at his direction. His birthday celebration is a reflection to that. He wants his birthday to be celebrated among close family members, joined over cozy lunch or dinner with home cooked meals  and still wants to keep it that way. This year was not different. The birthday lunch was attended by his family ( mine's across the sea) of 11 adults and 4 kids and although mood was non boisterous, it was a merry. Free flow of wine  has its effect. It lightens mood and makes people quick to laughter...among other things. At least that's how it was that day. I prepared a three course meal, all at the request of the birthday boy. He was excited and a bit stressed out by the mess after the party and said he's happy he only have to do it once a year. Hah men! ( Rolls eyeballs)

Starter: Sweet Potato and Fish Chowder
 Birthday lunch started off with this light bit wonderfully flavored soup. I got a lot of compliments after serving this. I know it is ethical to pay compliments to the host/cook but I did notice how our guests savored and enjoyed this starters so when they said it was good, I  believed  . A numerous request for  seconds vanquish whatever doubt I have in mind.

The main dish

The main dish although almost devoid of meat was nevertheless  filling. I cooked Risotto Ala Milanese with baked Salmon fillets, bacon wrapped green beans and served it with Saffron Bechamel sauce. Plates were returned to the kitchen, empty. No better compliment to a cook could top that.

Bacon wrapped green beans with balsamic-orange sauce.

What surprised me in this meal was this bacon wrapped beans and how it went wonderfully well with the fish and the risotto. Preparing it was a brisk. After cutting the tips off, beans were blanched uncovered for about 7 minutes and the plunged into a bowl of ice cold water. Then I  wrapped a bundle of it in bacon then sear it in a bit of butter, seams down until bacon softens. I then baked it in the oven until bacon crisps, about 15 mins  at 200°c and drizzle sauce over it. For the sauce, I heat a  tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, then sauteed finely chopped garlic ( 3 cloves), added 3 tablespoon of brown sugar. Stir until sugar dissolved, stir in 3 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and juice of 1 orange. Season with a bit of salt and pepper to taste.  Sauce was delicious, tangy and sweet.

Dessert was pretty straight forward but was  still a hit. Nothing beats  warm on cold sweets. Our guest was aaahing and ooohing between mouthfuls of homemade warm decadent brownie and vanilla ice cream. A drizzle of chocolate sauce and wedges of fresh strawberries just added a fruity note to this end of the meal delight. FF proudly claimed that even the vanilla ice cream was homemade and a series of compliment echoes at the  table. An uncle who obviously had enough wine blurts out, why all the hassle when there's enough ice cream for sale at the groceries?! Labors of love, that how I called such hassles and it was worth it, I replied smiling. He rest his case and asked for another scope. (^_^). Happy birthday FF can't wait for next year!

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