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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Breakfast by the sea

Birthday brunch:
ricotta and blueberry hot cakes with walnut butter and maple syrup

I had a wonderful birthday.

On Saturday, as I entered a new age bracket forevermore, I was looking forward to breakfast with friends and then a relaxed wander through the Sculptures by the Sea. There was a short errand that Veruca had to attend to first, and as we popped into a Coogee cafe I spied my sister [a serendiptous coincedence, I thought], then a friend [why have they met without me?] and then the penny dropped. I'd been duped!

A surprise brunch party with 22 of my dearest friends and family. And I had had no idea about any of it. It was a most touching surprise (apparently my changing facial expressions were hilariously entertaining to watch), culminating in one of those twee Hallmark moments when you realise how lucky you really are.

Birthday flowers from Veruca and A

There was cake, there were presents, brunch of course, and lots of catching up to do; some with friends I hadn't seen for years. And throughout the day of course, I was constantly replaying conversations in my head, remembering isolated incidents and piecing together the whole jigsaw of how I'd been so oblivious to everything. There were so many clues and I missed them all! :)

Moules marinieres

Dinner that night was with a small group of friends and family, a homecooked seafood feast of mussels marinieres (cooked in white wine and garlic) and spaghetti with pippies and prawns.

Spaghetti with pippies and prawns

For dessert we broke out the giant box of pishmaniye that I'd purchased in Auburn some weeks before. Soft, fluffy and light, and highly addictive too!

Persian fairy floss
Turkish pishmaniye, similar to pashmak or Persian fairy floss

Presents galore but the most exciting were the cookbooks that were given in addition to a gift as an afterthought, rescued from the shelves of C's kitchen "because I don't have any use for them anymore and I thought you might be interested."


Culinary jackpot indeed! The Gourmet's Basic French Cookbook was originally published in 1961, and compiled from the notebooks, records and mementoes of Louis Diat, the famous executive chef of the glamorous Ritz-Carlton in New York City. Diat worked as the head chef during the Ritz-Carlton's entire 40-year tenure on Madison Avenue from 1911-1951.

gourmets basic french cookbook

Beignets and escargots

The other donated cookbook was Cookery in Colour by The Australian Women's Weekly.

cookery in colour
Cooking in Colour

Hours of entertainment here, and I love the Diet Chart at the back that says:

"To maintain ideal weight a typist needs about 1900 calories daily, a housewife from 2,000-2700, bus conductress or laundress, 2500-3000, and shop assistant 2,000."

pressure cooking
Pressure cooking

meat dishes
Quickly prepared meat dishes

I love the paper frills on the crumbed corned beef cutlets!

Birthday cake from Mezzapica Cakes, Leichhardt

I couldn't have asked for a better birthday. Thanks to my wonderful sister for organising such a brilliant surprise, all my friends and family for sharing it with me, and everyone online (that's YOU!) for your lovely comments and wishes.
10 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 11/19/2006 11:58:00 pm


  • At 11/20/2006 12:29 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Happy happy birthday! Tam just rang in 29 by eating his weight in pate. Moules marinieres sounds like a healthier way to go.

  • At 11/20/2006 8:29 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Happy Birthday! and thank you for the fantastic blog.

  • At 11/20/2006 8:39 am, Blogger PiCkLeS said…

    how lovely!! you have great bunch of friends and sister! I hope my sister reads this comment *hint* *hint* Sophia =P

  • At 11/20/2006 5:47 pm, Blogger Ed said…

    Happy birthday, slightly late.

  • At 11/20/2006 9:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY Helen, what a lovely surprise!

  • At 11/21/2006 12:07 am, Blogger ilingc said…

    Happy Birthday Helen

    Cheers! :)

  • At 11/21/2006 2:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    happy (belated) birthday AG !!! looks as though you had a wonderful day... cheers !! :P

  • At 11/21/2006 6:45 am, Blogger Yvo Sin said…

    So sorry I missed this (the post about your birthday)! Happy belated birthday and sounds like an amazing day of fun and great food. Of course, none of that matters as much as great friends/family and conversation, eh? :) all the best and many more!

  • At 11/21/2006 1:33 pm, Blogger neil said…

    Another belated Melbourne birthday greeting - I blame daylight saving. Sounds like you all had a great time. And no, changing age brackets is not like changing tax brackets, I reckon the higher you get the more interesting you are!

  • At 11/21/2006 3:59 pm, Blogger Su-Yin -Décorateur said…

    Happy Belated brithday HElen!! Great to hear about your splendid celebration! Love your work..your artistic photographs and amazing list of sydney-eats! Keep them coming! Great stuff!


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