Birthday Banquet: 8 Courses and Counting

It’s Big Sis’s birthday in May and I’m delighted to once again be in charge of planning a celebration for her.

Last year I created my very first ever dessert table for her, which was great fun to do and went down a storm with the family.  This year, determined to do something completely different, I’ve committed myself to creating and cooking an 8 course meal, with paired drinks.  When I told Chef J what I was planning, he started laughing and asked if I was drunk when I’d decided to do this.  The answer to this is no.  But I might have got myself into one of those slightly showy-off moods that certain company can trigger 😉

It’ll be fine.  It’s not like I’ll be doing it completely single handed – Petit Man and Medieval will be assisting with cooking, and Baby Bro, who knows about such things, will be putting together the drinks list for us.  I’m telling you, it’s gonna be totally do-able.  No, better than that – it’s going to be carried off with style, flair and aplomb.  And the kitchen will not devolve into a scene of devastation.  I’m far more excited than I am nervous.

In planning the menu I have, however, been careful to not go too overboard in the Estimation of Personal Ability department; dishes have been chosen and planned so that they can, on the whole, be prepared in advance and will  only need to be ‘finished off’ (assembled/heated/final stage cooked) on the day.

The menu is not completely fixed, and accompaniments, garnishes, finishing touches etc. are still being contemplated.  However, as things stands, this is what is being planned:


Amuse Bouche

Dried plums soaked in Armagnac, stuffed with pâté of duck breast


Fire roasted tomato bisque


Savoury profiterole filled with twisted Waldorf salad (dressing on the side)


Mushroom ravioli with white truffle butter sauce




Hot smoked salmon en croute in dill pastry

Served with (veg!)


(Not yet decided)


Mulled wine


1 x soft, 1 x hard and 1 x blue

Served with crackers, celery, grapes & nuts


Dark chocolate cups filled with fresh raspberry jelly

and chocolate crème, topped with Chambord cream




Mini macarons

Tiny fondant fancies

Fresh raspberry coconut ice

Chocolate Armagnac truffles

The ‘theme’ for invitations, table dressing etc. will be black, white and silver…the aim is for  cool elegance…you know, the kind of ambience that makes your posture a little better, and your voice a little more refined, but not so much so that you become stiff, uncomfortable and awkward!

As I said, very excited about doing this…it should be a great night.


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