Thursday, November 09, 2006

Let The Party Begin!

Tomorrow, 11th of the 11th is my birthday! I was even born shortly after the 11th hour! Maybe that's a give-away to who I am! I won't delve too deeply into that one!

I'm throwing myself a surprise luncheon party! I haven't told myself yet! I've invited a few friends over to share my celebration! Today, I'm in the midst of preparation. The aroma of food cooking is permeating my cabin. My taste buds are being tempted and tested! While I'm having a breather from cooking, and before I start making a rich chocolate cake, and seeing it's almost the weekend, I'll share some more recipes with you. I hope you enjoy these.

Devilled Beef Ribs: Preheat oven to 220C. Cut 2 racks of pre-roasted beef ribs into serving portions. Combine 2/3rd cup English mustard with 2 teaspoons brown sugar. Using a brush, generously coat each rib with mixture. Roll in breadcrumbs to coat thoroughly. Arrange ribs rounded side up on 2 pans and bake for 30-40 minutes or until nicely browned. When pre-roasting ribs...combine 2/3 cup flour, 2 large garlic cloves, crushed, 1 tablespoon paprika, salt and pepper. Rub uncut beef ribs with flour mixture. Place on rack in roasting pan, rounded side up and bake for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Calamari & Prawn Salad: Blanch 500g small calamari, sliced into rings, briefly in salted boiling water. Drain and cool under cold running water. Drain again and toss in a bowl with 500g medium-size cooked prawns/shrimp, shelled, leaving tails on. Add 1 large red onion, thinly sliced, 1 red capsicum, julienned, 1 Lebanese/telegraph cucumber, peeled and julienned, 1 small bunch snake beans, cut into 10cm lengths (beans par-boiled for 2 minutes). Shake juice of 1 lemon and 1 teaspoon julienned rind, 1/2 cup virgin olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon crushed green peppercorns in a glass jar. Pour over seafood mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Make a vignaigrette with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 teaspoons white wine vinegar, 1/3 teaspoon finely chopped lemon thyme, 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley and mix together well. Whisk in 1/4 cup virgin olive oil in a steady stream. Season to taste. Toss some rocket and radicchio leaves with vinaigrette and arrange on platter. Mound seafood mixture in centre and garnish with fanned radishes and slices of avocado.

Cherry Pie: Make pastry: Sift 2 cups plain flour and 1 teaspoon cinnamon into a bowl. Mix in 1/2 cup caster sugar and 125g ground almonds. Rub in 185g butter until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. (Always remember...use the tips of your fingers when rubbing in the butter...never the palm of your hands as the heat from your palms will make the pastry tough). Lightly work in 1 large beaten egg. Use a flat-bladed knife to do this. Roll out 2/3rds of the dough between freezer wrap and then line a lightly buttered base and sides of a deep 4-cup pie dish. Cover and refrigerate. Roll remaining pastry into a rectangle, cover and chill. Filling: Place 875g fresh cherries, stones removed, 1/3 cup caster sugar, 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Blend 2 tablespoons kirsch with 1 tablespoon cornflour together, stir into cherries and boil 1 minute. Cool completely. Brush inside of pastry shell with beaten egg white and allow to dry. Pour cherry filling into the shell and cover with pastry strips in a lattice pattern, sealing the ends to the sides with a little egg white. Bake at 200C for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 180C and continue baking for a further 40 minutes, covering the top with foil if browning too much. Serve pie hot, with lightly whipped cream.

Enjoy your weekend everyone. I'll let you know how everything turns out tomorrow! On with the motley and pop go the corks!


  1. verwy quiiite with comments, don't spoil the surprise..

  2. shhhhhhhh...okay, gtotracker...I won't tell me! ;)

  3. Happy Birthday Lee (my fellow Scorpio) and an easy one to remember as it is Remeberence Day. I'll be off to the cenotaph with my medals and good gear on to have a quite prayer. I hope you have a great day and the food looks fab :)

  4. Thanks for your wishes, scorpy. I've just about got everything under control. I like to be organised well-ahead of the game. Only a few things to finish off in the morning, plus set the table and that kind of stuff...and then it will be open slather! ;)

    I didn't know you had served, scorpy. I'll be putting a sprig or two of rosemary about...I don't have any poppies.

    My rosemary bush will relish the pruning. I used a lot off it today prepping one of the dishes I'll be serving. The bush won't even's massive and very healthy.

  5. Anonymous11:31 PM

    Hi Lee

    I've just been reading through your posts - entertaining and insightful as usual.

    As for political correctness - don't get me going on this! I think there are too many idiots out there with too much time on their hands.

    As for the Christmas thing - why shouldn't we celebrate, have Christmas cards and whatever the same as we usually do? Who the hell are these other people to dictate and push their ways onto us? Too right, when in Rome...

    I'm not a particularly religious person but I was brought up an RC and, although I do not go to Mass, Midnight Mass was and still is a very beautiful service to me. It denotes what we should all be practicing - PEACE not war!!

    Anyway, I have very strong feelings on the whole thing (you may have guessed), but I won't harangue you any longer.

    I shall comment tomorrow and I hope you enjoy your surprise birthday party - oops! I hope you didn't hear that!.

  6. Lee, I did my 20 years service and then left, reluctantly, at 20 plus one day...I miss it still:( The comaraderie and mateship.
    Here is a post I did in April when I was remembering my past

  7. Hiya Robyn! Thanks for your usual, you always bring a smile to my face. :)

    What surprise? Surprise! Naaaa! I definitely didn't 'hear' that! ;)

  8. Scorpy...I can understand your missing of your mates, the camaraderie...the bond is special. Things that you go through that no matter how you explain it, others who've not experienced it with you, really can't understand.

    The Pioneer crew came over to Hinchinbrook Island after Cyclone Winifred went through to clear up the debris etc.,...they were a marvellous group of fellows and I don't know what I would have done without their help. Their head guy arrived by helicopter and I thought he was never going to stop disembarking from the 'copter! He was about 6'7" and a lovely guy. I nicknamed him "Major Major Major'...from 'Catch 22'. I was kind of sad when the time came to say goodbye to them all.

    Good for you, scorpy. You should be proud of yourself. :)

  9. Happy Birthday! Mines the 20th - fellow scorpios we be. :-)

  10. And a good lot we be too, Robbie! ;)

    Thanks for your good where did I put that glass? ;)

  11. Anonymous1:23 PM

    Happy birthday to you
    Happy birthday to you
    Happy birthday dear Lee
    Haaaaapy birthday tooooo yoooou!

    Have a wonderful day Lee and enjoy your party tonight. I will be there in spirit and shall drink to your health!

    Big hug for today.

  12. Thank you, Robyn...all roads lead to my dinner table! ;) I'm set and ready to party! :)

  13. Peter sent me over to read your post on Christmas. To you I say Merry CHRISTMAS!!!!
    Great stuff Lee.

  14. Thank you Cliff...nice to meet you. :)
    I'm pleased you enjoyed my post.

  15. Anonymous5:02 PM

    Happy Birthday Lee.

  16. Hi,


    All that food is making me hungry!


  17. P.S. Happy birthday!

  18. Oh sure...NOW I find out it's your birthday!!!! lol It's still Friday the 10th here but it must be almost the end of the 11th over there?? Anyway I do hope you had a very Happy Birthday and that you were very "surprised" at your surprise birthday party!! hehe Happy Birthday dear Lee xox

  19. Damn! Missed it!

    Happy birthday!

  20. aah Lee, that food even SOUNDS tempting, thank.

    and of course, HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!

  21. Peter, Pea, Janice, Cliff, Lee and Della...thank you so very much for your good wishes! :)

    It is now 12.36am 12th party commenced at 11am! And I'm still standing...well, last guest left at 12.20am...not a bad innings...I hope the Aussies do as well in the Ashes! ;)

    I have had a great of the best! And I'm feeling very happy...should I have a wine, do you think? ;)

    Or should I have a Chivas? I have a very nice bottle here all dressed up in its special box! ;)