My good friend, Judy, was turning 70 and she was not happy about it! Matter a fact, she was dreading it! So could I make it worse or better by having a surprise birthday luncheon for her? As you can see Judy above, I know I made it better.
I told her that I was going to take her to lunch at one of her favorite restaurants and had her come by the house first and then I would drive to the restaurant. I asked her to come in the house for a minute and when she did, all the ladies I had invited were in my living room shouted "surprise." I thought Judy was going to jump out of her skin! She had been so focused on the silly headband that I had on with big candles on it that spelled out Happy Birthday that she did not notice everyone. All she could think of was, "I hope Robin is not going to make me wear that stupid headband to lunch."
We all sat in the living room, sipping on a Spanish Cava (Segura Viudas Brut Reserva) and enjoyed some savory hors d oeuvres. The above is a new one; Belgium endive with Gorgonzola Dulce, roasted beets, candied walnuts and chopped chives.
I made the Pate a Choux the night before and I like to add finely grated lemon zest to the dough. Early in the week, I had made the Creme Fraiche so it would be perfect by Thursday. (I used this in two of my recipes) The little pasties have a few chopped chives in them, then the Creme Fraiche topped with a generous spoonful of caviar. Perfect with the Cava.
From the bottom left and going clockwise: Suzy, Toni, Liz, Barbara, Kathy, Judy and Nancy.
While the ladies were still visiting, I took the main course out of the oven, filled the water glasses and poured a lovely French Rose (Chateau Routas Coteaux Varios en Provence). I called the ladies into the dining room and we started with chilled avocado shots that I had topped with a sprinkling of spicy breadcrumbs. I had bought these little shot glasses from Guajuye, a great glass store in San Miguel de Allende that is owned my friend Guadalupe's mother. I can not tell you how many times I use them, I just love them.
Then I passed the main course. A cucumber salad that I served in one of my Orrefor bowls which weighs a ton.
It was the perfect accompaniment to the shrimp and vegetable spring phyllo rolls that I served with Hoisin sauce and Chinese mustard.
After dessert, Judy opened up all her wonderful gifts. There were more cards and gifts than guests, some ladies that could not make it were nice enough to drop off a gift or send a card in advance.
At the end of the party, everyone went home with my dessert recipe, a Raspberry Creme Fraiche Tart. Check tomorrow's post for the recipe, it is always a big hit.
I was right to have the surprise party for Judy. She said she has never felt so special and that it was the best birthday she had ever had. And she so impressed that they were ALL nice gifts, no gag gifts. Good friends, Good food and Good wine, what more could a girl ask for! Oh yes, presents too!