I figure out that reaching my 35th birthday is a milestone that has to be celebrated. Thus, I had series of birthday celebrations. I like hosting intimate get-together so I can really interact with guests and pay more attention to them. For my birthday, I hosted different intimate parties for different groups of people.
A week before my birthday, I had simple comfort food for my pre-birthday celebration with my in-laws. I prepared Chicken Pastel and Sauteed Snap Peas with Bacon and Leche Flan for dessert. My in-laws gave me a Red Ribbon Mango Cake as my birthday cake.
On my natal day, I decided to have a Greek-themed lunch. Why Greek? I wanted something different. I haven't done it before and was curious how will it turn out to be. I'm a great fan of Cyma, so why not do something challenging for an extra special day, recreating the dishes that I love in Cyma. Whooopahhhh! Thanks to Food Magazine (October 2011) for providing the Greek recipes. My Greek-inspired fete had the following:
- Pita Bread with Tzatziki - a dip made of cucumber, yogurt and dill.
- Roka Salata or Greek Rocket Salad - composed of arugula and romaine leaves with candied walnuts and slivered sun-dried tomatoes drizzled with honey balsamic vinaigrette.
- Penne Rigatoni with Meatball Sauce (for the kids)
- Chicken Kebab with Garlic Sauce - chicken cubes marinated with herbs, spices and garlic sauce.
- Four-cheese pizza (for kids & adults too) - home-made thin-crust topped with special pizza sauce, parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella and swiss edam.
- Margherita Pizza - home-made thin-crust topped with special pizza sauce, cherry tomatoes and basil leaves.
- Moussaka - layers of eggplant, meat sauce and Greek Bechamel sauce.
- Baklava - layers of phyllo pastry, assorted ground nuts (walnuts, cashew & pistachio), cinnamon, sugar and melted butter.
- Lemon Cheesecake - cookie crust, cream cheese and cream topped with lemon glaze. This served as my birthday cake.
- Home-made Lime Iced Tea - brewed black tea with brown sugar syrup and lime juice.
I did not want to sweat it out on my birthday, so I did most or almost all of the prep work a day before my lunch party. I'm happy with the result. The Greek menu was a hit with my family and friends.
I had fun cooking and baking the food. Again, it was indeed a labor of love. I did it because I want to nurture my loved ones, and I have so much to be thankful for the past year.
At 35, I will try a new dish every week even if it's complicated. I will prepare more healthy and yummy food. Not just in cooking, I will conquer the fear of the unknown/unfamiliar territory. I will always try and give it my best shot.
Watch out for the Part 2 of the CELEBRATIONS