Yet Another Birthday

It was my sister-in-law's 60th birthday while we were away on our short holiday (an experience that I am yet to muster up enough courage to write about)  and both my niece and step daughter had planned a surprise party for her in time for when we returned. I agreed to do some of the baking, mainly the dessert part and also a birthday cake. I had written down a watertight schedule as to what needed to be done at what day when I got back and was sure that it would be failproof.

Except that when I got back on Wednesday evening, the designated night to make the peanut sauce, I was absolutely shattered. The most I could do was crawl into bed and silently sing some puja to the bed Goddess. In my head, I was calculating the days I had left (party was to be on Saturday and this was Wednesday evening).

So I had 2 days to make peanut sauce, 3 lemon meringue pies, 4 salted butter tarts and a birthday cake. Not to mention the four trays of homemade pizzas and 2 trays of sticky sweet chicken wings on the actual day.

And I didn't have enough pie tins in the house.

Plus I was skint, on account that the short holiday cost us more than we had anticipated.

But I was not going to be defeated, by golly, I didn't have six children to be defeated by lack of time, sleep and energy.

If I remember, I would post up more about the actual party. My step daughter was having a meltdown as she simply was pulling in too many hours to really have the time to organise the party and my niece was pulling her hair out because her mother was getting suspicious of their frantic attempt to tidy the place for a party. There was also the small last minute issue of my sister-in-law refusing to go out with her friend who was the designated distractor, deciding instead to go sing in the church choir for a wedding that morning. In the midst of all the panic in the last hour, my niece decided that she needed to make chocolate fudge (with Nestle condensed milk - tut tut). The peanut sauce alone warrants a post on its own because it is absolutely delicious. Then there was the incident where I had to baking parchment bandage the sides of the meringue pies. But it all came together in the end. We must have waited for what felt like 15 minutes from the time of first sighting of my sister-in-law walking towards her house. I just love the English - all that build-up, all that anticipation and the intention to create an element of SURPRISE!!!!! and when she walked into the room, I reckon about 4 party poppers went off (not in a uniformed fashion) and 1 failed attempt of getting a surprised look picture and a hell lot of people just standing there like lemons hardly even muttering SURPRISE!!!. You guys really know how to party.

But until then, I just wanted to share with you the cake I made her. It was my first attempt at making gumpaste roses and I am really pleased with them. I think I can make the petals thinner next time but I am amazed at how simple they are to make.

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