Wow, it’s been a bit of a crazy few days in my world and I’m glad to have the day off today to clean (very much needed after Saturday), re-organise and just recuperate.
Saturday was a big day. It was the big day actually – Jared’s Tiki Party!! I woke up at about 6am, I was too excited to sleep, but I was also still really tired from my busy week. I knew I needed some rest if I was going to get everything done, so even though I couldn’t sleep, I stayed in bed for another hour or so just reading blogs.
At about 7am, I couldn’t lay around any longer so I got to work. The first dish I prepped was my favourite of the day – Tipsy Fruit Salad (thank you @pearsandpistachios on Instagram for the awesome name!). I cut up a bunch of different fruit (watermelon, pineapple, kiwis, dragon fruit and oranges), then poured in half a cup each of infused vodka and some Cocolada. The vodka was made by a classmate of mine who studied Naturopathy. She infused with a bunch of different herbs and I’d been waiting for a good occasion to use it. The Tiki Party was the perfect occasion! If you don’t know what Cocolada is, it’s basically a cheaper version of Mailbu. I usually buy that or Rumba (which is the same kind of thing) as they are a third of the price of Malibu. I figured the coconut taste in it would go amazing with the fruit, and it did! I stirred it all up, and left it to soak in the fridge in a flat Tupperware container and stirring it every hour or so to soak it all evenly. It was a hit, and I think I’ll keep it as a party staple! It’s a good balance of naughty and nice, I think! Next on the agenda was the skewers. Before I started doing the fruit, I’d soaked some wooden skewers in a cup. It helps to prevent the ends burning on the BBQ. I was so glad I did the veggie and chicken prep the night before, it saved me a lot of work. By this time, Jared was awake and helping out with some cleaning. We had Triple J blaring and it made every job 100 times easier and more fun. After the skewers, I made some lamb burger patties for our dinner later on with some tinned beetroot slices, tinned pineapple slices, vintage cheddar cheese slices and lettuce to wrap it all up in. One of our friends also brought over some rolls for those wanting “proper” burgers. The patties themselves were simply lamb mince, rosemary, a diced onion, sea salt, pepper and an egg to bind it all. Also, Jared actually made the mince himself with lamb fillets and our new mincer the night before! It only cost us $40 from memory, and it worked so well! I’ll have to get him to make us some more mince soon and I’ll put up a review of it! I had put some rice into the rice cooker at the same time I soaked the skewers, so by the time I finished the burger patties, it was done. I made some fried rice with it, because fried rice at a party I’ve noticed is always well loved by guests. And I wasn’t wrong! As soon as I took the foil off the serving dish, it was gone within minutes!! I made mine with the rice, sliced bacon rashers, some frozen veggie mix (yep – that’s right, I said frozen! Ain’t nobody got time to shell out cups of fresh peas for some fried rice!!) and a good splash of dark soy. And even though I know brown rice is the healthier rice option, I find it can get hard and a bit dry in a fried rice. So I actually cooked a 50/50 mix of both brown and jasmine and used that. The brown rice adds the nutrients (fibre, B vitamins) and the jasmine gives it a softer and more delicious texture. It’s a win/win!For Jared’s birthday cake, he requested chocolate. Having never made a gluten free chocolate cake before, I was a bit nervous. I decided to not experiment, and go by someone else’s recipe. After some researching, I found this amazing looking one from Deglutenous. I only changed a couple of things to base it on using what I had on hand like using all plain gluten free flour and just adding 1 teaspoon baking powder (I had no self-raising GF flour), using raw cacao instead of cocoa and using ¾ cup coconut sugar instead of regular sugar. I also cooked it for longer, probably an hour and ten minutes if I remember correctly. It turned out amazingly, but get this… we forgot all about it!! We were having so much fun that we forgot to bring out the birthday cake!! I ended up popping it in the fridge and that was the best thing I could have done because it made the cake go firm and fudgy. Just like a brownie!! We’ve been enjoying a few cheeky slices every day since!For some finger food, I served up veggie sticks, natural corn chips, jars of salsa, some homemade guac and last but not least, I also defrosted some of my mums spring rolls she had packed for me last time I saw her. Her spring rolls are famous among my family and friends. It was a no brainer to serve them up! I cooked them up in some coconut oil just before the party started. They were gone pretty quickly too! They were the only non gluten-free thing I served, and no one even noticed that there was no gluten in anything else. I thought it would be a bit hard to keep it as gluten free as possible without having it be boring for other people, but it turned out to be quite doable! I actually can’t wait to have the opportunity to do it again! I love a good challenge!
Moving onto drinks and decorations! We had a “photo wall” where we put up those cheap tiki prints I posted about last time. We also had a little table next to it with photo props, which included: flower leis I bought for everyone ($1 each at the Reject Shop) and Tiki masks I made by sticking some leftover wall prints onto thick cardboard, and then sticking some cardboard “sticks” to the back so people could hold them up. This was our “serving table.” We basically just pushed our dining table up against the wall and put some prints up. The large palm tree one was actually lent to us by a friend, so I’m not sure on price or where to purchase it. The pineapple punch jar was a favourite with everyone. For the actual punch, I used a full bottle of Bombora, half a large bottle of pineapple juice, 2L of H2Coco coconut water and lots of ice. It was delicious. And gone within an hour. We had to make more because people couldn’t get enough of it! I also used the head of a fresh pineapple to decorate our punch jar. Just make sure you pop a folded paper towel underneath it so it’s not sticky everywhere. I bought umbrella straws to go with the punch for $1.50 from the party store! We also had Canadian Club and ginger ale for ourselves too. Oh, and we bought reusable plastic tumblers to use. I hate buying disposable cups/cutlery unless they’re eco-friendly. Our plates were eco friendly/biodegradable, but we couldn’t find cups so we bought reusable ones. They were more expensive, but at least I know we can pull them out everytime we have a party, and not just throw them away after one use. Oh, and my costume was basically just a paper pineapple table decoration ($3 from a party store) glued onto a headband ($2 from the Reject Shop) and a pineapple print dress from Chicabooti for $9.95. All in all, my outfit cost me less than $15!! Not bad, right?? Jared just wore his Hawaiian print shirt I bought him a while ago, plus some sunglasses I picked up at the party store for $4.50! They had flamingos, palm trees and a giant cocktail on them. Probably my favourite purchase for the whole party, haha!
We had so much fun. Lots of food was eaten, many cocktails and punch was consumed and some drinking games were played later on in the night. There were so many photos taken that over the course of the day, however some were definitely not blog appropriate (especially the ones taken post drinking games as you can imagine!). But here are a collection of just a few of my favourite ones of the night!Sunday morning I woke up to a few friends crashed out in the living room, and also a very sore and sorry birthday boy! Sunday was spent hanging out with those that stayed over, then after they left we relaxed/recovered, I tidied a little (well, as much as my tired/hungover self could manage!) while Jared napped then we went down the road for some pho noodles. Which, by the way, is amazing for those damn hangovers!! Monday was manic for me, and involved assessments, college and taking Jared out for dinner and a show as it was his actual birthday yesterday. I’ll post all the photos from our night out on the town tomorrow!
We’ve had such a blast celebrating his birthday multiple times, but I was honestly so happy today to finally be able to take care of things that had been piling up over the last few days. I get a little anxious sometimes when the apartment gets too messy or the washing up piles up far too high (I’m talking piles extending to all our benchtops!!), so I was glad for the chance to finally do them.
I’m off to actually enjoy the rest of my day off now, before dinner duties take me back into the kitchen!