Over the long republic day weekend, Chintan was planning on surprising Isha with a fun brunch for her birthday. Considering 26th January was a dry day, most outdoor venues were ineligible. Considering Urvi had put “Cook a meal for your friends” on my bucket list, Pankti and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to complete another item from the list. So we decide to host the surprise brunch for Isha at our house.
So we sat down and designed a menu that we thought Isha would like. Red wine, a little bit of Paris, some cupcakes and lots of ice cream cake!
- Watermelon Feta Salad – Yash
- Pasta in Red Wine Sauce (Paris themed pasta) – Yash
- Strawberry Sangria – Yash
- Pistachio Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting – Pankti
- Backup Pizza – Dominos
- Ice Cream Cake – Havmor
Watermelon Feta Salad
Even though I have made Watermelon Feta Salad before, I couldn’t really remember the recipe anymore. So I used this Watermelon Feta Salad recipe which is a little different but turned out pretty good.
I particularly enjoyed peeling an entire watermelon in one piece and the only other way I differed from the recipe was to create three-layered watermelon feta cakes (drowning in truffle balsamic) as opposed to a diced salad. I figured it suited the birthday theme better 🙂
#Tip – Throw some pine nuts in there as well.
Pasta in Red Wine Sauce (Paris themed pasta)
The red wine pasta was an obvious choice for Isha’s birthday 😛 but when I remembered that we had some Paris-themed pasta (shaped like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame etc) in the fridge from our last trip there, it could not have been more perfect. I used this recipe for Red Wine Tomato Sauce as a base, although I must admit I went well over the recommend 2 cups of red wine and emptied nearly a whole bottle into the sauce. I did throw in some extra olives, baby corn, jalapenos and spices to offset the sweetness from the wine. I also gave the onions some extra time on the heat to caramelize and instead of using canned tomatoes decided to steam, peel, dice and make my own fresh crushed tomatoes.
#Tip – If you’re going to try this recipe out, do remember that ripe tomatoes make much better tomato sauce then fresh tomatoes.
I more or less made up my own recipe for this one and included lots of fresh strawberries throughout the process.
- 2x 750ml sula shiraz
- 1 cup freshly strawberry pulp (Just throw a bunch of strawberries into the food processor)
- 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 2 oranges, sliced
- a few of mint leaves
- club soda, chilled
- additional whole strawberries, for garnish
I mixed it all up, let it rest for an hour or so and served in a red wine glass with a whole strawberry garnished on the edge of each glass.
Pistachio Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting
Pankti doesn’t really cook — let’s just say she can just about make you some green tea :P. So it was quite an ambitious project when she decided she was going to bake Pistachio Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting for this brunch.
She started out with this recipe for Strawberry Pistachio Cupcakes and decided to swap the cardamom for a lemony tinge herself. Instead of the strawberry preserve, she made the frosting fresh from scratch, using this recipe. It took almost an hour and lots of separate elements to put together to make three batches of cupcakes, but let me just say it was one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten!
Of course we had to order some backup pizza in case everything turned out inedible. Luckily enough for Pankti and I – The sangria was strong and the crowd hungry. All the pizza, pasta, watermelon feta, and cupcakes were demolished 🙂
Ice Cream Cake
A few months before her birthday, Isha had made it very obvious through a not-so-subtle Facebook post that she wanted lots of Havmor Ice-cream cake for her birthday, so we obliged, of course. We ordered a couple of different ones for the birthday girl to cut. Surprisingly enough and with full credit to Pankti’s cupcakes, this was the only thing left over!