My Kitchen Tea
Let's back track a month or so, shall we? The week before my Wedding we had a little Kitchen Tea in Red Hill. It wasn't a traditional Kitchen Tea in the sense that I was not showered with gifts for my Kitchen. Although we did drink Tea... Rather, it was purely an excuse for a catch up with the lovely ladies in my life. Any excuse I can get!
My (then future) mother-in-law had recently arrived from Hong Kong, and one of my bridesmaids had just the day before arrived from America, so it was in my mind to have an event for these two important ladies before the Wedding. I honestly felt like it was a whole month-long festival devoted to Ben and I, and at times felt like it was all a bit much, but looking back I'm pleased I took advantage of every opportunity to bask in all the love and attention. There aren't many times in your life when it's all about you, anyway, so why not milk it? With a bit of tea and cake, too. Now that's just perfect.
The Saturday before the Wedding, my childhood home was filled with a flurry of beautiful ladies. Those who arrived promptly at 11 happily helped us to prepare sandwiches, as mum and I ever so slightly underestimated the work we had to do. It was a bit of an "all hands on deck" half hour, which was actually really lovely.
Let them eat cake! Well, drinks and something savoury first...
Recipe: one tall can of unsweetened pineapple juice, 2 litres lemonade, a handful of chopped mint leaves and ice. Swirl together and sip or swig, however you roll. Mum has made this simple sweet drink for years.
(from Red Hill Cellar's).
Brie and Crackers./
Zucchini and Haloumi Fritters (recipe link).
Chicken, Cucumber and Whole-Egg Mayonnaise Sandwiches.
Smoked Salmon, Dill and Cream Cheese Sandwiches.
Sun-Dried Tomato, Cucumber and Hummus Sandwiches.
I wanted to do something a bit cute and fun for this party, with a hint of innocence and nostalgia. My original plan was for a pass-the-parcel game, but as the numbers creeped up over twenty guests I thought a Lucky Dip might be more suitable. And who doesn't like a lucky dip?
Not wanting to spend a lot of money, I perpetually kept my eyes peeled for cute and affordable presents in the months leading up to the day. I had wrapped blocks of lindt chocolate and boxes of chai tea, as well as cookie cutters (christmas ones, snagged on sale!) and slap bracelets with "love" printed on them - remember slap bracelets?! How cool were they growing up in the 90's?
Time for something sweet...
At the top of our tower we had our beloved Canelés. Mum is the Canelé Queen (recipe link). I've proclaimed my love for these somewhat little known French beauties before, and I was thrilled that my adoration was so fervently shared by my ladies. Everyone loved them! These were the standout bite of the day, thank you, mum.
We also had French Langue De Chat biscuits by Bizzarri Dolci, which were a simple, last-minute filler but went down a treat.
I made some Lemon and Pistachio Tahini Truffles. These were my second time making these nutritious bites. I used a different tahini this time around, which really wasn't a good move...something was a little off. So I will work on the recipe before posting it. I loved the lemon hint, though.
Always a loved bite in our household, Rosa's Almond Biscotti (recipe found in this beautiful cookbook).
And my personal favourite, Peach Cupcakes!
These sweet cheeks were inspired by Eat Live Run's Roasted Peaches with Goats Cheese and Honey. Essentially we halved peaches, topped them with a dollop of butter and brown sugar, and baked until just soft before letting them cool. Right before serving we topped them with a dollop of mascarpone. Mum and I had grand plans for cinnamon or vanilla mascarpone, but things got away from us and these plump cheeks ended up with a dollop of unembellished goodness. And that was just fine.
Mum wanted to do something special for me on this day, as mothers do, and she really didn't want it to be corny or tacky. Mission accomplished, mum.
She found a traditional candle ceremony on the internet, and altered it slighty as to her preferences. Essentially it involved the gifting of a candelabra, along with different long coloured candles to be lit during different stages of your married life - from your first anniversary, to the birth of your first child. Mum read out a poem as I was handed the different candles from important women in my life. It was just beautiful - incredibly touching and not at all cheesy. I felt very loved in that moment.
Then came the sharing of the recipes, which, along with mum's candle ceremony, will be forever a truly special moment in my life.
On the invitation, guests were asked to bring along a favourite family recipe for me to collate into a recipe book to always have and cherish. Thanks to my lovely friend, Melissa, for this brilliant Kitchen Tea activity idea. I now find myself with an abundance of beloved family recipes from those I hold dear to me, as well as an old trunk that my mum found (the recipes went into this trunk).
It became a really beautiful 'giving' ceremony, where each lady said why this recipe was special to them before handing it over to me. I am blown away by the thought that everyone put into their recipes. And I feel incredibly honoured to have some very top secret recipes on my hands! They're not all fancy, either. There were a lot of comfort-food style recipes shared. It's not always about the dish itself, it's about the history behind it - why and when it was consumed, and the memories that go along with this.
What is more special than being given the gift of blueprints to something that has brought joy and nourishment to loved ones? It makes me teary thinking of how very privileged I feel. It's an incredibly beautiful gesture. I shall cherish the recipes always. And if we're lucky, I might even get permission from some ladies to share a recipe when I get into the kitchen.
Trying to sneak a peek at my Auntie Sue's Traditional Cornish Pasty recipe. Her family is from Cornwall. Yep. Special. Don't think I can share that one ;)
When it was time to go I handed out little Party Favour Boxes, which consisted of a completely random yet yummy arrangement of goodies.
Into these cute boxes (which were a steal at 0.99cents each), I added Rosa's Almond Biscotti , Lemon and Pistachio Tahini Truffles, Tea Bags (Afternoon and Green) and a couple of fresh Green and Red Chillies. The chillies were added due to a sheer overload at my parent's house. They were rather striking and added a little spice to the mix.
Thanks to our gorgeous friend, Debbie, for helping to arrange these boxes (and for doing a whole manner of tasks to help mum and I set up!). I really am surrounded by incredible women who have such beautiful, generous spirits.
Thank you to all the ladies who came to my Kitchen Tea, for your glowing presence and sharing your beloved family recipes, and for helping out whenever mum and I needed you (on this day and during the entire Wedding period). I feel lucky to have you all in my life.
And lastly, thank you to my beautiful mum for hosting this beautiful day. She really is my favourite lady of all. Words cannot express how much she means to me. There are not enough candles in the world to demonstrate how much she lights up my life. See what I did there? I was corny. Mum is never corny. She's better than I am.
I love you, mum.