A Meatball Party

What more could you want for your birthday than meatballs with friends on a breezy December Sunday? This was precisely our thinking and so, last weekend, we threw Ben a party. A meatball party.

Thirty friends joined us for lunch on this day. That's a tad keen for a pasta lunch, I'll be honest. Next time I do not think I would assume people would be busy with Christmas parties (practically everyone RSVP'd "yes!") and perhaps I should have altered the menu to bread and meatballs. Nevertheless, I was determined to plate up spaghetti and meatballs for our friends. And so we did.

Timing cooking the spaghetti al dente was somewhat of a task, yet with Ben's help, and the gracious help of my gorgeous friend, Jess (along with her small child who seasons food with great knowledge and gusto), we got there in the end. Ben and I had a blast, too, cooking this feast. We love everything about long, lazy lunches and dinner parties with friends and family. Even the clean up was fun. Thanks to my brother, Jackson, for being the photographer and just generally being so supportive. Jackson, you know what I want from just looking at me and you're happy to do whatever task I throw at you no matter what frantic state I may be in. Thanks for getting me that drink when I was cooking. It was delicious and refreshing. Speaking of that yummy drink, let me show you the eats of the day... Raspberry Vanilla Lemonade. I had quite a few recipe requests for this one, so it is surely a crowd pleaser.

Marinated Fetta and Nicolas Olives to nibble before lunch.

Rocket, Basil and Parmesan Salad.

Caprese Salad.

Pesto, Rocket and Pinenut Pasta for the vegetarians.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand the main event, Spaghetti and Meatballs. Buon appetito!

There's something so joyful and comforting about sharing big plates of food with friends and family.

Time for something sweet? We had Dark Chocolate Bark topped with pistachios...

and Candy Cane for a little festive note.

We also had Ice-Cream Sandwiches, made out of Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies and Connoisseur Ice-cream. This was a spectacularly easy dessert to plate up. I asked a few friends to bring along an ice-cream scoop and filled my old biscuit tins with cookies made fresh that morning. Tubs on the table and we were good to go.

Happy birthday, sweets.

You're my best friend. I love you so very much. And I loved our meatball party. I know we both felt very blessed to have such beautiful friends celebrate with us on Sunday. Life is good. Do you remember when I promised to keep living life well in our vows? I kinda think we're doing alright... xo

Heidi xo

Recipe Notes:

Raspberry Vanilla Lemonade - I added more raspberries and let the raspberries, vanilla bean and sugar sit for 1.5hours. I also added ice and used soda water instead of water.
* For the vegetarian pasta, I used Paul's pesto, which I buy at the Red Hill market. It's fabulous and makes for a truly easy, delicious meal.
* I made a fructose-friendly batch of meatballs by omitting onion and garlic. Instead I used garlic-infused oil, 7 Massels stock cubes and gluten-free bread for breadcrumbs. Tip: I used gluten-free bread to make breadcrumbs for the regular meatballs too, as I was really impressed with the texture it provided.
* To feed 30 people, we made three batches of meatballs (note: this is minus 3 vegetarians and 2 who had a separate fructose-friendly batch). These meatballs were really easy to prepare ahead of time, pop in the oven, then serve.
* For the Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, I used an ABC spread (almond, brazil, cashew nut butter) to help ease the fructose load a little.
* For the ice-cream sandwich filling, we had three Connoisseur Ice-cream flavours: classic vanilla, chocolate obsession and caramel honey macadamia. The latter is my favourite.