September is my favourite month of the year as it is the official start of spring in Australia, my birthday and school holidays are in September. My birthday is on the 27th September but I decided to have two celebrations this year. I had a party with my friends last Saturday where I invited them to make paella, chicken and corn soup, lemonade and fried chicken.
I love cooking with people as it’s such a bonding experience. People can feel more comfortable communicating when they have something to do. I invited friends who I knew would enjoy cooking and only enough guests that I knew that could comfortably fit in my kitchen. I had five guests in total, my friends that I had known since high school and my friend that I had met at uni. Most of my outings that I had with my friends centre around food so they were fine with cooking their own lunch with me. I also asked them to bring a cake or dessert instead of a present so that they wouldn’t have to worry about getting something expensive.
The main thing I wanted to cook during my birthday party was paella. Paella is a Spanish fried rice dish which typically has seafood, chicken and seafood in it. I had never had paella before but wanted to try it because it looks so delicious. I like how it is a communal dish with generous bits of seafood, meat and rice. It’s all the kinds of things I like to eat rolled into one.
When the guests arrived, the first thing we made was lemonade. I have a lime tree in my backyard so we really made limonade. I invited my best friend’s niece and nephew for my party as well and they were happy to reach through the undergrowth and get the big, juicy limes. It was just as well that we picked the limes as the tree was beginning to flower so eventually there would be no limes. I got the children to make the lemonade while my friends and I made the paella and other dishes.
We decided to make two pans of paella due to some of my friends not being able to eat chorizo (a type of pork sausage) that is an essential ingredient in paella. So we had one paella with chorizo and one without. We also decided to leave the seafood on the side so people could eat as much or as little of that as they liked. I think the food turned out good but I can’t compare to anything since it was the first time I had it.
The only hitch was that I should have labeled the party favors. I gave everyone a plastic tumbler filled with some candy which guests could empty out to put their lemonade in. The trouble was that people had a hard time remembering which one was their tumbler as they moved around the kitchen.
All my friends had brought desserts. The desserts were all cakes. I got two sets of brownies, lemon cake and a coffee cake. I had to freeze the leftovers so that it wouldn't go to waste. We also played a party game where I drew a name out of a hat and whoever I called out could choose out a selection of prizes. The next person called out could choose a prize as well which could be something that someone already selected. Everyone really enjoyed the game and there was much laughter as people would refuse to handover things and hide their items. It’s a game you can’t play with little children as they hate getting stuff taken away from them.
It was a sweet laid-back kind of day.
My real birthday will be on this week. I still haven’t decided what I want to do with my family. I want to take them out to eat, so far I’m thinking of seafood, or maybe barbecue chicken or Chinese banquet.