In which I make radish mushrooms, fishy flowers and audiobook recommendations....
I had a lovely time last weekend cooking for a 40th birthday party in Crouch End. There were canapés followed by a Deep South-themed buffet for the 25 adults whilst the kids (25 of them too) got hummus and crudités, chicken goujons, sausages and potato wedges. Carrot cake for afters too - the Birthday Boy’s favourite apparently.
(Question: Why, no matter what age a chap is celebrating, he's always the Birthday Boy and never the Birthday Man? Is it because 'The Birthday Man' sounds like he would be a Scandi-noir serial killer?)
I had a moment of madness the night before and decided to make radish mushrooms for the children. I got the idea from Rhik Samadder's review of the Ravanello, a tool designed specifically for whittling radishes into the shape of mushrooms. Which is obviously a wholly pointless thing to do but I was captivated by the Alice In Wonderland vibe and found the same effect was very easily achieved with a spiraliser and tiny melon baller.
The food drew plenty of compliments which was gratifying but I think what I enjoyed most was knowing that I’d removed some of the stress from the party hosts. Parties should be fun - it really is fine to like food but not like cooking!
Incidentally, I was listening to the audio book of Sara Pascoe's Animal whilst I did a lot of the prep for this, particularly whilst rolling up strips of smoked salmon into little rose shapes, and can highly recommend it. She's not only very funny but has really done her research and provides plenty of insight into which bits of our gendered behaviour are evolutionarily engineered and which socially constructed.
For those who are curious, here's the full menu for the party. If you've got an event coming up and would rather spend it talking to your guests than dashing in and out of the kitchen then get in touch for a free menu consultation and quote!