Sunday, June 17, 2012

Family...and Celebrating Life...


The Birthday Invitation

It has been a frantic family week with a birthday party, an engagement and a funeral.

Last weekend I hosted my daughter's 30th birthday celebrations.  She and her partner flew in from Sydney to Perth for the long weekend, to catch up with our family and her friends, and to party on Saturday night.  The theme of the party was  taken from the invitation which she sent...Art Deco'ish in style. I researched about the music, cocktails, food and floral arrangements of the period...it was great fun, and quite enlightening.

The color theme of the period was typically black, white, silver and red so those colours featured in the table linen, the vases, and the flowers.

A decorated table
The cocktails were made by my son from lists of typical cocktails...and he chose The Brooklyn and The Sidecar.  They were delicious but lethally alcoholic and so I restricted myself to one cocktail and then enjoyed the French champagne provided by my daughter's father.

The Buffet table
Researching the recipes and making the food was my pleasurable task.  As finger food after the guests'arrival I served vol au vents, filled with either a smoked oyster or asparagus sauce and tiny bite sized onion tartlets.    I read that the Americans of the East coast in the Art Deco period loved all things French, so I had something in common with them! The fork food included Coq au Vin, Seafood Thermidor (again the French influence), natural oysters, Oysters Rockefeller (with a spinach, parmesan and breakcrumb topping), Caesar Salad and rare Roast Beef with a mushroom sauce.

The birthday girl with her croquembouche "Where do I start?!"

I chose to have a croquembouche made as the birthday cake.  I decorated the base of the magnificent structure with iceberg roses from my garden.  It was decadent and delicious!

But the most exciting moment of the evening was actually early in the party.  Before I invited the guests to enjoy the buffet, my daughter and her partner announced their engagement!  What a double celebration!

The happy couple

The other family news I received was that my "other father", the head of a family which has supported me since I was a little girl, had died.  And so, as my daughter flew back to Sydney on Monday, while I would normally feel miserable and indulge in a champagne with  friends to cheer up after her departure, I was instead able to say "see you tomorrow".  After putting the house back in order I flew to Sydney to stay with my daughter and her partner and attend the funeral on Wednesday.

Mr M was a remarkable man.  He was humble, but extremely successful;  a gentleman and devoted family man with seven children.  All of the children, grandchildren and even a couple of great grandchildren took part in the Mass to celebrate his life. His widow, also a remarkable woman, was elegant in her dignified sorrow throughout the day.

Typical flowers of the '30s...calla lillies, peonies and antheriums, complemented by Australiann silver gum leaves
And so it has been a week of reflection...the happiness of my family in our celebrations and the sadness of a family losing it's patriarch.  It reminded me that, indeed, life is a flowing process....


3 comments:

  1. Dear Louise, Sorry to read about your loss. Although it is part of life, it's always distressing to see the people who used to take care of us disappearing from our lives.
    Congratulations on your daughter's engagement. She and her financee make a very beautiful and handsome couple. As for the crocquembouche; did you make that yourself? Woaw!!! You could be in Masterchef Australia, even without lifting a finger :) Martine

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  2. Happiness tinged with sadness, the meaning of life and death. However life goes on and we make of it what we can.

    The party you gave for your daughter sounds fantastic and the food delicious. Did you make the croquembouche yourself?

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  3. Martine and Gaynor, thank you for your comments...Monsieur Martineau made the croquembouche for me...he is French/Swiss and was most specific! We worked together on the decoration, sometimes disagreeing in the most perfect way! Thank you both for your kind thoughts....

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