Birthday dinner party on the cheap!

This post is a month overdue, but I had to share- I had a fabulous birthday! This year, I was so spoiled by family and friends alike.

I had a dinner party this year. I share a flat with 5 other people, and we all get along really well. We each have our own bedroom and bathroom, but we share a kitchen. I invited them all to the party, along with some friends from LSE.

At first, I had grand plans to make four different dishes- spicy Trini mango chow to start, pizza rolls (sans pepperoni) as a first dish, a filling Greek rice salad as the entree, and apple crumble cake to finish it all off.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. I couldn’t find pizza dough in time, or mangoes for that matter. So I decided simply to make two dishes. The first was my Greek rice dish. This is what it looks like when I normally make it:

I’m not quite sure what the name of it is. But the base ingredient is rice. Then, you top that off with olives, baby tomatoes, sweet corn, and yummy green peas. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of tuna, and you’re golden!

My friend Cristina made this dish for my friend Provita and I as a sort of “last supper” the day before we all left Orléans. That was in 2011- it was the year that I returned home after teaching in schools in France. I remember my surprise and pleasure as I chewed my first forkful of the rice. It was really tasty with so little seasoning. I love simplicity of the dish. You get so much fullness with just a few simple steps!

I also made my apple crumble dish- you can’t have a birthday party without some cake! This too, is a simple, no fuss dish.

All you need are apples, sugar, flour, baking powder, an egg, and some milk. Add a teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt, and you’re good to go. My favorite version of this recipe can be found here.

Now you know me- of course, I can’t have a party without setting up a few little decorations here and there. I may be on a budget as tight as a shoestring, but I managed to pinch £6 fairy lights to add a soft touch.
fairy lights

And when I saw these flowers, I knew they had to be the center piece. I cut them down so that they could fit into these glass jars I recycled. The tall jar held the olives in the Greek dish. (Sidenote: These flowers lasted for 3 weeks, and they were very much alive and vibrant! They only cost £2! I just added a little sugar to their water on the first day, and I changed it every 3 days or so.) I covered the labels of the jars with the fluff mail they send us students in the post.
DSCF1316 copy
DSCF1323 copy

To lively up the walls, I cut small circles out of scrap paper and construction paper I had, and stuck them on with poster putty.
wall lights

All in all, the dinner party was a success! People brought drinks and snacks- plantain chips, my favorite honey-roasted nuts, belgium mousse. Someone even helped me cut up the apples for the crumble cake! And my flatmate made an Italian chocolate salami! It’s a chocolate roll that looks like a fat sausage- but there’s no salami in it. It’s made with chocolate, butter, eggs, biscuits…it’s soooo delicious.

We had an awesome time- and my friends even surprised me with a “birthday cake”!
bday cake

The next day, my cousin who lives closeby took me out to gbk- Gourmet Burger Kitchen. I had the most amazing veggie burger of my LIFE! I used to think that Wisey’s made the best veggie burgers. But that Georgetown classic has some serious competition over here.

And then about 5 days later, I got this lovely package in the mail from my high school best friend Claire:
fruit basketIMG_1326

It was love at first sight.

It was too beautiful a gift to hoard all by myself, I had to share it. Funny thing is, even with sharing, the fruit basket lasted three weeks. It was like the gift that kept on giving! Everything was fresh and so juicy!

All in all, I have had the loveliest birthday month ever! Like one of my flatmates said, “We should celebrate you all the time.” Of course, this was said after a yummy-food-induced happiness high. But I couldn’t agree more. Can’t wait til birthday 2013!


About Jul

just a girl exploring the world

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