At the beginning of next year, my Archie will turn 21. As is custom, he’ll have a 21st birthday party.
Planning is now underway. The greatest hurdle has been in trying to find a venue. As there will be more than a few guests we are not able to have this event at home and so I’ve been on a mission to find a venue that’s nearby and not too expensive and one that will allow me to organise my own catering and one that allows you to bring in your own alcohol.
There are a few of these venues around which is great because self-catering and providing your own alcohol does help to keep the costs down, however, trust me now, most venues will not allow 21st birthday parties. No need to guess why.
For two months I’ve been lying in bed wringing my hands and grinding my teeth wondering what we’re going to do however, can you believe all is now good because we’ve found a little-known venue that will be just perfect and as long as we pay for an ‘Operations Manager’ to be there for the duration of the party, they will allow a 21st. Sorted.
But if my teeth weren’t ground down to the gums over venue-stress, now Archie becomes involved in how the night will flow and the thing is, we have different visions. My vision is beautiful. The night will be a sit-down dinner for one hundred guests made up of family, relatives, family friends and a few of Archie’s mates. Archie’s vision is a stand-up affair involving no family, no relatives and no family friends, just 175 ‘besties’ (waifs and strays), with his father behind the bar and me in the kitchen. One of us isn’t going to win. Let the games begin!
Besides grinding my teeth, I’ve been thinking about the night’s menu (the sit-down version only) and how it will be in the height of summer and so a cooling, refreshing dessert might work best. This passionfruit, meringue semifreddo has made it to my shortlist.
Passionfruit Meringue Semifreddo Serves: 8-10 Degree of Difficulty: 2/5 Cost: If you have lemons on your tree, a passionfruit vine and chickens in your backyard this dessert will cost almost nothing. However, if you’re like me and you have none of the above, make this when passionfruit are in season. For the Semifreddo
- 1 1/4 cups thickened cream
- 1 1/4 cups lemon curd (you can buy lemon curd or make your own, recipe below)
- 8 meringues, crushed (you can buy meringues or make your own, recipe below)
- 6 passionfruit
Line a 25cm (10 inch) x 14cm (5 1/2 inch) loaf tin with cling film. Whip cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold through lemon curd, meringues and passionfruit. Spoon into loaf tin and smooth surface. Fold cling film over semifreddo and place in the freezer overnight. Remove from tin, remove cling film and slice. Serve with a berry salad.
For the Lemon Curd
- 4 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 100g butter, chopped
Place egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon rind and lemon juice in a heavy-based saucepan. Whisk to combine. Add butter. Place over medium heat. Cook, whisking, for 7 to 8 minutes or until butter is melted and mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Stand for 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl. Cover surface with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool. (It sets more quickly and more firmly if placed in the refrigerator). For the Meringues
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to 140C (280F). Line a baking tray with baking paper. Pour egg whites into a large, clean and dry stainless steel bowl. Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form then add caster sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating for a few minutes after all the sugar has been incorporated until thick and glossy. Fold in vanilla extract with a metal spoon. Spoon heaped tablespoons of mixture onto baking tray – the meringues don’t have to be neat as they’re going to be crushed anyway. Place in the oven for 40 minutes then turn off oven and leave to cool completely in the oven so they dry out.
If you liked this post, you’re welcome to share it!