Birthday feast

Last night, my family cooked a lovely meal for me to celebrate my birthday. My small contribution consists of the home-made coleslaw which went to make one of the dishes of the night.

The meal started off in the morning with me preparing the coleslaw. This involved the fine shredding of 1 carrot and a quarter of a white cabbage to make the coleslaw. To this was added half a jar of mayonnaise, which ‘cooks’ the vegetables to form the coleslaw. The finished dish will be revealed later on.

Fine Julienne shredder to shred the carrots and white cabbage for coleslaw
Fine Julienne shredder to shred the carrots and white cabbage for coleslaw
One finely shredded carrot
One finely shredded carrot
Just over 1/4 white cabbage shredded
I added just over 1/4 of a shredded white cabbage
Both mixed in mayonnaise
This was then mixed in mayonnaise
Contents placed into vacuum seal container
Contents placed into vacuum seal container

The vacuum sealing of the coleslaw helps to open up the pores of the vegetable to allow for the flavours to really get in and speed up the process of the mayonnaise ‘cooking’ the carrot and cabbage. This is the method I have adopted to make coleslaw over the last 2 years. This was kept in the fridge until ready to serve.

Air is vacuumed out, which opens the pores of the vegetables allowing the mayonnaise to penetrate and 'cook' it better
Air is vacuumed out, which opens the pores of the vegetables allowing the mayonnaise to penetrate and ‘cook’ it better

Now after dropping my kids at school, my wife went to the fish market in Botley, Oxfordshire to buy the seafood to cook for my birthday. She came back with plenty of seafood, which included two live lobsters – can’t get more fresh than that.

2 live lobsters
2 live lobsters

While Oxford was basking in the warm weather (20 degrees Celsius) with clear sunny skies, the lobsters were chilling in the bottom tray of our fridge. Hence they did look a little bit blue when they came out. But they still put up a bit of fight, with one spreading its claws as if ready to do battle.

Lobster looking a bit blue (cyanosed) from the cold of the fridge
Lobster looking a bit blue (cyanosed) from the cold of the fridge
Lobsters just out of the fridge
Lobsters just out of the fridge

My wife then proceeded to cook them for about 5 minutes, by which time they looked like they had spent too long basking in the sun on a warm summer’s day.

Cooked lobsters
Cooked lobsters

The lobster tail was chosen to make the lobster rings for the dish with the coleslaw. My wife wanted to call the dish ‘The Lobster of the ring’, but my oldest daughter disagreed. Hence it is simply called lobster ring on a bed of coleslaw.

Tail of the lobster, waiting to be cut into rings for the coleslaw
Tail of the lobster, waiting to be cut into rings for the coleslaw
Lobster ring on a bed of home-made coleslaw
Lobster ring on a bed of home-made coleslaw

Other dishes we had for the feast are below.

Pan-fried scallops - my favourite
Pan-fried scallops – my favourite
Steamed sea bass
Steamed sea bass – delicious
Garlic butter mussels
Garlic butter mussels – nice
Stir-fry egg noodle
Stir-fry egg noodle
Samphire - very healthy food
Samphire – very healthy food
Steam baked king prawns
Steam baked king prawns

Instead of a cake, I asked for my eldest daughter’s cupcakes which she duly baked straight after coming back from school. Notice the star candles – my wife does know I like astrophotography.

My birthday cupcakes
My birthday cupcakes – made by my eldest daughter

To go with the seafood, I chose a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Demi-sec champagne, which my wife had bought me over 3-4 years ago . This had been slowing maturing in the wine fridge during that time. It is well known that buying champagne and keeping it to mature for a few years (or at least 1 to 2 years) is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to have champagne which tastes more like expensive vintage champagne. This one tasted strongly of aged champagne with honey and nutty flavours coming out. It did go well with the seafood.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Veuve Clicquot Demi-sec champagne

As usual, I leave you with the bird’s eye view of the meal we had last night.

Bird's eye view of the feast
Bird’s eye view of the feast

I do truly feel blessed to have such a loving family, who have all combined to make this meal possible and so memorable.

Boon