Thursday, April 26, 2012

Candle light dinner at home

I made a surprise candle light dinner for my husband on his birthday last week!

I have been wanting to do a romantic candle light dinner for my husband ever since we first got married, and only managed to do so after 4 years! I only planned the surprise dinner 2 days earlier (what food to serve, the table setting, etc), and only bought all the groceries on that day itself! His birthday falls on last Wednesday and he usually gets back home at around 8pm so I thought it was a perfect timing (I could prepare everything while he's at work without him suspecting anything).

Right after Ayra went to school that day, I quickly got ready and went to Subang Parade with Raina. It was 1pm. I had never went grocery alone with my toddler! But it turned out well. Raina behaved the whole time, sitting nicely and quietly in the trolley. But I was panicking! Dalam otak I kept on budgetting what time I need to start cooking, which dish should I make first, when to start plating, when to set the table, would there be enough time to prepare everything, etc etc. It was my first time doing a surprise birthday dinner for my husband and I was afraid it would turn out not the way I planned. And it was only for my husband! I cannot imagine the stress and panic attack I'd have if I were to serve like, 10 guests or more. Now I know how my mom feels when she's hosting a makan-makan!

Anyway, we arrived home at 3.30pm. I only started preparing the meals at 4pm. I had 3 hours to prepare a 3-course dinner for 2 and a cake. I certainly don't have time for a burnt chicken or any cooking disaster!

I started doing the dessert first because it needs to be chilled before serving. I made Cheesecake In A Glass (Nigella Lawson) because that's my husband's favorite, and because it's super easy and looks so nice. Then I made the appetizer - Shrimp and Avocado salad - except without the avocado. My avocado wasn't riped enough so I had to skip it! Next I made the main course, which is Tarragon Chicken, also Nigella Lawson recipe. It was my first time making this chicken dish and also my first time using tarragon in a dish. And lastly, I made the cake. I didn't make it from scratch tho because of my experience with baking cakes last time so I used a cake mix instead. Wasn't actually planning to make a cake because we already have desserts but Ayra insisted. She kept on saying, "Birthday cake! Candles!". I didn't want to disappoint her. Besides, what's a birthday without a cake, ey?

And then it was 7pm. Yikes!

I was so busy in the kitchen that I wasn't aware of the mess that my girls made in the dining and living room! They scattered clothes on the floor, tissues, took out my cooking utensils, pots and pans and spread Nutella all over their hands, faces and dining table! Nooo!!! I wasted no time cleaning and tidying up everything. I set the table and took the girls upstairs to get ready. No time to shower! I changed into a dress, put on a little makeup, brush my hair a little, sprayed some perfume. I even dressed up my girls in their going-out dresses.

7.40pm. My husband will be back anytime now! I started plating the appetizers. And then I remembered something. Drinks!!! I totally forgot about our drinks! I quickly threw in orange juice, strawberries, lemon juice and some ice cubes in the blender without thinking much. Done. Phew!

And then I heard a car outside. It was him! The house was completely dark except for the lights from the candles on the dining table. We hid behind the wall in the living room and I told my girls to keep quiet and only shout "Surprise, happy birthday!" when daddy opens the door. But I guess kids don't know how a surprise works. As soon as my husband opened the gate, Ayra ran to the sliding door and shouted, "There it is! Surprise! Happy birthday!". Hahaha. Adoiii!

I don't think my husband heard her tho. I grabbed her before she made her way to the door and covered her mouth with my hand but she started to giggle. I told her to wait, but she kept on giggling, and then Raina also giggled and I couldn't help but to join in as well because it was funny! I think my husband heard our giggles. He opened the door and we shouted, "Surprise, happy birthday!". He was all smiles. And then Ayra asked for her birthday present. Hahaha.

Appetizer: Shrimp salad (without avocado).
Tasty and succulent shrimps.

Main course: Tarragon Chicken. 
Absolutely delicious! The best chicken dish I've made so far, I think.

Even my picky eater finished her portion! That is something very rare.

Dessert: Cheesecake In a Glass.
Mmmm! (We both had 2 glasses each).

Orange-strawberry drinks.
Dah buat, lupa nak serve, boleh? ;p

Birthday cake: Devil's Food Cake with homemade chocolate ganache on top
(it's actually a heart-shaped cake but I don't think you can really see it the picture)

Overall, I think it was a success! No cooking disaster, thank God!

Oh here's a birthday card I got for my husband.

Heh heh.

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She slipped off her pink stilettos at 10:30 AM |