There is no excuse for not having posted in almost a month. But I have been so very busy! I have been cooking and baking and traveling and building compost bins and planting rosemary and starting an herb garden and watching classic movies and reading books and tutoring for the past 27 days. Well, I guess there are excuses afterall.
I spent the first weekend of April in central Texas to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday. It was quite a success. I have never seen my mom so surprised and pleased and beside herself with happiness! All my sisters were there, Aunt Susan, Aunt Laurie and my cousin Ruthie came from California to surprise my mom. My mom’s Dad and wife Marj were there, also from Cali, and my cousin Julie came from Denver. With my sister Lisa coming in from NYC, we had a lot of the nation represented. It was great.
My trip began with a drive to Austin from Amarillo, an 8 hour trip, with a puppy who got carsick. Woohoo! After the first two vomitting episodes (within the first two hours) she slept the remainder of the trip.
My sisters got to my parents house on Friday. The party was Saturday afternoon. The theme for the party was a Swedish Fika which is basically a coffee party with cookies, breads and a cake.
One thing we knew we wanted was a princess cake, or Prinsesstårta. This is a Swedish cake swelling with whipped cream, sponge cake and jam, all covered in light green marzipan exterior, powdered with confectioner’s sugar. A pink rose is placed on top. Unfortunately, not many bakeries have this on their menus. We didn’t feel quite experienced enough to make these cakes ourselves. However, a few years ago we took a Swedish baking class at Central Market in Austin. They made this cake at the class, so we contacted Central Market and they agreed to specially bake the princess cakes. They were beautiful and delicious. It is a rich dessert not for the faint of heart or those counting calories. Special thanks to Central Market. They did a tremendous job.
Traditionally, Swedes serve 7 different kinds of treats at a Fika. We had 7 sweets and also a tray of herring, cheeses, meats and bread.
The 7 Sweet Treats
Rosemary Pecan Shortbread Cookies (top)
Lemon Almond Pound Cake (middle)
Lingonberry Jam Bars (bottom)
Cupcakes from Be My Cupcake in Round Rock, Texas
Here is the tray of savory treats!
Pickled herring is a food thing I just do not understand. Smoked fish I love. This stuff though, I am just not a fan.
My Aunt Susan has a talent for writing songs and she has done this for many family weddings, birthdays and aniversaries. She takes a familiar tune and writes lyrics about the couple or person being honored. Here we are singing a song for my mom to the tune of “Wouldn’t it be Lovely” from My Fair Lady. Susan changed the title to “Isn’t Becky Lovely”. I had this song in my head for days afterward.
Here is the birthday girl with here sisters, Susan and Laurie.
The birthday girl, sweet husband Dennis and the daughters.
The next day the ladies went to Fredericksburg to shop, eat dinner and stay the night at a Bed & Breakfast.
Shopping downtown. This PETA acronym stands for People Eating Tasty Animals.
The B&B is called the Hoffman Haus. My mom and sisters stayed in the Basse House. It is the largest and sleeps 6 people, has a full kitchen and a litte living room in the center.
None of these pictures do the place justice, but let me just say that it was perfectly lovely. The weather was wonderful, our room was incredibly comfortable with a slightly rustic feel. Many of the walls of the house are exposed stone. There are wood floors and comfy furniture. I sunk it to the bed and couldn’t move for about 10 minutes.
Breafkast, a piece of spinach quiche, sausage, fruit and a lemon cranberry muffin, was delivered to our doorstep in wooden picnic baskets. I will go back here if I ever get the chance.
We ate dinner on Sunday at The Nest. The restaurant is an old house so our table of 10 had our own little room. All the food was wonderful.
French Onion Soup
Field green salad with goat cheese, pear slices and pecans
Roasted Quail with a port demi-glace over grilled vegetables and polenta
Profiteroles and coffee ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce
It was such a treat to see my mom so happy. We might have outdone ourselves on this party though, so we will have a hard time pleasing her for the next big birthday!