Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Now We Are Six.

On Sunday afternoon, a garden tea party attended by friends and relations was held for William to mark his sixth birthday.

The guest of honour wore an argyle-patterned wool vest knitted by his maternal grandmother with a white linen shirt and his favourite red tie, and fawn corduroy trousers.

The weather report for Sunday had changed every day last week, variously predicting sun, rain, cool, warmer and dry. Contingency rooms inside had been prepared, but the afternoon turned out merely cloudy, and the sun appeared mid-afternoon, and warmed the gathering.

Guests were welcomed at the front gate by Thomas while a gaily-coloured bunting banner flapped in the breeze. The bunting, made by Tracy from neat triangles of vintage fabrics sewn onto white cotton webbing, festooned the front garden all the way from the front right stay of the carport to the trunk of the ornamental pear in front of the lounge room window.

The guests included William’s current school friends and kindergarten friends from last year. A special guest was William’s paternal grandmother who failed, despite poor health, to maintain a serene presence on a chair in a sunny corner during the afternoon and insisted on rocking the baby, making gallons of tea, washing up and generally making a nuisance of herself. (The aforementioned vest-knitting maternal grandmother was unable to attend due to hospitalisation for surgery to repair a knee ligament following a fall on rail-less steps in a darkened room – a victim of that appalling 1970s architectural feature, the ‘sunken living room’. Get well soon, Grandma.)

Afternoon tea was served at outdoor tables on 1950s seersucker check tablecloths using old mix-and-match teacups and saucers arranged around centrepieces of large bowls of red apples, mandarins and bananas. Were there a theme, which there wasn’t, it might have been primary colours.

Fare consisted of triangle sandwiches in a variety of fillings to please adults and children, iced and sugar-dusted cupcakes, freshly baked savoury pastries including Tracy’s sausage rolls with garlic, tomato and spiced filling, and miniature meat pies bought in from our official pie supplier, the tiny shop in Walker’s Arcade off Sydney Road (try their Cornish pasties or cheese and broccoli pies). Cheese, crackers, olives, sliced meats and a variety of other finger food items were served on Carltonware divided platters. Leaf tea in pots, coffee and white wine were offered; lemonade, fruit juices or milk for the children.

There were no official activities or clowns or magicians or jugglers, however large coloured chalks were provided for pavement drawing, and a box of vintage clothes for dressing up, and balls for kicking around the garden. The children managed to amuse themselves. Several climbed the old grapefruit tree that is loaded right now with full-size but yet to ripen fruit. A number of these made excellent bowling balls. Children are resourceful when you don't spoon-feed them.

A very large chocolate cake of several layers sandwiching chocolate ganache and topped with more ganache concluded the day. Then everyone went home in the dying winter light of a Sunday in June.

Memories are made of this.


Earlier milestones here.


Anonymous said...

How lovely. Just like a birthday from my childhood. Sounds like all the kids had fun.

The Pie Place is good. I like there salmon mornay pies.

Anonymous said...

Such poor English - 'I like their salmon mornay pies'.

kitchen hand said...

We're not fussed about spelling round here, QP. The party was good. Salmon mornay is one I haven't tried.