VR’s semi-surprise early birthday dinner

VR left for Sydney on Monday. She’ll be back with us in two and a half weeks’ time for about a week, and then she’ll be leaving for good (well, until the next trip to Australia). It was her birthday on Tuesday, and since she would be in Sydney by then Jac and I made plans to surprise her with a birthday dinner on Sunday, before she left. Jac told her not to make any plans for Sunday dinner because we wanted to have a *going away* dinner. Tricky, eh?

I baked VR’s birthday cake on Sunday morning. It was a boxed cake mix – White Wings brand Choc on Choc cake. I didn’t bother trying to hide it – I just got busy in the kitchen and didn’t say anything about what I was doing. VR did see the box, so she knew I was making a chocolate cake. But I was sure she didn’t suspect it was to be her birthday cake. We’d both made it a point not to mention or acknowledge that her birthday was coming up so she wouldn’t be in a birthday frame of mind.

Chocolate cake, pre-icing

I iced the cake and kept it covered until it was time to serve. The icing mix made LOADS of icing. I piled it on liberally, but even so I had some leftover.

Chocolate cake, iced

We served VR’s favourite meal – grilled fish and salad. The fish was fresh spangled emperor fillets I got from Woolies – we seasoned VR’s and mine with salt and pepper and grilled them topped with a knob of butter. Jac also seasoned hers with salt and pepper but used olive oil instead of butter. VR really liked the fish – she’d never eaten any of the emperor fish before (there’s red emperor, spangled emperor, red throat emperor… and probably others I can’t think of). See the fancy cut tomato? I learned how to do that in high school and like to get busy with a knife every now and then.

Grilled spangled emperor and salad

After the dinner plates were cleared I sneaked off and dressed up the cake just a little to make it into a birthday cake. Then I brought it out with the lit candle, singing Happy Birthday!

Birthday cake!

VR was really surprised and pleased. She hadn’t expected a birthday celebration at all (well, that’s what she said, anyway!).

Chocolate cake

The cake turned out moist and delicious. It was so easy to make – I could see myself becoming completely lazy in future and just making boxed mix cakes. I would’ve liked to have baked a cake from scratch, but I’ve been a little busy lately as most of you would know. :)

Chocolate cake

But then we had more surprises for VR – as she is a real chocoholic I got her a box of choccies from Darrell Lea when I was out at the shops- a milk chocolate box. This particular box was perfect for her – lots of nutty choccies – she loves her chocolate with nuts. They even gift-wrapped it for me in the shop for no extra charge.

Darrell Lea chocolates

While I was in JB recently I also got VR Mirrorball, Sarah McLachlan’s live concert DVD. As soon as VR unwrapped it, she cracked up laughing and confessed that she’d already bought the very same DVD – she had been planning to give it to me before she left! We’re both Sarah McLachlan fans, you see! So she brought out the DVD she’d got for me and gave it to me anyway! And so now we both have the same DVD. It’s a good thing, really, because I’d planned to watch hers and buy myself a copy if I liked it! I watched it tonight – and I’m glad I have my own copy already!

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