a double birthday gourmet dinner

As luck would have it, one of our closest friends has the same birthday as E, so it always makes it a little more fun to celebrate them both around the same time. This year, E wanted to cook up an extravagant dinner for 6 of us, which was definitely an idea we could get behind! And it bodes well when things like these are being popped out of the kitchen prior to the event...

Those would be salted caramel & raspberry macarons. It was his first time making raspberry ones, and they turned out utterly delicious.

But let's rewind...

For a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun, we printed out obnoxiously elaborate menus, which actually are now coming in handy as I know the exact menu without pestering E for the details! Here was what we were treated to:

:: Vacherin Mont d'Or cheese, baked in the oven with garlic, rosemary & white wine, with Prosciutto & Parma ham

:: Homemade taramasalata with smoked salmon & a dill & lemon vinaigrette

:: Langoustine soufflΓ© with poached quail egg & shellfish coulis

:: Roasted Gressingham duck breast with honey glazed baby onions & salsify, minted peas, pommes dauphine, celeriac purΓ©e and morel sauce

:: Tarte au Citron with raspberry coulis

You're probably feeling full just reading this... but it was worth getting very full for! 

Now, it would take an age or two to write out the recipes for each dish (and couldn't in any case for copyright reasons), but I thought it might be interesting and useful to share E's current favourite cookbooks. Cooking is a passionate hobby of his, so when he has the time he likes to really go all out and experiment in the kitchen - if you know someone like this, or you want to try some of these dishes yourself, these are where he gets the inspiration from:

Bouchon by Thomas Keller
Gordon Ramsay 3 Star Chef by Gordon Ramsay
Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
Michel Roux: The Collection by Michel Roux

And a couple that he received for his birthday from C&J and my sister, which are on his to-use list:
The Essence of French Cooking by Michel Roux
Flour + Water by Thomas McNaughton

As much as we are lucky to be able to eat the stuff he cooks, he's also lucky to have lovely friends who are willing to wait between courses and are so appreciate of his cooking - it's his "love language", so I know it makes him very happy. You know what's also making him happy? Your support & love on his new Instagram! He's fast becoming an Insta-addict.

After a great evening, we sent our friends home with boxes of macarons - not too shabby for a goody bag. 

Although really, the highlight of the whole dinner was E's apron that I got him - don't you agree?!