Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Suddenly 30 at The Cottage Balmain

Last week I celebrated my birthday (yay!). It was a very big milestone in my life… not just any birthday… but the big 3-0!!! So did I freak out? You betcha! It was probably a good 2 to 3 months before my birthday I started having mini heart palpitations. Where had my life gone? How was it even possible that I was nearly 30? I had a life plan and I wasn’t even there yet!

But after a few deep breaths and many heartfelt conversations with my sisters and dear friends (usually with a cocktail in hand) I realised that you can’t plan life, and really the overall big plan, in which none of us have control over, has gotten me to where I am today. No regrets. And looking back, boy have I done a lot! Everything that I have faced and accomplished in my life has made me the person I am today, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

So here I am… Suddenly 30!

I remember watching the movie ‘Suddenly 30’ for the first time years ago – thinking 30 is so far away! But how time flies when you’re having fun eh?

I truly love this movie! It’s a great carefree movie and honestly who doesn’t want a Mattie (played by Mark Ruffalo) in their lives?! For those who haven’t watched it check out the trailer below, and rent it out!

So as I came to terms with my new soon to be age, I decided I wanted to have a little get-together with my family and friends – after all it will be awhile before I celebrate another milestone birthday. So I started on my quest to find the perfect venue. I wanted something small, relaxed and casual – nothing too over the top. And it didn’t take me long to find it as it was right under my nose in the little suburb of Balmain.

"Strawberry White Wine Sangria" served to guests on arrival.

‘The Cottage’ is a cute little wine bar that opened up on Darling Street, Balmain in early 2012, set in a sandstone cottage style terrace – hence the name one would assume. It has been renovated and redecorated to feel homely and welcoming. At the front of The Cottage is a cute little garden seating area, head inside and to your right you will find the bar area with high stool seating and to your left more of a ‘restaurant’ style seating with lower tables. Keep walking past the stairs and you will enter a more private terrace dining area. Up the stairs, in the attic, you will find the lounge room. And as soon as I saw this area I knew this was where I wanted my birthday.

Decked out in mismatched furniture and cute little cosy lounges, the upstairs lounge room has a vintage charm. Complete with hanging ferns, odd wooden coffee tables, funky lampshades, and old picture frames. The cottage is quaint and it was the perfect location to host my birthday.

And even better they cater for gluten free dining (cheering!). The Cottage menu consists of a range of share plates, with little GF’s marked up on there for easy reference. The delicious food includes roast pork belly on carrot puree, tiger prawns poached in crazy water, baby beet salad, amongst many other mouth-watering dishes. Gluten free pizza bases are also available, cooked in their huge wood fire pizza oven.

For the night of my party I opted for gluten free pizzas (yes for all) and my guests loved them – they couldn’t even tell they were being served GF! I also included some olives, and cheese and cold meat platters, which were delicious! The Cottage was very accommodating and went to great lengths to make everything work for my birthday, including specially ordering GF lavosh and crackers to go with the cheese platters. I couldn’t have been happier!

To top off all this amazing food I decided to have a lolly bar – an entirely gluten free lolly bar! We did lots of research and searched high and low for as much variety as possible, as well as sourcing some really cute jars and vases. The end product was fantastic and I was so happy with how it all came together! We discovered some good old classics – like Allen’s Freckles and Pascal Pineapple Lumps – that were GF and didn’t even know about. To think we were depriving ourselves all these years. We also added GF cookies, sweet and salty popcorn, strawberry clouds and marshmallows. This was a great way to mix up the party and everybody loved it, especially when they got to take home a lolly bag!

For more GF information on your favourite classics see the links below:

And then there was the cake – you just can’t have a party without cake! We decided to make our own and stuck to the vintage and pink theme. We made a giant sized cupcake and complemented it with regular sized cupcakes, all frosted with a raspberry jam butter cream. And then for something extra special close to my heart, we created two cupcakes decorated with chocolate hearts for my mum and dad, as they celebrate their wedding anniversary on my actual birthday!

I had an amazing night with my family & friends and it was definitely the perfect way to say hello to my 30’s!

I can’t help sharing the delicious frosting recipe we used. It’s so easy... simply pipe or spread onto your favourite cupcake or cake recipe. It goes extremely well with chocolate or vanilla flavoured cake.



175g GF icing sugar, sifted
50g butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon of milk (if needed)
GF raspberry jam (seedless), to taste
2-3 drops GF red food colouring, or to desired colour

Mix all ingredients together with a spatula, until combined well. If the mixture is dry add milk.

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