Sunday, June 27, 2010

feting finkle

My little sister Malindi turned 19 today, Lordy Lordy.

She arrived home at 12:30 or so having had her friends sing her happy birthday at midnight (yay!) but having eaten bad Chinese food (boo) and her stomach got worse and worse and she was wandering around the house at 4:30 in the morning waking up my mom.

Basically, if it is a day ending in y, Malindi is sick.

After hoofing it to church alone, I got home and made my poor tired family soup. Made birthday girl a rather beauteous breakfast tray.


With some Coke classic (in a glass bottle!) for the tum.

But wouldn’t you know it, she rallied, and we set off to do one of our favorite family things to do that we haven’t done in years: afternoon tea!

At this lovely place, with my lovely sister posing outside…


The Mandarin Oriental, the starry and shwanky hotel on the waterfront in DC.

Inside is quite lovely- on the modern side, with beautiful and dramatic flower arrangements.


But we didn’t come for the decor… we came for the afternoon tea buffet. I am slightly scared of buffets because sometimes they cause me to lose all restraint but this one was lovely and I left definitely having splurged but without feeling nauseous!

We sat down and my sister went “You can’t be embarrassing me taking pictures of everything like a tourist”.

Well, fine. It is her birthday. I snuck this one waiting in line for a plate.


You get a whole selection of beverages: black, green, white, and herbal teas; five different kinds of french-press coffee; and even cocktails for only like $3 more for the regular brunch price.

On the right is wonderful wonderful Darjeeling tea, one of my favorites. Apparently Darjeeling is a really really wonderful, beautiful part of India to visit, too. I want to go to there!

I decided to go the traditional route and start with savory and then move to sweet. To that end, a cucumber sandwich garnished very prettily with pecan, and a scone with a trifecta of toppings: lemon curd, homemade strawberry jam, and Devonshire cream.


The scone was buttery PERFECTION! I love love love jam and devonshire cream.

Multiply that plate times two. For my second scone I tried the golden raisin flavor, which was equally fab.

Then for the sweets. I love when they do them miniaturized so you can try more!


From the top that is nectarine-cardamom creme brulee (nice but vair rich, ate half); white chocolate cake with pear (ate about 1/3, wanted more pears); fruit tart; an awesome chocolate thing with crunchy nutty outside and boozy ganache within; and an UNREAL lemon bar.

There is an overabundance of sub-par, excessively sweet lemon bars in the world, which is terrible. On the other hand, it means it is cause to rejoice when you find the real, tart thing. Which is why I went back for another :D

Also consumed was a bazillion wonderful strawberries, some dipped in the chocolate fountain (!)

We’d eaten a hefty amount of food, but then the concierge guy was all “Happy Birthday!” and brought Malindi complimentary tiramisu. Which was nice, except… it was frozen solid. I get that commercial kitchens often premake and freeze desserts, but… you have to thaw them.

Anyway, after all the griping about my “touristy” picture taking, then Malindi wanted a shot of her with her cake. I obliged.


And one more of my sister and my mama. Crikey that girl is tall (she’s wearing heels and my mom’s in flats, but still!)


Finally, in a food theme (one of) her gifts from me:


Oh right, the name. So my little sister’s name is Malindi. A misspelling on a form led some people to call her by the cute typo, Malinki. Then my best friend took it beyond: Malindi>Malinki>Malinkle>Finkle Dinkle Doo>Finkle. And now I call her Finkle. Tangent.

Inside that package was:


Homemade ice cream!

I thought about making her a birthday cake but with this chick it’s either feast or famine- one year her friends literally made her six cakes and then one year there were none and we had to take one out of the freezer. I decided to prevent having 6 cakes slowly going rotten taking up our refrigerator, I’d make something that you can freeze for months! Plus, her boyfriend has celiac disease and ice cream is gluten free. PLUS cmon it’s late June. And ice cream is awesome.

I am intimidated by making homemade ice cream, since the last time I did it I accidentally made butter. Which Malindi, the birthday girl, to her credit, pretended to like.

We had super ripe bananas and Malindi loves coconut so an obvious first step was this recipe for banana coconut ice cream. But, I tweaked some things with what I had on hand, the most crucial difference being my use of fresh pineapple, whoo!

Coconut milk (the real stuff- they now think the type of saturated fatty acid in coconut may actually be GOOD for you so everyone relax, k?), sweetened condensed milk, last tupperware of fresh pineapple with accumulated juice, and those dark things up top which are REAL ripe bananas (they aren’t rotten or anything, though; they got so dark in part because I put them in the fridge because all the ingredients are supposed to be chilled).


Banana Pina Colada Ice Cream

1/2 cup fresh pineapple, juice reserved
2 extra ripe bananas
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups liquid- as much fresh pineapple juice as you can get (I had about 1/3 of a cup) with the rest milk (you can use any milk you want- I used a blend of soy and 1%, just what I have around the house)

Chill all ingredients until very cold.

Combine pineapple and banana. Mash. Set aside.

Combine milks, sugar, and pineapple juice (juice may curdle milk- that’s okay, it’ll all come out fine in the freezer) with sugar, and stir slowly (I used my stand mixer) until sugar is dissolved, ideally producing minimal bubbles.

Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers directions.

Going into the machine:


Aaaaand after it came out, all gorgeous:


And wowza so luscious! Smooth and creamy and complex and gelato-y. Yum yum yum.


Kaz said...

Happy birthday to Malindi!

I always over do it at buffets, too. It's the dessert that does me in.

Omg, your ice cream recipe looks amazing! I just got an ice cream maker, so I'm definitely going to try it. Thank you! :D

Heather (Where's the Beach) said...

LOL - isn't if funny how nicknames happen. Yummy on the ice cream and happy bday to your sis!

Megan D said...

Your sister is so lucky! I wish my sister got me homemade ice cream for a gift!! =P
And all your desserts look delish. Especially that nutty choco ball :)

Natalie @ cinnamonbums said...

malindi is such a pretty name! love her dress also. looks like a pretty fantastic way to celebrate birthday. i love the idea of an afternoon tea with a long of mini desserts - for my last birthday, my friends threw me a surprise tea party... they know me too well!!!

i have been looking for the perfect lemon bar also... youre right that theyre so common but the PERFECT one is a bit hard to find...

AllThingsYummy said...

wow, everything looks delicious. I wish we had a place for that kind of buffet here.

Maya said...

I really want to try that hotel's tea! I love a proper tea service. I know what you mean about buffets, it's hard to keep in mind that just because you CAN eat it all doesn't mean it's BEST. And if you savor the bites and eat what you really like I think you get just as much pleasure, if not more, out of it. Delicious looking ice cream, and a great birthday gift! Finkie. Love it.

The Glamorous Gourmet said...

What a cute post & Happy Birthday, Finkle! That ice cream sounds delicious too - thanks for sharing!

Kelsey Ann said...

thats probably such a neat perspective to see ur younger sis grow up infront of you. i only have older brothers and i look at them in a similar way but dif perspective uno?

oh to be 19 again.. actually i shouldnt say that since im only 2 years older.. but im actually glad im not 19 eek i didnt like those years lol

xoxo <3

Tamara Marnell said...

Where did your sister get that dress?! I want.

I want the tea too, of course. Shoot. I already ate breakfast, and there's no room now for scones.

fittingbackin said...

Great pictures of Malindi and your fam -you are a great sister!!

Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear said...

I loved the idea of afternoon tea buffet :) your sister is so pretty!