The birthday churrasco last night was a success. We had about 20 people over, all arriving fashionably late in good brasilian style (an Irish friend commented upon arrival that she'd read in a book on brasilian culture that, when invited to a party by a brasileiro, one must not show up less than an hour past the stipulated starting time - it's very true!).
We had tons of picanha, maminha, chicken, lamb - meat galore, essentially - and the compulsory side dishes vinagrete (diced tomatoes, onion and cilantro), maionese (potato salad that I doctored up to the point where you couldn't really taste the mayonnaise, one of the few foods I absolutely detest), green salad and garlic bread. We were missing farofa, but sometimes you just have to make do without rather than pay US$12 for one measly little bag at the import grocery.
I made a chocolate cake, then doctored it up with doce de leite and coconut frosting. I was nervous about this recipe - I'd not made it before, and it involved not one but two pre-made mixes - total sacrilege to the baker who prefers to do things from scratch. Doubts aside, I was encouraged by the rave reviews the cake got on the cooking site where I found the recipe. It took some extra work (Rico and I had to chop up 600g of chocolate candy bars to make the equivalent of 4 cups of chocolate chips), but was well worth it. By far the best chocolate cake I've ever made in my entire life. Gooey, moist, flavorful, dense. Super delicious. And it largely came from a mix. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that one...
Anyhow, the churrasco was great fun, very laid back. The weather cooperated with a cool, clear evening and we were able to sit outside and not drip sweat, a welcome change from the scorching summer months. We had a super diverse crowd in atendance, as is the norm with parties in Maputo in the expat circles, including friends that are Brasilian, American, Mozambican, Irish, British, Scottish, Australian, Spanish and Portuguese. We sang happy birthday to Rico (actually it was Parabéns), then he blew out 3 Hanukkah candles that we had to use in lieu of the sparkly birthday candles we'd bought at Shoprite that apparently sprouted legs and walked off while we were busy eating meat.
Today I am hopefully going to finish Rico's birthday present. I'm making him a ring out of fine silver for his right hand, and I need to get out the blowtorch to create the last details in the metal. After that, I am going to hop on the treadmill to compensate for last night's excess meat and beer, and then I vote we spend the rest of the day at the pool. It's a gorgeous day out again, and I can't bear the thought of spending it inside.