Australia & NZ 2011 (19 March)

On Saturday we woke up as early as we could, had a banana each and some almonds and headed to the beach for a run. Then we got back to the apartment for breakfast on Saturday was a bed of baby spinach with two soft-boiled eggs (three for Alvaro) and a slice of Tasty cheese.

Then we headed to the gompa (meditation room). I could only stay until 11 because I had to meet Gary and Franz to go food shopping. We were planning a BBQ that night to celebrate our teacher’s 70th birthday. Turned out that Franz was caught on his chef duties (he was cooking for the lama) and we ended up waiting til noon. We drove to James St Deli, where the really nice butcher helped us get the best quality meat and sausages we could get within our budget. He even offered to cut it for us.

We went to a shopping centre and bought the rest of the stuff in Woolies and a green grocer. Once back in the apartments, we split the people the helpers in two groups, one went to Gary’s apartment and the other to mine.

Food prep was ready on time. We closed the meditation we had started the day before (people took turns to keep it going for 24 hours), and there was a small ceremony to give our lama his birthday pressie.

We asked most of the people to leave the penthouse to set it up for the BBQ. We had all the salads and bread rolls already upstairs and some guys went to the ground floor to cook the meat. Around 8 pm the chewing action started.

Our lama and his guests had the same salads as us, plus cebiche (no onions, served with corn and sweet potato on the side) and baked fish, which had been marinated with lemon and herbs, and cooked with a bit of butter.

Salad number one had raw beetroot, carrot, fennel and orange, dressed with orange juice and olive oil, sitting on a bed of rocket. Salad number two had sweet potato baked with salt, pepper, cumin and olive oil, cherry tomatoes, rocket, basil, lime and olive oil dressing, and goat’s cheese. Salad number three was a potato salad with pickled gherkins and mayo/grain mustard dressing.

Salads & bread

Salads & bread

As for the meat, we got chicken breasts marinated in lemon and thyme, beef steaks, lamb steaks, pork sausages, and chicken sausages. There also were a few veggie (chickpea & sunflower) burgers for the vegos.

Marinated chicken, beef steaks

Marinated chicken, beef steaks

Pork sausages

Pork sausages

Lamb, chicken sausages

Lamb, chicken sausages

I tried one of each and must say I was impressed with the flavour. Having Gary in charge of grilling, it was cooked to perfection. But apparently we overestimated our belly capacity and ended up with lots of leftover steaks.

We would have liked to bake a special cake for the occasion but it would have been too much work. Instead, we ordered a custom cake with a map of the world in the icing, showing the places where our lama has founded more than 600 Buddhist centres.

Birthday cake

Birthday cake

The cake was chocolate nougat. As we anticipated it to be pretty rich and sweet, we prepared a fruit salad (watermelon, strawberry, mint, and lime juice) to go with it.

Watermelon, strawberry, mint & lime salad

Watermelon, strawberry, mint & lime salad

The cake/fruit salad combo was a huge success. And yes, I had seconds.

Fruit salad & chocolate nougat cake

Fruit salad & chocolate nougat cake

James St Deli
33 James Street
Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
(07) 5535 1028

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