As parents, most of us go through a particular time of year wondering how to make the perfect birthday cake. I am NOT perfect, but I have devised a basic yet effective party menu that is a great hit with the kids and grown-ups.
A staple to my party food diet. They fill bellies, are cheap and easy, and you can make whatever you like, catering to both the kids and the adults. If you need some good ideas have a look at these fillings. For the party I did:
Egg and Mayonnaise
Roast Beef and Tomato
Salami, Tomato Relish and Lettuce
Ham and Cucumber
Sausage Rolls – Need an hour in the oven so best start them early
4 sheets Puff pastry cut in half (rectangular shape)
500g Chicken Mince
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 onion & 2 cloves garlic – blended
2 tbsp Mayonnaise
2 eggs (one for the mince, one for brushing the pastry with)
1 tsp Tumeric
1 tsp Corriander seeds
1 tsp Cumin
Small bunch of fresh herbs (I used dill)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then spread a line (about an inch round) of mince along the long side of the puff pastry. Firmly roll the pastry around the mince and give it a little squish to even it out (I then put them into the fridge for the party the next day). Brush the top of the rolls with a lightly beaten egg, and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Before putting them in the oven cut through the top layer of pastry so they are easier to cut when cooked. Bake at 180C for an hour.
Fairy Bread and Fairies in the Mud
For most Australians, Fairy Bread needs no introduction. For the rest of the world (correct me if I’m wrong) this is a new thing. I know, Aussies everywhere are saying “WHAT??” it’s true. A timeless classic which is eaten just as much by the adults at the party as it is the kids.
So, the mess-relatively-free method is this:
Butter one side of a piece of bread and press into a saucer filled with 100’s and 1000’s or sprinkles, whatever you have there. Slice and serve.
Fairies in the Mud can be made the same way but using Hazelnut Spread instead of butter.
This one should be self-explanatory, get fruit, cut it up. Contrasting colours can be very attractive on a plate, and sticking to seasonal fruit can almost guarantee lovely freshness and quality. Also try to chose fruit that you know will get eaten.
Hummus with Veggie Sticks
Cannellini Beans are a great alternative to using chick peas for Hummus. Makes a smoother, creamier Hummus. If you want to add a little crunch to the dip just add some finely diced veggies or seeds.
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of salt
Method: Just chuck it all in the blender
This is another Aussie classic from the 50’s. Although I’m not sure what the correct name for them are. Using oval-shaped plain milk biscuits (Arrowroots) and some leftover icing from the cake production (because there always is) you can make easy, tasty treats. Spread the icing on the flat side of the biscuit, add Smarties or similar choc beans for eyes, and a jellybean or other kind of lolly mouth (I got the kids to make their own – a good activity to start the party) or use the fudge writing pens, sprinkles, anything will work here.
Daunting a task this may seem, it can be pulled off without losing too much hair. My husband and I always try to make a cake that is special to our kids, and so chose a character or theme from a book, TV or movie that they love.
This one I chose (Finn from Adventure Time) was a good choice because it has bold colours and simple lines, it was quite easy to re-create. Another trick to making a good cake easily is to just make a simple cake, ice it, and then throw some (washable) toys on top to give it a theme.
Emma Eastman 2012