I’ve never thrown Oscar a party at home. Mostly because our house is just too small to comfortably accommodate many people and so Oscar’s previous birthday parties have been hosted, and catered, by other venues. This year we decided to have a family party for him at our favourite holiday apartment in Plymouth. And as we were hosting it also meant I could go to town on the catering. I don’t know what it is, but I love making (and eating) party food. It must have something to do with all the happy party memories from my childhood. And thanks to the advent of Pinterest, I got plenty of inspiration to add to my own memories.
I decided, as his party was being held on Easter Sunday, to go with a loose Easter theme. Think bunnies and eggs and you get the picture. I really enjoyed preparing the food and wanted to say a huge thank you to Ben for keeping the boy occupied while I did. It meant I could whack on a party play list, sing out and get creating. What I didn’t realise until I started making it, was how inspired by the 70’s my party food would be! But do you know, everyone loved it, whether it was nostalgic love or not. I was extremely proud of how the food turned out so have decided to devote a whole post to my favourite bits!
Cheese and Pineapple
My first creation was less ‘made’ and more ‘put together’, the perennial party favourite Cheese and Pineapple. Now I’ll let you in on a secret, I don’t actually like Cheese and Pineapple. I mean I like the ingredients separately, but I just don’t get them together (and before you ask, no I don’t like Hawaiian Pizza either)! Many years ago, we were going to a ‘Bad Taste’ fancy dress party and in keeping with the theme I made one of these to take along. You know, as a joke. Only everyone went nuts for it! So I’ve made one for every party I’ve had since and it’s always been devoured!
There’s no real recipe as such, only I would recommend using Mild Cheddar (Mature is too crumbly and wont stay on the stick) and tinned Pineapple chunks in juice. For the true Fanny Craddock vibe, I always use a grapefruit covered in foil to hold the sticks. It wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t 🙂
Staying firmly with the 70’s vibe, I chose Devilled Eggs, as they fitted the theme and are delicious. I did think about dying the eggs pretty pastel colours as my friend Shannon over at Shannonagains suggested, but I decided to go au naturel in the end, using the same recipe as I did for my Halloween Spider eggs. I boiled 5 eggs for 8 minutes, then plunged them into cold water. Once peeled, I then cut them in half and removed the yellows to a bowl, which I mixed with a couple of tbsps of light Mayonnaise, a tsp of mustard powder and salt and pepper to taste. I then spooned the mixture back into the whites (if I’d been really fancy I could have piped them, but I don’t actually own a piping bag or nozzle!) and placed them on a plate covered in round lettuce.
One of the challenges when catering for both children and adults is finding food that’s accessible for all. Sandwiches are usually a safe bet and although I thought about making some interesting fillings, I knew in my heart this would be a good place to provide something a more familiar for those who were a little anxious in their tastes (fussy eaters sound so negative!) Anyway I chose plain ham and plain cheese and kept them on theme by investing in some bunny cookie cutters. How cute are they? And I love the contrast between the white and brown bread. I’d apologise for the ‘cress as grass garnish’, but I’m not going to – I love it!
These sandwiches were all made with standard bread as Oscar isn’t the biggest sandwich fan. I made him his own Gluten Free peanut butter bunny sandwiches, which went uneaten! Sigh!
FYI, I didn’t make these Hot Cross Buns, who do you think I am, Mary Berry!
Mozzarella Onion Pull Apart Bread
This was a variation on a recipe I found on Pinterest. It sounded decadent and yet simple to do. And I was right. The original recipe called for Monterey Jack cheese, but I decided to use mozzarella instead. To be honest, while mozzarella provided the requisite meltyness (what? that’s a word right?) I personally thought it could have done with a bit more flavour, so would maybe consider using something like Havarti or Emmental next time.
- 1 400g unsliced Bloomer
- 1 large mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 200g butter, melted
- A bunch of finely sliced spring onions
- 2 tsp poppy seeds
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180c, Gas Mark 5. Cut the bread length ways and width ways without cutting through the bottom crust. Place on a large sheet of foil. Insert cheese between cuts. Combine melted butter, onion, poppy seeds and seasoning. Drizzle over bread. Wrap the foil up and over bread until covered. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 180c for 15 minutes. Unwrap the bread and bake for 10 more minutes. Serve whole and let everyone help themselves!
This really was my piece de resistance. Another Pinterest recipe I found and fell in love with. It was actually incredibly easy (and my version was even easier than the original – and better looking if you ask me 😉 ). The bread came from The Royal William Bakery, next door to the apartment. It was so fresh out of the oven, I had to leave it for a couple for hours just to cool down! And boy did it smell good. Obviously you don’t need to use such amazing bread (although of course if you can, do!). The original recipe also gave instructions to make the dip, but I was doing so much else I chose to buy one. I have no problem with that. If you have time and inclination to make the dip then more power to you.
- 1 medium Sourdough Loaf (I got a whole grain one, but white would work as well)
- 2 part baked baguettes
- Cocktail sticks
- 2 pots of your favourite dip
- Your favourite dipping vegetables. I used, pepper, carrot and celery
Bake the part baked baguettes as per the instructions and let cool. Place the sourdough on the tray you want to present it on. Carve a hollow out of the sourdough at a slight angle, keeping the bread you remove for the bunny’s face. Place the ‘face’ above the body of the sourdough and make three small indents in it for the eyes and nose. Press a raisin into each hollow. Use cocktail sticks pushed in either side of the ‘face’ as whiskers. Cut one of the baguettes in half and use each half as an ear, securing to the head with a cocktail stick. Use a round of the other baguette as a tail, placed at the base of the sour dough. Cut up the vegetables and surround the bunny (I also used left over round lettuce as grass!) and when ready to serve tip the dip into the bunny’s body.
He went down a blooming treat! We had friends over after the party too and no a scrap of him was left. That’s what I like, no waste and no washing up!
And of course no birthday party would be complete without cake. I didn’t make this myself, but it couldn’t not be included here. Oscar’s Grandma really stepped up to the plate, making him a delicious, gluten free rainbow cake. A rainbow, you know, like a spectrum 😉 . It was beautiful! Thank you so much to Catherine for making such an amazing cake. And then making a second chocolate one, just in case! They were both divine!
We all had a wonderful day. Oscar played with his cousins brilliantly (involving collaborative art, roaring competitions and chasing each other round the apartment) and the adults got to relax and catch up. Oh and drink prosecco. Seriously it was what every children’s party should be. With a side order of 70’s style bunny themed party food. What’s not to love?
Happy Birthday Oscar!