We celebrated my daughter Imogen’s 6th birthday today (a month late, but never mind…) at the beautiful Camellia Gardens in Sydney’s south. Naturally our menu was all vegan, and naturally I was way too rushed to take photos of the food, because as a family, we do LATE as a matter of routine. But here’s a run-down on the menu:
- 3 flavours of hommous: I made a huge batch of hommous in my Thermomix, and divided it into 3 portions. One I left plain, the second I added a baked beetroot to (bake beetroot whole, in its skin, until it’s squishy, then peel the skin off and blend into the hommous), and the third I added a baked sweet potato to (prepare as for beetroot). I served the dips with carrot and celery sticks, and some brown rice seaweed crackers.
- Spider munchies: my kids spread avocado onto rice and corn thins, and sandwiched two thins together with 4 little carrot sticks poking out on either side of the sandwich, to make spider legs. They laid halved grape tomatoes down the spiders’ backs to make them redbacks. Warning: make these close to serving time or the thins will go soggy.
- Fruit butterflies: I cut fresh pineapple slices into wedges for the butterfly wings, topped them with small, halved dark grapes to make spots on the wings, then put a thin slice of peach between the wings for the butterfly body. Small peach slices made antennae.
- Buzzy bees: the night before the party, I whizzed up some almonds, walnuts, dates and cacao powder in my Thermomix until they formed a sticky wodge, then rolled the wodge into a sausage shape (about 2.5 cm in diameter) on baking paper, and rolled it up. I made a nut-free version for one of my daughter’s guests who is allergic to nuts, by substituting sunflower seeds for the nuts. I left both rolls in the fridge overnight. In the morning I sliced them about 1 cm thick, and threaded them onto paddle pop sticks, alternating the date-nut roll slices with slices of banana. I stuck 2 currants into the top slice of banana to make the bees’ eyes. These were a hit with kids and parents alike!
- Traffic light pops: I used a melon baller to make watermelon, rockmelon and honeydew melon balls, and threaded one of each colour onto a paddle pop stick. The kids descended on these and wiped them out in seconds flat.
- Vegie sushi: a quick plug here for Kenji, on the Kingsway in Caringbah. They make all their sushi to order, and even have a brown rice option.
- Zucchini and currant muffins: I adapted this recipe from a non-vegan cookbook, making lots of substitutions. I’ll post the recipe once I figure out what quantities I actually used (yep, I winged this one – but it worked!).
- Home-popped popcorn: I prepare this, without oil, in a heavy-based saucepan – one with a glass lid so my kids can watch the kernels pop!
- LOLs: the only canned drink I will let my kids anywhere near. It’s just carbonated water with fruit juice. No added sugar and no artificial colours, which means your kids don’t come home from the party and bounce off the walls for the next 6 hours.
- 3 layer ‘ice cream’ cake: made from frozen bananas. The top layer was frozen banana and frozen strawberries, whipped up in my trusty Thermomix. I spread that in the cake pan and froze it for a couple of hours. The middle layer was frozen banana and natural vanilla extract. I spread that on top of the strawberry layer and left it in the freezer for another 2 hours. The bottom layer was frozen bananas, cacao powder and a dash of apple juice concentrate. Once I turned it out onto the serving platter, I decorated it with fresh blueberries. This cake was devoured with much oohing and aahing.
Obviously, our menu required a fair bit of planning and preparation. But it was just so satisfying to see kids enjoying healthy food rather than shovelling in the usual rubbish that’s served up at kids’ parties – especially those held at commerical party venues.
Please post your favourite healthy party food ideas too!