The Cheesy Polenta Fries were a slight variation on Heidi's Baked Polenta Fries recipe here.
From past experience, I found out that most kid's like cheese, so to make the fries slightly more cheesy, I used 3/4 cup Grana Padano cheese instead of the parmesan. Very similar to Parmesan, Grana Padano is a well matured, hard cheese. It has slight nutty tones and at times may bear slight hints of olive and strawberry. This cheese is less pungent than parmesan and so would not deter some of the more finicky kids from eating them.
The Polenta Squares and Mini Meatball Sticks were made using the leftover cheesy polenta and meatballs by simply skewering them onto toothpicks for easy eating.
A party, especially a children's party is not complete until the kids get to have dessert; be it cake, cookies or ice cream, children love their sweets. Also a kid's party isn't a kid's party until they have been adquately permitted to make a complete mess of themselves. This dessert will not disappoint as ice cream and cookies are the perfect concoction for sticky fingers and soiled clothing. The best thing is that the cookies can be used as a makeshift spoon to scoop out the ice cream, so like I mentioned it's the perfect combination for food, fun and grubby fingers.
makes 2 giant cookies)
recipe adapted from this book
½ cup plus 2 tbsp plain all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
75g unsalted butter
½ cup packed molasses cane sugar (alternatively you can use dark brown sugar)
¼ cup granulated unrefined cane sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup oatmeal (not instant)
½ cup chopped almonds or walnuts
¼ cup unrefined powdered sugar (conventional is fine)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp water
Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare two round baking sheet 10-12 inch (25-30 cm) in diameter with some parchment paper.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a dry bowl and set aisde.
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugars together. If using molasses cane sugar, you will have some chunks, this is all right.
Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended well.
Sift in flour mixture and incorporate with a wooden spoon into the batter. Add the oatmeal and nuts.
Drop half the dough onto the middle of the baking sheet and with a spatula, carefully spread the batter evenly all the way to the edges of the parchment paper. Do the same for the remaining portion of dough.
Bake in the oven one at a time; for approximately 19 minutes or until the edges are browned.
Allow the cookie to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring it to a wire rack to cool further. When the cookies are completely cooled, using a large sharp knife, slice the cookie into even wedges. You can get at least 8-12 slices from each cookie.
FROSTING THE COOKIES
In a small bowl, sift the icing sugar and add the vanilla essence.
Add the water 1 teaspoon at a time and add more water is necessary, combine until the mixture is smooth.
The frosting should be thick and hold its form.
Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a small round writing nozzle (about 3mm wide).
Hold the bag an inch from the cookies at a slight angle and write your message. The frosting will firm at room temperature.
NOTES: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container and will last up to two days.
Just to keep on the "healthier" side I used several types of unrefined sugars, this recipe can be substituted with conventional sugars.
Originally made with blackcurrant liqueur and champagne, this kiddie mocktale made with Ribena will allow your little guests to enjoy a bit of elegant fun.
Kir Royale Mocktale
(makes over 2 litres)
adapted from this recipe
4½ cups blackcurrant juice (Ribena)
3 cups sparkling (white) grape juice or sparkling apple juice
1½ cups sparkling mineral water
Combine all ingredients in a large jug and pour over ice into small glasses.
These mini meatballs are a great size for children. A good way to portion them for kids is to place them into little pastry cups. You can use store-bought frozen shortcrust pastry or choose to make your own. Simply cut out 10 cm diameter circles from the pastry sheets and line a patty cake tin with the pastry dough. Weigh the cups down with pastry weights or rice and bake blind at 160°C for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry cups are golden brown. Remove the pastry weights 10-12 minutes into baking. Once you have placed 4-5 mini meatballs in each cup, you can drizzle a little bit of sweet chilli sauce on top.
500g ground beef
1 small onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup finely grated gruyere cheese
¼ cup grated mozzarella cheese
freshly cracked pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix using your hands until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight if possible.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Remove from fridge and roll into 1 tsp worth of tiny balls.
Place onto several baking sheets, spacing them fairly closely and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 20 minutes or until meatballs are browned.
Transfer meatballs to a bowl and cover until required.
We would like to dedicate this post to one of the best party animals that ever lived, Steve Irwin, whose memorial service was held in Queensland, Australia this morning. As one who lived with such passion and purpose, I know many Australians including myslef will sorely miss him. Crikey, he was one great Aussie and one great human being!