Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Party Aftermath


The party is long over and done with but this party animal has lots of cleaning up to do. Before Cocoa gets stuck into the mess that we created, here are the recipes for all the food that made the festivities all the more enjoyable.

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.

Polenta Square with mini meatballs

Oatmeal Cookie and Raspberry Ice Cream

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.

Oatmeal Cookies
makes 2 giant cookies)
recipe adapted from this book

Oatmeal Cookie and Raspberry Ice Cream

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.

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.

Oatmeal Cookie and Raspberry Ice Cream

Kir Royale Mocktales

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.

Mini Meatball Cups

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.

Mini Meatball Recipe

Mini Meatball Cups

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

olive oil

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.

Swizzle Sticks

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!


wheresmymind said...

Steve Irwin would really dig Coco I'm sure :)

christine said...

You are so much fun! Wish I could have joined the party. :)

Erin S. said...

what fun. I will have to try the polenta fries--i just made sweet potato fries for the first time and I'm hooked!

dumoria said...

I totally dig meatballs, oatmeal cookies, ice cream and mocktails. I would have spent a great evening next to the buffet :laughs:

By the way, I didn't know Steve Irwing much but I had always thought that adventurers like him would pass over that way.

Anonymous said...

Again, I can't believe how all out you went for is just too adorable.

Anonymous said...

What a party! I especially loved the meatballs in pastry cups!

Joycelyn said...

hi jen, what an awesome spread! you are one dedicated party animal ;) i esepcially love that everything is downscaled and mini and super-cute...yummy!

Alpineberry Mary said...

Wow, what a great party. And all that food - yummy! I love polenta fries.

Anonymous said...

What a great party you and Coco must have had! I love all the recipes, especially the fries and the cookies. Great entry!

miss cupcake said...

great ideas and the photos are cute too. I've linked your post to my latest on kids' party BA style.

Anonymous said...

looks as a great party! (nice you can make many thing in advance!)
all yummy the cookie spoons! =)

Jen said...

wheresmymind- hey thanks for the Utube link, have you seen the one with the snake that has an accident on the host of a talk show. It's hillarious.

Christine- there is always next time, we never stop partying over here at Milk and Cookies.

Erin s.- I love sweet potato fries, with a sprinkling of sea salt. I love the sweet salty flavour : )

Dumoria- don't worry there would have been enough to feed you and an entire army!

And about Steve, yes it was very tragic and he was very well loved by us. At least he passed on doing exactly what he loved. I guess not many people have had that same good fortune, if you could see it that way.

Peabody- thanks so much!!!

Ivonne- thanks, the meatballs were also my mum's personal favourite.

j- thanks, I thought that having everything mini-sized would mean me eating less but it was the actual opposite!

Mary- thanks, I myself am a new fan of polenta fries!

Helene- thanks, it was really great getting try out new recipes. And yes, Cocoa is one big party animal!

Miss Cupcake- thanks for the link and such a great article you wrote!
Down with Barney!

Julia- yes the cookie spoon idea was a bit of an accident. Serendipity you could say.