Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Party Planning tips and recipes…

It’s been a while since I have written. My son’s Birthdays are only a few days apart…So I had been preparing for both their parties and a lot has happened in the interim after the party. I was exhausted but completely stoked that I was able to achieve what seemed at the time to be impossible.

I made a two tier Birthday Cake for Ishaaq, a few savories, mini cakes (as those go down much better and appeal to kids) and biscuits for tea. I will share all of those. Keep in mind though, we did the parties on a budget compared to the previous ones.

I loved the venue for Ishaaq’s party, and if you are in Jhb you should definitely check this venue out on http://www.kiddy-up.co.za…It based in Linbro Park and the owners and staff are delightful to deal with.

The venue provides a jumping castle, trampoline, swings, horserides for the little ones, playhouse, etc and these are all included in their package. You can even order a slip and slide like we did. It saved me time on having to plan activities for the kids like I did for Uzair’s 1st…guess we all learn. Pity, I didn’t get to do either of those things (wish I was a kid again!…had to see to my wonderful guests) but was just incredibly happy that my sons and our guests enjoyed their day.

Here are some pics from Uzair’s Home party (I made him a Ben10 Omnitrix cake as he requested for it) and Ishaaq’s 1st party at Kiddy-up party venue.





















For the mini Cupcakes and mini doughnuts, I used a basic cupcake recipe that I trust. I used black powdered food coloring from The Party Spot shop for the mini doughnuts and drizzled with white chocolate. Use any color "you" like- e.g. use red and call it red velvet mini doughnuts and drizzle with cream cheese frosting instead of white chocolate. Click for my favourite vanilla cupcakes recipe



These biscuits are well worth the effort. You can use any basic shortbread biscuit recipe for both of these.

The Rainbow Biscuits were made by:

1. Dividing the dough into 6 and then adding 6 different powdered food colors and kneading each batch of dough well until the color is caught throughout the dough.

2. You will then roll each dough one at a time into a rectangle about 3mm thick.

3. Now stack the rectangles with lightly beaten egg white brushed between the layers, refrigerate this stack for 30 mins, thereafter slice through the layers to get all the colors.

4. Ready to bake


The Lollipop Biscuits were made by:

1. Crush a few glass sweets in a plastic bag using a rolling pin and set aside. I like 'sparkles' they melt easily and taste divine.

2. Once you have prepared the biscuit dough, roll it out between two sheets of wax wrap or lunch paper till about 3mm thick and refrigerate. Use two round cutters (use a glass and bottle cap if you don't have these) to cut the biscuit rounds, place biscuits on greased baking tray and place the paddle pop or ice cream sticks (craft shops) under each biscuit round.

3. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with rainbow vermicelli. Bake biscuits for half the time.

4. Remove from oven and add crushed sweets in the centre and bake till done or sweets melt. Voila! Lollipop biscuits:)

Shortbread Biscuit Recipe:

Ingredients:

200g butter
3/4 cup castor sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
2 cups flour

Method:

1. Beat butter, sugar, essence and egg until light and fluffy.
2. Stir in flour in two batches and knead on floured surface.
3. Proceed as for Rainbow or Lollipop biscuits.
4. Bake on greased oven tray for about 15mins or until golden.


Party planning tips:

1. Baked goods freeze well, so do those in advance. That includes the Birthday cake before icing.

2. Be completely sure about the number of your guests and prepare a little extra. Get your guests to RSVP…it’s not rude! It’s the 21st Century and each guest has to be well catered for. Polite way: I ‘hope’ your ‘entire’ family will be attending, will they ‘all’ be coming?

3. Don’t do everything on your own, if family is willing to help, delegate a duty to them. Let them know in advance about requiring their help at the party or you will be stranded…like I was. Thankfully my sweet cousins helped out with reheating snacks and setting them so they would be ready for the other guests.

4. If you are not providing a full meal be sure to let your guests know. Inviting at lunchtime and then serving light snacks might make for grumpy guests.

5. Always visit the venue prior to the event, you may like the venue but the roads to get there could be disastrous. We put in a deposit for another venue prior to Kiddy-up and the roads to get there were spread with potholes. We even damaged our car at the venues driveway. We later cancelled and could not even get the deposit back as it was a non-refundable one….so watch out for those when you are booking.

6. Check that services or goods the venue provides are in good condition, eg, swings, jungle gyms etc are not broken, no broken dishes, chairs, wobbly tables, torn gazebos, and the venue is neat and tidy.

7. Always include detailed directions to the venue with your invites and hang balloons and signs such as “Ishaaq’s Party!” near the venue roads to let guests know they are going the right way. I didn’t have the time to do so, a few of my guests came in about 40mins late to the party. So do this in advance!

8. Back to food, always write down what you intend making and stick to it or you will make a number of last minute trips to the shops for ingredients. Try at best to use what you have; scarcity in my opinion promotes creativity. I didn’t have pastry so made a moon pie using dough made out of cream and flour. Here’s the recipe…

Ingredients:

2 cups cream (I used fresh cream)

2 tspn baking powder

½ tspn salt

1,5-3cups flour

Mix the above and add flour a little at a time to create a soft but manageable dough, it’s ok if it’s sticky, just add flour if you need to.

Roll on floured surface to about 3mm thickness and use a round cutter or tumbler/glass to cut rounds. Fill one half with filling of your choice and then fold over to seal with lightly beaten egg and press with a fork. (dip your fork into flour before you press so it doesn’t stick to the dough)

Brush with beaten egg and garnish with sesame or poppy seeds and bake on greased trays in oven at 180 degrees.

9. Make sure your kiddos are well rested for the party so schedule the party after nap times.

10. Consider snack options for your guests if there is going to be a wait before the main meal is served such as moon pies above and pizzas, samoosas and hotdogs are always a hit! Here’s the link to the pizza recipe that I used for the party of 40 adults and 10 kids..it can yield about 4 large pizzas…depending on the thickness you want in the crust.


I will include a tutorial soon on how to create the Ben10 and Ishaaq's Plane cake soon.

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