The Party Plan
"Frogs in the Lily Pond",
and other fun recipes...
Children's Birthday Party ideas, recipes and tricks
written by a wonderful author from Australia.
Frogs in the Lily Pond
July 6, 2004
By Cidonie Richards
This story was found at the
Sydney Morning Herald
Keep it simple, make it colourful, prepare ahead - and pare back.
With a little inspiration, imagination and forward planning, a day involving screaming hordes of children descending on your home in search of fairy bread can be fun. First, shun the current trend of spending a fortune on entertainment, which seems designed to impress parents more than kids. You don't have to employ clowns, magicians, karaoke machines, face-painters and professional party planners to create a dream birthday for Henry or Henrietta.
Try a theme instead. Fairies, monsters, pirates, hippies, punks and circuses give plenty of scope for fabulous costumes and decorations. For older kids, stage a disco party (change the light globes in your house to coloured ones).
Organise some games to keep kids stimulated and to build up an appetite. Old favourites - guessing games, scavenger hunts, team relays, balloon and blindfold games - are amusing and much cheaper than hiring a giant jumping castle or a train of donkeys. Buy a piata for a few dollars (see stock list) to absorb their pent-up energy.
Then the food. The three keys to a splendid spread are to keep it simple, make it colourful and prepare it ahead. These savoury and sweet treats can be made earlier and reheated if necessary; just make the wacky animals on the day. Have loads of tomato sauce for our bonbon frankfurts and plum sauce for the mini chicken drumsticks. Add a plate of bright fruit pieces (the kids may not touch the healthy alternative, but you'll feel virtuous).
And be brutal with the guest list. Remember, small is the secret to sanity.
1 egg white
2 egg yolks
55g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g shredded coconut
Silver cachous or tiny balls to decorate
Beat egg white and a pinch of salt in a small bowl until soft peaks form.
Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until mixture
is thick and pale. Fold shredded coconut into yolk mixture, then fold in beaten egg white.
Spoon heaped teaspoonfuls of mixture onto baking-paper-lined oven trays and push cachous
or tiny sweets into each macaroon.
Bake at 125C for 25-30 minutes or until golden and firm.
Transfer macaroons to wire racks to cool.
Macaroons will keep in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
Makes about 20.
12 slices white bread
1/2 cup soft butter
Coloured sprinkles and small sweets to decorate
Animal-shaped biscuit cutters.
Place a biscuit cutter on the centre of each slice of bread and cut out shapes.
Spread with butter and cover with sprinkles.
Use small sweets for eyes, pressing gently with fingers.
Best eaten on the day they are made.
Frogs in the Lily Pond
3 x 85g packets green jelly
12 large jelly frogs or 24 small frogs (candy)
Flower sweets (candy or sugar decorations)
Make the jelly according to instructions on the packet and pour half of it
evenly between 12 small wide glasses. Place glasses in the fridge until the jelly is almost set.
Place 1 or 2 frogs on top of each jelly and top up glasses with remaining jelly.
Refrigerate until set. Decorate with small flowers (or candy)
Can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored covered in the fridge.
Place flowers on jellies on the day of the party.
1 litre neapolitan ice-cream
12 paddle pop sticks
250g cooking chocolate
Sugar quins or small sweets for decoration.
Form ice-cream into small balls with a scoop or spoon and
place on a lightly greased metal tray.
Push a paddle pop stick into the centre of each one and freeze.
Melt chocolate in microwave or on top of a double boiler and cool to desired consistency.
Swirl ice-cream balls through cooled melted chocolate and quickly dip in a plate of small sweets.
Return to freezer until ready to serve. Can be made several days ahead.
24 cocktail frankfurts
6 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
Ovenproof cotton or string
Tomato sauce, to serve
Pre-heat oven to 180C. Prick frankfurts all over with a fork.
Cut each pastry sheet into 4 squares, brushing each square with beaten egg.
Place a frankfurt on each pastry square and roll up.
Gently press edges to seal. Tie ends loosely with string.
Place bonbons on a lightly greased oven tray, brush lightly with egg and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
Serve with tomato sauce.
Small children may need to be reminded to remove the string before eating.
Can be made the day before and reheated on party day.
Bon Bons and Drum Sticks
Mini Chicken Drumsticks
1 cup cornflakes
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup plain flour
10 chicken wings
Canola oil for shallow frying
Plum sauce, to serve
Crush cornflakes into crumbs and combine on a plate with breadcrumbs.
Whisk together the eggs and milk in a shallow bowl and place the flour on a separate plate.
Cut little drumsticks from chicken wing tips (reserving remaining pieces for chicken stock)
then lightly dust chicken drumsticks with flour, dip in egg mixture and then coat with crumb mixture.
Shallow fry in hot oil until golden and cooked or spray with olive oil spray and bake at
200C for about 20-25 minutes (depending on size) until cooked.
Cool slightly and serve with plum sauce. Can be made a day ahead and reheated.
* Instead of conventional lolly bags, try filling clear Christmas baubles
(available from Lincraft and Spotlight) with various lollies and decorating them.
A simple decoration is to attach silver animal charms (Spotlight) with garden twine.
* Co-ordinate your party setting with specific colour themes.
Stick to three colours, pastels or brights, to give the setting a polished look.
* Don't be afraid to mix and match different fabrics for tablecloths.
Use a plastic tablecloth under a length of coloured material that can be thrown away or recycled.
Spots and stripes together on a table are a fun look.
* Raid grandma's cupboards for great retro-inspired kitchen pieces.
Old biscuit tins, glass jars, cake stands and platters make excellent table-top displays.
* For a different way to stack plates, try simple household items.
For example, stack a range of coloured paper plates in a silver toast holder, which saves space and looks good.
* Coloured paper lanterns from Chinatown are a quick and cheap way to decorate.
They can be hung by string or fishing line and add loads of colour and atmosphere to a party scene.
* Simple metal buckets (Spotlight) are an effective and cheap way of holding all sorts of lollies and party food.
Half fill them with sand or colourful garden gravel and stick in lollipops, ice-creams etc.
* Cut up unusual fruit such as starfruit for a healthy and eye-grabbing option.
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