Last week was O’s birthday week. My little baby has just turned three. I can’t believe how fast time has gone since I brought her into this world. It’s been amazing seeing her grown and become her own person. More often she is coming out with funny and interesting thoughts and questions and I am realising that she is becoming who she is separate from myself. In some ways dealing with a 3-year-old is easier, but it also has its own set of challenges that means having more patience than ever.
O was extremely excited for her birthday for a while before it came. She had many, many toys on her birthday list and a recently new obsession with ginger cats. Cats are seriously all we talk about at the moment. She has acquired a clowder of toy cats, but we don’t have plans of buying a real one at this stage. Something else she really wanted was a bike and a Frozen birthday party. Since her birthday is during the week I took her out to brunch on the day, had a little family party and other big Frozen themed party over the weekend.
For the small family party, I made afternoon tea. Since Octavia had pancakes for breakfast I thought I better serve something savoury as well. She prefers snack plates, so she eat different things and keep going back for more. This worked perfectly and I was surprised how much she ate from this platter. I did keep replenishing the platter since there was about 10 of us. I made homemade sausage rolls with organic pork sausages, homemade ham and pecorino cheese pastry rolls, sushi with leftover homemade organic crumbed chicken and avocado, baked pecorino and added ajvar, spelt crisp bread, oranges, vegan cheddar and nitrate-free free-range leg ham.
The cupcakes I made were from my trusty Chloe’s Kitchen’s recipe book. Whenever I have to make desserts, I usually consult my Chloe Coscarelli collection of recipe books. These are Banana Cupcakes with Lemon Icing (see recipe). They are extremely quick and easy recipe to make when you have leftover bananas. They are spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves and are topped with icing made with lemon juice and zest. They were a big hit and left everyone wanting more, but I made sure there was only one per person to make sure the kids and the prediabetic seniors didn’t get a sugar high.
On the day of the big party, I dressed Octavia as Elsa. She looked so adorable in her dress. I just wish she wore it for more than 5 minutes. It was actually a really hot day, so we got a few photos and then she took it off and ran around half naked until we were able to get a dress on her before most of the guests arrived.
This was our desserts table for the party. I didn’t go all out on decorations and themed food this year. To be honest I’ve been really tired and I don’t think it would have made much of a difference anyway. I decorated the table with these large Disney Frozen Dolls, that we already had and some Frozen party merchandise from BigW. The little dolls on the cake were extremely had to find. I searching all over Brisbane for a little Elsa and in the end was only able to find child Elsa and an Olaf. At the moment it is a little difficult to find Frozen merchandise, but I think closer to the release of Frozen 2 there will be new merchandise available.
Since the party turn out was not as big as expected I didn’t send out as much food this year. But luckily it was plenty for the friends and family we had. I made this platter with date and pistachio rolls, vegan tomato and basil cheddar, mozzarella, roasted capsicum, sundried tomatoes, gherkins, olives and Bonvallis Cracker Orange Tortas. These Spanish tortas were really liked by the guests and they are one of my favourite snacks as well.
I made Teriyaki Oyster and Avocado Sushi rolls for the multi-allergy guests, who weren’t able to make it in the end. Luckily everyone loves sushi, especially the kids. Normally I use shittake mushrooms, but I wasn’t able to get enough to make this recipe. Sauted oyster mushrooms worked well in place of them.
These Wontons with Apricot-Mustard Sauce were also from Chloe’s Kitchen. It was the first time I made them and they were intended to be another gluten-free vegan dish. I wasn’t able to get gluten-free wonton wrappers, but that didn’t matter. These were so delicious. The shiitake, carrot, ginger and cashew filling was really tasty and the sauce really went well with them. To get them nice and crispy I first cooked them on my crepe maker (hot plate) with coconut oil and then finished them off in the steamer. I would recommend preparing them the way if you don’t want them to stick to your stainless steel pans if you also don’t use non-stick.
My brother-in-law made us Serbian cheese and meat pitas as well as cevapi (skinless sausages, which I served with bread rolls. The pita’s especially where a huge hit, I didn’t actually get to try any. I also didn’t get to try the extra we cooked the day after the party. Serbian pastries don’t last long in our house. The cevapi were also really delicious and were easy for Marco to prepare on his little BBQ.
I made these special cupcakes for Octavia. They are Blueberry Mini Cupcakes with Blueberry Jam Frosting. They were vegan except for the frosting. I actually used organic butter instead of Nutlex since I am sick of the icing sugar separating from the vegan butter and melting away. The butter did stand up a lot better in the heat and since I’m the only person not meant to eat dairy it didn’t make a difference to anyone else. I will put this recipe up soon on my blog.
My sister-in-law made this adorable Doctor McStuffins inspired cake. She is really talented at making these kinds of cakes. Inside the cake was layers of Serbian plasma cookies cooked with eggs, chocolate custard and nuts. This is a typical Serbian cake and the guests really like trying something so delicious and different to what they are use to.
This year I bought Octavia’s cake from Veganyumm, a vegan dessert bakery. It is a Lemon Poppyseed cake with a Butter Cream frosting. This cake was very dense and delicious. I had to put the front of the cake on the side because I actually smudged the front of it all over my dress when I picked it up. I was trying to get my keys out of my handbag to open the car and the material around my bust got covered in icing. I was so upset with what I did. Noone noticed though, since Octavia kept sticking her little finger in the decorative icing.
I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse of Octavia’s 3rd birthday. I will post my new cupcake recipe soon. You can also see the cupcake recipes I created for her past birthdays: Mini Chocolate Raspberry Surprise Cupcakes with Chocolate Avocado Frosting and Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Jam Frosting.