Afternoon Tea – 77th Birthday Party

Wow, I can’t believe it’s almost a year since I posted last. My gorgeous babies are taking up all of my time. :) Our second little boy is 7 months old today, he is the sweetest little baby. Eli adores him and is the best big brother. But my gosh we are busy. I have so many different ideas for dinners and brunches that I want to post about, but it is hard to find the time to perfect my recipes and share them here.

I am delighted to be able to share our recent family gathering with you and show you all the delightful cakes and sandwiches we enjoyed.

During the summer we celebrated my great aunts 77th birthday with an afternoon tea for all my family, all 30 of us. She wasn’t just 77, her birthday also fell on the 7th of the 7th, so it was a little bit special.

Afternoon Tea Like all parties we have, the menu is always the most exciting part for me. As soon as my Mam suggested having an afternoon tea I was thinking about dainty little cakes and clotted cream on scones, egg finger sandwiches and tea served in fine china. Afternoon tea for 30 isn’t an easy task but my Mam and I cleverly created a menu with easy to prepare courses. We choose desserts and sandwiches that could be prepared in advance and no item on the menu had more than 5 ingredients. We even cheated where we could by buying some pre-made items….who makes macarons :P

Afternoon Tea

Course 1 (Sandwiches)

Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese on Herb Scones

The herb scones were baked the day before.

On the day we spread the scones with herb cream cheese and layered with smoked salmon.

Roast Beef with Horseradish on Toasted Ciabatta

The beef was roasted and sliced the day before.

On the day we cut the ciabatta into thin slices and toasted. It was then buttered before layering on the roast beef slices and a small spoon of horseradish.

Afternoon Tea

Brie and Caramalised Onion Filo Tart

The filo tarts were prepared the evening before and reheated before serving.

A mini muffin tray was lined with filo pastry and filled with caramelised onion and slices of brie. They were then baked until golden.

Afternoon Tea

Egg Mayonnaise with Chive Finger Sandwiches

The egg mayo and chive was prepared the evening before.

On the day we assembled the sandwiches, removed the crust and cut into battens ‘finger sandwiches’.

Afternoon Tea

Coronation Chicken with Green Grapes

I prepared the coronation chicken the previous day. To cook the chicken breasts I boiled them for 25mins. Boiling made them easier to shred. Once cooked and cooled the chicken was shredded and mixed with mayonnaise and a little curry paste.

On the day the sandwiches were assembled and a green grape was skewered on top. Afternoon Tea

Course 2 (Scones)

Fruit Scones Filled with Rhubarb Jam and Clotted Cream

The fruit scones were baked the day before.

on the day we filled them with rhubarb jam and clotted cream.

Afternoon Tea

Course 3 (Sweet Treats)

Crème Patissière Fruit Tartlets

The mini sweet pastry cases for these tarts were bought in Dunnes Stores.

On the day we filled with crème patissière and fresh fruit.

Lemon Posset with Mango

These possets are super easy to prepare and the whole lot can be made in advance.

  • 600ml double cream
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • Zest and juice of 3 lemons

Make the posset by gently heating the cream and sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer and bubble for 1 min. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice. Divide between small pots. Once cool, allow to chill in the fridge until set.

These possets are beautiful just on their own but we topped them with finely chopped fresh mango, covered with a thin layer of lemon jelly.

Orange Chocolate Eclairs

These are best made on the day. I have made them in advance before but I find they soften a little overnight.

I followed this recipe for my eclairs. Filled them with fresh cream and topped with melted orange chocolate.

I bought my macarons, life is too short :)

We delegated a few jobs too.

One aunt made mini chocolate brownies.

Another made white chocolate, ginger, caramel and macadamia tarts. Wow they were fab.

Afternoon Tea

The menu was printed on pretty floral card and each item had a matching floral label so our guests knew what everything was.

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea wouldn’t be the same without tiered cake stands and floral china cups, so we borrowed some items to add to our own and the table looked fabulous when set up.

Afternoon Tea Afternoon Tea To make the day a little easier we used paper plates and napkins. These beautiful plates we used from Amazon are such good quality, it was hard to believe we were eating from paper plates.

afternoon tea

This was such a lovely way to spend an afternoon with family.

Everything was prepared when the guests arrived, the food was out and the tea was brewing. So as hosts we got to enjoy ourselves too.

Baked Cinnamon Pumpkin Doughnuts – Halloween Bake

Happy Halloween everyone. Baked cinnamon pumpkin doughnuts are just the thing to make for Halloween day.

Yesterday I roasted a whole pumpkin to make ginger pumpkin soup, but I didn’t anticipate the amount of puree I would get from just 1 pumpkin. So after making enough soup to feed an army I also had some left over to make these gorgeous baked doughnuts.

baked cinnamon pumpkin doughnut

These doughnuts are light, really moist and full of seasonal spice. Great for an autumn brunch or Halloween party.

baked cinnamon pumpkin doughnuts

This recipe will make 6 doughnuts so I suggest doubling the mixture if you plan on having guests over, they wont last long. Don’t feel too guilty about eating them either, after all they are baked ;)

baked cinnamon pumpkin doughnuts

For the doughnuts
  • 100g (1 cup) self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 55g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) pumpkin puree
  • 120ml (1/2 cup) Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the sugar coating
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 50g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Equipment needed
  • Doughnut pan
  • 2 Mixing bowls

Preheat the oven to 200ºC

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.

In another bowl mix together the egg, pumpkin puree, yogurt and vanilla extract and then add this to the dry ingredients. Stir until combined.

Lightly grease the doughnut pan by brushing with coconut oil or spraying with oil and fill the wells 3/4 full with the mixture. For best results, pipe the mixture into the wells or carefully spoon in the mixture making sure the depth is even around the whole doughnut.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

While the doughnuts cool, mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Lighted brush the top of each doughnut with maple syrup and then dip into the cinnamon sugar until each doughnut has a light even coating of the mix.

This recipe will make 6 baked cinnamon pumpkin doughnuts.

Mr Men Birthday Party – Eli’s Colourful First Birthday

I find it hard to believe that Eli has just turned 1. It was honestly the fastest, most exciting and happiest year of our lives. We celebrated with a Mr Men birthday party with family and close friends. It was colourful, fun and full of food:)

The hardest part of organising Eli’s party was coming up with a theme.  I wanted his first birthday to be something very special and memorable for all the family. As soon as Darran suggested Mr Men I knew it was perfect.

Iv organised a few parties only this year so I created a party planning template which has been a great help to keep organised. Here is a copy of my Party Planner for you to download. I hope you find it as helpful as I have.

Of course the first thing I thought of was the food.  I ordered the cake from my very talented aunt and as always she amazed me. (photographic evidence of how amazing it was below). Mr Men Birthday Party - cake

Jelly and ice cream is a kids birthday party staple, as well as party rings, tayto snacks and rice crispy buns.

To keep thinks a little healthy I also served rainbow fruit skewers on lollypop sticks. These are really easy for little hands to manage and the adults loved them too.

Rainbow Fruit Skewers

The party was held during lunch time so I made huge platters of super tasty sandwiches for all the guests to enjoy.

  • For the Veggies I had egg mayonnaise, chive and rocket pita breads.
  • Tuna, sweetcorn, mayonnaise and lettuce wraps.
  • Ham, brie and rocket rolls. 

Next on my list to organise was the invitations, decorations and party games. I found these colourful Mr Men invites on E-bay.

Mr Men Birthday Party - invitation

I made a really simple Mr. Gumpy ball game for the day. This was so easy to make and Eli got so much joy out of it all day long. (He is still mad about it). I simple cut a circle in the middle of a shallow box, cut a larger rectangular hole in the back for the balls to come out and covered the whole thing with a blue plastic table cloth. Using a sharpie I drew on Mr Grumpy’s face and it was done. They say kids get more enjoyment out of the boxes from toys and this was definitely the case for Eli with this box.

Mr Men Birthday Party - Mr Grumpy Ball Game

Mr Men Birthday Party - Mr Grumpy Ball Game The decorations in the room were all about Eli. We have 4 walls full of family photos in our dining room so I covered every single photo with all of Eli’s milestones and firsts from throughout the year. Adding a little caption to most of them on a Mr Men inspired cloud.

Mr Men Birthday Party - Photos Mr Men Birthday Party - photos As well as photos I hung a colourful banner and of course a big 1 balloon.

Mr Men Birthday Party - Decorations Mr Men Birthday Party - Decorations

Another bit of crafting on the day was his birthday t-shirt. Using Microsoft Word I created the image I wanted on Eli’s top and then mirrored it to print onto iron on transfer paper. I cut off as much excess paper as I could from the transfer and then followed the instructions with the paper to iron onto his top. Here is a PDF of the Image so you can make your own :)

Mr Men Birthday Party

I also found these amazing party loot bags on amazon. I filled them with Mr Men and Little Miss Books, really cool magnetic bookmarks from Easons, Mr Men jigsaws and a small bag of jellies.

Mr Men Birthday Party - loot bags

Eli’s cousin’s had loads of fun with the jigsaws when they got home :)

Mr Men Birthday Party - jigsaw

I hope you enjoyed my ideas and photos and get lots of inspiration for your own Mr Men birthday party.

Banana and Maple Pecan Ice Cream

This banana and maple pecan ice cream is so simple to make and really delicious. There are only 3 ingredients to this recipe and the option to add a whole lot more if you desire.

The trick to a sweeter ice cream is to use riper bananas, so ones that are spotty will work really well.

Banana and maple pecan ice cream

With summer just here and the weather getting warmer it’s hard to resist the temptation of ice cream but this simple recipe is totally guilt free. In fact it’s good for you :)

Banana and maple pecan ice cream

  • 3 bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 80g pecans
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Mix the pecans with 2 tbsp of syrup and scatter on a baking tray. Roast for 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Reserve a few whole pecans to serve and add the remaining nuts to a food processor. Pulse a few times until roughly chopped.

Add the bananas to the pecans in the food processor and blend until smooth.

Transfer to bowls and serve with a scattering of whole maple pecans and chopped banana.

This banana and maple pecan ice cream is best enjoyed immediately. Will serve 2 people.