Monday, November 12, 2012

Purple pizza and parties

I've been making a lot of pizza lately.  My toddler loves baking and making pizza dough in the morning helps to get some of the 'need to bake' out of her system, with the advantage that we can all pretty much have whatever flavour pizza we feel like later in the day.

Last week I got out the mixer and, at the same time, decided to prepare some beetroot relish.  Grating three beetroot produces a lot of purple staining splashes and I got a drop in the dough.  My toddler thought that this was hilarious and asked for more.  So I squeezed out the juice from the next few handfuls and added it to the dough.

Looks like boysenberry ice cream!

 I'm not going to pretend that it is the most palatable colour for adults...

 ...and in fact the colour would have been more even if I'd added it to the liquid at the start.  But I feel that the swirls are quite attractive!
When baked the purple turned rather pink.  It was a huge hit with both my five year old and two year old.  I'm not going to pretend that there were any particular health benefit - I doubt that there is a huge amount of extra nutrition from a tablespoon of beetroot juice.  There was absolutely no taste difference.


My oldest daughter is now six.  In my head she is still a baby, but I am rudely confronted by the reality that she is becoming quite an autonomous little human and her birthday confirmed this.

We had a talk about inclusive birthday themes and came up with a weather theme.  Rainbows were a sub-theme.  Because the party was over lunchtime I really wanted to make a lot of food, and not all of it junk food.  The final menu was:
  • Fruit kebabs
  • Popcorn
  • Smoked chicken and cream cheese sandwiches (dinosaur shaped for fun)
  • Fairy bread (sparkly sprinkles on cream cheese - a little more popular than the chicken)!
  • A cloud shaped biscuit
  • A pack of Japanese novelty shape puffed crackers (goldfish, stars, sharks, moon).  These were love/ hate with the packs being either consumed frantically or tried and left to one side.
  • Rainbow jelly - I found great clear containers at Moore Wilson's that came with lids.

Cool kebab sticks.  Unfortunately more than one child had to be reminded not to eat the decorative balls!
The major attraction was the cake.  The children were all very impressed by the size of it and there were a few gasps when my husband cut the cake and they saw what was inside!  This was a very popular cake and so easy. I have three cake tins the same size.  I made one batch of cake mix and divided it between three pans.  I then added the colouring to each pan.  I used quite a moist cake mixture, but given that you need to ice between the layers a dry cake would also be suitable.

My daughter is a self-proclaimed scientist and a bit of a purist when it comes to the rainbow.  I had to explain that I could not find purple gel for a seventh layer.  She thought about this quite seriously and conceded that six layers would be fine!

Like most birthdays the day passed in a blur.  I was worried that the party would be too long, and we would have lots of bored children.  In the end we had a few hungry children who had left the sky show early and could see the food.   I let them start eating a couple of minutes before the other children came back.

I decided not to go with the hell and torment of pass the parcel.  I had an extra craft activity available (colouring in masks) and had brought along equipment for an egg and spoon race.  I tried playing Chinese whispers with the children waiting out the sky show - it was hilarious.  Try it with five year olds - you wont regret it. I was very surprised to see that we had ten more minutes of party time left after singing 'Happy Birthday' (or the 'to you' song as my toddler calls it) and cutting of the cake.  The children all ran around the exhibits at the highest noise levels possible before disappearing with their respective parents.  Silence, then the long walk back to the car and home.

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