A birthday feast of finger foods

Fans of family feasts, you guys will LOVE this post!

We celebrated Jac’s mum Pattycakes’ birthday last month with a feast of finger foods. Jac and I contributed to the feast, but most items were prepared by Kelsie, Jac’s sister-in-law, and she did an amazing job. Kels, if you’re reading this and I’ve gotten any of the details wrong, please feel free to correct! :-P

First, fresh from the oven, Kelsie presented two kinds of mini quiches – bacon ones, and caramelised onion ones. The sight of these little golden babies tumbling onto the serving dish made me so happy!

Bacon mini quiches and caramelised onion mini quiches

Dipping your mini quiche into sauce – tomato or sweet chilli – was optional. I loved the caramelised onion ones the best – the soft brown onions were so sweet and extremely tasty.

Mini quiches with tomato sauce and sweet chilli sauce

We also had cocktail sausages with tomato sauce. Here in Australia, these boiled red sausages are often referred to as “little boys”. Yes, I know that’s naughty – don’t look at me, I didn’t invent that name! But most people I know enjoy a “little boy” dipped in tomato sauce at a party, and real little boys and (heheh) big boys like them too. Jac’s nephew Max (a real little boy) loves these. I think he enjoys spearing them with toothpicks almost as much as actually eating them. You can probably see just how bursty these little sausages are, in the photo. They always look to me like they’re about to burst out of that tight red skin.

Little boys (sausages) with tomato sauce

These tarts were made with capsicum dip spooned into silver foil pie dishes, topped with roasted capsicum pieces, then baked in the oven. They were really delicious!

Capsicum dip tarts

Determined to sneak in some vegetables (Kelsie and Jac are both vegetable ninjas), Kelsie made these chicken caesar lettuce wraps – she spooned chicken caesar salad onto baby lettuce leaves. You just picked up a caesar-topped leaf, rolled it up and ate it. Kind of like sang choy bow! This was one of my favourite items, I think.

Chicken caesar lettuce wraps

Jac ‘s approach to including vegetables was less subtle! She assembled a plate of green vegetables and pickles (this photo was taken at home in our kitchen, the rest of the photos were taken at Kelsie and Brad’s house, where the dinner was held) – blanched broccoli, sliced cucumber, dill pickles and sweet gherkin pickles (the smaller darker green pickles). I was doubtful anyone would eat the vegies – I didn’t think broccoli and cucumber would tempt anyone except Jac when competing against a feast of delicious hot savoury finger foods – but I was completely wrong! Just about everything on this plate was eaten by the end of the evening! I think it helped that there was a delicious baked brie to dip the green vegetables into (see baked brie further below).

Green plate - vegetables and pickles

Regular readers may remember at Kelsie and Brad’s wedding on Hamilton Island one of the finger foods served at their reception was salmon sausage rolls – those were amazing! Kelsie made some herself, and these were fantastic! Pretty sure I only ended eating one (yes ONE!) that day on Hamilton Island – here at our family dinner I ate quite a few more! It was just so easy, with this beautiful platter right in front of me! Biting into that hot flaky pastry was just so good.

Salmon sausage rolls

The baked brie was served with other bits and pieces for dipping – paddle-shaped crackers, bread sticks and carrot, celery and yellow capsicum. See, more vegetables! :-P

Baked brie with trimmings

The brie was topped with chopped garlic and herbs and baked until hot and gooey – it smelled sooo gooood.

Baked brie

I tend to get grossed out by communal gooey/messy foods that collapse more and more as everyone digs in e.g. nachos (I have to know a person very well to be able to overcome the grossness and share a plate of nachos with them), but this held its shape quite well in spite of the non-stop digging with crackers, bread sticks and vegies. And thankfully, there weren’t too many abandoned broken-off bits of food left in the cheese. I also get grossed out by dips that have floaties in them. Ewww.

Baked brie (dipping a cracker)

Jac and I prepared angels on horseback, devils on horseback, and something we referred to as hawaiians on horseback, just for Max. We brought these in containers to the house, and Kelsie baked them in the oven.

Top: Angels on horseback, middle: hawaiians on horseback, bottom: devils on horseback

Angels on horseback are traditionally oysters wrapped and bacon, then grilled or baked in the oven for a short time. We used smoked mussels instead of oysters. Boy, did these stink! No, I don’t like smoked mussels! :-P

Angels on horseback

There’s no such dish called “hawaiians on horseback”, but that’s what we called these tasty morsels – fresh pineapple pieces (Jac bought a whole pineapple and carved it up just to make these) wrapped in bacon. We made these last and ran out of bacon, so we wrapped some of the pineapple with ham – the classic ham and pineapple “hawaiian pizza” combo. Max loved these, just as we’d hoped. His favourite pizza is hawaiian / ham and pineapple. :)

Hawaiians on horseback

I loved the pineapple wrapped in bacon/ham, but these were my favourite – devils on horseback – prunes wrapped in bacon. We used plump, juicy pitted prunes which caramelised in the oven – they were hot, chewy, sticky and sweet, almost toffee-like. On the Two Fat Ladies program, Jennifer Paterson made these, but with livers INSIDE the prunes (on the Cocktail Party episode) :)

Devils on horseback

Jac and I also brought some frozen crumbed calamari, which Jac fried in small batches in Brad and Kelsie’s electric deepfryer. I want an electric deepfryer!!! :D Pattycakes LOVES calamari, so this dish was especially for her.

Deep-fried crumbed calamari

Jac’s niece, 10-year-old Savannah made chicken nuggets all by herself! If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may remember the posts Savannah’s Sleepover, Part 1 and Part 2 from way back in 2006! She made breast meat ones and thigh meat ones – I tried both, of course, and as expected, the thigh meat ones were the best. Served fresh out of the oven, they were tender and absolutely delicious. The breast ones were surprisingly good too (regular readers will know I am a chicken thigh girl and quite critical of chicken breast). Savannah did a great job!

Chicken nuggets made by Savannah

We’d told Pattycakes not to bring anything – this was her night, and we wanted her to sit back and just relax. But she brought along this cheese platter, which we jokingly called the “secondhand” cheese platter. When we said “Oh, you didn’t have to bring anything!”, she said, “Oh, it’s just some leftover cheeses from the other night”. We responded, “Huh – are we only good enough for your secondhand cheeses?!” Hahaha, we were just kidding of course. We were happy to give the cheese a “home”. :D I’d been the one to hold the cheese platter in the car on the way there – pooh, did it smell! It was that blue vein cheese you can see there on the plate.

Secondhand cheese platter

Jac sliced up a few oranges and I arranged them on a plate. We had the fruit course before dessert.

Orange slices

For dessert, Kelsie tried out a recipe for “capuccino slice”. She wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I thought it looked lovely, with its capuccino and chocolate striped layers, and a topping of grated chocolate just before serving. She served each piece of cappucino slice with blobs of whipped cream with a strawberry garnish. There was a big bowl of extra cream for anyone who wished to have “lashings of cream” :).

Capuccino slice with cream

Savannah had the job of putting the candles on one of the slices for Pattycakes. She chose a blue candle and a yellow candle – West Coast Eagles colours, the Eagles being Pattycake’s favourite footy team. Notice the double blob of cream on Pattycakes’ plate. :D

Capuccino slice with cream - West Coast Eagles colours birthday candles

As you can see, it was non-stop eating and enjoyment for a few hours! I think Kelsie outdid herself!

So which item of the finger foods feast looked the yummiest to you?

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