Zoe’s first birthday party

My niece Zoe (younger sister of Ruby) turned 1 year old at the end of February. Jac was away in Denmark that weekend but I went along to Zoe’s first birthday party, a barbecue lunch with family and friends. It was quite a feast!

Here’s the birthday girl! She had a great time.

Zoe at her first birthday party

There were lots of things to munch on before lunch was served. Everyone, especially the kids, was encouraged to help themselves. There was a dish of fresh fruit, all seedless and peeled and ready to eat.

Fresh fruit

Zoe and Ruby’s mum, my sister-in-law Angela has made these brie and leek tartlets for previous parties, and they are always a hit. They smell so good fresh out of the oven (fresh baked pastries always do, don’t they?).

Brie and leek tartlets

The leeks are sweet and caramelised, and the brie cheese all melted and chewy. And I love just about anything in pastry! One thing I love about these tartlets is the pastry is quite pliable, so as long as it isn’t too hot, you can squish a whole tartlet into your mouth in one go! But of course, you’d only want to do that if you were greedy. Which I’m totally not, LOL. :P

Brie and leek tartlet

This is always a favourite with the kids – pikelets with sultanas in them. I like them too, and always eat a couple. Zoe loves these – she ate quite a few.


When Ruby saw this tray of chocolate crackles, her eyes lit up. That kid can really devour chocolate crackles!

Army of chocolate crackles

Ruby very quickly developed “chocolate face”. I loved following her around and watching her concentration as she ate each chocolate crackle. She was very careful to make sure not a single rice bubble escaped her mouth! :D

Ruby eats another chocolate crackle

My brother fired up the barbecue and cooked sausages and by popular demand, homemade burger patties.

Burger patties and sausages on the barbecue

While the barbie was cooking, I helped get the rest of the lunch items onto the table (and took photographs at the same time). There was a bowl of garden salad (mixed greens and tomato) with freshly shaved parmesan cheese.

Garden salad with shaved parmesan cheese

I liked this chunky vegetable salad with grilled cubes of haloumi. I love the salty flavour of haloumi and I really love how it squeaks when you chew on it – my sister and I like to call it “squeaky cheese”, do any of you guys call haloumi “squeaky cheese” too? The vegetables (tomato, cucumber, and red, green and yellow capsicum) were cut into chunks, with thinly sliced red onion scattered around. It was colourful, crunchy and squeaky, delicious and great fun to eat.

Chunky salad with haloumi

As soon as the sausages and burgers were ready, lunch was served!


Burger patties

My mum brought along some mini quiches made in mini muffin patty pans. Ruby and Zoe love these mini quiches and can eat them by the truckload.

Mini quiches - made in mini muffin cases

My mum also brought along a large pot of egg noodles with Chinese mushrooms and pork.

Noodles with chinese mushrooms and pork

Ruby, my cousin’s son Matthew and another little friend all sat down to eat lunch together.

The kiddie table

Like her sister and her auntie TFP (well, like most of the family), Zoe loves to eat! She was happy to sit in her high chair and stuff her face! Shortly after she mowed down this lot of fruit, mini quiche and bread, she devoured sausage fresh off the barbecue.

Zoe enjoys her birthday lunch

I loaded up my plate, making sure I had a couple of cubes of squeaky cheese (I saved them to the very end so I could savour the squeaks!), a sausage, a burger pattie and a good serve of Mum’s noodles.

My plate

The noodles were great, probably my favourite item of the day, followed by squeaky cheese and my brother’s homemade burgers, which I always enjoy.

Close-up of my noodles

My aunties S and J arrived late with a plate of freshly fried homemade wantan with sweet chilli dipping sauce. The deep-fried pastry was crispy on the edges, the plump wantan bellies were all meaty and chewy. Although I’d just about finished my lunch, it was hard not to be greedy over these!

Homemade wantan with sweet chilli sauce

After lunch, the kids got into their bathers and played in the big blow-up pool. Ruby had the best time in the water. She spent ages in there. Zoe had a play in the pool too but only stayed in the water a short while before she began to get cranky – it was her nap time and Ange whisked her off to bed.

Ruby in the pool

Ruby was starving when she finally she got out of the pool and was quite happy to sit wrapped in her towel and eat more food. A few latecomers for lunch meant my brother fired up the barbie a second time, so Ruby got to eat more freshly cooked sausage straight off the barbecue. The birthday girl Zoe was still fast asleep!

Ruby was hungry after swimming

Juji, Jay and I were unable to stay for the cutting of the birthday cake – we had to leave while Zoe was still sleeping. But before we left, I made sure to sneak a peek in the fridge to take a photo of Zoe’s turtle birthday cake. Angela had baked the turtle cake (cake shaped like a turtle, not cake made from turtle, LOL) and decorated it with green icing made with an all-natural colouring agent (sorry, she told me what it’s called but I’ve forgotten – UPDATE: See comment 5 from my brother – it was spirulina), and the turtle’s shell was made from pieces of white chocolate with raspberry. It was tempting to break off a piece of shell and poke my finger into the icing to have a little taste, but I didn’t. :)

Zoe's turtle birthday cake

When I look at photos of Ruby, she kind of reminds me of myself before I started wearing glasses (I first wore glasses at age 5 – Ruby turns 3 in around 6 months), but Zoe reminds me of my late grandma Mama. This photo of Zoe totally reminds me of Mama. :)

Birthday girl eats lunch

It was a fun day for all, especially our family’s youngest glutton!

In case you’d like to compare: Ruby’s 1st birthday ;)

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