Monday, September 6, 2010


Billie's First Birthday Party

Billie Miro Mystic Merrill turns one today.
Pumpkin and Banana Loaf Birthday Cake

I've just popped a very healthy and delicious cake in the oven to take down to Bronte to share with her little friends born from our ante-natal classes. I grabbed the recipe for this wonderful low-sugar, low-fat pumpkin and banana loaf from Cherie, mother of Ty. Check recipe tomorrow.

But yesterday was the real party. I prepared this tasty menu of finger foods suitable for toddlers, which could all be pre-prepared and would travel well to the park. However, gale-force winds provoked a change of venue and instead our home was taken over by babies, toddlers and kids old enough to kick soccer balls around in the shared backyard.

FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY MENU: (Recipes below or to follow this week)

Pumpkin Feta Rice Cakes
Pumpkin Feta Rice Cakes and Spinach Tort
Spinach Rice Torte
Corn Chips
Carrot Sticks
Fresh Dates
Brazil Nuts
Camembert cheese and crackers
Pumpkin and Banana Loaf Birthday Cake

(And thanks to Toni for the egg sandwiches - courtesy of her backyard chooks - and Amanda for her mum's fruitcake.)

Train trip to Melbourne
The Spinach Rice Torte is adapted from a Julie Biuso recipe that has been my go-to for picnics and parties for years. But I'm most excited about the pumpkin and feta rice cakes, which I invented the previous week in preparation for a big train trip to Melbourne - just me and Billie. These eggy, cheesy little numbers travel well, are fine at room temperature and last for a few days refrigerated (but not in our house as they just get eaten).

These two rice-based recipes lend themselves well to being prepared semi-simultaneously, necessary when you have limited time to cook for a child's party. Thanks to Emily and Linton for taking care of Billie on Saturday afternoon while I did the great cook-off (Miles was away at the Brisbane Writers' Festival).


1 cup arborio rice, or other risotto rice
1/4-1/3 pumpkin, skinned and chopped into small pieces
one small onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
dried, fine breadcrumbs
1/2 cup milk
6 eggs, lightly beaten
Block feta, chopped into very small pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 200c.

Place rice in medium-small pot with plenty of water and a little salt. Bring to boil and then simmer gently for 12 minutes. Drain and leave to cool.

Place pumpkin on oiled oven tray. Cook until soft and browned - it won't take long as small pieces.

Saute onion for few minutes in frying pan with olive oil, add garlic and cook a few more minutes.

Oil 12 muffin tins and then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Combine eggs, milk and cheese and then mix together with rice and onions and garlic. Season with pepper but salt is not necessary due to the feta and Parmesan.

Gently stir through pumpkin and distribute to muffin tins. Bake for about 40 minutes or until cooked right through and nicely browned. Turn onto wire rack to cool. Eat warm or refrigerate for later.

Billie enjoys her (second) birthday cake 06/09/10


  1. Happy Birthday little lady!

    Glad to see your mum made you a nice cake ... and even more impressed to hear that you're joining me in becoming a fan of marmite!

    Lots of love Emma xxxxx

  2. Happy 1st Birthday Billie Miro, Hope you enjoyed your party and that yummy birthday cake. Wish I was there to enjoy with you.

    Hugs & kisses, Love Grandma Lenore

  3. Happy birthday Billie! What amazing healthy and delicious treats you've created Sarah! Would you like to do catering at Eleanor's birthday? x