I was recently asked by a friend for suggestions for party food for a children's party with a 'garden' theme. I came up with a few ideas, and tried some of them out over the last few weeks. This post is a summary of my efforts!
Leaf Sandwiches: I made a homemade loaf of bread and coloured it green (colour is optional; any sliced bread could be used), sliced it and made sandwiches, shaped them into leaves (I cut them out by hand, but a cookie cutter could be used) and decorated them with strips of cucumber skin. If making your own bread you can make it in advance and freeze (take loaf out to defrost the night before use).
Caterpillar Dough Balls: I made homemade dough balls and coloured them red and green (colour is optional; any dough balls could be used), arranged them on a platter to form caterpillars, with a pot of soft cheese for dipping (I used Philadelphia garlic and herb, but any soft cheese or dip could be used). Antennae were made from tiny slices of cucumber, and the faces were drawn on with edible food pens. Homemade dough balls can be made in advance and frozen (take out to defrost the night before use).
Snail Bread Rolls: I made homemade snail shaped bread rolls (not my best effort ever!). Roll dough out into a sausage then curl up into a snail shape before baking. You could also add raisins for eyes. These would probably be better made with plain dough; I was just using leftover coloured dough when I made these. Bread rolls can be made in advance and frozen (take out to defrost the night before use).
Cracker Bugs: Crackers were spread with soft cheese (I used ritz crackers and Philadelphia) and carrot legs were added before sandwiching two crackers together. Eyes were cut from cheese and dotted with edible pen before attaching with a ittle more soft cheese. This would work with any round crackers, or you could use circles cut from sliced bread to make bug sandwiches.
Vegetable Flower Nibbles: I cut carrot, red pepper and yellow pepper into flower shapes using mini cookie cutters and arranged them with chive 'stalks' and cucumber leaves. The flowers can be made the day before and stored in an airtight box in the fridge.
Celery and Pretzel Butterflies: I cut celery into small lengths and filled with soft cheese (I used Philadelphia), then pushed pretzels into each one for wings, and added slivers of dried fruit such as raisins or apricots for antennae. I got the idea for these from here.
Buttefly Cheese Bites: Orange and yellow cheese were cut into bitesize flowers and butterflies using mini cookie cutters, then skewered on cocktail sticks. The cheese shapes could be cut out a day or two in advance and stored in an airtight box in the fridge.
Apple Flowers: Cored Apple Rings were cut into flowers then skewered on cocktail sticks with grape and blueberry centres. Don't forget to dip the apple pieces in lemon or orange juice to stop them going brown. You could also try this with other fruits.
Carved Apple Bugs: I couldn't resist carving another one of these cute bugs! Cored apple, cut in half then carved with a sharp knife to make wings and markings. Ladybird 'spots' were cut out using a plastic drinking straw. I used a grape for the head and slivers of apple skin for antennae. Apples could also be cut into several smaller slices and put back together to form the bug. Don't forget to dip or brush the apple with lemon or orange juice to prevent it from browning. A plate or tray covered in raisins (for dirt!) makes a good base to display the bugs on.
Flowery Fruit Salad: I cut fruit into shapes using mini cookie cutters. This salad was made up of melon and apple flowers, kiwi trees and grape halves. Make this more colourful by using a greater variety of colourful fruits - I just used what I had to hand that day.
I had plenty of other ideas that I didn't get around to making, such as sandwiches cut into appropriate shapes for the theme with cookie cutters, (think butterflies, flowers, spiders etc), 'snail' pinwheel sandwiches and searching out snacky nibbles that would work with fun labels, such as puffed cheese balls labelled 'caterpillar eggs' or pretzel sticks labelled 'spiders legs'. You could also search out little bits and pieces to decorate food with, such as bug shaped sweets (M&S do a great range called 'Colin the Caterpillar', themed party picks (search for cupcake picks, they are starting to appear in the UK now) and even make your own decorative touches such as these radish butterflies (my tutorial for the carrot version is here).
I had so much fun coming up with ideas for this theme, the possibilities really are endless. I deliberately steered clear of sweet options - there are so many ideas out there already. Feel free to add your own suggestions, and if you'd like to suggest a theme I could work on next, I'd be more than happy to give it a shot!
This post was shared at the PIN MEme linky party hosted by Diana from Diana Rambles. Click on the button below to find links to some awesome creative blogs!