Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cheese & Fruit Skewers for a Birthday Party {and a Tonka Truck Cake!}

My little one was born two days after Christmas – not the best time to celebrate a Birthday! That being said we did have a party for his 1st Birthday Party in Scotland, however we didn't get to celebrate with all of our friends and family (and his friends!) in Canada, so as a compromise we had a 18 month party for him this past weekend! It was a great excuse to see all of our friends, have a BBQ outside and of course eat cake!

When throwing a Birthday party there are a few food items that I think make it extra special. Maybe it's just an excuse for me to go back to some of my childhood favourites or maybe its just a part of tradition...regardless, they always seem to be a hit so I have fun and go all out! I always make Top Hats – to me it's just not a Birthday Party without them and of course a cupcake or two always goes down well... For something savoury we had some sandwiches for the children (just simple cheese and ham triangles this time) and another favourite party food of mine - that retro 70's classic, Cheese and Fruit skewers! That being said I've moved on from the classic cubes of cheddar cheese and tinned pineapple (!) and instead serve an absolute favourite of mine – Cherry Tomato and Bocconcini with Basil. As well as the Tomato & Mozzarella skewers for a refreshing summer twist, I made Feta & Watermelon Skewers – a little different but absolutely delicious!

Bocconcini and Cherry Tomato Skewers

Rather than giving specific measurements and quantities for this recipe all you need to know is for every skewer you need 1 small bocconcini (not the pearl ones), 1 cherry tomato and 1 leaf of basil – that easy! The quantities will depend entirely on how many you want to make but a word of warning – these little bites are so delicious expect to need a few!

Cherry Tomatoes (red & yellow if you can get them)
Fresh basil leaves
Bocconcini (small balls of mozzarella)
Maldon sea salt

Small skewers

Simply skewer a tomato followed by a basil leave (folded in half if you like) then the mozzarella (bocconcini). Sprinkle over some sea salt, crushing it with your fingers as you do and serve! Easy as that!!

{If you are really wanting to impress or are serving these at a more elegant reception you could serve them with some reduced balsamic vinegar and a little extra virgin olive oil.}

Feta and Watermelon Skewers

As with the Tomato and Bocconcini skewers it's hard to give exact quantities for this as it depends how much you want to make. Generally I just buy a watermelon (although you will probably only use about a ¼ of it) and a big chunk of feta in brine – you don't want to buy the pre-cut feta as it will be too small.

Feta cheese
Pink peppercorns, crushed*
Zest of ½ lime

Small skewers

Cut the feta and watermelon into equal sized pieces then cut the feta in half so its half the thickness of the watermelon. Put the feta onto of the watermelon cubes then put a skewer. In a small bowl mix together the crushed peppercorns and the lime zest then sprinkle over the feta. Serve and watch them disappear!

*If you can't get pink peppercorns you could use red chilli flakes instead, just go easy as they are much spicier than the peppercorns.

And of course every Birthday party needs a cake and this party called for a Tonka Truck cake! Now since I'm not a baker and especially not a cake decorator this cake resembled a bit of a beaten up and well loved truck as opposed to a shiny new version, however it was a hit with my little one which was what really mattered! The cake was a plain Madeira cake and was covered with a layer of butter cream and then fondant icing which I made and coloured as needed. I'm not going to lie – it was a little time consuming and not quite as good as I had somehow pictured in my head (have obviously been watching too much Ace of Cakes!) however it was totally worth it! All in all it was a perfect Birthday party with family, friends, good food and of course cake!


  1. That cake looks awesome! My birthday is New Year's Day, and my brother is Dec 19th. So we always get 1/2 birthday parties growing up. Fun idea!

  2. Wish I was a guest at that party!! The cake is amazing!

  3. How neat is this truck! You did a great job. Also, like the skewers. A little bit healthier than fried appetizers. I am sure everyone enjoyed it. Buzz

  4. My oldest was also born on December 27~such a busy time of year!

    LOVE those watermelon feta fun. And what a fabulous cake :)

  5. Awww! That birthday cake looks awesome!

    I just had a bookclub dinner party where I did crostinis with feta, watermelon, and basil. Everyone was intrigued at the unusual combination, but it just works so well!

    Definitely going to keep your skewers in mind for next time =)


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