Occasional stories, food and travel inspiration

Occasional stories, food and travel inspiration

Ms 6 turns 7!

Warning: proud parent alert. Those of you who get all twitchy when your Facebook friends post pics of their kids can read Top 5 Meals I Wish I’d Never Eaten or browse my archives instead. 

My daughter turned seven yesterday. Seven!

Here she is the day after she was born in Shanghai.


My ex and I like to say she was Made in China. Ahem.

She’s grown a lot since then.

Unlike previous years where we’ve celebrated E’s birthday at home — see her 6 year old party and Throwing a kids’ party without losing your mind — this year we celebrated her birthday party at a YMCA gym. The session was for two hours and came with two instructors to teach the kids how to use all of the gym equipment – balance beams, bars, climbing rope, climbing walls, mats, trampolines etc.


The YMCA venue meant that all the party food had to be transported or prepared on the spot. The food also had to be simple as I had a nasty cold and didn’t have the energy to do anything too elaborate.

So this was the menu yesterday:


With such a big group of kids I’ve decided not to publish any photos from inside the gym. But I took a few photos outside with my dad and ex acting as hand models.


Did the kids have fun? Oh yes. They had a ball.

I also enjoyed myself. With two instructors looking after the kids, I was free to watch, do minimal food prep and chat. After the party there was a bit of tidying up but all the family pitched in and it was done in 20+ minutes. We were then free to enjoy the rest of the day. Gotta love that!

Happy Birthday, darling E. We love you to the moon and back.



Honey Joys



Vanilla Cake with Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Rose Fairy Floss

I adapted this recipe by Sydney baking star, Raspberri Cupcakes. Mine is very similar, but I adjusted the ingredients and quantities as I went for a raspberry/vanilla cake with raspberry icing instead of Steph’s pink and white cake with sprinkle icing. Instead of macarons I decorated the cake top with sugar crystals and rose-flavoured Persian fairy floss. The fairy floss should be added just before serving as it quickly starts to melt into the cake and lose its form.

In hindsight — always a marvellous thing — I would have strained the raspberry puree before adding it to the icing as the raspberry seeds added bumps to the icing that detracted from the overall look. I would also have refrained from adding raspberry juice to the vanilla cake batter and made it as a plain vanilla cake. It still tasted fine though.

Pizza and Sausage Rolls

There are some brief instructions here.

Mini Chocolate & Berry Trifles

These dairy and egg free trifles comprised biscuit crumbs, stewed mixed berries, chocolate mousse, chocolate flakes and rose Persian fairy floss. There were OK but not amazing, mostly due to the chocolate mousse which was not sweet enough. I’m going to experiment a little more and will blog this properly later.

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