Many people have their favorite Roald Dahl story, and I am no different — The Twits! Not only because I think this may have been the first chapter book I read completely on my own, but because of all the horrible and ghastly tricks they devise upon one another! I remember thinking: do adults really behave like this? And, in Roald Dahl's books most adults do! But it isn't always the adults who behave dreadfully; the children can be unforgivable too. Who else thought that Veruca Salt got what was coming to her, even if it was a little extreme?
From the deplorably awful parents of Matilda to the BFG's glee at his own whizzpoppers, Roald Dahl's books appeal to both children and adults. It is his fantastical imagination and delightfully mischievous, and sometimes wicked, sense of humor that has captured the hearts of his audience.
So, if it's your child's birthday party, and they (or you) are a fan of Roald Dahl, this is a birthday party that might almost literally knock people's socks off. All the recipes below are very easy to do and can be slightly altered to suit tastes, but they will all take time. See if you can enlist the help of other family members, giving them the role of chief snozzcumber sandwich maker or creator of the Roald Dahl menu signs.
loaf of whole grain bread
butter (at room temperature)
cream cheese (at room temperature)
If there are no nut allergies, I think a little pesto would also work well in this sandwich.
Slice the cucumber lengthwise, either with a mandolin or a regular peeler. With your first attempts the cucumber strips may not appear perfect but perhaps a little patchy – these are to be layered in a sandwich so nobody will notice!
Spread both slices with a little butter, then the cream cheese. If you're using pesto, add a teaspoon now to one side with the cream cheese and spread. Layer the strips of cucumber lengthwise, and then again to add another layer in a different direction. Place the other slice of bread on top, and with a sharp knife cut vertically and horizontally, into four small square sandwiches. It's up to you whether to leave the crusts on or not. Repeat for how many sandwiches you need per party guest. I'd suggest two small sandwiches per guest and be prepared that you may be enjoying snozzcumber sandwiches later with your post-party, possibly Irish, cup of tea.
Mr Twit's Hairy Scary Beard cups
100g of milk or dark chocolate
50g of butter
3 Tbsp of agave nectar (use Lyle's Golden Syrup if that's what you have in your kitchen cabinet).
20 medium sized cupcake cases
chocolate, orange and green sprinkles
packet of gummy worms, cut into two.
Place the Rice Krispies into a large bowl. Melt the chocolate, agave nectar and butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, and then pour over Rice Krispies and stir till combined.
Spread cupcake cases onto a tray, or place in muffin trays so they keep their shape. Scoop Rice Krispies mixture into the cupcake cases, roughly making them the same size. Push in two or three gummy worm halves that the head of the worm is seemingly squirming out of the rice bubbles. Sprinkle with all three different colored sprinkles. Put trays in fridge to set. Once they are set, transfer to containers. These will keep for two or three days, so you can easily make these the day before.
George's Marvelous Medicine
1 orange Jell-O packet
1 green Jell-O packet
1 yellow Jell-O packet
16 mini preferably clear cups.
You can make easily more than 16 as there will be a lot of Jell-O liquid left over. Adjust cup number for the amount of children attending the party.
Follow the directions of the red Jell-O packet, and if you are only making 16 mini cups, only use half the packet, therefore halving the water quantity. After making the red Jell-O, pour a layer into the mini cups. Remember, there has to be four different color layers so make sure three more Jell-O layers of the same size will be able to fit into each cup. Place these cups into the fridge and allow at least two hours to set. Repeat for each layer.
The trick with this recipe is time. If your child's party is on Saturday and if you work during the week, I suggest you make the first layer on Thursday evening. The second layer can be done before work if you have time; the third and fourth Friday evening. Jell-O is ridiculously easy to make; the only problematic part of this recipe is making the layers, and having enough time for them to set. If you place all the cups on a tray that you can easily take out and put back into your fridge at once, rather than cup by cup.
Serve with a little spoon!
Oompa-Loompa Fruit Kebabs
¼ cup dark or milk chocolate chips
Melt chocolate chips in a mug in 20 second increments to ensure it doesn't burn. Once melted, using a spoon, scoop the melted chocolate into a small plastic sandwich bag and cut a very small hole in the corner to squeeze out the chocolate. This bit is a little fiddly but after a couple of goes, I'm sure you'll get the hang of it. Holding the marshmallow with the tip of your index finger and thumb, squeeze the chocolate into vertical lines along the marshmallow, giving it an appearance of stripes. Place back on tray to dry, sitting it on one of the sides that was not decorated.
Peel and cut the orange into pieces big enough to skewer. Once the marshmallows are dry, you're ready to begin assembling. Pierce a green grape first, then an orange, marshmallow, orange and lastly another grape. Voilà – Oompa-Loompa fruit kebabs!
Matilda's Edible Books
small wholewheat tortillas
slices of cheese
a little butter
edible pens (Wilton brand available online)
To explain how to make these edible books, I think I'd best show diagrams. It's super easy, as demonstrated by the pictures.
You can add ham or any other deli meat or vegetable to the sandwiches, just make sure to cut them to the same size as the cheese so they appear like pages in the sandwich book.
Get creative with the names of the books! Think of your own favourite classics, or let your children decorate them.
Fantastic Mr Fox Food Buckets
Super easy, and an attempt at a healthier food option – a little cup of fruit or vegetable sticks. I used carrot and cucumber sticks, and cherry tomatoes. But, it could also be strawberries, raw broccoli, and capsicum sticks. Let the birthday child choose, so they can have a little control over the healthy option for their party.
The Willy Wonka Chocolate Birthday Cake
I chose this recipe as it's SUPER easy, and when you're doing the food for a child's birthday party, you need to be able to cut corners where you can. With this cake you can, and the taste doesn't suffer. It's Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake, and it can be done in a food processor!
Per cake (makes two sandwich cakes):
1 ½ cup of plain flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp of baking powder
½ tsp of baking soda
⅓ cup of best quality cocoa
¾ cup of soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 tsp of vanilla extract
⅔ cup of sour cream
1 ½ cups of butter (or ¾ cup of shortening, ¾ cup of butter)
1 ½ teaspoon clear vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon clear almond extract
6 cups sifted icing sugar
1 cup of dark chocolate chips
green food coloring
2 8in cake tins
icing head 233 (I use the Wilton brand)
You can be inventive with this: a giant multi coloured lollipop, gummy bears, regular lollipops, the more candy the better! You are creating Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, it needs to be colourful, festive and delicious!
Multi coloured packet of ready to roll fondant.
I made these cakes the morning before the birthday party and put them in a container to keep them fresh. If they have to be layered to fit, use a little baking spray on both sides of clear wrap to place in between each cake so they won't stick together.
Take out all chilled ingredients and allow time for them to reach room temperature before beginning to make the cake.
Preheat oven to 350C and butter two 8inch cake tins. Put all the above ingredients into a food processor, and whizz till completely mixed through, forming a smooth chocolaty batter.
Divide evenly into the two cake tins, use a spatula to scrape out every last morsel of batter. Bake in oven for 25-35 minutes. This timeframe depends on whether the oven is large enough oven to bake the cakes side-by-side. By testing with a knife (that when removed comes away clean) whether they were cooked, my cakes only took 25 minutes. If they are baking on separate shelves, swap their placement halfway through, and they may take longer but still start checking at 25 minutes. Beautiful icing cannot masquerade a burnt, dry cake. Allow to cool for ten minutes before removing to a rack.
Repeat all steps for your second cake.
For the icing, this is my mother-in-law's secret weapon for morish cakes.
Cream butter with electric mixer, then add extracts. Gradually add one cup of icing sugar at a time, beating well on medium speed. Make sure all icing sugar is being mixed by scraping the bottom and sides of bowl often. When all the sugar has been mixed in, divide into 2 bowls; remove about a quarter of the icing mixture into another smaller bowl, leaving around three quarters behind. Use the green food coloring to color the icing in the smaller bowl. Add a little at a time till the desired color green is reached – a bright, grassy green. Cover and set aside.
Melt the dark chocolate chips in a bowl, zapping at 20 second increments as to not burn the chocolate. Stir after each time. Once completely melted, add to the large bowl of icing mixture and cream together till fully mixed.
Lay one chocolate cake half on a board and with a sharp knife, cut about 1-1 ½ inch off around the edge, still keeping a circular shape. Place the smaller cake on top of the other half, and cut the bottom cake to the same size, using the top cake as a size guide. Use some of the chocolate icing to sandwich the two layers together (for a delicious chocolatey moist centre), and do the same for the two uncut cake layers. Place the smaller sandwiched cake on top of the larger cake, making a two tiered cake. Cover entire cake with the chocolate icing. Dip a knife or icing spatula in a cup of hot water to help you spread the icing evenly.
For the grass, assemble the icing head (233) with the piping bag and fill the bag about half way with the green icing. Holding the bag at 90 degrees practice a few times on the scrap edges of the cake, squeezing the bag gently, moving it slightly side-to-side to give the “grass" and authentic look, stop squeezing and pull away to leave little tasty blades of grass. When it comes to decorating the cake, go around the base of the cake, making a ring of grass around the edge. Cover the top of the bottom cake entirely with grass, remembering to place the grass as closely together to hide the chocolate icing beneath. You can be creative with the top tier, making two or three irregular shape grass patches.
Roll out the different color fondant to about 1/10 of an inch and cut out the letters for “Happy Birthday" with a sharp knife; stick along the tiers of the cake. The fondant will dry out quickly so do one colour at a time, and if any is leftover, put in a ziplock bag.
Get creative when it comes to decorating the cake with the candy and lollipops. You can use the picture of our cake for ideas, but you really can put anything anywhere! Remember, you are creating Willy Wonka's “world of pure imagination…"
Enjoy your expertly created, imaginatively delicious, Roald Dahl themed child's birthday party. Make sure the parents get a chance to “oo" and “aah" at your magnificence, and then sit down and enjoy some frobscottle drink!
To let the guest know what they're enjoying, and for those who are not familiar with Roald Dahl, make little signs for each platter. I did this by simply Googling images to match the names of the dishes, and then enlisted my husband's talent for fancy font. Sticking them on colorful paper adds to the rainbow effect. See my examples below.