What's a Party Without Delicious Food?

It is so fun creating a menu for a magical birthday party.

The menu was more about presentation than anything else; everything had to look sweet and small and perfect. All the savouries were a cute take on party food; we did foie gras pops on sticks, mixed coloured salmon roe hundred and thousands, salmon tartare on a lattice potato. All the platters were garnished and made to look fun and of course, suit my theme. I am theme obsessed, but you know that!

For entree, we settled down to an heirloom tomato and pulled ricotta salad that we styled like a wreath around the edge of a plate. It is simple details like this that can make a salad stand out, why plop it all in the centre when you can make it like a fun doughnut? Looking gorgeous on these Provincial Home Living Bourgogne Plates.

Wreath Salad - Ingredients

  • x600gm Buffalo mozzarella 
  • x1kg Heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • x2 punnets Micro purple basil 
  • x1 bunch Shiso leaves   
  • x200gm Balsamic pearls 
  • x350gm Basil mayonnaise 
  • x100ml EVOO
  • x1 bunch Picked dill
  • x1 punnet Violas to pick 
  • x100gm Snow pea tendrils  

Basil Mayonnaise                                                       

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise

Balsamic Vinegar Pearls

  • 100 g (7 oz) Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1.5 g (1.5%) Agar Agar

  • Oil Bath

  • 1 cup of oil, cold from being in the freezer for at least 30 min


  1. Start by placing the oil in a tall glass in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. It is better if you use a tall glass so there is more time for the balsamic vinegar droplets to get cold and gel before reaching the bottom.
  2. Once the oil has been in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, put the balsamic vinegar in a saucepan, dissolve the agar agar and bring it to the boil, stirring constantly with a beater. Take off the heat and skim to eliminate any impurities.
  3. Wait a few minutes until the temperature drops to 50-55 ˚C (~120-130 ˚F). If the liquid is too hot, the droplets may not cool down enough and therefore not gel completely before reaching the bottom of the glass resulting in deformed spheres.
  4. Fill a syringe with the hot balsamic agar solution and expel it drop by drop into the cold oil. The syringe needs to be high enough for the drops to sink when they get in contact with the oil but not too high or the drops may break into smaller drops creating “baby” spheres. Do not use a Caviar Maker or it will be very difficult to clean with the agar solidifies inside.
  5. Wait a few minutes and then carefully remove them from the oil bath using a slotted spoon and rinse them in water. You can keep them in a container in the fridge for later use.

For the main course, we had a fillet of beef, bearnaise and fries but to muck it up we then did a pastry shell in the shape of a fish and served the fries in some very cool pink anchovy tins I found online from an online store Lark. This went down a treat as no one expected to find meat under the fish, but it's that kind of novelty that I love and can really make a lunch special.

When the theme is based on such lovely colours, I felt I could go all out on the sweet side of things. Dessert was a homemade gay time ice cream garnished with fresh pansies. Followed by afternoon coffee, where I continued the theme pastels and pink theme with an assortment of multi-coloured sweets in copper containers. Keeping it all tonal, keeping within the theme and keeping it all fresh and happy.

Credits: All food by The Big Group. Coloured Platters by Canvas + Sasson. Balsamic Vinegar Recipe via Molecular Recipes. 

Photos:  Lisa Atkinson, Copyright © Chyka Keebaugh.