Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Menu Madness: Ashleigh's Birthday Edition

My friend Ashleigh's birthday is on New Year's Eve. For the last two years, in January, I have had her over for a birthday feast and we have watched Lost Girl on DVD. (Sometimes she comes over and we watch Lost Girl without it being her birthday, and of course I still make food, but let us focus on the menus I have made). This year I made the American Menu from Vegan Without Borders by Robin Robertson (this will be my next recipe round-up, I am loving this book!), and the year before I made the Kid's Birthday Party Menu from Chloe's Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli.

All-American Supper from Vegan Without Borders

Mac and cheese, garlicky greens and chocolate cake makes for a super satisfying and delightful menu!

Butternut Mac and Cheese: The sauce for this is made up of steamed butternut (though I bet roasted would make it even better!), cashews, non-dairy milk (it says almond but I used oat) and nooch plus seasonings. It is SOOOOOO good!
Rating: :D

Butternut Mac and Cheese

Garlicky Greens and Beans: The greens called for in this recipe are collard greens, but as they don't exist here (that's right, no collard wraps for Australians), I just used trusty kale. Several years ago kale was super hard to find here, but now it is everywhere, so hopefully collars will follow. Instead of simmering the greens in boiling water, I just blanched by pouring a kettle-full of boiling water over them to wilt, then proceeded.
Rating: :)

Garlicky Greens and Beans

Group shot!

American Menu: Butternut Mac and Cheese; Garlicky Greens and Beans

Blue Ribbon Chocolate Layer Cake: This is a decadent cake that is very impressive. The frosting is a brilliant combination of melted chocolate, silken tofu (I used soft silken rather than firm silken as that was all I could find) and soaked cashews! The cake does call for some coffee, which I am generally not a fan of however I have found it to enhance the chocolate taste of other cakes in the past, however in this case I found it was a bit too coffee, so I would use something else instead. I made the cake the day before and it kept very well.
Rating: :)

Blue Ribbon Chocolate Layer Cake

All up a very simple to make menu. I had planed on making some other things from this book to add into, but I was feeling under the weather, and this was still lots of food!

Kid's Birthday Party Menu from Chloe's Kitchen

Kid's menus are often a lot of fun, as they should be! And this was certainly enjoyable.

Sweet and Sour Party Meatballs: These balls are amazing (hee hee). They are made from a great mix of tempeh, lentils, walnuts and flour (obviously with other things), and they came together fantastically,though they were a bit soft. I would recommend grinding the walnuts first. She uses a similar mix to make her big mac patties, which I am super keen to try soon! I got about 30 meatballs from this recipe, which was plenty for two hungry vegans. It is served with her sweet and sour sauce. Normally I am not a fan of the super-sweet, bright red sweet and sour sauces, however this recipe has a great tang to it. There are a few options for ingredients, and I used apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and cornstarch.
Rating: :)

Sweet-and-Sour Party Meatballs

Easy Peasy Pasta Salad: Potato sauce? Yes please. This is a tangy, creamy sauce with steamed potatoes as the base! Chloe serves them over wagon wheel pasta, but as I have never found that, and in the spirit of the menu, I used Hello Kitty themed pasta. I only used 8 oz pasta (instead of 1 lb) and about three quarters of the sauce. I also mixed some nooch through because I am an addict.
Rating: :)

Easy Peasy Pasta Salad

Group shot!

Kid's Birthday Party: Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs; Easy Peasy Pasta Salad

Happy Birthday Cake: Vanilla cake with chocolate icing is fairly classic. This frosting has melted chocolate, shortening and lots of powdered sugar. It says you can make the frosting up to two weeks in advance and store it in fridge, however I made it the day before and it sets up HARD, I needed to leave it out for ages to be soft enough to spread. I added a layer of sliced strawberries in the middle to add some freshness, which was an excellent plan.

Happy Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday Cake

This menu also included some Chlostess Creme Filled Cupcakes, however for the two of us I deemed one large cake to be quite enough.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

A pretty black Dim Sim on her favourite pinkie.


  1. What a wonderful friend you are to make those beautiful birthday dinners for your friend. Everything looks delicious!

  2. Aw, what a lovely friend you are :) That sounds like the ideal type of birthday. I am a big fan of butternut mac too. I use the Oh She Glows recipe a lot and I keep hearing about the potato based cheese sauce. I'm going to have to try that too.

  3. Ashleigh is a very lucky birthday girl! Now I really want to try the Butternut Mac and Cheese.

    I'm not a big fan of coffee in desserts either. But CAKE! Your cakes are so tall and beautiful! I'd like to bury my face in a slice of that.
    Dim Sim <3