FOOD & DRINK
You will definitely want to offer food and drink at any baby shower, but exactly what you want to offer will depend on time of day, any theme you may have, and your budget - not to mention the practicalities of serving food in your own home, if that's where the party is.
When preparing your menu, consider foods that you have made previously that are easy to prepare or that can be made ahead of time and frozen. Now is not the time to experiment. The party will be much more enjoyable for you as the host if you are mingling with the guests rather than hanging out alone in the kitchen!
For most baby showers we recommend party food suitable for a finger or fork buffet. Make sure you have plenty of variety to cater for all tastes as well as any vegetarians. You should also try to avoid serving anything that contains foods that pregnant women are advised to avoid, so that the guest of honour doesn't have to worry about what she can and can't eat, such as:
- Soft cheese (such as brie or mould-ripened cheeses like stilton)
- Unpasteurized milk / cheese
- Ready-prepared coleslaw
- Undercooked meat (so best avoid doing a BBQ, just in case)
- Raw or runny eggs
In his section of the website, we have aimed to give you some ideas to get the creative juices flowing if you plan to do the food yourself, as well as reviews of the most widely available food-ordering services. We have also included a section featuring recommended caterers from around the country.
IDEAS & RECIPES
You can make your own pretty easily these days, with a little imagination. We suggest getting a selection of belinis, croustades, mini rice crackers, and even Ritz crackers (anything small and round and savory that can be filled or hold a topping!), then get creative! Here are a few ideas for toppings:
- Cream cheese & smoked salmon
- Cream cheese & chopped chives
- Humous & olive
- Humous & chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- Guacamole & bacon bits
Things on a stick!
Cheese & pineapple on a stick is so passé, it's probably back in fashion, but here are some alternative 'on a stick' ideas:
- Feta cheese & olive
- Feta cheese & cherry tomato
- Mozzarella & cherry tomato
- Two stuffed olives on a stick (you can buy these ready-made such as pimento-stuffed olives, or feta-stuffed olives)
- Bite-size diced marinated chicken pieces (Chinese, Indian, Mexican style!)
- Chunk of roasted red pepper wrapped in parma ham
- Pigs in blankets (little sausage wrapped in bacon)
Fork Buffet Dishes
Anything that doesn't need to be cut with a knife! Here are some ideas:
- Cous Cous (you can buy some packet cous cous that is already spiced and flavoured)
- Cold rice salad with tuna, mayonnaise & spring onions
- Cold pasta salad with green pesto, pine nuts and roasted peppers
- Mixed bean salad
- Cooked prawns in olive oil, chilli, coriander & garlic
Here are some nice ideas for sweet things at a baby shower - what you choose may depend on time of day and your theme:
- Big plate of profiteroles with hot chocolate dipping sauce in the centre
- Bowls of pink and white marshmallows
- Cup Cakes, decorated with pink/blue icing
- French Fancies (the colours are perfect!)
- Cookies cut into baby-related shapes
- Strawberries covered in dark chocolate (dip them in melted chocolate and let them set in the fridge - you could put them on sticks)
- Bowls of mini-eggs (lovely pastel colours to match a theme)
Italian Chocolate Cake
- 100g butter or margarine
- 225g soft brown sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa
- 3 eggs, well beaten
- 75g plain (dark) chocolate
- 150ml boiling water
- 400g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 157ml single cream
- 150ml double cream
- Cream together the margarine, sugar and cocoa.
- Gradually beat in the eggs.
- Melt the chocolate in the boiling water, and then add to the mixture.
- Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat in the vanilla essence and single cream.
- Spoon into two greased and lined 23cm/9inch cake tins and bake in a preheated oven at 180degreesC/gas mark 4 for 25 minutes until well risen and springy to touch.
- Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Whisk the double cream until stiff, then use to sandwich the cakes together.
Classic Fruit Cake
- 175g softened butter or margarine
- 175g soft brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 100g glace cherries
- 100g sultanas
- 100g raisins
- 225g self-raising flower
- 2 tsp ground mixed spice
- Place all the ingredients in a bowl and beat together until well-blended.
- Spoon into a greased and lined 20cm/8inch cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 160degreesC/gas mark 3 for 1.5 hours until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Leave in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
From simple sandwiches and canapés to gourmet food for a sit-down meal, Waitrose 'By Invitation' can help you cater for any style of baby shower or naming party. We particularly like their beautiful Little Victoria Cakes decorated with lilac, lemon and pink fondant icing - perfect for any baby shower! They also do beautiful celebration cakes, flower centerpieces, glassware loan and even ice sculptures!
Lead time: Place your order at least 5 days in advance
Deposit: None required
Ordering: Online In your local Waitrose branch or by phone (0800 169 2701)
Delivery: Delivered to you or collect in-store
Prices: Sandwich platters from £12.50
Canapé platters from £20.00
Large salad dishes from £13.00
Cakes: They do a beautiful 'Toys Christening Cake'. We think this cake is ideal for a baby shower, as the regalice alphabet brick decorations can be customised. Why not ask them to spell out 'Baby Shower' and go for the lighter Madeira sponge version. Prices from £32.00. Alternatively, you could customise the cute Teddy Bears' Picnic Cake which for only £13.95 serves up to 14 people.
MARKS & SPENCER
Marks & Spencer 'Leave it to us' service offers a selection of food from party platters, roast meats, cheese boards, desserts and celebration cakes. Unfortunately you have to go to a store both to place your order and to pick it up, but prices are a little more accessible than those of Waitrose.
Lead time: Most food should be ordered 5 working days in advance, but some platters are available on a 2 day Express service.
Deposit: A non-returnable deposit is required - £10 for orders under £50, £20 deposit for orders between £50 - £100, and £50 deposit required for orders over £100.
Ordering: You can only place the order in your local Marks & Spencer store, but you could save time by visiting their website to make your choices and download an order form at www.marksandspencer.com
Delivery: You have to collect your platters from the store.
Prices: Sandwich platters from £9.00
Canapé/party platters from £6.00
Large salad dishes from £7.00
Cakes: Marks & Spencer have a cake ordering service, which includes what they call the Baby Bear Cake, which serves 20 and for the all-butter sponge version is £32. You could even have it customised to say Happy Baby Shower! Alternatively, you can order a plain fruit, chocolate or sponge cake decorated in white icing, (prices from £10) and decorate it yourself.
Sainsburys have a food ordering service which provides very simple party platters at reasonable prices. Probably the place to go if you are after anything fancy, but if simple sandwiches and cocktail sausages are your thing then this could be the answer. You need to go in store and head straight to the delicatessen counter to pick up the leaflet containing menus and prices. You can then order over the phone in your own time.
Lead time: Most food should be ordered at least 6 days in advance.
Deposit: None required.
Ordering: You can either fill in the order form and hand it in to the deli counter, or place your order over the phone, by simply calling your local Sainsburys and asking for the deli counter.
Delivery: You have to collect your platters from the deli counter in store.
Prices: Small sandwich platters from £6.99
Party platters from £7.99
Fresh fruit platter from £9.99
Cakes: Sainsburys don't have a cake ordering service that we are aware of, but the do have a bakery and lots of ready-made cakes which you could customise to suit the shower theme.
Baby Shower Drinks
As with most things on this website, what you choose very much depends on the size, time and location of your particular baby shower. However, as a general rule, baby showers aren't boozy affairs, especially as the guest of honor can't really drink alcohol! However, it's nice to have a little glass of something on offer, so we have included a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic ideas to inspire you.
Non Alcoholic Drinks
Teas served in mis-matched, shabby-chic china cups and saucers: English Breakfast, Ceylon, Peppermint, Chamomile, Iced Tea
Visit www.whittard.co.uk for more Tea ideas
Fresh Coffees served in appropriate cups: Cappuccino, Latte, Espresso, Coffee with Hazelnut syrup, iced coffee
Coffee Ice-Cream Smoothie (Serves 4-6)
- 400ml espresso coffee
- 400ml milk
- 8 scoops vanilla ice-cream
- (For an alcoholic version also add 4 tablespoons of Drambuie)
Simply whiz up all the ingredients in a blender and serve in a coffee cup with saucer and teaspoon.
Non-alcoholic cocktails served in tall, martini or bowl glasses with a little imagination: Non-alcoholic fruit punch (in the summer, warm non-alcoholic mulled 'wine' (in the winter).
- 2 litres Cranberry juice
- 1 litre Orange juice
- Juice of 4 large lemons
- 6 litres Ginger ale
Make sure all the juices are chilled and simply pour into a large bowl with cracked ice.
Other non-alcoholic drinks: Home-made lemonade, fruit smoothies.
(makes 3 pints)
6 large lemons & 150g granulated sugar
- Scrub the lemons in warm water
- Thinly grate coloured outer zest from 3 of them
- Remove any white pith from the strips of zest
- Now put the zest in a large bowl
- Add the squeezed juice of all the lemons and the sugar
- Pour in 21/2 pints (1.4 litres) of boiling water
- Stir well, cover and leave overnight in a cool place
- Next day stir again and taste to check the sweetness
- Add a little more sugar if it needs it
- Strain through sieve
- Pour it into bottles then chill thoroughly before serving
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