A Mad Hatter's New Year's Eve Party!

January 02, 2014

I always feel that there's something magical in the air on New Year's Eve, filled with the hope that from tomorrow, this could be the best year yet! And so with magic in mind I decided on an 'Alice in Wonderland' theme for our 2014 New Year's Eve dinner party. Come and enter our very own 'Wonderland' for tips and tricks on how to create your very own Mad Hatter's party...


As an interior designer it is fair to say that I am obsessed with décor and so I enjoyed every minute of transforming our dining room into a place fit for the Mad Hatter himself...

These confusing arrows set the scene for what was to follow in the dining room 
- you can print your own copy of  my arrows in the 'Printables' section at the bottom of this post.

Here's the link that I used to purchase the Extra Large Playing Cards
featured throughout the décor.

I created these gorgeous 'Poms' so quickly, easily and at very little cost 
as I already had spare tissue paper lying about (it pays to keep the paper 
you get in your shopping bags!). Just search for 'Tissue Poms' on YouTube
and loads of instructional videos will come up to show you what to do step-by-step.
They're an amazing way of creating a magical atmosphere and I wish I could keep them up all year round!


Naturally, we had to embrace the whimsicality of 'Alice in Wonderland' in our menu choice and each course therefore featured a little twist...

Liver Cornets with an Apple Sorbet Queen of Heart

Please see my post 'It’s Cornet Time ... Liver & Egg Cornets - Chocolate & Vanilla Style' for the Liver Cornet recipe.

And keep checking out the recipe section for my amazingly simple but incredibly delicious Apple Sorbet recipe. To create the 'Queen of Heart' simply freeze the sorbet in a heart shaped silicone ice cube tray.

Main Course:
The Wonderland Edible Vegetable Garden

To transform our fairly traditional main course of Moroccan Roast Chicken, Sticky Ribs and Roast New Potatoes, we created our very own Wonderland Edible Vegetable Garden by following Heston Blumenthal's recipe for his Garden Salad. It didn't quite look as aesthetically pleasing as Heston's (maybe because I used non-dairy cream which never whips as well as proper whipping cream or perhaps because I roasted the vegetables to the point of floppiness, both of which meant that my vegetables didn't stand as tall and proud as I would have liked) and when I next make it I will definitely double the gribiche to allow planting in a deeper dish. However, it was still such a fun dish to both make and serve and it tasted absolutely incredible!

Mad Hatter Raspberry Soufflé & Alice's Chocolate Layer Cake

 Mad Hatter Raspberry Soufflé

I used James Martin's Foolproof Hot Raspberry Soufflé recipe from the BBC recipe collection and it worked beautifully - these were my first ever soufflés and they rose to perfection so I would definitely agree that this recipe is true to its title!

However, I multiplied the recipe quantities by six to make enough mixture for twelve soufflés, and I know my cases were on the small side, but I had enough mixture for about 40, so adjust accordingly. Likewise, straining the coulis was incredibly time consuming although it did give my arms a fantastic workout!

To link seamlessly with the 'Mad Hatter' theme I baked these soufflés in adorable Afternoon Tea Cupcake silicone cases and they worked wonderfully, especially with the 'Eat Me' tags I added to the saucers (and one Happy Birthday tag for a friend). You can find templates for these tags and others, in the printables section below.

Alice's Chocolate Layer Cake

This fabulous cake really finished off the meal with a gorgeous wow factor and it was relatively stress-free to make.

I made the three layers in advance (a chocolate-almond base layer, a pistachio dacquoise middle layer and a yummy chocolate mousse top layer) and froze the cake until the day before the party. I then completed all the decoration on the day of the party.

As with many of my favourite recipes, this cake was featured on Masterchef Australia. It was created by Kirsten Tibbals and is called 'Eve'. In fact, this cake triggered the inspiration for the entire 'Alice in Wonderland' theme with the delicious chocolate Toadstools reminding me of Alice's adventures after falling down the rabbit hole.


 As an extra special touch, we created our very own 'Drink Me', 'Eat Me' and place name tags. You can download and print your own copy using the links below. Please note that you will need to add your own images and names.


The place names were created using these Miniature Glass Bottlesfilled with water, red food colouring and red glitter (all non-edible!). See below for links to print the tags.

These 'Drink Me' bottles were created using sterilised, empty Coca-Cola bottles that we refilled with a Vodka Cranberry Lemonade cocktail (one shot of vodka, two shots of cranberry juice and lemonade to fill). See below for links to print the labels, suitable for 330ml Coca-Cola bottles.

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