When someone suggested we have a “sticks” themed pot luck lunch, it piqued my curiosity. Fun with sticks? Sticks? Really? Really. Not that I am opposed to sticks. Growing up in Australia, our BBQ was fired up on an almost weekly basis so meat on sticks featured heavily in my weekly food diary. Not that I actually kept a food diary. But we did have wings on sticks! Anyway, I wasn’t opposed to food on sticks, but I was desperately curious to find out how we’d make it fun.

But really, given the people who were to be my pot luck partners in crime, having an “un-fun” lunch was never on the cards.

Remember this pot luck? And this one? Personally I think we’ve not only upped the ante this time but more like we trundled the thing into the ground but yes, these guys. As if any pot luck with these guys could ever be un-fun.

For my part in this crime of fun-ness, I made some banana cake pops which were fashioned out of the innards of banana cake muffins. I totally 150% cheated because if you want to make “real cake pops” you should blend the cake with cream cheese and make little balls out of that. Just cutting ball shapes out of cake? Totally cheating.

Oh well 😉

I also wanted to make something savoury and my genius friend Christine suggested a stupendously easy recipe adapted from BBC’s Lorraine Pascale – parmesan lollipops! These are VERY easy to make, and although the recipe below has about a billion steps, it’s really two steps: make circles with parmesan cheese and bake. Presto.

parmesan lollipops

They are perfect for little kids and big kids, and if you don’t want to make lollipops (although, why not? It’s just that much more fun!) you can skip the sticks and make parmesan chips!

Anyway, enough about me. We had some absolutely divine creations in our spread of stickiness. We did question though, at what point does it stop being “food on sticks” and become simply “sticks in food”?

spicy prawn balls

sweet chilli chicken skewers

grilled aubergine

lamb skewers

shaking beef with mushrooms & radish

So those were the mains. Su-yin’s prawn balls (a Bill Grainger recipe) stole the show for me, accompanied by a chilli dipping sauce that cleared my sinuses and then some.

rum cocktail ice sticks

condensed milk ice cream

Home made condensed milk ice cream, courtesy of the wonderful Mowie (I know, I’m also surprised it wasn’t pink). So this came on a cone, not a stick but it’s CONDENSED MILK, people, who the f*** cares what it comes on?

pomegranate Turkish delight

toffee apples

banana cake pops (recipe here)

strawberries & chocolate

violet macarons

These were Bruce’s babies. I think Bruce and I started making macarons around the same time. Only mine still suck and look at his! They are so well behaved they even perch on sticks. Not jealous. Much.

cornflake cake pops

coconut agar-agar with sago & gula melaka

Another Su-yin creation. She’s the good Malaysian daughter my parents never had.

guava bellini

And to keep us lubricated, we had drinks on sticks… well, as close as they come. Guava bellinis in tall champagne glasses.

Needless to say, we ate and ate and ate and thank GOD I wore a big loose top to hide my stomach which post-surgery, I can no longer hold in. I might as well die. [Not really]. We sugar-highed and we sugar-lowed and then we all went to Waitrose to buy groceries. See how these parties can bond people? I totally suggest you go hold a pot luck lunch too, and make it a sticks theme 🙂

Parmesan lollipops
120 grams finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons mixed herbs
cracked pepper20 skewers (or I used 10 full length skewers cut in half)
  1. Soak skewers in a bowl of water overnight or for 3 hours to prevent burning in the oven.
  2. Preheat oven to 220°C/430°F.
  3. Mix the cheese, sesame seeds, mixed herbs and cracked pepper in a bowl.
  4. Cover a tray with baking paper and grease well with oil or butter.
  5. Using about one tablespoon of cheese at a time, create circles (about 6cm diameter) on the baking paper. Gently press down – the circles of cheese should be about 2mm thick – and tidy into a nice neat circle.
  6. Lay a skewer on the cheese, the tip of the skewer at the centre of the circle. Press down a little, then sprinkle a little bit more cheese to cover the skewer.
  7. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. The cheese should be bubbling and slightly brown.
  8. Remove from oven and move sheet of baking paper onto a wire tray to cool. Cooling only takes 1-2 minutes and you can use a thin knife to remove carefully from the paper.
  9. I made about 7 lollipops in one go, so repeat the process.
Makes 20 lollipops.

31 Thoughts on “parmesan lollipops and our food-on-sticks lunch: the most fun you’ll ever have with sticks!

  1. wow….condensed milk ice cream…I am drooling! That looks like such a delicious and fun theme pot luck!

  2. So doing this. What a great idea for a night in with friends!

  3. My goodness! So many delicious ideas! And these lollipops would be great for people that don’t eat sweets! 😀

  4. Kay: Yeah it was a great theme and we didn’t use one piece of cutlery! 😉

    London Lady: Do it! And tell me about it 🙂

    Lorraine: I didn’t even think of that! Great way to keep the lolly theme without having the sugar!

  5. Gawd, Catty! You out-did yourself with this post. So much fun to look at. Wow!

  6. looks amaaaazing! it looks like it was a great chilled day with friends…

  7. “At what point does it stop being “food on sticks” and become simply “sticks in food”?” Now there’s a culinary koan to meditate on while your food digests… I guess it;s all a matter standpoint 😉

    I am loving the idea of the shaking beef and radish, and those aubergine skewers, hell I could have pigged out on those for an extended time. All by myself.

    i am now somewhat inspired to have a food on sticks evening myself *trundles off wondering how big a stick you need for a T-bone…*

  8. Ooh I love it Catty! This sure looks like so much fun and all the food looks so so tasty! What a fun idea!

  9. Food on sticks should be added to the 5 main food groups ;P Condensed milk icecream!!! Why wasn’t I there!?

  10. Ahhh looking at the food makes me hungry again. I need that recipe for the condensed milk ice cream, it was SO good. Though it might not be good for my waistline if I start making it in bulk though…

  11. See Matt Bites’ new cookbook…food on sticks!!

  12. Love this post… when I was toying with starting my Forever Nigella event, the other idea I had in mind was “food on sticks”… clearly it had more mileage than I gave it credit for!!!

    I’ve had the parmesan pops, they’re fab.

  13. Claire on May 26, 2011 at 9:25 am said:

    Catty, came looking for your Venice post to do some more research for this weekend and then got stuck on the food on sticks. Brilliant concept and one I will be stealing. PS Your photos are fab too, must start saving for a camera like yours C

  14. So sad I missed this one. You guys must have been completely stuffed. Will be coming to the June one! No more b-day parties thank god. I love parmesan biscuits. I always just do plain parmesan ones for salads. They are a wonder.

  15. Linda: I know, the photos are pretty! it’s all cos of the flowers and light, nothing to do with me 🙂

    hk: Was a faaaabulous day!

    Grubworm: you don’t need a stick for a t-bone, it comes ON a built-in stick!

    Maria: Isn’t it a great idea! Was Mowie’s brilliant idea 🙂

    Sasa: Condensed milk should be one of the 5 food groups!

    Su-yin: We always have so much fun at these pot lucks huh… I’m going to miss them 🙁

    Krista: Ooooh must check out!

    Sarah: Hahaha, yeah I didn’t think we could get this creative either but we did!

    Claire: I hope the Venice post helped you too though haha, go to that place with the wraps. So simple and so good! I use a Canon s90. Not anything overly special 🙂

    mealsinheels: we missed you! I think we’re planning one for early July – hope you come to that!

  16. What a great idea – I love the theme and all the different stick food people came up with!

  17. Hey Catty,

    Another great post. I’m a massive fan of your blog.

    I was just wondering whether you could give me some camera advice. I’m thinking of upgrading from my Canon Ixus and notice you use a Canon Powershot s90. The photos on your site are amazing – is it difficult to get such high quality photos with the camera or is it just a point and shoot jobby? Also it better in low lighting (dark restaurants I’m thinking) than the ixus?


    • Hi! Firstly, thank you *blush* 🙂 Secondly, I can TRY to give camera advice but I really don’t know that much to start off with. I also used to have a Canon IXUS which I adored, but I wanted to have more manual controls without going all the way off the deep end into DSLR-world. The Canon s90 is great for that. It’s a point&shoot size, but it has a little bit more control eg you can set aperture value, time value etc. To be honest I find all Canons to be great in low light situations – have you tried using white balance on your Ixus? It does wonders to help brighten the photos. Let me know what else you need to know!

      Cat x

  18. Jesus H this looks amazing!! I’m with everyone else on the condensed milk thang, I used to have it on cereal (I didn’t have normal milk) and I can eat it by the tablespoonful!

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  20. jenny on May 27, 2011 at 11:53 pm said:

    What a great idea and such beautiful photos! The macarons are so pretty, did they taste good? Reminds me of lavender and I don’t like lavender flavoured things!

  21. Lay the table: condensed milk on cereal? LOL that is hardcore but I like it! 😀

    jenny: Thanks! The macarons were actually amazing – I dont like lavender flavoured things either but violet has a much softer taste and less like pot pourri!

  22. Thanks for the camera advice Catty. I’m going to dig out my Ixus instruction manual and have a fiddle with the settings a bit more before I part with a few hundred pounds. Fingers crossed I can defuzz my low light images..

  23. It all looks amazing. I want a cornflake cake pop right now – please!

  24. Wow, there’s some seriously good looking & delicious dishes there, looks like a photo shoot for a magazine!

  25. Christine on May 30, 2011 at 8:11 pm said:

    They look awesome! Well done YOU! =D

  26. Mags on June 3, 2011 at 10:20 am said:

    This party sounded like sooooo much fun!! What a FABULOUS idea. 🙂

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  28. helen on April 19, 2012 at 2:51 am said:

    I’ve made 2 x batches of the parmesan lollypops and both times the greaseproof paper stuck to the backside of the parmesan when i tried to remove it off the greaseproof paper.
    What am i doing wrong? Not enough butter? Rubbish quality greaseproof?
    Anyone else had this issue? I need them for a party Friday night!!!!

    • That’s really strange! As long as you grease the paper with oil or butter it should be fine. Mine has never had any trouble coming off, with a little help from a butter knife edge. Maybe it is the paper? Sorry I really have no idea why it would stick. Are you over cooking it? Are you letting them cool on a wire rack?

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