Birthdays are Big where I come from…..

Above, the preparation begins with those roasted tomatoes of course!

We’ve had a full on week of prepping, cooking and celebrating and it’s been a slice. We started by celebrating Jamie’s International Food Revolution Day on May 20 by making Raw Choc Brownies from mynewroots.blogspot.com which is a delighfully easy recipe using only Medjool dates, walnuts, raw organic cacoa, almonds and a pinch of sea salt. They were rich, decadent and deeply, darkly, secretly chocolate and the kid jury was out on them. The adults were for the main delighted by the richness but the 13 year olds at hockey found them just too, too datey.

I will continue to try to convince the trooops but may have to titivate the recipe and cut back on the dates. I also made http://www.101cookbooks.com’s Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies which are totally delish and gained much applause. Heidi Swanson’s recipes are always fantastic but as usual I cut back on the sugar and in fact used palm sugar instead. Coconut Palm Sugar is reportedly better for you (there is debate on that though) than other sugars with a lower GI- but it is difficult to find a report which proves this exactly. However, it has a wonderful taste with a complex, tropical flavour which I think it prefect in baking. I buy it at Asian stores or else buy Jaggery which is dark unrefined sugar – try it, you may be pleasantly surprised. It was a friend’s mum who passed on the fact that most baked goods recipes will still work a treat if you reduce the amount of sugar by a third. Thanks Kay! I also made, again from MyNewRoots blog the raw foods Raspberry Dream Cake except I changed the topping to strawberry and it looked just lovely. Again while they loved the raw foods cake most of the kids thought it “rather different” in flavour. I wonder if our kids (and us) are so used to large amounts of processed sugars and trans fats and are sort of wired for high sugar, high fat flavours. I loved the gentle coconut perfum of the oil used to bind the nuts and vanilla, mmm. Anyway I will continue to experiment with baked goods, raw foods and recipes using as many natural low sugar flavourings as is possible.

Strawberry dream cake

As I said in my family Birthdays are Big and if it’s yours, you get to choose your menu. We don’t want patat (French Fries or Chips) and Chicken nuggets, fizzy drinks etcl, we want real food for real people. We believe that celebrations should begin and end with real food and creating traditions. And that everyone should take part in making the feast.  Jack wanted a Cheese Souffle which strangely is what I used to request at the same age although I had called it a Shuffle. And for his party we agreed on a mixture of his favourite goodies with parental controls inserted of course. So, we served homemade raspberry lemonade, retro stuffed eggs, quails eggs, quinoa pasta with two sauces – a simple roasted onion and tomato sauce and a almond and basil pesto, carrot sticks with lemon hummus, lime zested popcorn and loads of watermelon, blueberries and strawberries. Lucy made a chocolate guitar cake which we  matched with Australian Vanilla ice-cream and cacoa dusted pofiteroles – oh, what a feast!!!

The retro 70 stuffed eggs were a hit with the adults especially. They really are such a cinch and they are great for a picnic. I predict you may be taking to the beach this weekend and maybe a family picnic is on the cards. If so maybe this would be a good snack in between beach combing and surfing. Enjoy! We are off to London and hope to try favourite cafes SAF and Ottolenghi’s on Longacre! Can’t wait..

Stuffed Eggs
10 organic eggs, hardboiled (for 10 minutes)
1 tablespoon at least of Washed and diced chives, parsely, coriander depending on what you fancy
1 tablespoon of that lovely lemon mayo from Marqt (or similar)
1 teaspoon of a curry style chutney or curry paste/curry powder – we love the selection from Mama Djamboes (available at La Buena Vida on Fahrenheitstraat 582) – try the First Wives Club!
a pat of butter
cracked pepper
sea salt

Cool and peel the boiled eggs. Slice in half. Scoop out the yellow part of the egg and place into bowl. Mix with other ingredients and mash to make a creamy mixture. Add a little milk if too dry and season to taste. Either place in piping bag and pipe back into the halved eggs or spoon mixture into the eggs. Garnish with herbs and serve with baby tomatoes – easy. Oh, it brings me back!

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