Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day picnicking with salads galore, apple cider cake, jaffa brownies, and sunshine

Having Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May is a tradition that Australia shares with America but not with Britain. As my mother's mother lives in England but has children in Australia, England, Canada and the US (Hawaii), I have often wondered whether she gets multiple mother's days or misses out altogether.

These cross-country musings aside, we celebrated Mother's Day with a picnic that included myself and Mr Bite, my parents and two siblings, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law and her husband and three children, plus one Labrador dog.

King's Park, Perth, Western Australia

I probably give the impression that Perth is always sunny and hot, and for many months of the year that description holds true. However, autumn has arrived and last week we had 60mm of rainfall over two days. It was lovely to finally pull out scarves and warm jackets, but it was also a bit of a relief to have sunshine for our outing yesterday.

I played things safe with my food contributions, following recipes closely and/or making dishes I'd made before. It's not an exciting way to cook, but it does feel safer when you're preparing lots of food for lots of people.


One recipe I was pleased to follow was the apple cider cake Johanna posted on Green Gourmet Giraffe last month, which she adapted from Le Delicieux. Johanna described difficulties with her cake rising too high in the pan and I decided to halve the recipe and use a wide cake tin to avoid similar difficulties. As it was, I probably should have done one or the other but not both - my cake was almost flan-like in height! It was delicious though, and an advantage of the flatter cake was an excellent ratio of apple topping to cake beneath.

My version was probably a cross between Johanna's and the original, and isn't different enough to re-post a recipe for. I veganised the cake by using commercial egg replacer instead of eggs, Nuttelex instead of butter, and vanilla soy yoghurt instead of Greek yoghurt. After a brief period of confusion over what non-alcoholic apple cider actually is (thanks for your input Johanna!), I used plain apple juice with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. I think America simply uses apple cider to refer to non-alcoholic pressed apple juice, whereas Australia tends to apply the term to an alcoholic drink.

Apple cider cake, jaffa brownies, and cranberry and dark chocolate biscuits.

The cake was truly wonderful, and the other dessert items were also well received. I made Shaheen's orange jaffa brownies from Allotment 2 Kitchen (sorry, Hannah...), which I made vegan by using egg replacer instead of eggs and non-dairy spread instead of butter. I also made a batch of my Christmas cranberry and dark chocolate biscuits. I can recommend all items as safe options for pleasing a crowd.

For the savoury part of the meal, three salads emerged from my kitchen: a green salad, an Asian coleslaw salad, and a pasta salad with sundried tomatoes and bocconcini. The pasta salad is similar to one I made last Christmas from Taste.com.au, and was largely made for people other than me. The Asian salad recipe is below, and was made with my taste buds in mind. It is a very long way from traditionally creamy coleslaw mixes, and I loved this version as much as I hate the traditional type.

Green salad, Asian coleslaw salad, and pasta salad.

We also had rolls, dips and crackers, cheese, chicken, vegetarian sausages, hard boiled eggs, and fruit. It was a great picnic on a great day, with great company. Realising that this may be our last or second last Mother's Day in Perth, at least for a while, made it even sweeter. I'm sure that kind of experience will occur more and more often as we count down our last 12 months before leaving Australia for England (at least, our last 12 months if things go according to plan).


I hope those of you with children and/or mothers near by enjoyed your own Mother's Day yesterday. It might be a non-official, country-specific holiday, but I think it is a worthwhile one all the same.



Asian-style coleslaw
A coleslaw I can get enthusiastic about - light, fresh, slightly spicy and slightly sweet.
Makes one large salad, enough for 8 as a side.
Vegan and high raw.


Ingredients
1/2 large white cabbage, shredded (or 1 small cabbage)
1 large carrot, grated or thinly sliced
1/2 cup shelled and cooked edamame beans (for a raw option, sub in raw nuts)
Decent handful (about 1/2 cup) watercress sprouts
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), chopped

Method
Rinse the shredded cabbage under boiling water to soften slightly. Place in a large bowl with the carrot, edamame beans, watercress sprouts and spring onions.

In a small bowl, combine the ginger, soy sauce, lime juice and sweet chilli sauce. 

Add the sauces and chopped coriander to the cabbage and other vegetables, and stir or toss to mix through. 

Transfer to a serving bowl, and serve. This can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the fridge until needed.

Submitted to Ricki's Wellness Weekend 16th to 20th May 2013
and Raw Foods Thursdays 16th May 2013.

Did you celebrate Mother's Day yesterday?

33 comments:

  1. I had a lovely Mother's Day - and we did the big breakfast thing at home. Smoked salmon, eggs, vegetables - it was a lovely morning.
    Kings Park looks beautiful!

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    1. I'm glad you had a good day Liz :)

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  2. Wow that all looks amazing!!!

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  3. Amazing !
    The apple cider cake looks also really good

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    1. Thank you :) And I highly recommend the cake!

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  4. That's an interesting looking coleslaw. It must have a lot of flavour. How incredible that your mother has children splattered all over the globe. It looks like you were able to enjoy a wonderful mother's day. The scenery is gorgeous xx

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    1. It's my mother's mother actually (my grandmother), but it is quite mind boggling to think of how far 5 children can scatter!

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  5. That cake looked good even if it turned out flat :)

    My mum, sister and I did a charity walk on Mother's day to raise money for breast cancer research.

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    1. What a great way to spend the day - I think that's a lovely Mother's Day activity.

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  6. Sounds like you guys had a fun mother's day!! That cake looks so good...I'm going to have to try it!

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    1. I recommend it Joanne - and have no doubt yours will be an appropriate height!

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  7. sounds like a great picnic - glad the cake went well - yours looked far better behaved than mine - I think the thicker apple slices seem like a good idea - I always think of sparkling apple juice as the same thing as non-alcoholic apple cider (perhaps because I don't ever see any other non-alcoholic apple cider)

    your input to the picnic was heroic - love the sound of the Asian coleslaw - sounds far better than the regular creamy sweet one

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    1. Funnily enough, I was thinking of sparkling apple juice as non-alcoholic apple cider too, but then when I didn't see 'cider' mentioned anywhere on it in the supermarket, and Mr Bite said he didn't think that was right, I lost confidence. Fortunately plain juice worked fine too. It is an excellent cake!

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  8. I didn't realize you had family spread out so far. At least if you want to go on vacation and see family you have wonderful places to visit.

    I love asian style cole slaw. It is always easy to prepare and makes for a great lunch or BBQ addition.

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    1. I am quite new to Asian coleslaw but I do love it now! And yes - I am fortunate with family. One day I will make it to Hawaii...

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  9. Isn't Kings Park glorious! I love the look of your apple cider cake and the jaffa brownies sound irresistable.

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    1. Kings Park is definitely somewhere I'll miss when we're not in Perth - it is beautiful any time, but in sunshine just dazzles!

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  10. That sounds like a wonderful picnic! We don't celebrate mother's day, because my mum has always been very cynical about the holiday ("mother's day, shmother's day - nothing but a marketing ploy!" etc etc), but I always end up ringing her and saying, "I know we don't celebrate mother's day, BUT... thanks for being a wonderful mum" ;) ). She rolls her eyes, but I think (hope) that she secretly appreciates it, hehe.

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    1. I'm sure she does :) Mr Bite is a bit like your mother actually, but I tell him he's not allowed to be the one taking that stance when he isn't a Mum!

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  11. Whoa, your mother has a diverse collection of kids, ha ha! And I totally agree with playing it safe when serving others...I always get tempted to experiment, but cooking for groups tends to be the time when experimenting goes haywire. Also that is a seriously deluxe picnic, sounds amazing!

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    1. You're spot on - when you have lots of people counting on your food, experimentation generally goes badly! It's actually my mother's siblings who are spread out (her mother's children) but they are very diverse in their locations!

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  12. Wow, what a feast! Oddly enough, I don't know the technical differences between apple cider and juice, but cider is way tastier. Usually not alcoholic but usually only available in the fall from the fresh apples. And gosh, your coleslaw looks delicious. In don't like the mayo-based ones either.

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    1. I can't believe how different coleslaw turns out when you move away from the traditional mayonnaise. It's opened my eyes to the dish, that is for sure!

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  13. S'okay, I forgive you. Apple cider cake and Asian coleslaw float my boat.

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    1. Mine too (and far more than jaffa muffins) :-)

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  14. I HATE mayo-based slaws too! I would always turn slaw down when I was younger because I assumed that's what slaw always was. Oh how happy I am to have discovered all the variations! And this one looks amazing!

    What a lovely collection of goodies for mother's day :) Glad you enjoy yourself!

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    1. Thanks Gabby! I figure if coleslaw can go from something I hate to something I like, there might even be hope for macaroni and cheese...maybe ;)

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  15. Hi! Found your recipe on the Raw Foods Thursdays link-up. I submitted a cole slaw recipe as well this week. :)
    I'm a huge fan of crunchy salads. I will have to try yours - the dressing sounds so good!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Trish! I'm just about to head over to see your recipe too :)

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  16. Ginger, soy, lime, and chili sauce? Delicious! And I love watercress spouts. Such a great flavor. Thanks so much for sharing on Raw Foods Thursdays. Have a great weekend!

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  17. The Asian Coleslaw looks really good and I shall attempt it - I'm always looking for new salads.

    I have children on both sides of the Atlantic and I do get a double dose of Mother's Day. Lucky me!

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