Somehow, though, it is.
This year, my sister's birthday fell the day before her last university exam. Not her last exam for this semester, or even last exam for this year, but the very last exam for her degree. She is officially (or unofficially, I suppose, seeing as exams need to be marked) finished with university - at least for the time being. We celebrated her birthday a day late, and it felt like an occasion for lots of celebration.
|Vegan strawberry white chocolate truffle balls|
My contributions to birthday food were the strawberry white chocolate truffle balls I made to welcome this same sister home from European travelling, back in 2011. I have made them a few times since that first occasion, and they are always well received. They're what I like to think of as 'faux' vegan food - the ingredients are refined, sugar-filled and not exactly natural - but every now and then they are a welcome treat. Birthdays are a perfect time to pull them out. I also provided fruit, which balanced out the sweetness somewhat, albeit in a sweet kind of way!
As one of a variety of dishes, my Mum made a chickpea pilaf which I have borrowed the recipe to note down and post here. It was delicious. The dish included turmeric and curry powder, along with chickpeas (of course), currants, slivered almonds, coriander and mint. I am posting the recipe below, which is apparently a Sanitarium provided dish clipped from a newspaper.
|Chickpea pilaf, with assorted salads and other dishes|
My sister had two birthday cakes this year, a chocolate one on her birthday and a lemon and poppy seed one last night. Last night's had the privilege of being topped with Terry's chocolate orange pieces, which was a bonus for Mr Bite, who loves that form of chocolate. I find it odd to have a sister old enough to enjoy lemon and poppy seed cake, as opposed to a plain vanilla or chocolate cake decorated with as many lollies as can be squeezed onto one Women's Weekly birthday cake - but that seems to be the nature of getting old. Everything changes, cakes included.
Around good food and good company, we also enjoyed the warmth of my parent's fireplace. By the end of the night, I had removed my scarf and jacket, rolled up my sleeves, and was still a little warm. I think I need a fireplace at home!
Taken from a newspaper published, Sanitarium recipe
Serves 6 to 8 as a side, or 4 as a main dish
Vegan if served without yoghurt (or with non-dairy yoghurt)
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 tbsp oil
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 leek, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
60g currants (small raisins)
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp curry powder
400g (1 tin) cooked chickpeas
400ml vegetable stock
100g slivered almonds, roasted
2 tbsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp chopped mint leaves
Yoghurt, to serve, optional
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice, carrots, leek, garlic, currants and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until vegetables are just tender. Add chickpeas, stock and water, bring to the boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, for 12 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, place spinach on top of the rice mixture, and cover and allow to stand for 8 to 10 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of the almond slivers, the coriander and the mint. Stir through.
Serve topped with the remaining 1/4 cup almonds and additional coriander.
How have your birthday cake tastes changed with time?