Thursday, February 16, 2012
A milestone celebration
Our son's 18th birthday was last week! Wow, it makes me feel old to be the mother of an adult but I am actually quite a young parent as I gave birth to him just after turning 19. On his actual birthday, the three of us went to a favourite local restaurant (which I must bring my camera to next time so I can post about it) and then we hosted a family party on the weekend. It was a great night that was thoroughly enjoyed by all, including the birthday boy.
During the month preceding the event I perused many recipes for dips, finger foods and sweets and pre-cooked a few freezer suitable items along the way to keep myself organised. I actually had to stop at one point because my freezer was full to the brim of baked goods so I couldn't squeeze another item in. The photo below was taken after clearing out the freezer on the morning of the party, pictured are samosas from Terry Hope Romero's recipe testing, pinwheels, sausage rolls from where's the beef and oven baked falafels.
I chose a selection of dips and daringly made a couple that I hadn't tried previously, one of which turned out better than the other. As my mum is seriously allergic to all nuts I decided to keep them out of everything apart from the sausage rolls and changed this Mexican layered dip around to suit. I started with a base of refried beans and layered it with guacamole instead of cashew cream, then topped it all off with chopped tomatoes, olives, spring onions and coriander. This was a big hit, especially with my niece and brother in law.
A hummus variation with roasted red capsicum, olives and smoked paprika that I made last Christmas, a spiced carrot dip which I wasn't very fond of, and a Moroccan broad bean dip called bessara were the other dips I made to go with pita bread. The bessara was quite similar to hummus although it had a deeper earthier flavour. I stumbled across this dip when I was searching for recipes that used dried broad beans a while ago as I accidentally purchased broad beans when I meant to buy Egyptian fava beans for ful medames.
For sweets, I made a carrot semolina halva from recipe testing and rocky road from Green Gourmet Giraffe minus the nuts. I also made a chocolate cake and frosting from The Joy of Vegan Baking which was decorated with choc-mint balls (see top photo).
Now that the party is over and with recipe testing finishing up soon, I aim to get back into a more regular blogging routine. That's the plan anyway!
Bessara (Moroccan broad bean dip) (Adapted from this recipe)
200g dried broad beans
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 heaped teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
Place the broad beans in a bowl and cover well with water. Allow to soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse well with fresh water. Place the beans in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for about an hour or until the beans are tender.
Drain the beans in a colander and allow to cool then place them in a food processor with the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper. Pulse for a few minutes, scraping down the sides every so often, until it becomes a thick smooth paste. Add some additional water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
Transfer to a bowl and garnish with parsley. Bessara is traditionally eaten warm, I served it at room temperature which was fine.