Monday, May 26, 2008

¡Feliz cumpleaños!

This weekend was Andy’s birthday. Because I’ve been so busy lately, I nearly accepted his wishes to do nothing. But luckily, I got an email from a friend of his and we deviously planned a picnic at the beach anyways. It started as a regular old picnic, but as the week progressed it turned into a fiesta. Andy’s friend made some pretty mean Sangria, complete with lots of boozy fruit floating around in it. There was even a piñata. Of course, it had what every birthday should have— Morning phone calls from Mum, late night text messages from siblings who nearly forgot it was your birthday, and presents...

To fit with the fiesta theme, this was the food we had.

Salsa bean dip. This was meant to be a layered dip, but the salsa and the sour cream layers mixed together, so we just mixed them up with the beans and topped with sour cream and some fiesta-ish corn, coriander and capsicum. We had this with corn chips, and everyone said it must have MSG in it because it was so addictive. Then they heard it was vegan, and it had tofu (sour cream) in it, and they were a bit surprised—but luckily it was so addictive that they kept eating.

There was a green salad which had spinach and rocket, grated carrot, raw corn, capsicum, olives, snowpea shoots, and tomato.

Andy’s favourite coriander-lime potato salad. Instead of the usual cucumber we added a yellow capsicum and some spring onions. This was another suspected MSG-dish. After everyone had finished eating, they kept sticking their forks into the bowl to steal more potatoes.

Andy and I had black bean burgers. This is basically Chickpea Cutlets but with black beans, some chilli-capsicum spread, polenta and Mexican seasoning.

For dessert... Mexican Chocolate Cake, of course! I looked around for a few recipes, but I settled on this one because I was intrigued by the use of balsamic vinegar instead of plain. Instead of using cayenne powder, I soaked a whole cayenne chilli which had been cut open in the water for the cake, so it infused some spice without being too much. However, it didn’t work well enough and the cake was more cinnamon-y than spicy. So for the topping, I made a simple ganache—1/4 cup of soy milk, a tablespoon of sugar, some cinnamon and the tiniest dash of cayenne. Bring that to the boil and then I stirred in a block of Green & Black’s 70% cocoa bar. The ganache was nice and thick, so it basically set on top of the cake but was still really easy to cut and bite through.

The cake was another winner. Everyone said first of all how good it looked, and then, after we cut into it, how tasty it was. After packing everything up, one of Andy's friends asked, 'So that cake was completely vegan?' I never understand why people are surprised when vegan food tastes good.

Happy Birthday, Andy!

20 comments:

romina said...

Happy Birthday to Andy!!
What a yummy cake, mmm.

Vaala said...

That sounds like a wonderful birthday! Yeah, I think people are just surprised because tradition has led us to think that cakes must have butter and milk and eggs and all that to work. Anything different takes some getting used to despite how it might taste the same.

VeggieGirl said...

Happy birthday to Andy!! Looks like a delicious feast you all enjoyed :0)

Bianca said...

Happy B-day Andy!

Damn, homemade Sangria would be awesome about right now!

And I gotta ask, what is capsicum?

Theresa said...

Capsicum is the Australian (and british, maybe?) word for bell peppers. Pepper here is only the black peppercorns. Capsicums and chillis are the vegetables.

Alice (in Veganland) said...

Happy birthday Andy!
If only I could impress other people with such great recipes... I have to keep working on it!

Liz² said...

happy birthday to Andy! That feast looks delectable from any angle! I can never seem to get bean dip to work right, and yellow peppers in potato salad is inspired.

Alice (in Veganland) said...

Oh, and Theresa, you have been tagged in my blog!

Groover said...

That looks like the Townsville Esplanade .. very done up since last time I've been there.

Happy B'day, Andy. You must feel very special - a chocolate cake like that!!! Delicious!

Amy said...

This weekend was my birthday too. Can I have the leftovers? :) (Not that there are any, I'm sure.)

Vegan_Noodle said...

What a wonderful birthday celebration. That's hilarious about the MSG comment. Vegan food can definitely be addictive in it's own right. Cake must have MSG too.

Wish Andy a happy birthday! John's is today :-) So we're doing a small celebration according to his wishes as well.

Pink Theory said...

happy birthday andy!
I shouldn't have looked at all your yummy food before lunch b/c now I am reeeally hungry.

and I love "surprising" people with yummy vegan food.

Lovliebutterfly said...

I also hate it when people don't think vegan food could taste so great. I've had this a lot of times and when they hear it's vegan, the food is suddenly not as great...or maybe they feel guilty for not being vegan!
And yes, it looks like it was a fantastic birthday!

Alec said...

Happy Birthday to Andy! Looks like great birthday food! I want this for my birthday! It's funny how people think vegan food couldn't possibly taste good, although I admit I was once one of those people not too long ago.

The whole addictive thing reminds me of the Ali G episode when he's talking about addictive drugs and he says that Pringles should be illegal because they're addictive, "They even admit it, 'once you pop, you can't stop'".

P.S. Do you ever read Adbusters? The newest one had an article about Kevin Rudd apologizing to the Aborigines for past abuse, grievances, etc. Pretty interesting read. I didn't know much about it until reading that article. I can't seem to find the article on the Adbusters website though if you hadn't seen it in the magazine.

Theresa said...

Groover, it is the 'strand', down at the rockpool end. A cyclone came through and wrecked some stuff about 10 years ago, so they landscaped everything, built a filtered seawater pool, and truck in sand for a few beaches (which is really silly, I think). It does look really flash though.

Alec, I'll have to look for that Adbusters article. That apology was seriously big shit over here when it happened in February, but now some people are wondering if he's going to back it up with any government policies.

the little one said...

Everything looks delicish! And, I've decided Nacho is the cutest most photogenic cat of all freaking time! Is s/he like a cat model or something? Craziness.

bazu said...

Happy birthday to Andy! Lovely food- and I love seeing how your kitty is growing up!

Liane Schmidt said...

Yum, it looks so good!

Best wishes.

Sincerely,

-Liane Schmidt.

Veggie said...

Happy Birthday to Andy! Looks like a great meal, now I want some Sangria!!

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