The first year we were young(er) and childless. You could say we were footloose and fancy free, although that wasn’t quite true. We sat in a courtyard cafe in the Marais, drinking bad coffee and eating baked cheesecake so good I can still remember each bite eight years later.
The year after that, 2006 we stopped to celebrate in the midst of a winter road trip around New Zealand. Dinner was Hell’s pizza in a motel room in Napier, with 3 month old Ben, snuffling around in the port-acot.
It seems insanely productive now looking back, by the following year 6 day old Dan had joined the family. I drove shakily out from our chilly Island Bay villa to collect a Malaysian, while you chatted to your brother, not knowing he wouldn’t always be at the end of the phone.
Then followed the wilderness years. Lost in the land of the little people. Loosing days and nights and months and thoughts and memories.
Three years ago June 27th was at once ordinary and extraordinary. We were surrounded by dear sweet friends and family. Eating bacon butties on the lawn at Cwm Cadian. Drinking tea, poking smarties onto a supermarket cake. Good times. There may even have been a bag of fresh jam donuts- or perhaps that was another day.
The following year we really got our act together. Booked a babysitter, got dolled up (as far as my pregnant-again body would allow) and stepped out to the Ambeli. I don’t remember what we ate, but I do remember it was incredible.
Last year we were in transit. Singapore. Heat, pool, zoo, and the buffet. Little did we know back then what the year had in store for us. If we had, then I dare say I’d have gone back for a forth helping of curry and ordered a second wine.
Now today, Te Ngakau in mid winter. The fire is on. The cake baked and iced, and under Ted’s instructions cut into the shape of a Star Fighter. Dan and Ted are dressed as Darth Vadar and a Storm Trooper respectively. Ben is practicing his speech for tomorrow’s speech finals. He’s also worrying about his lack of costume for the school disco tomorrow afternoon (he said he didn’t want one) and taunting Dan that Darth Vadar’s cape makes Dan look like a ballerina. Joe has requisitioned Darth’s helment / mask and is wandering around beneath it.
Chocolate birthday cake (gluten free) … cutting it into a star fighter shape is optional.
200g melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup natural unsweetened yogurt
1 cup dutch cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup rice flour
2 cups ground almonds
100g dark chocolate
A slug of cream
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend. Scrape down the sides and blend again. Should make a thick batter – if too thick add a bit more yogurt to loosen it up.
Pour into 2 greased round cake tins and bake at 180 for around 30 mins until cooked through.
When cake cool make the ganache by melting the chocolate over hot water then stirring in the cream. Liberally apply the ganache to the cake and get the kids to decorate. Party time.