I decided I would make some healthy snacks to take as well. I will talk about the pate later. The rustic muesli slice above was great for a satisfying sweet snack. It had malt syrup instead of honey and lots of dried fruit. Sylvia took umbrage at a few sultanas and didn't eat it but my mum enjoyed it.
chocolate bliss balls that were so popular on Not Quite Nigella last year. I had the manky bananas. But my balls were so soft I added more coconut and wondered if the bananas were bigger than the recipe called for. I made them the day before we left. It was a busy day making pizza, pate and the muesli slice, swimming, card making and supervising a sleepover. If I had a dollar for each time I said "go to sleep" I would be a rich woman!
They were best after the first day when the ingredients had softened and melded. I found it useful to have them in the fridge when I had a chocolate craving. My sister in law was quite keen to try them until I remembered they had dried fruit in them.
Nigella's rocky road crunch. They worked well together under the watchful eye of my sister. I've posted about my mum's birthday lunch separately.
voracious vegan pate. It really was a great choice. It went well in salad sandwiches, on the table with chips and dips, as a starter when everyone else had spag bol or just as a great lunch with vegies and rice crackers.
I didn't have wifi at the beach and my mobile reception was poor. I really enjoyed being offline (though I still feel quite overwhelmed by being back online now). I finished my book I had been reading for weeks - American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It was a fascinating book with lots of very odd mythical characters. I then read through half of my next book - This House of Grief by Helen Garner - about a local criminal trial. I am full of admiration for Helen Garner's writing but find the subject makes me melancholy and all the more so for being so close to home. I even got to read far more of the newspaper than usual.
fish and chips. I never have fish of course even though I will always call them fish and chips. I had a corn jack with my chips and potato cake and found that Sylvia seems to quite enjoy corn jacks too.
Ocean Grove Farmers Market. I really loved these onions strung up on the back of the ute. There were also huge marrows, dumplings, blue potatoes, proffertjes, rhubarb, spiced nuts, herbs etc etc. My mum had a chat at The Egg Man stall saying she had heard from a government inspector that it is one of the best free range egg farms.
A Hidden Secret, who do fantastic vegetarian food. The above pastie with fennel, carrot, spices etc was amazing with my mum's homemade tomato sauce, coleslaw, lots of vegies and a dollop of my sister Fran's thermomix mayo.
The Dunes in Ocean Grove so we went there on our final full day. The fickle weather was sunnier when we got there and instead of hot chocolate I decided to have a glass of the local Flying Brick Pear Cider. It was quite dry and very refreshing. Perfect with chips. Sylvia enjoyed a hot chocolate and her cousin had a milkshake.
We were sad to leave the beach house. It was such a lovely relaxing holiday. But school is back in a week and there is much to do back at home, even if Sylvia is missing her couch houses and her cousins!
I am sending the bliss balls to Eat Your Veg and Bangers and; Mash for January's Healthy Family Foodies blog event with the theme of Healthy Kids. Sylvia was not keen on them but I wonder if without the dried fruit or even if it was blended up that she might eat them.
Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: NCR Vegan caesar salad
Two years ago: Leon Superfood Salad
Three years ago: Nectarine bounty - salsa and pizza
Four years ago: CC Hal's Stirfry Sauce
Five years ago: Cheese and Almond Loaf
Six years ago: Beat the heat with fruit salad
Seven years ago: Pea and Garlic Soup
Chocolate bliss balls
Adapted from Not Quite Nigella
Makes about 24
2 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
5 medjool dates, pitted and chopped finely
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup desiccated coconut plus more for rolling balls
2/3 cup quick cooking oats plus more for rolling
3 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp honey*
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
dash of cinnamon and salt
Soak the cranberries in hot water for about 10 minutes while you mash bananas and finely chop the dates. Drain cranberries well. Mix with remaining ingredients. Use your hands to roll into balls the size of walnuts (some water on hand to lightly dampen hands to keep mixture from sticking). Roll first in oats and then coconut. Keeps for up to a week in the fridge.
To make it vegan, use an alternative sweetener such as maple syrup.
I loved having these for snacks but half the batch would have been enough for me so I might try that next time.
UPDATE February 2015 - we are now onto our third batch of these bliss balls - they are great healthy snacks to have about and I have found Sylvia loves them without cranberries so I make them that way. I also only use one large banana and today used just 2/3 cup of coconut and it was enough for the mixture.
On the stereo:
An evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer