My parents made Black Forest cake a lot when I was a child. I have a fond nostalgia for it, a bit like the pop froth of Tiffany, the seminal angst film The Breakfast Club and the Lite Brite – from Milton Bradley.
Hurling the retro gateaux into the modern age, like a pie in the face of the present, I’ve added the chocolate and cherry flavours to the ever-popular avocado mousse.
When I was twelve my family lived in Canada and my parents ran a florist shop. On a winter’s day, I helped my mum to deliver flowers to a chicken abattoir. I saw some stuff. I became a vegetarian. A properly annoying self-righteous one if I remember correctly – like only a strong-minded, tenacious tween can.
Since then, I’ve had a few blips. I ate turkey in Turkey when I was 19 after my best mate Kat and I spent a few months traveling around the Mediterranean, living in treehouses and bruising our legs from dancing on tables. I couldn’t eat another falafel or Greek salad, so I tried a turkey sandwich and thought it was foul (boom boom, sorry). I ate poultry on and off for a few years. Then I stopped again.
Fast-forward to when my son was 15 months old, and I was six months pregnant with my daughter. We were moving across the country and we did it in our home, a narrowboat. It took two weeks to travel the distance that would have taken three hours to drive. I wasn’t looking after myself. The lentils and spinach were forgotten. I got so ill that I couldn’t get off the bed. I was so fuzzy-headed that I didn’t just seek out a doctor or chemist in whatever town we were near – but then I couldn’t stand, much less think rationally. My husband was worried about me and the baby and since I was obviously severely anaemic, he made me a burger. I couldn’t protest and ate it (the texture, the awful texture!). It helped a little. All I needed was iron and I could have got it at a chemist but didn’t have the presence of mind to do that. Blip.
At the moment, my family probably eats vegan about 1/3 of the time and sometimes we’ll have fish. My husband and kids eat meat now and again. We go with the flow and I suppose ideas and ideals change over time. I’m sometimes vegetarian, pescatarian or vegan. I also eat the baking chocolate sometimes (often). I like gherkin/pickle sandwiches with lots of mustard. I put balsamic vinegar on my pizza and put enough Worcestershire sauce on my cheese toasties to soak the bread.
Although I don’t need to tell you this part of my life, I thought I would as I get asked about it a lot. It’s funny though as I sort of fear a backlash from the zealots (someone recently gave me grief for not being vegetarian enough for their liking). However, this is my journey with vegetarianism. It may fork and the road may turn again, but here I am now. Some of my readers are veggie, some vegan, some gluten-free. Some are after quirky bakes, or healthy alternatives or a way to use up kale. Some are American, some British, some Argentinian. All are welcome. Let’s all hold hands ’round a campfire, sing vaguely naughty folk songs and drink Mint Juleps, shall we?
Polly, 2 years old, modelling this season’s Black Forest cherry chocolate avo mousse.
What else is happening?
– This week I was in The Debrief
– It’s Food Revolution Day on Friday 16th May. I was absolutely honoured to be Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Blog of the Month back in February and I fully back his goal to get everyone, especially kids, cooking healthy, wholesome meals.
– Anyone going to Bristol VegFest over the bank holiday weekend?
- 1 avocado
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
- Canned cherries in light syrup, divided
- 100ml (1/3 cup) whipping cream or whipped coconut cream
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Combine the avocado, cocoa and honey or agave plus 10 cherries in a blender or food processor and whiz until smooth. Chill in the fridge for a few hours, or in the freezer half an hour.
- For the topping, whip the cream (or chilled coconut cream) and sugar until thick. Top the chocolate mousse with cream and drizzle with cherries and juice. Serve chilled.
Thanks to food pr company Clip Creative for the pastry shell samples.