twilight and shadow

A beautiful surprise through the rain

I am weary of controversy, opinionation, fanaticism. I can walk into your house without donning a uniform, without having to recite some gospel, without renouncing any part of my inner homeland. With you, I do not have to exonerate myself, to plead, to prove: I find peace, as on that afternoon in Tournus. Beyond the clumsy words, beyond the specious arguments, what you see in me is simply a man. You honour me as the ambassador of a faith, customs, particular affections. If I differ from you, far from wronging you, I add something to you. And you cross-question me as one does a returning traveller.
- Letter to a Hostage by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

In between downpours (once it starts raining continuously every day then you know winter has arrived!) on Saturday morning I met my beautiful friend S of the new blog, Cinnamon Spoon & Goodbye Tea, at the Parnell markets and she surprised me with the sweetest gift: a divine salad filled with kumara chunks, chickpeas and other goodies (how did she know I love kumara?) and some gorgeous cupcakes (which J and I very much enjoyed the next day). They had this delicate marmalade taste which S informed me came from her homemade marmalade. She had even packed them up beautifully herself.

All beautifully packaged.

Unwrapped and ready for indulgence.

Later that same day we visited my parents for my Dad's birthday. I gave him lots of chocolate (we're not a big gift family...the best present is every year we all get our favourite box of cereal...mine is normally Frosties simply because there is a tiger on the packet and I'm fixated on them!) and J made him a card under my inspection (although I did attempt to write a small message inside which looked like it was from someone learning to write). As it turned out, Dad's birthday has been very chocolate-coated. My brother and his wife gave Dad a selection of fancy chocolate sauces and the night before (his actual birthday) he'd gone out for dinner and had some chocolate creation for dessert. Oh, and his cereal was chocolate flavoured too!

J made hummus and we brought along Sesame Blues corn chips for nibbles and Mum had made tortilla chips from wraps needing to be used up. Then for dinner my Mum made a vegan shepards pie (a kidney bean filling with a mashed potato topping...I think it's adapted from one of Alison and Simon Holst's vegetarian cookbooks), stir fried veges and a beautiful fresh salad with her awesome dressing.

Dessert was cake, naturally. FatFree Vegan's Chocolate-Orange Cake to be exact. It was delicious (especially the icings...the orange one tasted like Jaffa) but a little chewy. Well, I can't complain since I didn't have to bake it! Mum likes to stick to her tried and true recipes so I was impressed she branched out for the night.