Thursday, October 13, 2011

Birthday Crackles

Every year since her first we have a had a birthday party for Toki at the local pre-school. Toki started going to a parent-run playgroup held at the pre-school when she was about six months old. When she was three she started going to pre-school three mornings a week. It's one of my favourite places i n the valley we live in. The pre-school is run as a co-operative. Parents and teachers work together to organise the pre-school. I say, parents, but that's only a bit of the story, all sorts of people help out: grandparents, nannies, uncles, older sisters and brothers. It's not unusual to find a bunch of care-givers sitting around long after pre-school has finished chatting while the kids play in the playground. I found looking after Toki quite isolating at the beginning and the pre-school was a real hub of community. We've made a lot of good friends and a big part of that is because of the pre-school. Toki is at school now, with a lot of the kids she went to pre-school with, and she still likes to visit pre-school every few days to see how things are getting on there. Every time I'm there it occurs to me that there aren't many places where people can just hang out and talk. Often I've found solutions to all sorts of problems there.

It was at pre-school Toki first found out that not everyone is vegan. I have no idea how we managed to miss out that vital piece of information, she'd sat at tables where people were eating meat, but one day I picked her up and she said to me, 'Pip, I don't think Bev's vegan.' Raising a child in a vegan family is a pretty exciting thing and we have had awesome support from our community - Toki's pre-school teacher Bob adapted most of his recipes to be vegan. The most common comment I get when people find out that Toki is vegan is, 'What would you do if she wanted to eat meat?' Most people (probably including myself) assume that one day Toki will become a dedicated carnivore because that's what most people do, eh? Completely rebel against everything their parents hold dear. I often joke that the best things we could have done to insure her vegan future would have been to raise on meat at every meal.

I never have a good answer for when people ask me. The question scares me and I've had to do a lot of 'letting go' about it. I guess the only veganism I'm responsible for my own. A couple of months ago I heard Brent come up with the best answer I've heard yet. My brother and his wife were asking us what we were going to do if Toki wanted to eat meat. Brent said, 'I always figure she's just vegan for today. I mean, hell, I am.' I really liked that.

I'm posting a recipe for Chocolate Crackles. As a kid there's were the quintessential party food. It wasn't until Toki's first birthday that I found out they are also 100% vegan. Every year we make a pile of them - it's a job me and my mum often do. I love baking and cooking with other people and my mum and I often have a giggle while we're baking these. When you put the rice bubbles in they pop and that is always pretty funny for me. 'It's alive!' I always say and someone always laughs.


4 cups of rice bubbles

1 1/2 cups of icing sugar

1 cup desiccated coconut

3 tbsp cocoa

250g Kremelta (the recipe is actually on the Kremelta package. I have never used Kremelta for anything except these - great word though, eh?)

Hundreds and thousands

Cupcake cases

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl, then add the coconut and mix.

In a saucepan melt the Kremelta over a low heat.

When the Kremelta is completely melted, add the sugar, cocoa, coconut mixture and the rice bubbles and stir gently until everything is mixed together.

Spoon into cupcake cases.

Sprinkle with hundreds and thousands and leave to harden.

Chocolate crackles can be made a day or so in advance as long as they're stored in an air-tight container. I can't remember how long they take to harden but it is probably best to allow for a couple of hours.


  1. That was a wonderful post :) It's true, there aren't many places where people can just hang out and have a chat (which is why I love living in a student cooperative). These chocolate crackles also sound very good!

  2. Do you want to know a funny story? Rose and Tess don't know that Chris and I are vegetarians. We're not raising them as vegetarians - they eat meat at day care, but we don't eat meat at home. Sometimes Rose will say something like, "Mum, can I have ham on my sandwich?" and I just say, "Sorry, hon, we don't have any ham." I'm not hiding it from them, I'm open to discussing it with them. It just hasn't come up yet.