**Prize winners announced below!**

Well, today’s post brings to a close our wonderful launch week here at Fork and Fiction. It’s been a great week: celebrating our collaboration, sharing more about ourselves and receiving your excellent comments. It’s got us thinking about what’s important in a party. What we make, eat and share. Is there any better way to celebrate than with food and company? What do you eat in your house when there’s something worth partying about? Here are our must-haves:

Ria’s Top Celebration Foods:

CAKE: Of course this is not a shocker. I’m very vocal (possibly annoying?) about my love for cake. But it all went to a new level when my daughter was born. I had planned, assumed, that I would have a slow labour with enough time to bake a batch of cookies or even the unnervingly-named “Groaning Cake” women used to bake to pass their labours. Apparently it had a really long list of ingredients and lots of steps, which, I imagine, would make one groan from sheer frustration as well as contraction pain. But it sounded good to me. What better food to eat after going through labour and bringing a new person into the world than cake–the ultimate party food? [Just so I can justify my position here, my midwife recommended I eat foods rich in protein and fat after birth…cheesecake anyone?]

Best laid plans… My labour was way too fast to think about anything but actually labouring. No Groaning Cake for me. But a miracle did occur: my parents, life-long cake lovers themselves, came to meet their granddaughter, cake in hand. They were actually at the bakery buying the cake when they got the call that Little e had arrived. So the first thing I ate after becoming a mother was a slice of Mozart cake, which was basically a multi-layered vanilla sponge with chocolate-hazelnut icing. The moment, the baby, the cake–it was all the perfect celebration.


ITALIAN SODAS:  I love me some fizz, and given that I don’t enjoy alcohol, I often study the booze-free options at parties and go with the simplest. If there’s soda and syrup, I’m a happy girl. It’s not that I don’t like pop (soda pop, soft drinks, whatever term you use). I guess I just like having control over the business of my beverage. (We’ve all seen the photo with the tablespoons of sugar beside the can of cola.) The great thing about Italian sodas is the personalizing part. Fizz + fave syrup = your kind of heaven.

This contrasts completely with my cake anecdote (because not much can compete with childbirth), but I like the idea of having two important celebration foods, one monumental and one everyday. Italian sodas are for celebrating the little things. The end of a long work day. A meal with friends. The beginning of summer. I always feel refreshed when I drink one, and isn’t that how we should feel after a good party? Enlivened and reaffirmed? Okay, maybe my beverage doesn’t reaffirm who I am, but if you know one that does, tell me where I can buy it.

I recently discovered that one of my favourite local chocolate makers, Organic Fair, is producing a line of soda syrups…lavender lemonade and strawberry Douglas fir–yes please!

Hannah’s Top 5 Celebration Foods:

Oooh, you stole cake from me. Okay, here’s my top five list in no particular order, with some geographical, seasonal bias:

1. BARBECUE FOOD : Being outside, the sound of sizzle and the smell of smoke, laughter echoing in that way it only does when you’re outside and the light is fading…. is there anything better? Of course, it being summer helps. Which is perhaps why New Zealanders and Australians are so obsessed with barbecues. We get a little more summer over here and by gum we are going to use it. Birthday, graduation, any old family get together… you’ll find us out by the barbie, a cold drink in hand.

2. PAVLOVA: Another Kiwi / Aussie favourite. Sometimes I wonder if I even love pavlova that much but it just has to be done, you know? My mother-in-law makes the best pavlova you have ever laid lips on. Thick, sweet crust of meringue, velvety centre, just the right amount of cream and fruit dolloped on top. She is a Pav-genuis, there is no other way to put it. I also have a very fond childhood memory of my Mum and I attempting to make a pavlova and it ending up only half an inch high. We commiserated by shaving chocolate all over it and we still laugh about our poor, pitiful pavlova that tried so hard but…failed. Bless.

3. CHAMPAGNE: Never was much of a champagne drinker. And then tried some good stuff. Uh oh. I blame my time in Macau and my friend Faith Town for giving me the taste for champagne. I don’t drink it all the time but when there is cause to celebrate it really is a great accompaniment. Recently went to a wedding and drank only champagne and danced my poor feet off. Now that’s a good night right there. Between your soda bubbles and my champagne bubbles, BUBBLES are firmly on the list!


4. POTATO BAKE: This addition is a tribute. My husband adores potato bake (he could practically bathe in potato bake if it weren’t so ineffective, labour intensive and unhygienic). He loves the layers of potato slices, the cheese that bubbles and forms a crust on top, the garlic, the cream. Since we moved back “downunder” he’s been having a sort of nostalgic love affair with it. I reckon I could mention “potato bake” at any time of the day or night and he would start salivating. Again, my mother-in-law makes a killer version and if you have a barbecue with potato bake and finish it all off with pavlova…well….Hello, trifecta!

5. CHEEKY ICE-CREAM IN A WRAPPER: There are some celebrations that don’t give you much time to prepare, particularly if they arrive late afternoon. A job offer, a little lottery win (the one that barely covers buying another ticket), a final class, the end of a project, a room painted. In our family these occasions call for one thing and one thing only. A quick trip to the closest late night / 24 hour gas station to pick up ice creams. The ones in a wrapper, with the chocolate that splits off and falls onto your shirt. An easy and fast way to say well done or thank you. The orders are pretty much the same each time – something with caramel for the hubby, something ridiculously chocolatey for Dad, a yoghurt or fruit one for Mum, avec nuts for me, thanks. It’s not sophisticated but sitting around with our ice creams in crinkly foil-wrappers feels like a mini party to me.

***And now…without further ado, we’d like to announce the winners of our launch week competition! As you’ll recall, there are two winners, one for each hemisphere.***

CONGRATULATIONS to Anne Rodrigues of Ajax, Ontario and Chantel Merrett of Adelaide, South Australia! If you could please use the contact form on this site to send us your mailing address, you will soon be receiving a parcel from Ria and a parcel from Hannah as a big thank you for contributing to our launch week and being part of the Fork and Fiction conversation!

To everyone else, thank you so much for joining us, we do hope you’ll drop by again soon. There will be many more discussions about books and food, insights about being a writer and parent and friend and foodie. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we will be here sharing something of ourselves and we would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Very best wishes,

Hannah & Ria x