Pesach is over. It’s hard to believe, after the flurry of intense preparation weeks in advance. It feels surreal, light years away, like Pesach never happened. After the sun set and the stars appeared in the sky heralding the end of Chag, the end of matza and the end of endless meals, I felt strangely free. A freedom that comes after hard work and knowing that it’s now over. A freedom of being able to move again through the coffee shops of Johannesburg, sipping cappuccinos. I felt a bit disappointed in myself, am I meant to be so glad that the week of Pesach is over? Am I betraying a part of myself that should be missing this time of reliving the Jewish exodus from Egypt?
I confessed my thoughts to my husband. (He’s an excellent person to confess to, although he has to remind me that he’s not a priest.) He calmed my negative thoughts and said that my feeling of post-Pesach freedom is part of the whole process, that’s why we’re not meant to live chametz free all the time. It’s the freedom that comes through limitation, that sense of accomplishment and moving on.
It made me think of all my other moments of redemption which come about through hard work or limitation.
Friday Afternoon – That open feeling in my chest, when the school week is OVER and there’s no homework.
The ONE CHOCOLATE A DAY – That sweet feeling of savoring that one dark Lindt truffle chocolate (available at Woolworths Melrose Arch) that I allow myself a day (on my good days) with a cup of tea at the end of a long day. If I have more than one the magic is lost. (Although in all honesty I sometimes do succumb to the second, third and um…fourth.)
After YOGA CLASS – Never during. That feeling of being stretched and light and energetic after a yoga class is officially addictive. I love it. (My favourite studios are Yoga Lova with Nadine Hurwitz in Illovo and Yoga Warrior in Rosebank.)
Quality Time with Princes – Sometimes I get it right. I sit on the floor and do that puzzle, play chess or backgammon, read a book or jump on the trampoline with my Princes. I am in being, I am at play with my sweet boys. Having sweet, innocent fun, which is what the foundation of our relationship will be built on for years to come (hopefully through their hectic, moping teenage years). I don’t do it enough, but when I carve out that time just for focused fun, there’s nothing, nothing better!
Stealing Time to Write a Blog Post – I love writing. I love sitting at my computer, it’s like being with my favourite friend whom I don’t make enough time for. But, when I do it. When I’ve scheduled in my writing, forced my reluctant, wandering bottom onto the chair. There’s nothing better.
There are so many more freeing things in my days, weeks, months if I look for them. It’s through contractions that we give birth to life. It’s through limitation that we find freedom. Saying no and don’t’s to ourselves (and our children), setting boundaries, entering that middah – character trait of Gevurah – Strictness/Strength/Discipline (my translation) is freeing (although not natural to me), and it’s my redemption that Pesach has taught me this year.
Now onto a delicious, yummy recipe of a cake that I’m completely addicted to. So if you make it, save me a piece.
Chocolate Love Cake
Now this cake should really be called ‘Raw Chocolate Tart.’ It comes from the super healthy South African cookbook, Rawlicious. It’s made with raw, healthy ingredients (no sugar, wheat or dairy) and it’s texture is rich and velvety like a tart. I love it and made it over Pesach. It was a delicious, healthy hit with everyone (except my husband who doesn’t like coconut). Be warned you need a good blender.
Ingredients – For the Base:
3 Cups Almonds, soaked for 2 hours
1 Cup Pecan Nuts, soaked for 2 hours (I use all almonds, and always forget to soak. It still works without soaking.)
1/4 Cup Agave Syrup (If the base mixture is a bit dry add more Agave Syrup.)
Seeds of 2 Vanilla Pods (I often leave this out.)
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Rock Salt (I often leave this out because I find it a bit salty.)
Method – For the Base:
In a food processor, grind the almonds and pecan nuts until fine. Add the agave, vanilla seeds and salt. Process all the ingredients together until sticky, crumble like base is formed. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides. Press into a springform cake tin or quiche tin with removable base. Puncture holes into the base using a fork and put it in the fridge while you make the topping.
Ingredients – For the Topping:
4 Cups pitted dates, soaked in warm water
1 1/2 Cups Coconut Oil
1 Cup Cocoa Powder (I use good quality, organic Cocoa powder available at health food shops or Dischem.)
Seeds of 1 Vanilla Pod (I often leave this out.)
1 teaspoon Himalayan Rock Salt (I leave this out sometimes as find it too salty.)
10 Cacoa Beans
10 Pecan Nuts
You can also decorate with strawberries. The red is beautiful against the rich, chocolate brown.
Method for the Topping:
Blend the dates with a little of the soak water in a power blender or food processor. Add the coconut oil, cocoa powder, vanilla seeds, avocado and salt. Blend until all ingredients are mixed through. Transfer into the cake or quiche tin and spread evenly. Decorate with cocoa beans and pecan nuts. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.