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  • Writer's pictureNava

Nava's birthday feast

Nava’s birthday feast

It was my birthday on Thursday. According to my birth certificate I’m 56 years old, but I suspect there’s a typo there. That’s got to be out by twenty years! Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Anyway, there’s no birth certificate for the spirit, or if there is it’s a magical one which changes with your mood. Going off that one, I’m 31.

For my birthday I decided to make two tarts and three cakes, and (much to my children’s delight) a Yemenite breakfast.

It was three days of preparation, mostly mixing, kneading, rolling and folding dough, over and over again. It’s what I call dough therapy, I really needed it too (no pun intended) as I’ve had a really tough week with work. So I’ve been feeling 100, and I almost cancelled my birthday celebrations. But I decided that I wasn’t going to let what will someday seem no more than a pothole in the bumpy road of life stop my celebrations. We 31 year olds love to party! Besides, making the food for it was a nice distraction and so therapeutic to get literally up to my elbows in dough.

I made 50 pieces of malawach, 50 pieces of jachnoon, homemade schug (chili paste) and shakshuaka with thirty eggs. And for dessert I made five cakes. (no one took photos of the feast)

We have two celebrations for birthdays of family members: one for the family, approximately 24 of us, ranging from 2 ½ years old to 73 years old and another for friends. We decided a looooong time ago that we can double up the Friday night dinner as a family birthday/shabbat dinner. Weekend celebrations are for friends and family to drop in if they’re around.

I had a beautiful birthday. On the day my boys and their gorgeous partners took me out for lunch and bought me beautiful gifts one of which was a cook book which I can’t wait to try out. Friday night was awesome. Even my cousin Eli Barel made it to the dinner with two out of his three beautiful children joining us and on Saturday my friends came over for a Yemenite breakfast.

So I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to my children, their partners, my beautiful family and friends for taking the time to celebrate with me, and Nancy who came super early to help prepare, thank you so much Nancy.

A SUPER SPECIAL THANK YOU to the love of my life, my soul mate, my partner in crime who worked on my birthday to make my stressful work load lighter so I can enjoy my birthday with my boys. Love you so much xx

The only thing missing from this wonderful weekend is my son Erez who is still overseas and I haven’t seen him in two years. Love you my beautiful boy and I look forward to celebrating my next birthday with you.

And now without further ado, I will share the first of the five goodies I prepared for our feast.

This is a delicious tart I've made three times in the last two weeks. Do I have to tell you I love it!

The recipe was inspired by a guy called Trevor Godenzi

who shared his recipe on the SBS Facebook page.

I tweaked it a little and it is a big hit with everyone who tastes it, especially me!

Fruit tart



250g plain flour 75g icing sugar 120g chilled butter, diced 3 egg yolks (keep the whites) 2 tbsp iced water


Put flour, sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor, pulse briefly. Add butter, pulse until combined. With the motor running, add yolks and water and mix until it just comes together.

Remove from food processer and with slightly floured hand shape into a disc, there is no need to knead the dough and don’t over handle the dough.

Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the pastry to aprox 4-5mm thick and put into a well greased 23cm fluted/pie tart tin.

Pre heat the oven to 190C

Prick the base all over with a fork, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for an hour. (OR you can put in the freezer overnight, this will help the tart keep its shape.)

Blind bake for about 15 minutes. Remove paper and weights and use the egg whites to brush inside of pastry shell, this helps seal the pastry from leaks. Bake for a further 8 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool while you make the filling. Reduce heat to 180C


Ingredients 2 eggs 1/2 cup sugar 200mls dollop cream or Crème freche (I used dollop cream)



In a bowl, using an egg beater, whisk eggs, sugar and dollop cream.

Pour mixture into the pastry case and bake for another 25 minutes or until mixture is set but not firm, it should be a little wobbly in the middle when taken out.

Allow to cool to room temperature before decorating with fresh fruit.

Put in the fridge and serve cold, it’s to die for.

my soul mate

good friends

My family

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