Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Salivations

Still trying to find enough time to get back to proper blogging, but until then, please enjoy these fabulous posts by other talented bloggers :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fennel, pear & pecorino salad

The breeze kissed the back of my neck with its briny breath; its hum filled with the azure depth's secrets of sunken treasures and ships long lost.

I buried my toes into the hot sand, each granule pressing its warmth into the soles of my feet. The sounds of children's joyous shrieks and the banter of friends faded and roared between each swell of the ocean's waves. This was baby V's first trip to the beach, and although I found it calming, the array of sights, sounds, smells and textures was too much all at once and she decided that she would rather head home to rest her head on her familiar bed. Even though our beachside sojourn was shortlived, that breath of salty air was enough to rejuvenate my mind and spirit.

Once home I felt the familiar pangs of hunger begin to gnaw away, but with the oppressive heat I wanted something refreshing, clean and crisp to bring a coolness to palate. And thus, a salad was chosen.

ease: 5/5.
prep time: 8mins.
total: 8mins.

taste: 4/5. Fresh and light with a bit of crunch.

I am always a fan of salads with character. Fruits, nuts and cheeses can add a ton of flavour and interest and this salad has all three. The crunch and licorcie hint of the fennel plays wonderfully against the sweet, juicy pear, tangy lemon dressing and salty cheese. The walnuts add an extra chunk and 'meatiness' to the dish. It's a simple and light side dish that's not too powerful on the tastebuds.

would I make it again: Yes.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Nigella's chocolate cherry trifle

We stood in the darkness, the cool blades of grass peeking up from between our toes, our eyes fixed upon the city-skyline as we counted down this year's final heartbeats.
The sound of our captured breaths filled the spaces between us until the sky was painted in dancing lights and flickering fire. The park became filled with the cheers of strangers and friends as we hugged and kissed those close to us, babes in arms, dogs panting happily at our feet. As we made the journey back to a friend's house for final toasts and warm goodbyes we held each other close, excited by the thoughts of what wonderful possibilities this year new year may hold for us and our new family of three.

Along with the traditional resolutions of health and happiness, I have assigned myself two core resolutions that I hope I can achieve by the year's end. The first;

listen more, say less
I find that I do not listen very well when I am eager to speak. This year I want to allow others to tell me their thoughts without needing to add my own. My-two-cents are getting in the way of me really knowing those I speak to.

and the second, well probably the one I want to achieve most is;

be present
Too often I am reminiscing about moments past, or planning and imagining things to come that I end up missing the moment I am in. For instance, when I am breastfeeding my daughter I drift away to thoughts of chores needing to be done or ideas needing to be transcribed instead of allowing myself to hear the softness of her breath, or feel the featherlight touch of her fingers as they flutter along my chest as if stroking the keys of a piano. Before long she will no longer be at my bosom and I know it will be something I will miss, so I am endeavoring to savor each nuance as much as possible, in all aspects of my life. NO MORE AUTOPILOT - I am plugging into the present.

What are some things you wish to accomplish or change this year?

And now I shall leave you with the dish I served up on Christmas (please excuse the photo, it was snapped in a flash and therefore less-than-sharp). 

Happy New Year!

ease: 5/5.
prep time: 2hours (I used store-bought cake as suggested but you could also make your own).
cooking time: 2hours to overnight to soak. This was even the day after Xmas.
total: 4hours - 12hours, depending on how long you let it sit before eating.

taste: 4/5. Loved by many.

This was a surprising hit for me. I actually thought the simplicity of the chocolate, cherry and cream would be too simple for my guests but every single one of them thoroughly enjoyed it. My brother, who is beyond picky, proclaimed it to be his favourite dessert I have made. 

The scrumptious cake doused in liqueur and smothered in syrupy dark cherry jam is a beautiful base for the tart cerise tang of the Morello cherries which soften the sweetness of the creamy chocolate pudding and fluffy whipped cream sprinkled with shaved, bitterly kissed chocolate. If you want to make it alcohol-free I would recommend soaking the cakes in the juice of the bottled cherries instead.

To make it even easier you could also use store-bought chocolate custard, or vanilla custard with some good quality melted chocolate mixed in - that way there is zero cooking and all you need to do is layer!

would I make it again: Yes - for it's ease (and you can make it the night before!) and appeal.