Been a whole month since my last post, been pretty busy trying to get the latest version of my research proposal nailed down and the first chapter of my dissertation drafted up. I have some stuff planned on the side, just haven’t gotten around to blathering on about random crap yet. So anyway, ’tis April now (still a bit in denial really), daughter’s about to turn 9 months and all I have to show for my year is a redrafted proposal, a conference paper and accompanying presentation and a whole load of questions with no answers. So what better way to celebrate the oncoming summer and writing dash than with chocolate.
When I saw the theme of this months (@irecookalongs) cookalong, I started to concoct a bunch of crazy plans, schemes and sauces. Several conversations with Pete Williams (@BaristaCheffe) from Third Floor Espresso in Dublin helped me nail down the backbone of what I wanted to do, as little as the eventual result followed any advice he gave me. And eventually my devious and cunning plan took shape, three courses, each centered around chocolate. Starting off, Chocolate Black Pudding with Poached Apples and Brown Bread, mains Ribeye Steak with Chocolate, Chilli and Red Wine Sauce and then on the dessert side, Chocolate Mousse with Crushed Blueberries.
First decision, find some chocolate pudding from some of the wonderful butchers we have dotted around the country, McCarthy’s of Kanturk Mint, Pistachio and Chocolate pudding came to mind, but as I thought on it, it didn’t quite have the flavour profile I was looking for. Answer…make my own. So I didn’t have the time and/or resources to make my own pudding from scratch so it was time to improvise. Having a chunk of McCarthy’s amazing black pudding in my fridge, I would break it up, combine with some dark chocolate and then reform. Problem solved with crossed fingers. Second decision, how to work chocolate into my mains…I had an epiphany moment and decided to combine chocolate, chilli and red wine in a sauce and have it over a nice hunk of red meat. My bubble burst when a google search discovered that I was not the first person to have thought of this, but oh well. Caution to the wind I ignored the recipes online and went forward on my own (with great input from Pete may I add, his recommendation of a brown stock to tie in the sauce worked wonders). Dessert came along, the obvious course, too many choices if you asked me and my sweet tooth. Never had made a mousse before so why not. A brief trip to the Flavour Thesaurus recommended blueberries as a nice accompaniment, fantastic. So all decided on, I got down to work.
I ended up doing the meal itself the week before the actual date for the cookalong. Myself and Aoife had brought Hana down to my family for a little holiday so I could get some extra time up in the research office and with her upcoming first Mother’s Day, all in all doing the meal a week early suited much better. I had the time and space to do the preparation and we ended up eating at a reasonable hour for once.
So anyway with no more ado…