You've heard me talk about my boys for a while now and all the cooking that I do for them. It's rather a regular thing, the Singles and Strays dinner. It started off pretty casual and has grown into a three course dinner where I go a little silly cooking and The Boy gets all excited about matching his wines to the food. The fun thing is that people keep coming back. :-) That's a good sign, I guess.
Well, a recent dinner has left me feeling rather sad and a little bittersweet. The Boy's project has recently wound down / finished / ended - you get my drift, and many of my boys all work with him. After a long day at work, they all troop over to the apartment, kick back and we eat, we drink, we laugh and generally have some wonderful fellowship. I'm very fond of my boys. I find them delightful and I love cooking for them. I'm not sure if the dinners will continue, possibly not in it's current form 'cos the boys are scattering to the four winds. Job in another state, one returning overseas and one thinking of heading overseas to work and one of them thinking about going back to their home country to spend more time with family.
It's going to be our last dinner for a little while because of all that's going on, plus we're going away for a little while. Hopefully, some of the boys will be around when we get back and we can round up a gang for another dinner.
Of course, the dinners are not always with the boys only - regular ring ins also include the best bud and his lovely wife, the girlfriend and a few others.
So for this rather recent dinner, I went with an Italian theme, mostly because I wanted to cook something simple (it never turns out that way) and also there were a few recipes I wanted to try.
I decided to make a soup starter, which I've become rather fond of doing. So starter was Italian Pea and Basil Soup. This was followed by mains of Spicy Chorizo Spaghetti (mixing my cultures here, but those chorizo sausages are dang tasty!), Three Cheese Pasta Bake and a large green leafy salad with a dijon vinaigrette dressing. The dessert was going to be Chocolate Mousse with whipped cream and strawberries.
After I worked out the menu, I started freaking out about there not being enough food because I was cooking for 8 people instead of my usual 6. I then decided to add a pre-starter nibblies dish to accompany drinks before we sat down to dinner. For that, I made the Pepperoni Pizza Puffs.
It turned out to be a lot of food and one of the boys took home a record amount of leftovers. He calls it his "takeaway" and he loves it. We even took a shot of him with his food haul.
The highlight of the evening, I'm told was the chocolate mousse. According to the best bud's lovely wife, it was the best chocolate mousse she has ever had. Then she went on to say that in all the desserts that she's had since arriving in this country, this was the best, which has even topped the chocolate covered peanut butter balls that I made some time ago (another recipe for another day, I promise!). See - that's the thing I love about cooking for other people - the pleasure I give them when they eat the food I cook. I love that they love the food. :-)
Here's the RECIPE for the chocolate mousse - courtesy of Cooking for Blokes. It's super simple, really it is. If I can make it, you can make it.
- 200g dark chocolate
- 50g butter
- 20mL brandy or other liqueur
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- Place chocolate, butter and brandy into a stainless steel bowl and melt in a bain marie, stirring gently so the chocolate does not burn or dry out.
- Remove from heat, cool slightly and stir in egg yolks. Cool.
- Whisk egg whites and sugar to form soft peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture gently using whisk. Pour into serving dishes and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
This makes 4 generous serves and believe it or not, I did not do anything different. I followed the instructions exactly, which you kinda have to with desserts and all those baking-y sorts of things. Then, I topped the chocolate mousse with whipped cream and strawberries to finish it off. Lots of rich, chocolatey goodness!
Do you have any meals that you've had that have been bittersweet for you? Do you remember the event with fondness and keep with touch with the people? Do you remember what you ate at that meal?
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