Friday, December 27, 2013

Just Desserts

I am not much of a dessert person.  By that I mean I am not very good at making them; making desserts usually involves being precise and having patience, neither of which usually applies to me.  I am however VERY good at eating desserts, so eventually I will attempt one.   For Christmas this year, I thought I might try a flourless chocolate cake because my Aussie husband was craving chocolate.  I looked all over the internet at all the different recipes, most of which looked fairly complicated and seemed to have mixed results according to their reviews.  And then, I found this recipe, from the gluten free goddess.

This is how it was described:  “Dense, sexy chocolate deliciousness on a plate. This is such an easy recipe, especially if you use a food processor to do the work.”   It was love at first sight!   And at first bite, as it exactly fit that description.  I was planning on taking a picture of the finished product, but my Aussie husband couldn’t wait and cut in to it.  I made it without much fuss, and it turned out beautifully.  I now have a go-to dessert recipe - one my guests will be eating for years to come.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Oh Tannenbaum!

I was very excited to be able to put up a Christmas tree this year, and cover it with all the ornaments we have collected from our travels.  The beaded, stuffed Eiffel Tower… the wooden Pinocchio… the surfboarding Santa…  they all bring back such lovely memories.  Our latest edition was a house-warming gift, and it is my new favorite.    

It is a Santa suit and hat, but no head.   Headless Santa - I love it! 
May your Christmas bring back happy memories, and create new ones.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Kitchen Arranging

We have just moved, and I am now faced with the dilemma of where to put everything.  Not that there isn’t room in the cupboards – on the contrary, there is probably more space here than in our old kitchen.  No, my dilemma has to do with how to arrange everything so it makes sense and I won’t spend the next 3 months trying to remember where on earth I tucked that particular item when I really need it.  The worst part is there is no obvious place for glassware, especially not for the copious number of wine glasses we seem to have gathered.  I think we could invite the entire neighborhood over for wine and have a glass for everyone.  Because of course, we need to have different glasses for the different types of wine, being wine glass snobs.  I have already tried 2 different cupboards, but it is just not working for me. So now I am going to fill up one of those homeless wine glasses and sit down to ponder some more.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Bird Is The Word

My favorite holiday is fast approaching, and I am getting very excited for it.  Who wouldn’t?  It is all about food!!!  My Aussie husband didn’t take long to adapt to the American traditions surrounding Thanksgiving, once he realized that important fact.   We have been invited to other people’s homes for the last few years, so it has been a while since I have had to face the ordeal of cooking The Turkey.  Now, I can roast a chicken like nobody’s business, and have even mastered duck.   

Isn't my duck pretty?
But turkey?  It frightens me.  No matter what delectable side dishes you present for the rest of the meal, the guests will always remember the turkey.  Was it dry?  Was it flavorless?  No one will eat it, (even under a gallon of gravy) and you will be stuck with turkey leftovers for weeks.  I normally love leftovers, but really – there is only so much you can do with turkey.  I have tried many different ways of preparing it, even going so far as to roast it inside a paper grocery bag like my aunt used to, but it never turns out like I envision it should.   And that is why I am happy to leave that to others.  I will make some lovely side dish, and perhaps an appetizer.  We’ll take a nice bottle of Port or Madeira.  And I will enjoy the undoubtedly delicious turkey prepared by our hosts.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cooking in Foreign Countries

My recent story about truffle hunting made me nostalgic for the trip that included that wonderful day;  our week of culinary delights in Umbria, Italy.   The seeds of this trip started long ago, when I met my soon-to-be Aussie husband and was trying to figure out where we could go out for dates.  Through strange co-incidence, we had each signed up with the same new cooking school before we even met, and on our third date (at a wine tasting event) discovered that fact when we happened upon the chef instructor.   Cooking classes?  The perfect date!  It must have been a great idea, as we took a lot of classes.  When we heard that the chef instructor was planning culinary trips to Europe, we couldn’t sign up fast enough. 
And that is how we wound-up in a hilltop villa on the outskirts of Perugia on a fine fall week in October. 

The view from our bedroom
Pretty nice, huh?

During the height of truffle season, I may add.  We took daily forays to local markets, to olive oil pressings, to artisanal meat curing houses.  And oh yes there was the truffle hunting.   

They had even arranged to have a real, live Italian chef come to the villa and teach us how to make pasta.  Pretty much the perfect trip, if you ask me.
How to make pasta the right way