Yesterday my beloved Mr 'Splorer turned 30. He didn't seem too excited about the prospect of a birthday. In his parents' house, birthdays are met with a cake and a sing song but not much else. But you don't turn 30 every day. Plus, how can I demand week long celebrations of my birthday, involving about ten meals out, if I don't make a bit of a fuss of him? So, I secretly took the day off and spent it preparing a three course meal. Which made me feel quite a lot like a contestant in Come Dine With Me. Especially with a menu that included scallops, a sorbet that didn't set properly and chocolate fondants. All Come Dine With Me staples!
|Don't we have the most horrible curtains!?|
But there was method behind it all - not just too many hours watching More 4 repeats of horrible people having dinner parties. Mr 'Splorer loves his seafood, hence the scallops. And I had to make something with chocolate and raspberries for the new blogging event, We Should Cocoa.
This is a new monthly chocolate challenge organised by Chele of The Chocolate Teapot and Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog. It involves making something chocolatey involving each month's extra ingredient, which this month is raspberries. I knew I'd have to participate, as I love that combination. Much better than strawberries and chocolate - a vastly overrated combination, in my opinion (though I'm nowhere near as passionate on this topic as little sis, who has been known to hold forth for quite some time on this matter).
So, the menu was as follows:
This was lovely, and also very simple and quick. I shall be exploring Curtis Stone's website further.
Sicilian fish couscous from my Sicilian food cookbook
This was good, but I think I'd like to make some changes next time I make it. So watch this space for a new, improved version!
Molten chocolate babycakes (a Nigella classic) with raspberry and redcurrant sorbet (discovered in Delicious magazine via Google)
There was nothing in the We Should Cocoa information about the chocolate and raspberries needing to be in the same creation, so hopefully the same plate is close enough. And I must say these two worked together rather wonderfully - the hot, sweet chocolate contrasted against the slightly sharp, cold, fruity sorbet. And, also it seemed very suitable for this time of year. A summer fruit sorbet to say goodbye to summer, and a warm, comforting pudding to say hello to the best kind of winter foods.
Of course all the magic happens when you dig into the babycake and find an oozing, gooey centre. (Hurrah, it wasn't all just like Come Dine With Me, in which they invariably overcook the chocolate fondant.)
I followed both pudding recipes to the letter, so check out the links above. They both went swimmingly and I wouldn't change a thing. I made the sorbet without an ice cream maker, stirring it up every hour or so, and didn't have any ice crystals. Hurrah! It could have done with another hour or so in the freezer, but once you were tucking in, it really didn't matter.
And check out Chocolate Teapot for the other entries.