Thankyou Dinner with Friends

Last night we had some good friends over for dinner. We hadn’t caught up in a while, I love to cook and we also wanted to have an opportunity to say thanks for taking such good care of our dog while we were away over Christmas and New Years. T&R are always there to take amazing care of our dog when we go out of town. Thanks again T&R. It’s so nice to know that he’s in such capable hands and we know there are times that he can be a bit of a handful. You guys rock!

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Thanksgivukkah Recap

I’ve been slacking off when it comes to blog posts lately. I think a lot of it has to do with this post. There was so much to say about our Thanksgivukkah celebration and there never seemed to be enough time to write about it. But today I have no excuse. It’s snowing outside. All the housework has been done. My belly is full of chicken soup and an apple crisp. I’m ready to write. Let’s do this.

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Soft Centered Chocolate Puddings For Two

It’s been a couple of weeks since anything sweet was baked at our place and with the cold weather approaching we needed a dessert for a cozily cold afternoon at home. We happened to walk by our local Mast Brothers Chocolate store which inspired us to bake Bills famous soft centered puddings. My husband likes to call these chocolate souffles though I’m not sure if they are. What makes a souffle a souffle anyway?

The chocolate I used for this recipe is the Mast Brother Chocolate buttons. They sell them at their store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and they can also be purchased online. But any good quality dark chocolate will do. I’ve used Lindt 80-85% dark chocolate before as well as a bunch of other varieties. High cocoa is key in making this a nice rich dessert.

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I’ve used the recipe out of the book Bills Open Kitchen for years to create these soft centered puddings. The pudding is cakey, warm but slightly gooey in the middle and the serving size is perfect. You don’t feel sick from eating it but you do feel satisfied and content. This dish is a fantastic dessert, sure to please your guests even though it’s super easy to bake and the batter can be prepared in advance and popped into the oven when you’re ready to go with sweets.

The only thing I sometimes change about this recipe is the quantity. I’m often just making it for two. So below, you’ll find the halved recipe of the original with some tips to make halving a little simpler. Bon Apetit!

Ingredients

  • 3.5 ounces good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1.75 ounces unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1.5 eggs, lightly beaten (Put two eggs in a measuring jug, whisk then tip out the excess to get to 1.5 eggs)
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar (I add just a little extra if the chocolate is extra dark)
  • 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water, and stir until just melted.
  2. Place the eggs, sugar, and flour in a bowl and mix until just combined.
  3. Gradually mix in the chocolate mixture. Pour the mixture into four 1 cup ovenproof ramekins and place on a baking tray.
  4. Bake until the edges are set, about 15 minutes. Serve with cream or crème fraîche OR just ice cream.

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Fall Fruit Fixation – Part 2 – Baking with Apples

On the last weekend of September this year I think everyone in all of NYC decided it was the perfect weekend to go apple picking. The weather was lovely and the zipcars were just begging to be booked out and taken on mini road trips to all the little farms and orchards around New York and New Jersey. We headed over to fishkill farms based on the recommendations of a friend and also because they are pet friendly. It’s always nice to take the dog out of town with us so he can roll around in the grass and smell all those interesting smells. The farm was great. Not too big or too small with plenty of apples to pick. We got there relatively early so it wasn’t too crowded either. A map was provided and everything was well laid out and easily accessible. I’d never been apple picking before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Here are a couple of things I learnt:

  1. There are lots of rotting apples on the ground. Be prepared to dodge them as you are picking. Luckily our dog didn’t really take much notice of them.
  2. Unless you need 10 bags of apples, apple picking is a relatively quick activity. You don’t need to plan to spend more than an hour or two over at the orchard. Maybe bring a packed lunch and have a picnic when you’re done. The shop at fishkill is quite lovely too. It’s always nice to pick up some super fresh produce.
  3. It’s such a nice feeling to actually pick the fruit off the tree, appreciate where things come from or how much energy has had to go into growing it. People always talk about stuff like that and I would think “That’s nice” but now I feel like I “get it” just a little more.

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