I’m sorry that I’ve been absent for so long – the Christmas break had me busy running errands, baking today’s recipe, AND then I went to Phuket for a few days. It’s now 2018, and I cannot believe that a new year has started. Time seems to fly by these days, even though so much is happening each year. A year that feels as though “not much has happened” is actually one that has been full of travel, dinners, cooking, family, friends, adventures and so much more. Say what you want about social media (or of people taking too many photos), I love being able to look back on what I’ve done over the years and relive those memories.
Speaking of memories, today’s recipe is one that is has many Christmas memories attached. It didn’t start out that way, and I’ll explain how it turned into a Christmas tradition.
One year, while I was still in high school, the book order brochure came home with me, and I decided that I wanted to learn how to bake. Mum was always more of a savoury cook, but she dabbled with birthday cakes and cheesecakes. I wanted to get a cookbook that covered all the baking I could think of. Knowing very little about Nigella Lawson, except that she was a celebrity chef (and a beautiful one at that), I decided to order ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’.
When the book arrived, I spent hours poring over the pages – finding the recipes I wanted to make as soon as possible, and marking page after page in the book for later.
One day, I asked Mum if we could make one particular recipe from the book together, for a special occasion. I can’t remember if it was a birthday, or a dinner party, or if we were just having a few friends round. Either way, this cake was going to be dessert.
We got all the ingredients, and got baking in the kitchen. It turned out beautifully. And then it became a standard expectation at any dinner party. Mum would have people asking if I was making the cake. When I went away to University, it fell to the way-side because Mum never wanted to make it without me.
There was one time when we got a bit cocky, and forgot to separate the eggs before mixing them with the sugar… We had to go and buy more eggs and chocolate just for that. Silly mistake… and the reason why we have annotated the books and underlined the word ‘separated’ in the ingredients list.
I’m not sure what year it was, but one year Mum decided that she didn’t want to make a chocolate yule log for Christmas, and nobody but my Dad liked Christmas pudding. So I decided to make the Chocolate Mousse Cake. And ever since then, it’s been a tradition to have it at Christmas whenever possible. Last year, I mixed it up a bit by making an espresso chocolate cake, although of a similar consistency and baking style.
Unfortunately, my family couldn’t all be together this Christmas just gone, but we all spent it with extended “family”. My sister spent it with my aunt, uncle and cousins. My parents spent it together, and I spent it with my best friend and her family – one where I sort of become the third daughter.
The beautiful thing about having friends who are your chosen family means that you are never really spending Christmas away from family. Not only was I lucky enough to spend Christmas day with “family”, but I was whisked off to Phuket to spend a few glorious days with my “surrogate family” as I have come to call them. My oldest friend, her brother and their parents are the closest thing to family without being blood related. What can I say? I’m a VERY lucky lady.
Anyway, the reason for today’s post is that, although I didn’t get to spend Christmas with Mum, Dad and my sister, I decided I could still bring a family tradition to my best friend’s Christmas. And to help the chef-for-the-day (her sister) out, I baked the Chocolate Mousse Cake.
It turned out a treat! I made sure I had high quality ingredients, and made sure we had plenty of cream and fresh fruit to have with it. I had forgotten how many memories were attached to this cake – most of which are of my mum and I in the kitchen together – and it was really nice to be able to make new memories of another Christmas with this cake.
Unfortunately, the recipe is not available on Nigella’s website, but there are similar (or nearly exact) recipes all over the internet. There are even some blogs who have posted the entire recipe out-right, but then that would be taking away from the beauty of needing to buy cookbooks in order to access all the recipes. There’s a reason you’re not meant to find EVERYTHING on the internet.
Ultimately, if you ever need a decadent dessert to impress your friends and family- this is the way to go. It also tastes even better after sitting in the fridge for a day.