I loved eating dirt as a kid. I have definitely kicked the habit now, but sure enough as toddler you would find me snacking on some delicious mud while my brother cleaned his bike/danced in the driveway/beat my barbies up with his Skelator doll. We even have photographic evidence of mud around my mouth looking incredibly pleased with myself.
Having a fair amount of friends and family with children, I am starting to notice there is a difference between the way the first child and the second child are brought up. I’m told that when you have your first you worry about everything, but once the second one comes along you are a lot more relaxed. I suspect my place in the pecking order (second child and baby of the family) has something to do with my fondness for consuming dirt as a kid, and my continuing lack of germaphobia. Either that or I inherited my dad’s exploratory nature when it comes to food… (Frank is the third child, we’ll be doing some analysis on that soon!)
My mom and Dude are fairly germaphobic. Both will vehemently deny this, but it is alas still true. Due to Mom’s dislike of raw eggs I only ever made one chocolate mousse, with melted marshmallows. And having once described it as “fool-proof” to a friend, it no longer worked and always ended up a runny mess. I was left with no other choice, and learned to make mousse with raw eggs. Delicious!
Mom is coming to stay next month. As it is over summer I am keen to get some summer dessert recipes in, and chocolate mousse is a great one. Knowing the rules of no raw eggs, I searched for one to test out this weekend. The recipe I found is so easy to make, and incredibly morish. It has a twist to it, but it really works well. Just don’t go nuts on the basil!
Basil & white chocolate creams with sticky balsamic strawberries – from the BBC Good Food website
284ml pot single cream
1 large handful basil, torn (about 2 big stalks plus leaves, depending how pungent your basil is), plus extra leaves to serve
300g good-quality white chocolate, chopped
50g golden caster sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
250g strawberries , hulled and halved
Pour the cream into a saucepan, then add the torn basil leaves and stalks. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 5 mins.
Discard the basil and re-heat the cream to a simmer. Remove the cream from the heat and immediately tip in the chocolate. Leave for a few mins to melt, then stir until smooth. Pour the mixture into four small serving glasses and chill for at least 3 hours until firm. (This can be done up to a day ahead.)
In a small saucepan, mix the caster sugar and balsamic vinegar with 2 tbsp water and cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has reduced by half to a sticky syrup (about 5 mins). Cool before pouring over the strawberries and allow to soak for at least 1 hr.
Spoon the balsamic strawberries over the creams and decorate with basil.