Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cats, Wines, Charles Dickens

A friend posted a link on Facebook to an article on The 25 Most Awkward Cat sleeping catSleeping Positions. The article and pictures are on Buzz Feed and I thought this was one of the cutest.  I haven’t been owned by a cat in years but I always liked them – Matt on the other hand is not a cat person so cats love him. I have a number of friends who really love cats and some of them appear to have dozens of animals. I remember one friend in NC, their place was literally littered with cats both inside and out. I like cats but I thought this was a bit ridiculous. I think most of them were eventually put down.

Yesterday afternoon we decided to go buy a few wines in particular because Vineyards Estates have a Cabernet on sale as it is the end of the vintage. Matt’s Rosemount Shiraznew wine cooler now has 10 reds and three whites so that should do us for a while. That reminds me, one of our guests on Saturday looked at the wines in the cooler and figured it would be enough to last us the night. I am somewhat disappointed though, we were looking for a Clos du Val Zinfandel which I mentioned in a blog last year and none of the stores in Ontario has any, and when Dancing Bull Canadathere is any available in Ontario it will probably be reserved for restaurants. No fair. The girl I spoke to originally about it (Sherry), some time last year, was away for the week on a training course, so hopefully I will be able to find out more next week. We did manage to replace our Rosemount Shiraz which we drank the other night. It’s a wine we very much enjoy. My personal favourite wines are Zinfandels though. We bought a Dancing Bull which is not a bad one and fairly inexpensive. I liked their old label best. Today it’s a plain old browny/red one. I have talked about this before. I do wish they wouldn’t change labels as it makes it so much easier to recognize the one’s you are looking for.

Yesterday there was a lot about Charles Dickens – Google had a picture GAds Hillcelebrating the 200th anniversary of his birth. On Facebook there was a little animated movie about his life, it mentioned a house he bought called Gads Hill in Higham outside Rochester in Kent, England. The house was later turned into a school and I went there when I was 8 yrs. old. It appears to have become co-ed since I was there. The animation about him mentioned alcoholism, I had never heard of that before, but I do know there was an underground passage from the house to the pub, The Falstaff, across the road. I have just been reading up on Gads Hill and apparently the tunnel was built by Dickens who had a Swiss chalet on the grounds opposite the house. I have no idea when the pub was built.  Rochester itself is full of places which were featured in various books like Satis House in Great Expectations. I went to a Dickens festival there one year where we feasted on salmon and champagne and had excerpts of Great Expectations read to us by Dame Sybil Thorndike a well known British actress. I have mentioned before that the church where I got married was reputedly the site where Pip met the convict: again in Great Expections. It was very likely as the church was close to the river Medway where a lot of convict hulks were moored; old ships which had been converted to prisons. Absolutely dreadful places I believe.

Valentine’s Day is next week so I am being inundated with Valentine recipes, a lot of chocolatey desserts of course, needless to say these appeal to me and I thought the following one looked particularly good. In fact don’t you think it looks absolutely scrumptious?

Bailey's Chocolate Mousse

By Vseward (Chef~V) on February 22, 2007

Bailey's Chocolate MoosePhoto by Calee

About This Recipe

"Another favorite recipe using Bailey's Irish Cream. Chocolate Mousse is great, but adding a little Bailey's makes it decadent! I've had this recipe for years and can't remember where my friend got it, but I'm glad she shared."

Ingredients

    • 16 ounces semisweet chocolate
    • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
    • ½ cup Baileys Irish Cream
    • ½ cup heavy cream
    • 4 tablespoons brewed espresso or 4 tablespoons coffee

    Sugar syrup

    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 4 tablespoons water
    • ½ cup egg whites ( about 4 eggs)
    • 1 quart heavy cream
    • ¾ cup sugar

Directions

  1. Melt chocolate, Irish cream and espresso over low heat.
  2. In separate pan, simmer sugar and water until temperature on a candy thermometer reaches 224 to 230°F., soft ball stage. (Remove from heat at 224°F; mixture will begin to caramelize at 232°F.).
  3. Whip egg whites until stiff and glossy. Add sugar syrup to whites and continue to whip about 8 minutes until eggs have increased in volume and mixture has cooled; fold into chocolate mixture.
  4. Whip heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Mix with chocolate mixture/eggs/sugar syrup mixture.
  5. Pour mousse into molds or serving dish. Allow to set in fridge. Garnish with chocolate shavings and fresh seasonal berries.

Have a great day

Jo

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