Wednesday, February 14, 2007

VD and gout

The thought of a lump of meat surrounded by a buttery sauce didn’t appeal this VD. We have been eating highly seasoned, munchy-driven gastro-pub type food for a while. And of course having been together for some time, we the Wife and I are far too “ironical” and, more to the point, cynical to go overboard on VD. But that is not to say that no thought went into it. I knew she had a hangover, for instance, and so would appreciate a deep bowl of hot and comforting penne.

So I made a tomato sauce, enhancing the tin of chopped with a handful of reconstituted sundrieds and a punnet of velvety beef stock. After cooking it down with plenty of browned bacon, red onion and chili, I tossed it into the pasta with some wild leaves, truffle oil and a scraping of ageing parmesan. We ate it with hot crusty rosemary and olive-oil bread and it was more than sufficient to temporarily fill the marital potholes and divert attentions from the more unsettling sides to an eight-year-long relationship. That sort of thing could take the wheels off a meal.

But I had prepared a backup just in case the beef didn’t reach far down enough: a desert that could, in fact, kill in quantity. It was meant to be chocolate ice cream. It was fucking chocolate ice cream, but not like any I had tasted before. It began with six supremely fresh and deep-orange yolks in a bowl, into which I tipped a good handful of icing sugar and whisked until smooth and pale; cooked up with a pint of warm double cream and 120g of dark Lindt chocolate; a splash of milk to slacken it all up. But by the time it had chilled enough to be presented to the churner it was far too stiff to pour. So I folded in some more cream and watched the cheap plastic blades scrape their way round, making their task slightly harder by chucking in small handfuls of crushed roasted hazelnuts. It didn’t take long to grind to halt, and I quickly transferred the mixture to a tub, stirring in some more double cream to create a crap marbled effect.

I served three small boules of the stuff in a puddle of Kahlua (for those who aren’t alcoholic) and dusted them with some sieved icing sugar. It was like eating a giant frozen Belgian chocolate. To illustrate just how outrageous this substance was, I very nearly (and should have) served it with a dollop of chantilly cream to lighten it up. It reminded me of a Cruzan rum by the name of 151, so called on account of its agonizing potency (75.5%abv). The bottle carried a bright red flammable-liquid warning, and we were mixing it with neat Absolute to make it drinkable. It burned and made us salivate so badly that the last two hours of the session were spent in silence, crouched over a table gobbing thick, salty and acidic spit onto our own floor. It would have been a fitting end to VD really.

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