Of Hearth and Home

We all lead completely manic lives. In Geneva in particular, as soon as the weekend hits, we flee to a constellation of great European towns around us: Madrid, Rome, Paris, London, Berlin, Oslo… We shop, have drinks, dine out, see friends, galleries, performances, monuments… then hop back on the plane on Sunday and crash back home exhausted. Another dinner at Da Paolo’s it is!

So it’s the privilege of our well-to-do generation. But Sundays weren’t always this way. As a kid, I’d get carted out to see the grandparents on Sundays for an afternoon playing petanque in the garden and an evening spent watching my grandmother creating three-course heavens in the kitchen.

Still today (especially today! Happy birthday pops :)), those Sunday memories come flooding back, but only when I’m at home! And this little one’s been running away from home every weekend since January it feels like. Whither the days of those home cooked Hungarian Sunday dinners!

Some time in March I started feeling the effects of my constant vagrancy. My plants dried up and died off. One sadly committed suicide, as if violently denouncing my rootless ways. Little families of dust bunnies took out long-term subleases on dark corners. My laundry machine went rusty. But saddest of all, my refrigerator got hot headed on me and relations with my stove have become frigid.

I think it was the suicidal house plant that finally did it. It was clearly time to sentence myself to two full days of house, home and self care.

As a side note, it’s been SO enriching! But I’ll spare you the dirty details of deep cleaning my drawers. Having polished most of the work off on Saturday, by noon today I had a sparkling kitchen. And like Mr. Clean swooping out of the sink, smile beaming and kitchen sparkling, I got my cooking inspiration back. On the menu? An ode to my culinary paternal grandparents: Hungarian veal porkolt, cucumber salad, pickles, spatzle, sour cream, a decent bottle of wine or two, and one of my grandfather’s many legendary desserts: mousse au chocolat.

MOUSSE AU CHOCOLAT (serves 4)

Ingredients: 150g dark chocolate (70% is best); 3 eggs, separated; 100g sugar; 125ml heavy (whipping) cream

Directions: 

1. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie

Melting chocolate: tip, make sure that water NEVER gets hotter than a simmer…

2. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until stiff. It can help to add up to a tablespoon of sugar to get it really stiff.

I hope for you that you have an electric mixer, in which case this takes about 5 minutes. If you don’t, then skip the gym and enjoy beating these the old fashioned way…

3. Also whip the cream

4. When the chocolate is melted, remove from heat, but leave the chocolate in the bain marie. You want the temperature to stay warm, but not too hot. You don’t want the remaining ingredients to cook!

5. Stir in the egg yolks and the sugar. It will get thick and pasty.

Three little egg yolks, off for a swim in a chocolate jacuzzi.

6. Fold in half the egg whites into the bain marie. Must be done DELICATELY so that the egg whites keep their structure. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to gently fold the egg whites in from bottom to top.

7. Poor the mixture into the remaining egg whites in their bowl, and continue to fold in delicately.

8. Gently fold in the whipped cream until you get an even mixture.

All set for the big freeze!

9. Place in the fridge to cool for at least an hour or two.

10. SERVE! Could be nice with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, over a light biscuit, a digestive or fruit. I hear strawberries are in season….

A family classic from the pater familias cook book

Love discovering new places, but let’s face it… it can be so good to be home!

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One thought on “Of Hearth and Home

  1. Stuart says:

    I will go for it.

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