Partly down to my great uncle having his 80th birthday and mostly, I suspect, because everyone wanted a bit of a get-together and a holiday we’ve had rather a lot of the family over. There’s been rather little news this week and what there is is incredibly depressing and pretty much consists of me signing my name down on waiting lists and being told that they will regrettably not be able to have me at their markets, but there has been a fair bit of cooking for the aforementioned family going on, which is much more interesting!

Coming up tomorrow is the last big dinner we’ll all have together and so mum wants to make sure that I show off m4 l33t haute cuisine skillz, or something like that. I’m pretty much set for all the main stuff, but I haven’t really got a fancy pudding that I do… they’re all pretty much treacle sponge, or bread and butter pudding, or chocolate cake, or ginger cake, or marmalade and poppy seed cake, or victoria sponge, or something rather comfort foody and whilst delicious, hardly high table.

So, I had the day off work today and I mostly used it to sit down and make myself a haute cuisine style pudding and here’s the result:

The FREAKTREE!!!! (actually I’ve only just realised how much that looks like blood veins or something… it’s sort of gross really, isn’t it.)

Now, not all the components of it are there just yet, but I doubt I’ll have time to take pictures or even make it into a half-decent shape tomorrow and it would be nice to have something to write about tonight too. That rosemary on the top should really be roasted and there’s some chocolate mousse that hasn’t quite set and should be sat in a little ball slightly to the left of the unearthly fruit. What goes into it is an earl grey tea bavarois, the super simple slightly sour chocolate mousse, raspberry coulis and a sprig or two of roasted rosemary.

If you’d like to create your own slightly grotesque and highly pretentious dessert then here’s how it goes (seves 10)

200g sugar

200ml milk

250ml double cream

1 vanilla pod

a tablespoon of earl grey tea leaves (or a couple of bags)

3 egg yolks

1 sachet of gelatin (yuck)

1 recipe’s worth of super simple chocolate mousse

2 punnets of raspberries

100g of icing sugar

dash of vinegar

dash of vodka

20 roasted rosemary sprigs or 20 fresh mint leaves if you’re feeling less adventurous

1. Make the Bavarois:

Slowly heat the milk with 50ml of the cream, the tea and a vanilla pod. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until they go fairly pale. Once the milk mix is about as hot as a really hot bath, pour a couple tablespoons into the egg/sugar mix and mix it together until it’s even, then add it to the pan of milk. Keep on stirring the mix on a low heat until it thickens up to about as thick as melted ice-cream, then take it off, take out the vanilla pod (and dry it off and keep it in some sugar for later) and chop up the tea leaves if they look unappetisingly large.

Mix the sachet of gelatin in as little boiling water as you can make it dissolve in and try not to breathe in any of the nasty smell. Once it’s all dissolved, add it to the mix you made before and leave it all to cool. You’ve got enough time to make the mousse here, so look forward for a bit.

Now that the mix is at room temperature, take the remaining cream and whip it until it forms soft peaks and then gently fold the mix together. Grease up 10 ramekins and then divide the mix evenly between them. Don’t worry if you don’t have ramekins, you can always put it one container and then cut it later. Don’t forget to grease the moulds, I didn’t know you were meant to before I tried it out and I had to melt the outside to get it to come out.

Pop them in the fridge and leave it for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.

2. Make Chocolate Mousse

This is the easiest recipe you will ever find for chocolate mousse ever, if you don’t like it sour, then you can use whatever you like, but I think this works well here.

3. Make Raspberry Coulis

Purée the raspberries with the vinegar and the vodka, then pour the whole lot into a pan. Turn the heat waaay up till it bubbles and then add the icing sugar, stir until it dissolves and then turn the heat down low and let it reduce for 5 minutes. Pour it through a sieve and eat what’s left behind. Once it’s gone cold you can pop this in the fridge for whenever.

4. Assemble the FREAKTREE

Spoon a little of the raspberry coulis onto a plate, then use a knife to start drawing. When you run low on painting sauce spoon a little more into the bits of the plate already covered in red… draw very very slowly, it helps. Once you’re happy with the shape turn out the bavarois onto a cake slice thingy or a knife then slide it into place on the plate. Use two spoons or an ice-cream scoop to make the chocolate mousse into a little ball, then pop it on the plate too. Garnish both with a little sprig of roasted rosemary and voila, you are a pretentious snob!

5. Quake in Fear…

for you have unleashed the ancient mystical force of the FREAKTREE and though you may laugh as you eat it now, it will come back for you in the night to rip out your internal organs and replace them with custard!

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