Anybody else feel like they need a little pick-me-up today?
It's been all go here since I was a speaker at Food Blogger Connect in November. The conference was followed by a crazy week at work, after which I left for 2 weeks in South Africa, returning exactly four days before Christmas. In fact, just in time to plan and shop for the Christmas lunch that we hosted at our place. And just because we hadn't entertained enough, last night we also had a new year's eve dinner party.
So here we are, on the first day of a shiny new decade and all I feel is deflated after all the action. (OK, my little hangover does not help much either!)
New year is always a strange time – a time of looking forward and a time of looking back. Inevitably, last night I thought back to new year's eve 1999 which Nick and I spent in Cape Town, enjoying the spectacular millennium fireworks and worrying that the Y2K bug was going to end life as we knew it at midnight. Hah. Or new year's eve 1989, which I spent as a student in a rented beach house in Plettenberg Bay surrounded by a dozen friends and having the time of my life. Or 1985 when my mom indulged my wishes to host an all-night formal dinne dance party at our house, followed by breakfast and an early morning swim on the 1st. I also think of the people with whom I've spent new years eve in the past – Anton, Paola, Bron, Peter, Sally, Lorella, Alison, Pete, Gary, John, Suzie, Olwen, Antony, Belinda and Andrew, to name but a few. I wish dearly that I could gather you all in one room for an uber-new year's eve party.
But of course, it's also a time of looking forward, and if I think of the incredible surprises that the last 10 years have sprung on me, I can hardly wait to see what the next ten hold. Ten years ago I never thought I'd be living in London in 2010. I could not ski. Nobody had heard of a blog. And I had not yet met many of the people who make up my London "family". So I say bring on the new year and the new decade and lets see what other crazy plans the universe has for me!
But for today, I am in slightly fuzzy limbo – still dealing with the demise of my dear friend 2009, still contemplating tidying the dining room… and definitely in need of a little pick-me-up – which is exactly what tiramisu means in Italian.
This classic dessert is always a hit with guests but is surprisingly easy to make – even a slightly hung-over blogger can manage it Happy new year to all my readers and may all your dreams come true this year.
TIRAMISU (serves 4-6)
1/2 cup (125ml) strong black coffee, preferably espresso, cooled
2 tbsp (25ml) caster sugar
5 tbsp (62.5ml) + 2 tsp (10ml) Amaretto liqueur
2 large eggs, separated
2 tsp (10 ml) cocoa powder
250g/8¾oz mascarpone cheese
1 packet (125g) of Savoiardi (sponge lady finger biscuits)
Mix the cold coffee and the 62.5ml Amaretto together in a cup. Dip both sides of each biscuit into the coffee liqueur mix and arrange to cover the bottom of a shallow dish. Make sure the entire base is covered with biscuits.
In a separate bowl cream together the egg yolks and sugar for about three minutes until thick and pale yellow. Add the mascarpone and 10ml Amaretto and beat until smooth.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold quickly but gently into the cream mixture taking care not to lose the volume.
Spread some of the cream mixture over the biscuits until covered, and then repeat the process again, using up the biscuits and finishing with a cream layer.
Refrigerate for about three hours or until firm. The longer it is left, the more the flavours will develop.
Just before serving, dust the top with cocoa powder.