Where to begin…
So now Christmas has passed and we’re into our third month of 2019 I thought it was about time to sit and write a little for This Is Me! I’ve been busy sorting our little cottage out after three years of neglect while I studied, recently having my official graduation allowing me to catch up with all the lovely ladies and gents I trained with. I graduated with a first class honours degree and walked the length of Canterbury Cathedral in front of a few hundred friends and family of the graduating class of 2018. I spent most of it in fear of landing flat on my face instead of taking in the moment. Thank goodness I didn’t know we had to do a mile walk before turning up as I may have thought better of it! However I can honestly say it was a wonderful day shared with James and my parents whom sat proudly watching on. I began this journey such a long time ago that it felt like it took a lifetime to get there!
Now as for other events in the Varnals household we entered into our second term of Toby’s first year of school. He has progressed incredibly well in both his behaviour and speech! I look forward to picking him up and hearing all about his day although it takes much coaxing often beginning with ‘I can’t remembeeeer’! He read his first book to me and has shared in many more academic achievements proving his time spent at school has been a great success thus far.
I always look forward to taking Olivia and Toby to school especially after the stressful morning routine but always miss them as I turn to leave. Crazy I know, I’m sure there will be some of you thinking I’m mad but as a working mum I find myself longing to be with them when I’m not. I spent so long away from them whilst I trained and missed many school performances and mile stones in Toby’s development that now even in the moment’s they are driving me round the bend I know I’d much rather them drive me around ten bends if it means I’m with them!
In my very first post on ‘This Is Me’ I wrote about finding a balance with life and I so hoped it would arrive once completing my nursing degree but I’m now coming to realise that no matter what I choose to do the balance has yet to arrive. I’ve been a stay at home mum longing to begin a career and then a full time working mum longing to be at home with Olivia and Toby. Now I work from home with odd hours here and there always around for the school runs and I can honestly say I’m not sure what it was I thought would arrive! I’ve suddenly found myself bemused by life and discovering that the balance that I thought I would find and longed for may never come, and maybe just maybe that’s ok! Instead I find moments to enjoy life making many happy memories with friends and family!
I spent a wonderful evening recently entertaining some good friends with a pudding night, allowing us to indulge in some overly naughty treats all whilst drinking far too many Kir Royale’s and giggling the night away! I showcased some of my new creations, one Bailey’s Tiramisu Trifle to be worked on (messy unset custard, delicious none the less) whilst the rest were a huge success! It left me thinking about how we entertain and why we spend more time out of our lovely homes in restaurant chains serving up foods that we could make so easily at home! How often do we leave these style of restaurants feeling like we really had a delicious meal? Why are we less likely to host at home? Is it busy lives, working too much or are we just uninterested? I feel so much more relaxed in my home or at a friend’s, you stay longer enjoying many laughs, not worrying about others around you having a quiet meal, you can have music of your choice and foods created with love and flavour. I’ve become disinterested in visiting restaurants either lacking in creative flair, offering poor service and atmosphere. It’s rare to find one offering all and doing it well! We all work hard for our money so why part with a day’s wage and leave feeling less than satisfied? We’ve moved into an era of convenience losing moments together that used to be an event, a gathering of friend’s, loved ones all to share in a moment of great food, great atmosphere and laughter allowing us special moments and memories to share in! I will always remember occasions spent at home or at a friends with a few wonderful individual restaurants in London that are getting it right! The rest are lost in a jumble of memories spent in lacklustre restaurants with no standout moments!
So… with all that said I need to tell you all of my new business venture, ‘D’licious’. I will be setting up a new from ‘my home to yours’ pudding night, serving up cocktails and maybe an entrée or two. The idea is you create your perfect at home experience and I’ll do all the work for you! You can enjoy your time with your guests whilst relaxing and indulging in wonderful food and drinks. I’m not a caterer, just a little party giver that can help you create memorable experiences with your friends and family. I’ll come with all that you need and even do the clearing away! I have much to do before launching but I hope that once I’m up and running you’ll all fancy a night at home!
A little recipe to leave you with…
My Hot Chocolate Pot
200g 70% dark Chocolate (Green and Blacks)
100g Milk Chocolate (Green and Blacks)
200g Unsalted Butter
Pinch of sea salt
100g caster sugar
200g Soft Brown Sugar
6 free-range eggs (I use organic)
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
For the topping
Crème Fraiche or Clotted cream – My Vanilla cream can be found on previous post (Butter Milk Pancakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream)
For extra indulgence add a drizzle of salted caramel sauce ( Supermarkets offer great ready- made sauces just to make it all a little easier)
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C/325 degree F.
Place all chocolate (broken into pieces) in a heatproof bowl along with the butter and sea salt. You can either heat over simmering water or use the microwave. 30 second bursts stirring in between (it will depend on microwave, if unsure do 20 second bursts). Once melted and smooth, allow mixture to cool for 10 – 15 minutes
Place all sugar and eggs into a mixer. Mix on high speed until mixture is thick and fluffy in appearance. Turn the mixer on low and pour in cooled chocolate mixture along with vanilla. Once combined, pour into ramekin dishes or heat proof teacups. Fill each half way. Place all puddings into a roasting tin/baking tray, pour boiling water into roasting tin/baking tray until half way up the side of pudding dishes.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, remove from oven and take each pudding out of boiling water to rest on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Now dollop on your cream of choice and drizzle over your favourite indulgent sauce.