Friday, August 3, 2012

Generally bad 'film', summer frustrations and chocolate salami

Everyone, who at least once had been strolling around this blog, knows that I dislike summer. 'Dislike' is probably the mildest version of my real feelings towards this particular season, but I won't be enter into negative monologue. I have promised myself to try and to use negative words to the minimum, so, I would like to keep the promise.
Summer has not been kind to me, but this particular one has driven me to the very edge of my sanity, up to the point that sometimes I need to pinch myself and check if I'm awake or it is just a bad dream. 
Ever since it started, I have not been out, except to grab a couple of groceries and hang the laundry on the roof. And even those, seemingly simple and harmless tasks have had negative impact on my well being.
I remember what my brother told me last summer when he came to visit: 'It's just a bad film, it's all in your head.'
I can partly agree with that statement, except for the part that it is 'in my head'. I've been plagued with nightmares, haven't had much luck with the choice of books that I'm reading and I don't even want to start talking about the choice of movies on offer.

Fortunately, the scientist have discovered that the simple act of eating CHOCOLATE triggers the release of endorphins. Those little buggers that are giving the humanity that happy feeling. In that case, I should be just about the happiest person in the Universe, but I won't be going to pick that bone now. 

I was going through some scribblings (let's call them 'manuscript' for sake of argument), and I came to the realization that if I pushed myself a little more and a little harder, well, certain best-seller wouldn't be a best-seller today. It would have been my book.
Still, I do have 200.000 words to inspect, re-check, re-think and mostly other 're' tasks, but when I will feel confident enough, then I will put the machinery in motion. Not a moment before that and not a moment after.
Silly thing, while most people have been known to have fear of failure, I have been told that I have fear of success. It seems even 15 odd years since I got that feedback that nothing has changed on that plan.
Don't take me wrong, there is nothing wrong with success, but I really dread what other things would come with it. Like people trying to get a picture of you, asking one too many questions and generally invading the space that one would like to keep private and intact. 
I must admit that I never felt comfortable on the pedestal. I'm one of the people that can do their 'magic' best behind the scenes.

So, I'm sitting nicely yesterday, fantasizing of a cool breeze and hoping for at least a waft of fresh air, when I remembered something that my mom used to make. It was a dessert that we called 'sweet salami.' Unfortunately, I didn't remember the measurements or the complete list of ingredients and calling my mom was out of question. I mean, I love talking to my mom, but when it comes to recipes, a simple conversation will turn into a seven course dinner conversation, so I just jotted down the ingredients I had remembered and went on to look through books and the Internet for something similar.
The finished product came out divine. Even Mr.F who is not chocolate fan, said that he loved it. And that is (just about) all that matters.

While we're on nice subjects and good results, I just want to say that I got a really nice surprise from a certain company that I'm buying stuff from, but that deserves a post of its own and I shall write it when my gift arrives. Probably in a week or so.

Without further ado, here's what is most important today:

Chocolate salami with nuts (no pun intended)


200 grams good quality dark chocolate (70-80% cocoa solids)
100 grams unsalted butter
1 tsp cocoa powder (I used NoMU. Expensive, but gorgeous!)
2 tbsp Cointreau or other orange liqueur
3 crushed pettit beurre biscuits
60 grams roughly chopped walnuts
80 grams roughly chopped pistachio nuts
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp sugar
icing sugar for dusting


Beat the yolks with the tablespoon of sugar until pale and set aside.
In a double boiler melt the chocolate (broken into pieced) and the butter (cut into large chunks). Stir occasionally to combine. When melted, add the cayenne pepper, cocoa and salt and mix well. Remove from the heat and add the nuts and biscuits. Stir to combine and then add the orange liqueur. Mix well again and add the yolk mixture. Give it one final stir to combine everything and when the mixture has cooled down, put in the fridge to chill about 30 minutes, so you can shape it easier.
Take a piece of cling film and pour the chilled mix onto the centre. Pulling the ends, form a sausage/salami shape, secure the ends and wrap in aluminium foil. Put in the freezer for hour or so.
On a piece of waxed paper or baking parchment sift some icing sugar. Take out the chocolate salami and roll in the icing sugar, to cover completely. Discard the extra icing sugar, wrap the chocolate salami in the parchment and return to the freezer.
It is best to remove from the freezer 5 minutes before serving, so the slices won't break (like mine. I didn't have the patience... 5 minutes IS long time).

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