Tuesday, 26 February 2008

So the new boyfriend is coming over for dinner tonight, before a trip to the late show at the uni theatre. I'm quite excited, because it gives me an excuse to cook fancy food (or fancier food than usual), and a little bit nervous too. As usual, I've put plenty of thought into planning what to make, and I've settled for a venison sausage casserole, suggested by my lovely mother, followed by white chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate ganache.

I've already made the cupcakes, and had a wonderful time too. I made the cake part yesterday evening after my 8 o'clock supervision, and as always the baking was wonderfully calming. Plus, by the time I went to bed, the whole house smelt absolutely delicious. I will admit that I had one of the un-iced cakes before bed, and was very pleased with the results. Moist and sweet.

I decided to go for white chocolate mainly because I've had a bar in my snack draw since last term, and felt I really ought to use it. It was very good quality white chocolate – Villars Swiss chocolate, with a high cocoa content (30% I think). I was torn between making white chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate icing or the opposite, but settled on the former because it seemed slightly more exotic. I found the recipe on Cake on the brain's blog, here, and for once stuck to it fairly closely.

I was a little concerned by the amount it made – I only have one cupcake tray at my disposition, and the mix was quite liquid, so I wasn't sure I'd fit it all in. I managed (mostly) in the end, and the smell once the cakes was in was heavenly.

The ganache I made this morning between lectures (leading to an interesting sugar high in the second one). I was initially going to just use cream and chocolate, but ended up having to add some icing sugar to stiffen it enough to pipe. It still tasted gorgeous, though I've yet to try it in combo with the cakes. I got to give my new piping bag (£3 for Debenhams…) a run too, and it worked fine until the bag split. I'm trying to figure out whether I can patch it up, but I'm not convinced. Never mind, I can find another bag, as long as the nozzles are still ok!

Well, I need to get on with the main now, so here are a few pics to show off my cupcakes…

Edit; Dinner was quite scrummy too - and the cupcakes got ample praise. I was really pleased with the main, actually. For a while, I've been wanting to try venison sausages, because they are supposed to be healthier than the normal pork ones, and because venison is one of the few meats I'd actually choose to eat. My mum suggested making a vension sausage casserole, so a bit of searching online found me a recipe that sounded simple and tasty enough to suit my purposes. It came from sausagelinks.co.uk, and certainley delivered.

I think I should have added a bit more red wine than I did, as the sauce did all but disappear. Other than that, it was quite a success. The sauce was very tasty, the sausages were gorgeous and they even tasted quite healthy - none of the high fat content of normal sausages. Well worth a try for anyone entertaining a man with a hearty appetite and not wanting to eat too much themselves!

Venison Sausage Casserole for Two;

250g venison sausages

100g smoked bacon, chopped

100g chestnut mushrooms

1 medium onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

175ml (or a bit more) red wine or beef stock

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tb plain flour

1. Brown the sausages in olive oil for 10 minutes then remove.

2. add the onion, garlic and bacon to the pan and cook for 10 minutes or so.

3. return the sausages, then stir in the flour until the juices are absorbed.

4. add the red wine and the herbs.

5. bring to a simmer, then simmer gently with the lid on for 30 minutes.

6. add the mushrooms and cook with the lid off for 20-30 minutes.

7. season and serve with mashed potatoes and green veg of your choice.

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