Number Forty One November 2006
On arriving home a few weeks ago armed with list of requested menus to print off from my old and trusty computer, all was going well as I brought up the first menu onto the screen and hit the print button. Twenty copies please. The Epson printer chugged into action, but only to come to a grinding halt after a few seconds.
It was around half an hour later that it became very clear that Nelly - that's the name that I had given to the computer - had sadly passed away. It begged the question: had she been struck down by a virus? Nelly was born in 1996 and in her time she was running the accounts of a thirty-bedroom hotel, but sadly one day she was given her marching orders as she became redundant only to be taken over by a more up to date model, and that's how she came to live at Rushmore Towers.
In her time, she has served me well holding files of menus, special dinner and party menus. All the village newsletters were tapped out on her and, of course, her real last claim to fame was she was responsible for all the files of my book “Tales of a Norfolk Chef”. Over her last few years Nelly, of course, had a few new bits fitted to give her a bit of a boost but sadly her fate was inevitable. On a happier note, most of her vital and still useable bits and bobs have been removed and have been gratefully received into other computers that were waiting for transplants.
When I was a lad, my dear old grandmother would have split her stays at the thought of all that chocolate and if you were ever caught eating it she would launch off into a detailed tale of the bad things that chocolate would do to you if eaten in excess. Grandmother’s description would go on and on. Big red boils and festering sores seemed to come up time and time again as she told her tale of woe. I often thought that she disliked chocolate but I also remembered her liking for whiskey but that's another story…
It seemed that in the 1990s, the lust for anything gooey was offered by many restaurants throughout the land in the form of a dessert that should have carried a public health warning. “Death by Chocolate” - yes it will have been to some poor soul as he tucked into a rich mix of thick pure chocolate and chocolate sponge topped with half a pint of double cream. Two rivals on the dessert trolley were choux pastry topped with chocolate and an incredibly rich dessert called “Mississippi Mud Pie”. They said that if you mixed the two together then you wouldn't make it home in time - in time for what? That's what we all wanted to know. The few customers that did have a great old slice of each dessert, we really never saw again.
secrets of any dish like the above mentioned desserts is in its hidden
ingredients. It's the base of “Death by Chocolate” and it is called a
ganache. You take the best chocolate you can buy, melt it slowly over
warm water, add double cream and allow to cool. Over the years, I have
often thought that white chocolate may be a slightly healthier option
but white chocolate seems to have its drawbacks. It seems to remind
diners of their early days in their lives and the child with milk
bottled glasses, the Milky Bar Kid.
Top of Page