Since the holidays are now upon us, I thought I’d add some recipes to the mix. So for today, find an excerpt that has something to do with food. As always the excerpt can be from a work of your own, or from another source. Post a favorite recipe as well.
Here is my excerpt from Lady Caro’s Accidental Marriage. This takes place as they are fleeing through the Italian Alps, and Lord Huntley is attempting to woe his reluctant bride with chocolate.
As before, he hovered over her and helped her choose the offerings to try first. She turned her head towards him and, for a moment, their faces were close together. His gaze dropped to her mouth and rose, almost at once, back to her eyes. Her heart had stopped when she’d thought he was going to kiss her. Thankfully, he didn’t, but he was still too close. “I think I have enough food for now.”
He held out her chair, and, after filling his plate, joined her. Once Caro had finished the last piece of venison, she leaned back in her chair. “All of it was wonderful. I don’t think I could eat another bite.”
A wicked smile appeared on his lips. “Oh, I think you might eat just a little more, my lady.”
He stood and walked to the bell pull. After giving it a short tug, he sat back down. The door opened and a waiter entered the room carrying a large platter. She sniffed, and sat up, then looked. “A chocolate torte? Oh, Huntley, thank you!”
The waiter placed the plate on the table and cut them both slices of the cake. She took a forkful of the piece Huntley offered, and sighed. “It has fruit in it as well.” Caro held out the next bite to him. “Here have a taste.”
Leaning over the table, Huntley touched her hand as he guided the fork to his lips and opened them. She drew a sharp breath as warmth infused her fingers. What on earth was that tingling, and why was it suddenly so hard to draw a breath?
Chewing slowly, Huntley realized the game had just changed. If he played his cards correctly, the spark they’d both just experienced would help him kindle a fire, and their marriage would be real. It would take time and patience, yet he’d succeed.
Chocolate Torte from Gourmet Magazine
- 3/4 cup whole blanched almonds (about 4 ounces), toasted lightly and cooled
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon kirsch
- 6 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), broken into pieces and ground fine in a food processor
- Garnish: confectioners’ sugar
- sweetened whipped cream
- sour cherry compote
For the compote:
- 1 cup dried sour cherries, preferably unsweetened* (about 5 ounces)
- 1/2 cup kirsch
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup cherry jam or preserves (about 7 ounces)
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- a 3-inch strip orange zest
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom of a buttered 9-inch cake pan (2 inches deep) or springform pan with a round of wax paper. Butter paper and dust pan with flour, knocking out excess.
In food processor pulse almonds with 1 tablespoon sugar until just ground fine. (Do not grind to point when oil is released.)
In a bowl with an electric mixer cream butter with 1/4 cup remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, and beat in zest and kirsch. Stir almond sugar and chocolate into yolk mixture (mixture will be very thick). In another bowl with cleaned beaters beat whites until foamy and add a pinch salt and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in a stream, beating until whites just hold stiff peaks. Fold one third whites into yolk mixture to lighten and fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
Bake torte in middle of oven 45 to 55 minutes, or until it begins to pull away from side of pan. (Torte will fall slightly and continue to set as it cools.) Cool torte in pan on a rack and remove from pan. Torte may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Let torte come to room temperature before serving.
Sprinkle torte with confectioners’ sugar and serve with whipped cream and compote.
To make the compote:
In a small saucepan simmer all ingredients, covered, 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let mixture stand, covered, 10 minutes. Remove cover and cool completely. Compote may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Let compote come to room temperature before serving. Serves 6.