A bit of a departure today, folks. For the first time in the history of this blog, our subject isn’t pudding. It still involves chocolate though, so don’t panic.
Given yesterday’s date, you might think that I’d write about Valenswine’s gifts – or even a piece about rose-flavoured cakes.
But no. Sugar and spice will not be involved. Today, this post is bitter – in more ways than just one.
In short, Paul. A Young and I are on a break.
As you regular Ogglers will know, the master chocolatier and I have had a fairly strong relationship until now. I have swooned over his brownies, guzzled his hot chocolate with delight, proclaimed the delights of his cookery book from the rooftops. But yesterday he let me down. In fact, he almost ruined Valenswine’s.
The Man and I had decided to keep things muted on the 14th: we’ve been together for a while, you see, and don’t fancy cards or flowers to do our loving for us. Still, any excuse for a tasty meal, so we planned to make a special one. The recipe we chose had had me quivering for weeks: a beautiful-looking dish in the savoury section of Young’s ‘Adventures With Chocolate’: Dark Chocolate Gnocchi with Chilli, Mascarpone, Pecorino and Fresh Oregano.
It looked divine, and for once we decided to cook things right. No scrimping on ingredients like we usually do. Instead we skipped to the shops and bought everything we needed, spending over six quid in the process (more than our average weekly food bill).
From past experience, I am all too aware that making gnocchi is neither quick nor tidy – and this was no exception. Having blended and kneaded the dough, an hour of waiting followed while it rested in the fridge. Then, when it came to rolling out and shaping, things got messy pretty fast. Turns out that a mixture of blended mashed potato, egg yolk, flour and cocoa powder is rather hard to clean from a kitchen worktop. But you probably knew that already. Still, the Man and I enjoyed the crafting, and spirits were high when our dumplings went on to the boil.
What followed was an exercise in military speed and precision: we prepared our mascarpone topping, plucked our oregano leaves, grated our cheese, and transferred the cooked dumplings to a saucepan one-by-one, for a quick little finish in hot olive oil.
The final product looked amazing – just like it did in the book.
And the taste?
Truly, it pains me to say it, but they were. The mascarpone was too thick and plain, the gnocchi too bitter (even for me, who loves unsweetened cocoa every morning), and the oregano leaves just DID NOT WORK. Mucho disappointedo. It was so gross in fact, that after just three mouthfuls I was gagging. Literally. And so, against all my beliefs and principles, I was forced to throw the whole lot in the bin. I had to: the combination was inedible. Alas! All that time, all that money, all that expectation: down the chute in an instant.
What were you thinking, Paul? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?! Did you ever even taste this dish yourself? I just don’t know how it made the final cut.
I’m welling up, just thinking about it.
Truly, it was a huge ordeal – A DISASTER – but the Man and I survived, thank goodness. We are strong, you see (and have a very good takeaway pizza place nearby).
As for Mr Young and I, the love-affair is over – unless he can win me back with something sweet.
In the meantime, I’m sticking to M&Ms. That’ll teach him.