A dinner worth waiting for…


So I’ve been friends with someone for a very long time. Well a long time in my book. I’m not the best at keeping in touch and staying in regular contact, and so I’ve never been the best at maintaining a close group of friends. Couple that with the fact that my family moved around a lot when I was younger means that I’m lucky to still be in touch with anyone I’ve known longer than a few years.

Amanda is lucky (?) enough to be one of the old guard… which means I’ve known her for a good few years now. But surprisingly in all that time, haven’t been around to her place for dinner. Curious as to whether she actually ate at all, I’ve been trying for a while now to wrangle my way into her kitchen, and finally got the chance a couple of weeks ago when at long last, an invitation was sent out, with all necessary pomp and ceremony.

I think there was a sense of making up for lost time involved… although I know once she sets herself to do something, Amanda is not one for half measures. There were wine and oysters on arrival, a plate full of entrees including smoked salmon, capers, cheeses, fruits, and nuts… probably a meal in itself, but just a primer tonight.

Next was course one… chilli mussels… a giant bowl of fresh mussels heaped in a precariously arranged tower with a hearty tomato chilli sauce that warmed us from the insides. Not wanting to seem impolite… I made sure every last one of them got eaten after a considerable number of “seconds”.

Onto the mains and a lovely piece of swordfish steak, on top of mash, with some steamed veges… hearty and delicious, and more than meaty enough for my rampant carnivorous tendencies that don’t quite mesh with Amanda’s vegetarian sensibilities.

Finally, after a couple of bottles of wine, including a Gran Reserva Rioja, and a fantastic Ashbrook Estate Cabernet Merlot Franc, it was time for dessert. Chocolate mouse to start with, with shavings of cognac truffled chocolate on top, decadent enough in itself. Followed later by Tiramisu, a rich spongey delight of flavours and textures, smothered lovingly in cream and chocolate.

If my pants were a little tighter around the waist before this meal, they were doubly so after. We left satisfied and slightly giddy at the gastronomic onslaught, and have vowed to make sure the next dinner doesn’t have to wait for quite so long.

So here from the woman herself is Amanda’s wonderful Tiramisu:

Amanda’s Tiramisu

  • 375ml espresso coffee
  • 500g marscarpone
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 185ml Kahlua or Tia Maria
  • 125ml cream, lightly whipped
  • 250g thin sponge fingers
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder

How She Made Hers
Pour the coffee into a shallow dish (do cool it down otherwise the biscuits go soggy too quickly). Mix the marscapone, sugar and liquor in a large bowl until you have a thick mass, then gently fold in the cream. Cover with plastic then put in the fridge. Dip half the biscuits into the coffee then lay them out in a thin layer on the bottom of a 2 litre ceramic dish. Spread half the marscapone mixture over the biscuits and dust liberally with half of the cocoa (use a fine sieve to make it easy).

Dunk the rest of the biscuits in the coffee and add a layer of them before spreading with the remaining marscapone mixture. Dust with the remaining cocoa, then cover and keep in the fridge overnight to allow the flavours to develop before serving.