They are three. Three white hairs. Three white hairs that I see every morning in the bathroom mirror, highlighted by the harsh spotlight that makes them stand out, so white and straight, among the other soft brown curls, that instead are huddled peacefully on my head, as they are supposed to be, as curly hair, in the early hours of the morning.
Until a few months ago, every now and then I spotted one white hair that wanted to stand out from the others and that – poor deluded – was short-lived, because as soon as I noticed its unwelcome presence, it was eliminated with decision. You, the intruder, what do you think to do here?
Then, lightning, a thought: it is generally believed that every white hair is actually a sign that we managed to indulge a whim. So why on earth are we trying to hide this flowing of time marked more by happily satisfied whims than by wrinkles? this is really a pleasant way of looking at the passage of time, a way that celebrates the achievements and victories, the small moments of personal satisfaction, and transforms them into trophies.
The first English afternoon tea at the Four Seasons. A flight to London. A relaxing massage with aromatherapy. A twelve-hour night’s sleep under a duvet soft like a cloud. Horse-riding in the woods looking in the distance at the towers of San Gimignano. A ’50s style garden party with red and white striped straws. A flight to London, again. The second English afternoon tea, this time at the Ritz. A day of idleness while everyone is at work. The red lipstick. The blue nail polish even though I was in the office. My colourful clothes combined with crazy fantasy. The truffle of Alba. A moelleux au chocolat. A flight to London, yes, again … one year of white hair, thank God!
When I made this decadent chocolate pudding with a lavish molten heart I just thought: now I’m going to indulge a whim, let me bake just for myself a sumptuous moelleux au chocolat. I’m not talking about those frozen and surely industrial patty-cakes you can find in almost every restaurant, presented as house specialties, this is a real moelleux au chocolat, made by carefully following the recipe found in Jamie Magazine issue 22, completely dedicated to France. It’s made with mostly organic products and the best chocolate I found, a bag of 70% cocoa dark DeBondt chocolate drops.
This was the first time I baked a real moelleux au chocolat, therefore the thrill of discovering the soft and dense dark chocolate molten heart with a spoon was true and pure. It was undeniable worth the white hair!
- 25 g of unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
- 175 g of dark (70% cocoa) chocolate, broken into pieces, or drops
- 75 g of sugar
- 2 free range large eggs
- ½ teaspoon of organic vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of salt
- 25 g of flour
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Place a baking sheet in the oven to heat up. Butter flour 160 ml ramekins and line the bases with discs of greaseproof or baking paper.
- Melt the chocolate pieces over a bain marie then remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly while you make the rest of the batter.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and slightly fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time then add the vanilla and a pinch of salt. Stir in the flour until just combined, then gently mix in the melted chocolate. The mixture should thicken quite a bit. Divide between the moulds and bake on the preheated baking sheet for 8 minutes. Turn out immediately, dust with unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder and tuck in.
Although you can find here on Juls’ Kitchen many foreign recipes, linked to traditions of other countries, the French recipes are really not well represented, they can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Here they are all together, just in case you feel like French style after this decadent chocolate pudding!
- riz rouge de Camargue with fennel confit, a savoury memory of one of the best holidays on the road, Camargue and Provence, during the summer of 2010,
- Vérònique’s crepes with salted butter and raspberries, to transform a so far pretty anonymous dish in a family dish, thanks to the story and words of a French friend,
- cherry clafoutis, a secret whispered on my door,
- omelette with herbs, from an Elizabeth David’s recipe, my absolute favourite food writer.