I was 25 when my mother passed; she was just three weeks in her 50th birthday. I received an early phone call. The morning was early and bright, brisk and clear like the streams pouring out of neighbouring Connemara’s sterile and alkaline lakes. Between two sobbing sentences, my beautiful sister asked me to come home from my adoptive Galway. Time was running out and the unexpected news started to sink in. As I don’t fly, I travelled to Rosslare Harbour to catch a cargo ship. For £60, the Panther II gave you a cabin to yourself and three meals. It was an unsung way to travel at the time, the company didn’t advertise for a service mostly reserved for truck drivers, but in the meantime, didn’t object to the odd pedestrian crossing the channel. It was like travelling in time, travelling in style and honesty as the recent “Tiger” started to roar. As soon as we passed Tuskar lighthouse on our port, a school of common dolphins leaded the way at the bow, I looked at the sunset, dwelling at the inevitable. I was trying to forget about my canned grapefruit segments and the dry chicken Maryland we had for dinner when the ship’s Chef/ Barman brought me a ramekin of his homemade chocolate mousse. It is such a groovy dessert, but in time of need and hardship, old fashioned puddings feel like an unspoken hug. I think he knew what was going on… People of the sea know them things,no matter where you are from!
As winter started to slowly make way to a new beginning, the Pascal talk of chocolate and Easter, made me reminisce this story; a life landmark I guess. The only way to remedee and heal an old wound was to get busy. Chocolate busy. Springtime is made of many interesting things!
- 250g of 70% dark chocolate
- 4 egg yolks
- 50g of butter
- 6 egg whites
- 10cl of fresh cream
- 50g of caster sugar
- a drizzle of lemon juice
First you need to melt the chocolate on a bain marie; that means a bowl in a bigger bowl of hot water. Mix the chopped chocolate, butter and cream gently. Add then the four beaten egg yolks until shiny and smooth. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites with a touch of lemon juice. As they are getting thick, add the sugar and keep whisking until really thick (like shaving foam). With a large metal spoon, take some of the whites to the chocolate mix and fold gently. Put that mix back into the egg white bowl and keep folding very gently. Scoop the mix in small dishes or cups (it is quite rich) and cool for at least 2 hours.
That should do until the swallows return; time is everything, you cannot change the past but this should help nicely… Chocolate always does!