Dinner with Rhea, Allan, Abraham…starring chocolate cake

Sunday was a lazy day, recovering from all the dancing from Tiara’s reception Saturday night.  I was in pain but no pain, no gain.  One cannot go to a Filipino gig without some dancing!  Abraham insisted we dance..what is a mother to do!  It was so good to see the families and friends who came to celebrate my first niece’s grand occassion in an intimate and informal setting.

Sunday was in anticipation of Rhea’s visit.  She and Allan came  for a home cooked meal.  I cooked skirt steak marinated in Miso and Nobu salmon with a side of asparagus in sesame dressing.  We started with heirloom tomatoes with sliced avocado, burrata cheese, basil, Nunez de prado organic extra virgin olive oil, drizzled with 25  year old traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena. Vouette et Sorbet champagne Fidele to complement the food.

Just cut up the heirloom tomatoes (get the firm ones) any way you please.   Leave at room temperature.  Slice the avocados.  I like large slices.  I bought yellow and red tomatoes.  I laid out the tomatoes with the sliced avocados like an artist would paint a canvas.  The plate is your canvas.  You want  the picture to communicate and  insprie all your senses.  If you want to add salt, add fine seasalt and/or pepper.  Add a dollop or two of burrata cheese.  Sprinkle basil over this and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Very simple and very fresh.   Yum…

Steak was not as good as normal.  Hmmm…I overcooked it.  I will have to make this again on their next visit.  Salmon was very flaky tender and just the right amount of miso.

The star of the meal was the Orange and Bourbon Chocolate cake.  The recipe is from the Spotted Pig in NYC, 314 West 11th St.  I followed their recipe but made a few tweaks.  I used 80% Valrhona chocolate and a little more bourbon (maybe that is why it was so popular)  and a huge orange for the zest.  I think this will be Allan’s cake and each time he visits, will have to make it.

Spotted Pig Orange and Bourbon Chocolate Cake 


½ lb bittersweet baking chocolate (at least 70%, I used Valrhona 80%)

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick, cut up)

3 tbsp bourbon (I used more))

1 orange, zested

4 eggs

2/3 cup granulated sugar

Spiced cream

¾ cup chilled heavy cream

2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cardamom

1/8 tsp ground cloves

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour sides of a round 9-inch baking pan and line bottom with parchment paper
  • Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler, stirring until smooth.  Mix in bourbon and orange zest; set aside.
  • With an electric mixer, beat eggs and granulated sugar in a bowl until mixture is thick and pale yellow ribbons form, about 6 min.  Fold mixture into chocolate little by little.  Spoon batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 35 min or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.
  • With mixer, beat cold heavy cream until frothy.  Add confectioners’ sugar and spices; continue beating until soft peaks form.  Chill in refrigerator.
  • Transfer cake to serving platter; garnish with spiced cream and chocolate shavings.
It was a very relaxing dinner with family, sharing food, recipes, “how to” on cooking,  Allan gave me lessons on wordpress.  We laughed, ate some more, a chance to get to know each other.  Rhea enjoyed browsing through the library of fashion design, jewelry and cook books.  The evening ended with a promise to return and Allan coveting the leftover choco cake inside a takeaway container.  I sent them on their journey with wine, jams, salad dressings, olive oil and bread.   The next day Rhea and Allan enjoyed leftovers in Big Sur.
A career is temporary, family is permanent.
Life is life!

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