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October 31, 2004

coincidentally halloween


Sunday, October 31

We weren't planning anything special for halloween this year, but we did have our friends coming over for dinner on this Halloween sunday.

It wasn't really for the Halloween, but our plan was more of trying to clean the fridge and pantry; these days there have been too many stuff I would like to make and I have done too much shopping, I mean REALLY too much for just two of us. We needed some help to consume all that much of foodstuff in our kitchen.

When I asked him what he would like to share with his friend and his girlfriend, he replied beef in Guinness and marbled cheese cake, so those were what I made. We planned to serve Kabocha pumpkin salad (this one) and roasted potatoes and vegetable as we wanted some vegetable to go with the beef. For dessert, I made baked pumpkin custard in addition to the marbled cheese cake, as it was Halloween (I don't care for pumpkin pie much).

Well, there was A LOT of food.

To start with, we served chili brioche from our favorite bakery with locally-made goat cheese seasoned with rosemary and black pepper.



I tried a bottle of pumpkin ale that he bought me for Halloween. The labed read "pumpkin and spices added" - what kind of beer could be with "added pumpkin"? I did taste some pumpkin-pie sort of spices, but didn't know about if it had a noticeable taste of pumpkin. It was an interesting drink.



When the food was ready, everyone helped themselves. For Beef in Guinness, which ranks among the highest in the list of his favorite dishes I make, I used over 2 pounds of beef and a matching amount of vegetables - onion, carrots, and mushrooms. I was going to prepare it the night before (stews always taste better next day), but I ended up making it early in the morning of sunday. I'd normally make this dish with Guinness (usually stout), but this time I added some red wine and sugar as well as sauteed vegetables for stock (onion, carrot, celery) in an attempt to add richness and complexity to the stew. The large amount of vegetable, predictably, gave out a lot of water as through the 2-hour cooking, so I reduced the soup at the end of cooking in a separate pan. The result was a thick, shiny sauce that had a concentrated aroma of beef, vegetable, and of course Guinness.



We had been quite stuffed as almost all the food had been gone (even beef!). But there had to be dessert to follow; dark and white chocolate marbled cheese cake with Baileys liquor. This is, hands-down, a killer dessert that has never failed to bring oohs and aahs out of anyone who tastes it, at least the last four or five times that I have made this for folks in the past year or so since I was given its recipe by a friend of mine (I will probably give more details of this cake next time I make this, since today's description of dinner is already pretty overloaded).


I messed up in melting white chocolate in microwave and burned it and thus had to use the leftover white chocolate which wasn't enough for this recipe. That made the white-chocolate cream a little thinner than it was supposed to be, and resulted in a bit inconsistent texture. The cake still tasted yummy as ever, got some words of praise from our guests; one of them even claimed that he could live with this cake only, every day, while taking vitamins or something. (I wouldn't recommend it though.)

I have mentioned that we had been full, but we finished a small loaf of cheese cake and even had a bit of baked kabocha pumpkin custard. I have a few different recipes for this, and used one from a long time ago, remembering it would make a very thick, creamy one. But things didn't go quite as good, probably because of the waterly kabocha pumpkin I used, or possibly I didn't use enough amount of pumpkin. Either way, it was more like plain baked custard, which was okay.


This is a very common dessert in Japan, whereas not so much here, apparently; our guests were brave and polite enough to sample a slice. The Jack-O'Lantern chocolate on top of the custard, by the way, is a fraction of a gift from a thoughtful friend of mine. Inside a large Jack-O'Lantern chocolate (the picture on the top) has small jacks and ghosts made of dark, milk, and white chocolates (orange ones are colored white chocolate). We were too full to really appreciate those small goodies today, so I will take care of the rest over the next few days. Too bad!


I hope everyone had a nice Halloween weekend, and if you wouldn't particularly do anything for Halloween, well, I still hope you had a nice weekend!

9 comments:

Reid said...

Hi Chika,

All the food looks absolutely wonderful. I especially think the beef looks good. The sauce looks incredibly rich. Same goes for the marble cheesecake...I've never tried to make one of those. Good job! Where do you find the time to cook so much?

rowena said...

Your food images are gorgeous! And your blog makes me homesick :-( I was born and raised on Kauai but lived on Oahu and Big Island (Hilo) for a few years. How I miss the islands!!!!!

obachan said...

Wow, everything looks so great! Esp. the cheesecake --- it’s an art, isn’t it?

Anonymous said...

hi,

been reading your blog for a while & love it. let me know if you ever feel the need to share the recipe for that marbled cheesecake - it sounds fantastic.

cheers,

-serena

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Reid - that WAS a problem, I wasn't supposed to have so much time to cook that much food :P I had been keeping my head down for the rest of the week ;)

rowena - sorry I'm giving you homesick! You from Kauai, that's nice... I have been on Kauai just a couple of times, but I absolutely fell for it. :D

obachan - yeah making marbled patterns is a tricky thing, really... I can manage to make them looking pretty on the surface, but inside it really wasn't as marble-y as I had hoped :P

serena - got your email, thanks! they will be on their way pretty soon!

chika said...

Hi there,

Reid - that WAS a problem, I wasn't supposed to have so much time to cook that much food :P I had been keeping my head down for the rest of the week ;)

rowena - sorry I'm giving you homesick! You from Kauai, that's nice... I have been on Kauai just a couple of times, but I absolutely fell for it. :D

obachan - yeah making marbled patterns is a tricky thing, really... I can manage to make them looking pretty on the surface, but inside it really wasn't as marble-y as I had hoped :P

serena - got your email, thanks! they will be on their way pretty soon!

Anonymous said...

I, too, am all ears for the recipe for the marbled cheese cake.
:) :) :) 

Posted by naugamonster

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hazie said...

Hi Chika!

I've been reading your blog for ages.. One of the best, really. I like the sound of that marbled cheesecake.. May I have the recipe please? ;) 

Posted by Hazel