What this actually means a disproportionate amount of marinated kosher meats, a vast selection of superior salads and mum gets a chance to make her 4 favourite and best desserts!!!
It also used to mean lots of arguments and someone storming out but we all seem to have grown up of late... although my mum did start the afternoon off with a corker when she mentioned to my dad (they've been divorced for near on 20 years) that she was pleased he 'was also looking rather larger!' She thinks it was a round-about way of saying that she'd put on weight too but I don't think there's ever a good way to tell someone they're fat...
Along with my dad there was my mum and her partner, my brother, his wife and their kids, Auntie Jeannie, my cousins on my fathers side, with their respective spouses and roughly a trillion more children running loose. I don't think our family are that different from the norm... essentially these type of events are one long blur of madness, people running in and out, kids screaming, exhausted parents bickering, laughter from everyone and food, plenty of food!
The BBQ was on and blaring from the moment we arrived but my brother is a mean cook when it comes to meat on a grill and I have to say the lamb chops were incredibly tender and perfectly pink and Jo's baked potatoes were the talk of the table. (Crispy and hard skins with soft fluffy goodness within...)
I brought some mini-scones and as I mentioned mum brought her apple strudel, lemon cake, no-flour chocolate cake and her piece-de-resistance, the chocolate roulade!
What I love about gatherings like this is that we all get to talk about family history and seeing that i'm so food focused at the moment I gathered a couple of wonderful food stories about the family which I will share with you at a later date... my French, Great Great Auntie Regina's slow roast Garlic Beef is a gastronomique feast!
But that's for another time... here's mum's chocolate roulade:
It's a classic recipe but over the years mum has worked out the best way for her to roll it, so her techniques may seem odd but they have worked perfectly for years. Also, the filling is our favourite you could change this to suit tastes... we think the original filling recipe may have used plain cream and dark cherries.
For the roulade:
4 eggs yolks
150g good dark chocolate (at least 80% cocoa)
4oz caster sugar
For the filling:
300m tub of double or whipping cream
1 x 250g tin of Clement Faugier sweet chestnut spread
In a large bowl, beat the yolks with the sugar until soft and light.
Melt the chocolate (mum does this in the microwave but if the idea sends shivers up your spine, then use the classic bowl over simmering water method...) at this stage add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of hot water to the choc mix, then add it to the egg and sugar mix.
Next beat the egg whites till stiff and then carefully fold them into the mixture.
Line a large swiss roll tin with tin-foil which you should then grease well with butter or margarine.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in the oven at 160 for 20 mins then a further 10 mins at 90.
Whilst its baking, grease another large sheet of foil and place it on a flat surface where it wont have to be moved for a while.
Now the tricky bit...
Once baked, take it out of the oven and turn it over onto the greased foil and leave it, with the baking tin still on top for at least 8 hours... so bake in the morning and go to work, or bake in the evening and leave it overnight.
Now you're ready to assemble; whip the cream and stir in the chestnut spread.
Take off the baking tin and carefully peel off the foil that lined the tin.
Spread the cream mixture evenly onto the surface of the roulade and then, using the excess foil, roll the roulade into shape. It should be able to be slipped neatly onto a plate.
Ta Da! A classic to impress and enjoy for many years to come.
eat and of course, enjoy!