In as much as I'd love to have Chinese New Year dinner, wings and a pint, or spend an afternoon making strawberry jam with pretty much every food blogger, there are a few I'd simply, unabashedly squeal with joy if the stars aligned and we wound up at the same table, stove or check-out queue.
That got me thinking...
Why these five? There's a connection there that's sometimes hard to explain...but suffice it to say whenever they pop up, they always make me smile.
Why five? A perfectly practical reason: my dining table seats six...
Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar: I think Annemarie and I met through The Daring Bakers a couple of years ago. When my turn came up to host a challenge, I knew I wanted her as my co-hostess. Her sense of humour and clear thinking made her a fabulous colleague and dear, dear friend.
Jeff of A Dork and His Pork: Jeff popped up in my Twitter feed last year. When I visited his blog, I knew he was someone with whom I could relate: he drew an anaolgy to Thelonious Monk when writing about banana bread. 'Nuff said.
Mary of The Sour Dough: There are certain parallels our lives have and because of that, there's little explanation needed. We can email one another at any point and there will be assistance, encouragement and support. That, and she'll answer my inredibly silly questions about bread baking.
Paz of The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz: Oh goodness...Paz is simply one of the sweetest people I've met online. Visiting her site is like going to the home of a long, dear friend. I love the breadth of her recipes and, of course, her slice-of-life photos of New York City.
Shaun of Winter Skies, Kitchen Aglow: I can't remember when we found one another, but we recognise in one another a spark and a connection--we're kindred spirits in words, influences and outlook.
And since it's my birthday, what else would I serve alongside cake, but ice cream? I've spied Nigella Lawson's Margarita ice cream recipe in Forever Summer for ages, but have never made it until this summer. It's rich and creamy, with the lime-laced tell-tale tequila buzz of its eponymous cocktail--appropriated served in a sugar-salt rimmed glass. In La Lawson's own words: "This is surely what angels would eat at their hen night."
Margarita Ice Cream
adapted from Nigella Lawson's recipe in Forever Summer
375ml (1.5c) heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
1x300ml tin (1.25c) sweetened condensed milk
90ml (6Tbsp) tequila
30ml (2Tbsp) Triple Sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier
First, make a custard by scalding the cream, then dribble it into the egg yolks, and then pouring the mixture back into the pot. Cook it, stirring all the while, until it coats the back of a spoon. Take it off the heat and let cool for at least 20 minutes before stirring in the condensed milk, tequila and Triple Sec, lime juice and zest and then leave to cool completely before pouring into your ice cream maker. Churn according to manufacturer's instructions.
I'm a quill for hire!