Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Cheers to 4 Years!

Today is a very special day. On a beautiful and snowy March morning, exactly four years ago, I walked into the Marylebone Registry office together with my mum and two sisters, wearing the most special dress I have ever owned and the biggest smile I have ever smiled. Waiting for us in the foyer of this breathtaking building were my soon to be brothers- and mother-in-law as well as a couple of very close and dear friends. Today is my fourth wedding anniversary!!

Growing up I did not have dreams and aspirations of big white dresses, confetti strewn church floors, three tiered royal iced cakes or a lavishly decorated reception hall filled with more people than you could ever manage to even say "Hello" to. In fact, I did not even really entertain the idea of getting married at all. That is until I moved to London, started working in a little hotel in Kensington Gardens Square and was lucky enough to meet the one person who was placed here on Earth just for me :) A couple of months after my 21st birthday, I was wearing a sparkly diamond ring on my left hand and another few months later I was saying "I do" in the same room that Paul and Linda McCartney did back in '69. After the moving and emotional ceremony, we all got into a couple of cabs and headed to Zizzi restaurant in Notting Hill where I had booked the reception lunch. The restaurant staff were amazingly accommodating and had set up a massive table for us in the window, away from all the other guests. After a Champagne toast on us happy couple, our orders of creamy pastas, gourmet pizzas and billowing calzones arrived at our table. The afternoon was spent in a happy haze of delicious Italian fare, generous glasses of wine and the comforting company of our family and friends. I would not change a single thing from that day, except for our dads to have been there also. It was, for me and my husband, the Perfect Wedding Day.

To remember and celebrate this momentous day in our lives, I wanted to create a romantic, beautiful and truly wonderful dessert for our anniversary dinner. I toyed with several ideas, paged through numerous cookbooks and food magazines and even searched the Internet for inspiration. There were so many amazing desserts that I could choose from that, once again I could not make a choice. Then it struck me, on an occasion as special as this, there is no need to choose and you can have it all. I wanted to re-create a fine-dining experience and yet have homely desserts on the plate, and I wanted it all to taste like little bites of Heaven. So I started by making tiny little Vanilla Meringues, whisking fresh vanilla seeds into the glossy cloud of egg whites and caster sugar and dropping espresso-spoonfulls of the mix onto a greased baking sheet. While these little delights were baking in the low heat oven, I started making a red cherry jelly, which I poured into tall shot glasses to set in the fridge. Next I melted some dark, bitter, 80% chocolate together with a few mini marshmallows and a knob of butter in a bain-marie. This I then folded into soft peaks of whipped cream, which I piped into small Chinese soup spoons. Lastly, I crushed some pale-green, waxy pistachio nuts and mixed some chopped, black cherries into a tub of Greek yoghurt. This will go on-top of the jelly to create a mini-cherry trifle shot, served with a dark chocolate spoon with a vanilla meringue lid. The perfect dessert to celebrate the perfect marriage :)

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