Excitement in the Physics department. Christine has acquired an automatic stapler. Put the papers near it and it staples. Hands free. “It’s literally the Most Amazing Thing I Ever Saw,” said Jon, a man who spent the last couple of weeks looking at cosmic rays in the Chilean pampas.
“And it wasn’t just me. All day physicists were coming up with excuses to staple things.”
That a fairly run of the mill office supply could cause so much excitement and happiness should come as no great surprise: we’ve all felt the thrill of using the automatic pencil sharpener, or the industrial hole punch. And so we should – there are pleasures to be had in the everyday, especially when the everyday is elevated. And we should look to take our pleasures where we can find them.
On a culinary level, delicious sweet Vin Santo makes my list. It’s as easy to buy a bottle of dessert wine as it is to buy a bottle of regular wine, but the treat-yness of it, the special-occasion-ness it confers is disproportionate. And any night that ends with a small square of dark rich chocolate cake is a better night because of it.
Chocolate Cranberry Cake
This cake is perfect with after dinner coffee – I serve it in small cubes because it’s very rich.200g good quality dark chocolate Small pot cream – about 145ml 50g butter 100g roasted salted pecans 75g dried cranberries 2 brioche rolls (about the size of a hamburger roll)
- Melt the chocolate, butter and cream over a pan of boiling water until blended
- Chop the pecans and add to the chocolate mixture along with the cranberries
- Blitz the rolls in a processor, then pour in the fine crumbs and mix
- Pour the mixture into a buttered loaf tin and chill overnight
- Dip the tin in hot water to loosen the cake, tip it upside down and tap sharply to release.
If You Can Make That you Can Make This
- Swap out the pecans for dry roasted peanuts, and the cranberries for raisins
- Try cashews and a mixture of coconut and chopped dried papaya or mango
- Use white chocolate instead of milk chocolate and add chopped pistachios and apricots
- Or try this rocky road cake