10 Jul // whiskey cakes and winter warmers

My baking plans and best intentions of dominating the kitchen this afternoon were swiftly interrupted before they could even get off the ground. Interrupted, they were, with the triple shot bloody marys my flatmate bought me and my friend at brunch this morning. They were the perfect pick me up to accompany bacon and eggs and beautiful fresh bread lightly toasted and covered in butter, and once they were finished, we further convinced him that a bottle of bubbly was in order.

After brunch, he went home for a nap, and my friend and I continued down Cuba Street, where we got a little silly embracing retail therapy. After a post-shopping mulled wine stop at the GP (the mulled wine is amazingly spiced and warm and delicious and a steal at $6 a glass or $20 a carafe), all I could manage kitchen-wise was spaghetti from a can, on toasted english muffins and a little grated cheese.

A couple of weeks ago though, when it finally got multiple-layers-gloves-giant-scarf-numb-nose cold, I'd had a rather large weekend and the Sunday afternoon was grey and empty. In town, and unable to handle the chaos of yum cha, I cheered myself up at Moore Wilson's with a berry danish and $9 worth of osso bucco.

At home and still in possession of my friend's Le Creuset pot, I put the meat on to cook with some red wine, some beef stock, some fresh herbs and some portobello mushrooms. I then got on the couch under a duvet with the MTV classic tunes on in the background, and had a hilarious weekend debrief with my flatmate. The house was warmed with the smell of slow cooking and by the time the other flatties returned from their weekend away, I'd managed to bake some potatoes too. For some seasonal greenery, I sauteed some thinly sliced brussel sprouts in garlic and butter with some salt and pepper, and it epitomised everything I love about winter eating.

I may or may not have slopped the meat all over the bench and the plates...

My flatmate's Mum, who is cooking her way through the Floridita's cookbook, had given us some Whiskey Cakes, which we had afterwards with a little lightly whipped cream and some whiskey syrup. They tasted like Christmas, but were lighter with the addition of ground almonds. The whiskey syrup was just delicious, and the soft cream gave the dish the requisite moisture and texture and contrast to the density of the cakes.

To conclude: brussel sprouts cooked in garlic and butter, whiskey syrup, a great bloody mary, bubbles with brunch, some decent duvet and couch time, and some cheap meat cooked long and slow, are all highly recommended to brighten up any winter weekend.