Thursday, November 26, 2009
My love for all animals (except most insects butterflies and lady bugs get a free pass) is one that is deeply tethered to my heart. Whenever I see an animal hurt or in pain, it pulls on that tether, and each time I can feel my heart tear and bleed. The depth of my compassion for them is even a mystery to me.
What's with all the 'animal love' talk you may wonder. Well, it has to do with my bedroom windowsill, or more specifically, what's on my windowsill.
I creature I have a fondness for is birds; I have three feeding trays on my porch that I fill with wild bird seed or sometimes bread and fruit. Watching birds twittering away (the non-tech kind) and zipping about here and there brings me joy. What brings me even more joy is baby birds (even baby alligators are kinda cute).
As a child, whenever I found an abandoned bird egg I tried my best to take care of it and hopefully hatch a baby bird I could one day set free (I could never keep a caged bird) not knowing that the egg had probably been abandoned a long time ago, and the little birdie inside would not hatch, no matter how hard I tried. Another sight I'd love to spy would be a birds nest, whether occupied or vacant.
The day we moved into our current home I spied no less than three empty birds nest, one nestled into thick pine needless, the other wedged between a crawling rose and our garage bricks, and the third was camouflaged between large leaves of ivy above the external laundry door.
Now imagine my delight, when one Spring morning, I clearly heard the tiny tinkling of baby bird's chirping. Tiptoeing closer to the sound I found myself standing before the closed cobalt drapes of my bedroom at 8am. They had been permanently closed for the last three weeks to guard against the sun's intense heat. I tentatively reached out and tucked the edge of the heavy drapes between my fingers, and as carefully as I could, as if there were made of gold leaf, I began to pull them aside, held against my face, as I peered through my window. It only took a few inches of them being parted for me to see a well woven nest snuggled in between the window sill and the luscious green ivy running up beside it. In the nest I spied four, perhaps five tiny birds, their skin the colour of a pink nose in winter, naked and bumpy, with their little belly's moving to the flutter of their chirps. I looked up and noticed a petite black bird with an apricot beak, wriggling worm in its grasp, darting straight towards the nest, so I hastily shut the curtain lest I frighten it with my enormous eyes and smiling teeth.
It has been three weeks since I first discovered the babies, and oh my how fast they grow. Already they have almost woven themselves jackets of feathers and have begun to lift their heads to peak over to what lays beyond their home. A few of my family members have caught glimpses and each time their eyes find the tiny feathered creatures, they light up and sparkle with the glee of a gold digger finding gold.
To celebrate the impending departure of my windowsill youngsters I invited those of us who have watched their progress with happiness over for the best kind of parting gift, a chocolate pudding with a molten center, something to sweeten the sadness of 'empty nest syndrome'.
prep time: 25mins.
cooking time: 12mins.
taste: 4/5. The softest chocolate taste, like a feather to the cheek.
When I checked on these at the 12minute mark, the top hadn't cracked so I left them in for another 4 minutes - as a result I did not have a molten center as much as a sticky, gooey center. Although there was no lava like oozing, they were still delectable. The outer layer of cake is spongy with a thin chocolate and sugared crust that breaks away to reveal its tender middle.
Inside the cake goes beyond moist to an airy fudginess. The chocolate does not march onto your tongue, it gently sashays with a nice sweetness and a hint of vanilla.
There is that unidentifiable strong note playing in the background, which I would guess is the Brandy.
Lovely, moist puddings that would appeal to most with their un-confrontational disposition.
would I make it again: Yes - when I am in the mood for a milder form of chocolate and a quick dessert, although I would probably decrease the sugar a touch next time.
recipe: Chocolate and vanilla puddings