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Sensual Eating: Handmade Chocolate Mousse

Critically acclaimed chef Robert Owen Brown encourages Thea Euryphaessa to get stuck in

Written by . Published on February 3rd 2012.

Sensual Eating: Handmade Chocolate Mousse

Sensual Eating Logo IT started with a fig – a ripe fig splayed open, revealing its innermost wares all floozy-like amid a spread of finger foods. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

“Eat me,” it said.

“Don’t mind if I do,” I thought.

While devouring it, however, it got me thinking about the sheer pleasure and sensuality of food, its carnal delights. Growing up, I was always encouraged to ‘get stuck in’ as I stared up at the food piled high on my plate. My family didn’t scrimp on portions. The word ‘diet’ was never mentioned in our house either. My grandma cooked with lard and nowt on an animal ever went to waste. For her generation Nose to Tail eating was a necessity not a trend. Full fat, full on, everything in the pan – have that.

“There’s only one way to make mousse”, Rob informed me, “with your hands.”

As nippers our school taught us how to bake. Baking bread was always a favourite. Anarchy was loosed in the kitchen as flour was flung across tables, but we loved it. We also grew vegetables on a farm, learnt where food came from, got covered in mud. But somewhere between childhood and adulthood, I lost touch with food. Kneading dough was replaced by needing the right nutritional balance, the right number of calories. All the fun seemed to be taken out of it – so much so, it frightened me right out of the kitchen. Utensils down, I turned my back on cooking and announced myself a lost culinary cause.

Until the fig.

“Food needs to be more sensual, more passionate, more intimate. Bit more humour too,” I thought. “Actually, I need to learn how to ‘get stuck in’ again. Loosen up, reengage, reconnect. And I know just the person who should be able to help me...”

Sensual Eating: Handmade Chocolate MousseSensual Eating: Handmade Chocolate Mousse

What I like about Rob is he calls a spade a spade. Not only does he keep it real, but he also keeps it simple. For my first Confidential food-related assignment, I was asked to write up a night he and Fergus Henderson hosted in a tepee in Spinningfields at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival in 2008.

Sat next to Confidential’s publisher, Mark Garner, and facing Fergus, I was beginning to worry I’d bitten off more than I could chew when the first of several delectable dishes was put in front of me. From a writer’s perspective, I was inspired. When the food’s a joy, the writing flows. Crap food and I start scratching around for a story – any story – to keep me entertained between courses.

So when I approached Rob with an idea for a sensual eating event (see here), he immediately got it. Not only was this an opportunity to reconnect with food in a hands-on, mouth-on, plate-licking way, it was also an opportunity to be playful, inject a bit of humour, get down and dirty – get stuck in.

With ideas flowing thick and fast we soon decided to join forces – he’d help me back into the kitchen and I’d share the love with a wider audience. And, so, without further ado, I present Rob’s luscious Handmade Chocolate Mousse:

Handmade Chocolate Mousse

Serves 4

100g of good honey (needs to be runny and from happy, horny bees – ours was from the Salford Bee Collective)

300g rich dark chocolate

550ml of double cream

100g of good honey100g of good honeyMethod

1) Gently melt the chocolate in a double boiler saucepan

2) In a bowl (make sure it’s spotlessly clean), whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks

3) Wash your hands

4) Drizzle the honey over the cream

5) Fold the chocolate, cream, and honey together with your hands

“There’s only one way to make mousse”, Rob informed me, “with your hands.”

Funny thing is, it actually took me a while to loosen up, not be so afraid of the mixture. Soon as I was given permission, though, there was no stopping me. There was no stopping our photographer either once she stopped snapping.

You could have a lot of fun with this recipe. Yeah, sure, you can stick it in Martini glasses, dust it with some icing sugar, make it look all glamorous. Alternatively, you could smear it all over someone. Sheets wash, bodies lick clean.

Get stuck in.

Sensual Eating: Sheets wash, bodies lick clean. Get stuck in.Sensual Eating: Sheets wash, bodies lick clean. Get stuck in.

Urban Deva FoodUrban Deva FoodFollow Thea on Twitter @Sensual_Eating. On Facebook at facebook.com/urbandeva.food. See also sensualeating.com.

Robert Owen Brown can be found at The Mark Addy restaurant, Stanley Street, Salford. M3 5EJ. Follow @TheMarkAddy on Twitter. 

Thanks to Grace Gelder at gracegelder.net for the photography. Follow her on Twitter @gracegelder.

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AnonymousFebruary 5th 2012.

This guy is seriously overrated in Manchester!

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