Never say no to dessert . . .

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Rice pudding bowl

Rice pudding bowl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If every meal started with dessert, I’d be a very happy diner.

Unfortunately, due to some slap-dash decree dished out in a fit of pique by some disgruntled lemon-sucking, happy-hater (who was never hugged enough as a child), dessert comes last. And only if you’ve finished your dinner.

I have often wished that even on my nights out with ‘the girls’ I had the backbone to buck tradition and order from the dessert menu when they were all being very grown up and trying to decide which meal would best complement their choice of wine.

I’m not unfamiliar with the sugar high that goes with my passion for desserts. It is, in its own way, as intoxicating as a nice bottle of bubbles. But I digress.

My love of dessert has inspired a new tradition in our family. And so we have – drum roll please – the quad-annual family cook-off. Every member of the family picks a dish we’ve never tried before and cooks it during the holidays.

I can’t tell you how proud I was when four out of my five family members chose desserts. There may have been tears shed. I’m sure there was extra pocket money involved.

So, first cab off the rank – baked rice pudding. I was nominated to make this one which is somewhat confusing as baked rice pudding is one of the rare desserts that I don’t like. But, with a little candied peel and a heavy-handed dose of spice, it actually tasted pretty good.

Next cab off the rank – strawberry sorbet. At the time of tasting I was convinced it could not be bettered.

Third competitor, I mean participant – baked cheesecake. So good, so rich and so lovely we could only eat a little before inviting some friends around to help us finish it.

Entry number four was inspired by a home cooking show and produced ice-cream that looked like a slice of water melon. It was good to look at, the kids loved it, but we couldn’t finish it. The image of red and green colouring melting together on a plate didn’t inspire a race to the finish line.

And so we came to cook-off entrant number five – the only person to select a savoury dish, namely Moroccan beef kofta. It was a masterpiece followed by a Jamie Oliver inspired dessert – Eton mess -because we happened to have all the ingredients lying around. And I’m glad we did.

Now, if I had to pick a favourite I’d have to say . . . one of each.

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