Tuesday, February 15, 2011

When A House Becomes A Home

Mortgage. *shudder*

If there's a scarier word in the English language, I've yet to encounter it. Nothing good starts with mort. Think about it - you have mortician, mortuary, mortality, mortification. Now combine mortgage with another word, payments, and I don't know about you, but it makes me break out into a flop sweat.

If it wasn't for those pesky mortgage payments, and the legal mumbo jumbo that comes with it, I'd be a much happier homeowner. Wouldn't we all? Now I've jumped the gun. I should have started off by telling you all that I am now a first time homeowner! Yes, I'm no longer a property virgin. My nomadic days are over for the moment, and I've finally put my roots down in the good 'ol state of Michigan. I have my very own house, nay, a home. We've renovated it so much since we bought it, that it feels like we've always been here, when it's really only been less than 2 months.

As a result of being happy new homeowners, we are dealing with all the anxiety that comes with the package. All our bills are suddenly larger. Which was expected, but it's another thing to come face-to-face with them. As a matter of fact, I'm getting a little light-headed as I'm typing this! I need to smother my paranoia in a bowl of sweet, blissful comfort. Nothing short of sticky toffee pudding will do the trick. Just saying it out loud makes me sigh in contentment.

Sticky. Toffee. Pudding.

Hell. Yeah.

Alright, so it's not the prettiest dessert. You won't be impressing any fancy dinner guests by parading this baby on to the table. It's brown. All the ingredients are brown. The dates are brown. The sugar is brown. But brown is cozy. It's comfy. One bite and it will have those fancy dinner guests licking their dessert bowls shamelessly, and kissing the ground you walk on, mark my words.

I used to have dates lounging around in my pantry for months after Ramadan. I didn't know they had much use outside of the holy month, to be honest with you. But I was dead wrong. In this dessert, their luscious, caramel-y sweetness becomes concentrated and magical. Get the Medjool variety of dates if you can - they're juicier and softer than the rest.

Sticky Toffee-Date Pudding (courtesy of the divine Nigella Lawson from Nigella Bites)
Serves 6-8

Ingredients for the cake:
1/4 cup butter, melted - plus extra for the baking dish
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup + 2 tbsp self-rising flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped dates

For the sauce:
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 375 F and butter a 1.5 quart capacity baking dish.

2. Combine sugar with flour in a large mixing bowl.

3. Whisk together the melted butter, egg, milk and vanilla, then pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and stir together slowly with a wooden spoon. Incorporate the dates into it, then scrape the whole thing into your baking dish and spread it out.

4. For the sauce, sprinkle the brown sugar over the cake mixture and dot with blobs of butter.
5. Then pour the boiling water over the entire thing and bake it in the oven for 50 mins. The top of the dessert should be springy and spongy, and underneath, the sauce will be bubbling and brown and richly decadent. Let the pudding rest for 10 mins before serving it with vanilla ice-cream or regular heavy cream.

Verdict: I look at this dessert and .. and ... well ...*Swoon*. As you can see, I prefer the heavy cream. It has the added benefit of soaking into the warm pudding, and making it even more luxurious on the tongue. Gawd, I can't believe I still have some left over the fridge. Must go remedy that situation straightaway.

So yes, when you need to relax and smile and forget about life's insignificant stresses, this is the dessert you need to make.

Or you can spend some time with this guy right here. Same effect.


Mona said...

Mabrook mabrook Muneeba. The dessert looks luscious.
Mashallah your kiddo is very handsome, lots and lots of kisses to the sweet little guy.

Joanne said...

OHMYGOSH Muneeba he is SO BIG! And adorable! I'm in love.

Thankfully, being a NYC-er, I will never own property ever, and so I will never have to worry about things like mortgages. but I do worry about my thighs and what will happen to them when I make and devour this sticky toffee pudding. Delicious!

Foodiewife said...

You didn't. You did! You are so evil! I'm talking about that Sticky Toffee Pudding. There's a pub that makes this dessert-- and it should be illegal. I love it. I've never made it, but have bookmarked several versions... and have procrastinated. This looks submlime.
As for owning a home-- congrats! We bought our first house in May. It's a little scary, but the sense of ownership is a good feeling....plus the tax benefits are good. Welcome home!

Kerstin said...

Glad you're back!! That is such an adorable pic of your son - he's growing up so fast!

And congrats on your new place, this dessert looks like the perfect way to celebrate!

Doppelganger said...

I would definitely have to buy seperate dates to try this recipe out. My mom and husband eat them everyday if they possibly can. And I think I've solved your dilemma about the dessert that happens to be a lot of brown. If you take a picture of that gorgeous, (yummy in his own right, Masha Allah!), baby holding a bowl of that dessert, then it becomes a picture that knows no bounds. Beauty, comfort, oohs, aahs, and lots of awwwwws! ;)

Unknown said...

Congrats on becoming a first time home owner. Dont worry, in the beginning it is a little scary, but its also wonderful. And if you are worried about money, realize that your home is not just a place to live in, but a long term investment.
Your son is so handsome :D! He is growing so fast!!!
Sticky toffee pudding is one of my all time favorite deserts in the world. I eat it as often as i can ;). Haven't tried making it though, it would be trouble for my thighs.
*kisses* HH
p.s. you should try mejool dates, they are so yummy, you will want to eat them even when its not Ramadan

Unknown said...

I can so relate to your situation.
As, I was there 14 months ago. Now, it is just your utility bills, but wait and see your credit card bills as well, because you will be now buying stuff for home :)

Your prince looks absolutely gorgeous. I can spend my whole life with him :)

Ann said...

Congratulations on the new home! This must be an exciting time! And your little one is Sooooo cute! I devour sticky toffee cakes in one sitting, lord help me if its in pudding form =(

Anonymous said...

Your son is looking so cute,..and ooh hes has grown!!

Welcome back!! We missed your writing & your tasty recipes! Your sticky date toffee pudding looks fab!

I recently moved my blog to wordpress.com/ Come over @ my blog & check it out! You must update your RSS too!

Malar Gandhi said...

Congrats on becoming a home owner. I know, its lot of anxiety to deal with, initially. We all go through it. I put too much thought over good side-privacy, own yard, can have pets...etc, makes it easier:)

The dessert looks absolutely delicious, I have some juicy dates left in the pantry' I shld try this recipe.

Aruna Hussain said...

Muneebs, little one is a beauty !!

Jennifer said...

Man that looks and sounds yummy. Your baby boy is getting soo big I cannot believe it. congrats on the new home!

tasteofbeirut said...

Your son is a beauty! All steps in life are stress-inducing!


The first time I stopped by your blog (I think I wasn't blogging at that time yet and a silent visitor at that) you just announced that you were pregnant... a lot of things happened since then. Look at you, a new homeowner and your son... I can't believe how big he's grown. I've been wanting to tell you even long before that I love your writing. I'm glad I found you again.