I am in an indulging mood at the moment, never mind the economic climate, and you don't always need lobster and foie gras to make you fool comforted and indulged, do you? In fact, some of the cheapest dishes can be made just with a little bit of flour, sugar, milk and an egg or two. My native Austria is dessert (Mehlspeisen) heaven, so I thought we could play with this idea a little.
Our theme for February will be "hot puds" (pud being short for pudding, signifying "dessert" in Britain). Anything goes, as long a it's sweet and served hot. Crèpes Suzette, self-saucing puddings, sweet dumplings, fruit fritters, you can be as creative as you like. If you can, I'd appreciate something that reflects your country of origin and a little background story to go with it, but that would just be an optional bonus.
And to give you even more reason to participate, there will be a fabulous prize this time, courtesy of publisher DK. They have kindly donated two books by the very successful cookery writer Mary Berry "Traditional Puddings and Desserts" and "Supper for Friends", both retailing for £12.99 and containing brilliantly easy, yet impressive dishes like Goats Cheese Souffles and Pineapple Upside-down Cake. And as I couldn't possibly be asked to choose my favourite out of all the wonderful creations you are going to come up with, the prize will be allocated by draw out of a hat (or mixing bowl, more appropriately). How's that for an incentive?
Let not the economic climate depress you, be as decadent as you can with some comforting, feel-good desserts. It needn't cost the earth, but it'll certainly lift your mood!