Weddings are black holes for money.
We're trying our best to do everything el-cheapo but it's still going to cost an absolute fortune.
So one of the ways we are saving is on my wedding dress...I bought my wedding dress online. Every one said not to. All the wedding forums on the internet said it was too risky. Most brides budget for and don't mind spending a couple Gs on their wedding gowns which is pretty standard and fair enough being the most important dress you will wear and all.
But I'm a buy-my-clothes-2nd-hand-on-trade-me kinda girl and when push came to shove I just couldn't justify spending thousands on my dress. Especially when that could mean several more tables of friends and family at our wedding. So I took the gamble - online it was.
I sent about a million emails to the Storeofdress people, even sent my brother (who was in Shanghai recently) to check out their actual store. I sent through my measurements and paid. And then began the anxious month-long wait to see whether:
a) The dress will turn up;
b) It will look anything like the picture; and
c) It would fit properly.
So when the dress arrived last week I knew I needed some comfort food before opening the parcel and what could be more comforting than an old favourite, a tried and true recipe: Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding with Raspberries and Vanilla Ice cream.
This is a Jo Seagar recipe that I've used for yonks - you know one of those recipes you've written notes all over and is spotted with bits of flour and cocoa.
It's not terrible fashionable or modern or hip. It uses cocoa rather than flash dark chocolate and you bake it in a family sized baking dish rather than sexy little ramekins. But its comfort central. Not too chocolately, with the sauce that magically appears after baking. It's like a milo rather than a chai latte. Homely, solid, an old family favourite.
Reassuring, trustworthy, and consistent: just the the kind of adjectives a girl needs to hear when she's risking it all and buying her wedding dress from an online store in china with a name that makes no grammatical sense whatsoever.
It would be a crime to leave out the raspberries and vanilla ice cream. They take the pudding to a whole other level.
You could stir the raspberries through the batter if you like, or poke them in just before baking but I love the contrast between the cold frozen berries and the spongy hot pudding all brought together with creamy vanilla ice cream.
Turns out I didn't even need the puddingly reassurance. Having stressed about the dress for so long I now feel bad about ever doubting the StoreofDress ladies. The dress is perfect. The material is gorgeous and the details are spot on. I was worried they would add extra beads or sequins or frills but it is pretty much exactly like the picture on the website. I am so totally stoked. The dress will need to get taken up a little and the bodice is just a tiny bit loose but all easy fixes.
So to all those nay-sayers out there- I would totally recommend buying online. I have a my dream dress for a fraction of the price of getting it made in NZ and they threw in a veil and extra material.
The challenge now is trying to find a place to hide it from C until the big day...
Chocolate self saucing pudding with raspberries and vanilla Ice cream
Tweaked from recipe by Jo Seagar in All Things Nice
Serves 6 or 4 greedy guts
100 g butter, softened
3/4 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons cocoa
~1-2 Tablespoons milk (if the mixture is too dry)
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cornflour
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups boiling water
frozen raspberries (or fresh)
vanilla ice cream - french vanilla is also very good.
1. Preheat oven to 180oC with the oven tray in the middle of the oven. Grease or spray with baking spray a 6-8 cup baking dish.
2. Sift flour, baking powder and 2 Tablespoons of cocoa into a bowl or onto a sheet of baking paper.
3. In a separate small bowl mix brown sugar, cornflour and 1/4 cup cocoa, getting rid of as many lumps as you can. I mix it with a fork and just press the lumps out with the prongs.
3. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar, till fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla.
4. Fold the flour/baking powder/cocoa mixture into the butter/egg mixture. The mix should be quite stiff but not dry. If it is dry, add a couple of tablespoons of milk to loosen it up.
5. Spoon in to your prepared baking tray. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the top.
6. Slowly pour the boiling water over the back of a spoon over the sprinkled brown sugar mixture but do not mix it in.
7. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until the top of the pudding springs back when lightly prodded. (I baked mine for a wee bit too long this time and ended up with not much sauce - so do check at 30 mins or even 25 if your oven runs a little hot.)
8. This part is crucial: serve piping hot with a handful of frozen raspberries and vanilla ice cream and devour with gusto.