Tag Archives: meringue

The Easiest Meringue Recipe in the world

People are often afraid of making meringue.  I find it a super dessert to make in advance.  A good friend of mine, Emily, had told me about a Rachel Allen recipe that basically just flung everything together and whisked the bejasus out of it. And I often make meringue the “meringue girls” way too.  But this recipe is specifically for pavlova.  And works every time.

MeringueI always use my stainless steel kenwood bowl for this job.  I’ve never made it by hand but can’t imagine it would be easy, unless you’ve popeye arms. Meringue

The secret is to put everything in the bowl, with some hot water, I think the hot water is almost the equivalent to making meringue the Italian way. Then it’s whipped on high for 5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are holding their shape.
MeringueI simply spread this onto a large, lined baking tray and spread into some sort of shape. If I’m making a large one I’ll make it square as it’s easier to portion, but this was just the usual family dinner, so I made a circle (ish)   Meringue
The other secret is the oven setting.  Although Rachel says you can use a fan oven, this recipe works best I feel when using the conventional one, as she suggests.  You simply heat the oven, on conventional, to 2000C, then simply switch it off when you put the tray into the oven to bake.  This means that you can make it last thing at night and simply walk away.  Mind you, be careful not to come down in the morning to turn the oven on again before taking the masterpiece out!

MeringueThe last thing to add is the topping.  Rachel suggests Mango and crystallised ginger.  I don’t always have a ripe mango to hand- who does?- so I go with a mixture of what fruit I have in the fridge.  And as this was a special dessert, I melted some chocolate to spoon over the assembled dish. Meringue

The joy of Birthday Cakes

I only have two children, lots of nieces and nephews, but only two of my own.  So there’s only a requirement for 3 extra special birthday cakes a year.  Believe it or not there’s a lot of pressure.  And actually multiple cakes, as there’s the cake on the day, then “the” cake on the day of the family party, and sometimes there’s a third cake, depending on what other celebrations are in order.

We have a real thing for lemon curd in our house, and meringue, and sponge.  So together they made the “day” cake yesterday.

Meringue ready for the oven

Meringue ready for the oven

Its not the fanciest looking cake, but the flavours work really well.

Second the lemon curd

Second the lemon curd

The addition of cream makes it luscious.

Lemon Meringue Cake

Lemon Meringue Cake

And it was certainly polished off quickly, in the garden with afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea in the garden

Afternoon tea in the garden

Of course, its always nice to have a candle to blow out, and we went out for pizza in one of her favourite restaurants- Emiliano’s in Waterford, and where the addition of the candle to her crunchy cheesecake, made for one very happy newly minted teenager.

Birthday dessert in Emiliano's, Waterford

Birthday dessert in Emiliano’s, Waterford

Moussaka. Plain and Simple.

The dish moussaka means many things to many people.  In fact the word itself is derived from an Arabic word meaning “chilled”.

The Finished Moussaka

The Finished Moussaka

Most versions, mine included, are based on aubergine layers with tomato and minced meat.  And the Greek dish is now most popular with a béchamel sauce on top, like a savoury custard.

Although a little time consuming, I really enjoy making it.  I start by sautéeing the onions very gently until opaque, adding the tomatoes (tinned unless very ripe- and in season), and cooking slowly with some thyme until slightly thick and very tasty.  At the same time I peel some potatoes and cook them in plenty of boiling salty water until just cooked.  Then slice them intl 5mm slices.

onions for dicing

onions for dicing

Then I fry slices of aubergine in a hot pan with lots of good quality olive oil until well cooked and golden.  This step is very important as they are not nice if not cooked through.

Aubergines on the pan

Aubergines on the pan

When the aubergines are cooked I use the same pan to cook the mince, ensuring I crumble the meat strands into the hot pan very carefully, to make sure it is cooked thoroughly and not in clumps.  Slowly slowly is the way to go way with this.  The demo in Ballymaloe where Rory showed us how to make the best ragu sauce, was where I picked up this technique.  Then add the meat to the tomato sauce.

Ragu sauce combined.

Ragu sauce combined.

Last but not least is the enriched béchamel sauce; melted butter, added equal volume of flour when the butter is foaming.  Once the flour has cooked out, I add the milk slowly and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until it has bubbled gently for a couple of minutes.  Once I’ve seasoned the sauce, I stir in 2 egg yolks and a handful of grated Gruyère.

Moussaka prep

Moussaka prep

I put a layer of potatoes on the bottom of a deep oven proof dish.  Then some béchamel sauce, next comes the ragu, a final layer of potatoes and finally the aubergines.  This is then covered with the rest of the enriched sauce, and put in a hot oven until golden brown on top and bubbling.

Moussaka going into the oven

Moussaka going into the oven

A green salad is enough accompaniment to this, with a glass of Beaujolais.

The main course was quite time consuming, so for dessert I whipped up some cream, crushed meringue into it, folded in 2 sliced bananas and a couple of tablespoons of butterscotch sauce that I had in the fridge.

Meringue dessert

Meringue dessert

 

Spring has well and truly sprung

Even though I have been incredibly lucky to spend three months living the dream on the Ballymaloe Farm, I very much appreciate living on our farm.  At this time of year especially.  All the teachers were so passionate about using locally grown ingredients that I feel its only right to continue my studies in our own garden, this time I was foraging from veggie garden!

 

Looking over the leeks and broccoli

Looking over the leeks and broccoli

As we were hanging out washing on Alan’s line I decided to pick some veggies for dinner and our smoothies.  As the bees have once again taken up residence on the deck, our washing line will have to be relocated, and we haven’t decided where to yet.

 

Veggie picking

Veggie picking

The sea kale is nearly ready under it’s terracotta cap, and the rhubarb is coming up nicely, lovely pink flesh.  This meant we had to postpone the -no puddings during the week – rule, and use the rhubarb to make a triple layered meringue cake.

Rose Blushed Rhubarb

Rose Blushed Rhubarb

I love to gently poach it in lots of caster sugar, and the tiniest spoon of water.

Rhubarb ready for poaching

Rhubarb ready for poaching

Meringue was the chariot of choice for the rhubarb, as I was using the yolks to make carbonara for dinner.

Sea Kale hiding under the terracotta

Sea Kale hiding under the terracotta

The nutribullet is working out well, and when I have perfected a few more smoothies I’ll share my favourites, and it is a great way of injecting the family with fresh veg in seconds.  The purple sprouting broccoli is so addictive, at this time of year I serve it with everything!

Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Purple Sprouting Broccoli

The carbonara was really good, and is a firm family favourite, and is so quick.

Messy, but delicious

Messy, but delicious

And then dessert, don’t mind if I do.

Triple layered rhubarb meringue cake

Triple layered rhubarb meringue cake

 

 

 

 

 

Family Weekend- The prodigal son returns

I was waiting for this past weekend for what seems like a lifetime.

In fact it was really only 5 weeks.  My eldest was returning from his time in Bolivia and Peru.  Nigel brought him back on the last leg from the UK and he arrived back early Saturday morning.  Although a little jet lagged, he is in great form.  I was VERY glad to have him home.

Not a great picture, but you get the jist!

Not a great picture, but you get the jist!

So we had decided to have a family party to celebrate his return, his belated 16th birthday, and Jordan’s 12th birthday.  It was a great weekend for it, we started in Kevin and Pam’s house Saturday for pizza night.  Pam’s Uncle and Aunt from Canada are staying too, and were delighted with all the commotion!

 

Pizza Night

Pizza Night

Then we went orienteering in Kennedy Park Sunday morning, it was the official opening of the permanent Orienteering course, and the prize giving for last seasons league, Jordan winning the Light Green.  As an aside, I’d a DREADFUL run, hoping I can improve before the Vets!

047 054 Then last night the dinner party.  I didn’t do starters (too many kids not wanting to wait for dessert), so had very slow cooked beef cheek and venison in oodles of red wine, served with creamy mashed potato, carrots and peas. Liisa very kindly made the aubergine dish, and Sue brought a fresh salad.

059 062 065Dessert included the cake:

A meringue surround, filled with a vanilla sponge base, and a milk chocolate and white chocolate mousse layer, topped with strawberries.

Pam made the most amazing apple and plum crumble, and Jordan had made her cookie dough brownies.

Sugar coma ensued!!

Meringue Cake

Meringue Cake

The candles

The candles

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