Archive for February, 2009


Friday, February 20th, 2009

(For Karen, with apologies for the delay.)

For normal meringues or pavlova, ignore any nonsense you see about cornflour or vinegar. Delia says they are not necessary, and she knows best. All you need is eggs and caster sugar: 2 oz of the latter for every large one of the former. A scrupulously clean bowl (grease stops the eggs whipping properly)  and separate the eggs individulally into a cup or bowl because if you get even a dot of yolk in, ditto.

Whisk the egg whites – I did this by hand once and once only, you really need a mixer or at the very least an electric hand whisk – until they stand in soft peaks and you can turn the bowl upside down without them falling out (test this cautiously!) – but no more as you can over-beat.  Whisk the sugar in a dessertspoon at a time; the eggs will look all lovely and shiny. Use white sugar for white meringues; I usually use golden with no ill effects. Best of all, substitute a couple of dessertspoons of the caster sugar with light muscovado or rapadura for lovely fudgey meringue.

For meringues, blob tablespoonfuls onto baking parchment on a baking sheet. (I believe you can use a piping bag for neatness if you are so inclined: I’ve never tried it.) Treat it reasonably gently as you don’t want to squash the air out, but don’t fret, it is more robust that you’d think. For a pav, trace a circle on the paper – I use a side-plate – and spread meringue into a circle to make the base, then blob tablespoons round the circumference to make the edge. You can use a skewer to make nice pointy turrets.

Put into the oven, which you have preheated to 150C. Immediately turn the oven down to 140, then after an hour turn it off altogether. Leave the meringue in the oven until it is cold, though (usually overnight).

For chocolate meringue, after you’ve added all the sugar, sift in some cocoa – about 1/2 tbsp (certainly no more than this) per egg white – and grate in some plain chocolate (about 50 g for 4 egg whites, or thereabouts).

Above the parapet

Monday, February 16th, 2009

filling the bird feedersThere’s a distinct whiff of spring in the air today, as evidenced by this picture of the children outside without a million layers of clothing. It’s half term, too, so the afternoon was of a sensible length and conformation, without the very annoying school run that usually bisects any activity of interest. Thought I’d just pop in and say hello, still alive, back when I think of something to say. Are you missing me?

January was busy, with my birthday swiftly followed by Cameron’s significant birthday plus party, with my grandmother’s funeral thrown in somewhere between the two for good measure. February has so far been remedially peaceful.