Category Archives: Cook of the Month

February Cook of The Month: Seasonal Pavlova

Looking at the market stall inspired me to to buy some lovely ruby red and emerald green rhubarb. I always remember as a child having rhubarb in crumbles, pies and with custard. The sour and sweet taste and the soft texture is enough to make my mouth water. I saw a recipe on television where Gizzi Erskine used rhubarb on top of a Pavlova.Sadly I could not find her recipe online, so I recreated my own version with a few twists, as an ode to February Cook of The Month. Erskine is a product of Nigella Lawson, a glamourous, cocktail dress wearing cook from England. Her food is quick, bright and unapologetic, as she kneads bread in stilettos. Mentioned in the latest issue of Vogue, she is tipped to be a rising star in the cookery world.

My recipe:

Ingredients:  5 eggs whites, salt, 500g caster sugar, 1tsp white vinegar, 2tsp corn flour, 500g rhubarb, 1tsp orange blossom, 400ml double cream, 50g icing sugar, 25ml cointreau.

Preheat the oven to 150C.

Firstly make the meringue base. Simply whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt until white and thick and gradually whisk in 300g of sugar. Do this until you can form peaks, or even hold the bowl over your head. Now fold in the vinegar and corn flour until combined well. Place in the shape you want and put in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Leave to cool.

For the rhubarb, chop into think length way slices and mix with the rest of the sugar and the orange blossom. Lay on a tray and bake in the oven on 200C for 20 minutes. Once donn drain the syrup from the rhubarb and leave to cool.

When the meringue and rhubarb is cool it is time for the Chantilly cream. Take the double cream and whisk with the icing sugar and alcohol (you can use orange blossom if you wish). Once thick, pile on top of your meringue base followed by the rhubarb. Serve or chill for later. (^-^)

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January Cook of the Month: Key Lime Pie

This month I decided to try the famous cupcake bakery which is in London and New York. The book is a joy to look at with delicious pictures and easy to follow instructions. I wanted to try the Key Lime Pie, as this is something I have never tried before and is not a popular treat in the UK, but is a traditional american dessert, naked after the Florida grown lime .also i had loads of limes left over from christmas (^-^) .  I suppose a key lime pie is a cross between a cheesecake and a lemon meringue pie.

The natural green filing and the crunchy biscuit crust really compliment well, topped with fluffy meringue, or cream . I will definitely try this again as it is so easy to make, does not take much time and I think will suit well for summer BBQs and parties. The book helped me perfect my biscuit crust skill which before was hit and miss. You can find the book in all good bookstores, i got mine for christmas. Yum .

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December Cook of the Month: Blueberry Tart

Decembers ‘Cook of the Month’ comes form the cookery book ‘The French Kitchen’ (2002, Doubleday, London) , by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde. Harris is also the author of Chocolat, so if you have read the book you can imagine how scrumptious and inviting the recipes, language and photos are. This book also does not disappoint with a chocolate section. The one recipe that did stand out for me was a Blueberry Tart, which in the book looks like it came straight out of boulangerie.

So i went and picked up some fresh blueberries from the city market yesterday. I would of had more blueberries in the tart if someone in the night didn’t eat them! But anyway, there was enough for what I want to do. What is great about this recipe is that so far this is the best pastry I have ever tried to make, Pâte Brisée. This is a nice light, buttery and flakey pastry which was so easy to work with, roll and bake.

The recipe was easy to follow but it can also be adapted for season and taste. This would be great to substitute the blueberries with blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries or even strawberries. I will also be using the Pâte Brisée recipe again for the future. You can find the recipe here or buy the book (it’s worth it). In the end it tasted great, was easy to make and I learnt something new… a perfect ‘Cook of the Month’.

“Serve cold, if you can wait.” (^-^)

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Lemon Meringue Cake: Cook of the Month

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I have decided once every month to review one recipe from one cook and one cookbook. For me the most important thing about anotehr persons recipe is if it actually does work the way its wrote down. Hopefully by picking  a recipe from a certain cookbook or cook, I can improve my own skills, inform others and review recipes and books for future reference.

This month I have decided upon Nigella Lawson’s Meringue Cake from her book Feast. This book really is an essential for any person in kitchen, so much detail and helpful hints, for all season, celebrations and dinners. So I do have high hopes and expectations for this recipe.

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I am really happy how this came out, it looks just like the picture in the book. I did have some difficulty getting the sponge mix into the cake tin as it was very thick. I think for a dinner party of luncheon his cake would impress.

SDC11283-pola01You can find the recipe for this cake on Nigella’s website or in her excellent book Feast. If anyone has any suggestions of what I should do for next month please let me know (^-^)

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