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.
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. (^-^)
This weekend I was all set to tackle the notorious French Macaroon. I had the ingredients ready, many blog readers asked me to give them ago. The problem I had with recipe was consistency. Firstly I tried one recipe over at the Daily Telegraph, everything was going well until the final stage of mixing the meringue and the almond mixture. So I tried a different recipe and the same thing happened. Instead I ended up with a runny gloop. Having battled with a cold this weekend I really did not even want to bother trying it for a third time. However thankfully, after calming down, I found a insightful video demonstration in French of how to make the perfect macaroon. My problem of texture is now solved, and the answer is powder food colouring, not liquid of gel. So next weekend I will hopefully be sharing with you a perfected macaroon.
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.
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.
You 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 (^-^)