Boring work week but a nice weekend!

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I was battling a cold most of last week so didn’t get up to much at all. Apart from work I just tried to rest as much as possible. I even had the same thing for supper four days in a week due to lack of imagination, working taste buds and energy. But this always comforts me!

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I felt a lot better by Friday and so could go out for dinner and drinks at some favourite haunts; Bar Americain, Zelman Meats and Kettner’s Townhouse).

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On Saturday I did some pampering at home and watched a lot of golf on TV, met some friends for drinks and had a quiet night in with dinner (bleak roe toast and crab pasta) and a movie. But it was rather disappointing. Great cast but the book is so much better!

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Sunday had more golf in store, but also more nice food (crab toasts and soft meringue with ice cream and berries) and three episodes of Handmaid’s Tale.

 

 

 

 

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Recipe: The easiest Pavlova!

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December is pretty stressful for all of us, so when I can simplify things I try to do just that. I write my Christmas cards in advance, do most my Christmas gift shopping online etc.

The same applied when I after a party weekend away for my dear colleague wanted to bake some cakes for her actual birthday in the office. In my head I wanted to do this lovely chocolate Pavlova, but when I came home tired after a great party and having had to deal with snow (!) in London, I lowered the bar somewhat.

And I’m so glad I did. Sometimes less really is more and all my colleagues loved this cake. I topped it with Maltesters but throw on whatever chocolate, fruit or berries you like.

Pavlova, serves 8

4 egg whites

220 g caster sugar

Topping: 

450 ml whipping cream

1 bag of Maltesers

cocoa for dusting 

Pre-heat the oven to 150C.

Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the sugar a little at the time while beating. Once added beat until stiff peaks form and you have a glossy firm meringue (you should be able to hold the bowl upside down wihout the meringue moving). 

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using a spatula, pour the meringue out onto the parchment paper and shape it into an even circle. 

Bake for 60 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar until the oven has cooled down. Leave to cool completely. 

Turn the cake upside down onto a cake plate and remove the parchment paper. Lightly whip the cream and spread on top of the meringue. Top with Maltesers and dust with cocoa. Serve immediately. 

 

 

Recipe: rhubarb meringue pie

 

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We have a good thing going in my family. We all like mayonnaise and bearnaise sauce A LOT so we use a lot of egg yolks. Not wanting to waste food the egg whites go into little containers in the fridge (they keep for weeks!). But conveniently my dad loves everything meringue-y so we get to use up the egg whites quite frequently too.

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The whole little family (there’s only three of us; mother, father and me) loved this rhubarb meringue pie. It still has the tang of a lemon meringue pie but is slightly less heavy as no butter or egg yolk in the rhubarb filling.

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The pie on the pictures had approx 500 g rhubarb in the filling which was fine taste wise but looked a little silly with all that meringue, so in the recipe below I’ve adjusted the recipe to 800 g rhubarb. It cooks down a lot in the oven, so I promise it’s not too much.

Also, when making the meringue, please note that it needs a lot of beating with an electric whisk and that it’s important the syrup boils and reaches (or almost reaches) 118C.

Rhubarb meringue pie, serves 8

Pastry:

180 g plain flour

100 g softened butter

2 1/2 tbsp cream or water

Rhubarb filling:

800 g frozen rhubarb pieces

3 tbsp potato flour (starch)

4-5 tbsp caster sugar

 

Italian meringue:

4 egg whites

120 g caster sugar

Syrup:

120 g caster sugar

100 ml water

Mix all the ingredients to the dough in a bowl or using a food processor. Press into a Ø 20 cm pie dish. Bake in a low oven using baking beads at 180C, for approx 10-15 minutes or until golden and baked through. Leave to cool. 

Place the defrosted rhubarb pieces in an ovenproof dish and scatter with potato flour and sugar. If using fresh rhubarb I would start off by using less potato flour adding more if needed.  Place in a 200 C oven for approx 20 minuter. The mixture should be bubbling, almost caramelised and thickened. Leave to cool. 

Make the meringue: Add egg whites and sugar to a clean bowl and beat for 10 minutes with an electric whisk. Meanwhile make the syrup by adding water and sugar to a saucepan and bring to the boil (don’t stir). Remove when 118C (the boiling point for sugar). Add the hot syrup to the meringue and beat for a further 15 minutes, until you have a thick and glossy meringue. 

Assemble: Add the rhubarb mixture to the pie crust once both are cool. Spread the meringue on top and burn the edges with a brulee torch. Serve with lightly whipped cream. 

Winter Pavlova

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I made this lovely Winter version of Pavlova before Christmas, and if I had had time to post it before the holiday season I would have aptly named it Christmas Pavlova, but, as it’s now February, I think Winter Pavlova is more fitting. Clementines are still in season so nothing’s stopping you to make it right away. Or why not try it with blood oranges?

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Scandelights’ Winter Pavlova, serves 10

Clementine curd:

50 g butter

1 egg

100 ml caster sugar (80 g)

3 small clementines (or 2 larger ones)

Meringue:

140 g egg whites (4)

220 g caster sugar

8 g / 1 tbsp corn flour

4 g  / 1 tsp white wine vinegar

Decoration:

3 dl whipping or double cream

1 packet pomegranate seeds

4 clementines, cut into fillets (i.e. the wedges without the membranes) 

Clementine curd:

Zest the clementines and squeeze out the juice. Place in a saucepan with the butter and half the sugar. Heat up until the butter and sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool.

Beat egg and remaining sugar pale and fluffy and add to the saucepan. Let the mixture thicken on low heat while stirring. It must not boil. Leave to cool. Store in the fridge. 

Meringue:

Beat the egg whites until foamy and add the sugar bit by bit while beating until stiff peaks. Add corn flour and vinegar and fold it in with a spatula. 

Divide the meringue in two, shaping two circles on two parchment clad baking trays. 

Bake in the middle of the oven, for 60 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the cooling oven with the door open until the oven has cooled down. 

Assembling:

Lightly whip the cream and cut the clementines into fillets (peel it, keep it whole and place a knife on either side of each membrane, cutting out membrane-free wedges). Place one meringue round on a cake plate. Spread with clementine curd. Spread with whipped cream and place the other meringue round on top. Spread with whipped cream and decorate with clementine fillets and pomegranate seeds. 

Delicious DIY meringue dessert

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The Swedish equivalent to Eton mess is marängsuisse; a pudding consisting of ice cream, meringues, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. You can also add berries, nuts, bananas or anything else you want. I like to serve the ingredients separately so people can assemble their own. ms2

Last time I made this I tried a new type of meringue that my food blogger friend Charlotta had posted on her blog a while ago; a lovely gooey meringue that completely melts in your mouth. I served it with homemade vanilla ice cream, strawberries, blueberries, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. So good!

The meringue is super easy to make and you don’t even need to keep an eye on the oven as you turn it off as soon as the meringue goes in. You simply forget about it and leave it in there to cook on the residual heat during the day or over night. It couldn’t be simpler.

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Hiram’s forgotten meringue, serves 6-8

5 egg whites

1/2 tsp baking powder

280 g caster sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 225C. Beat the egg whites until very stiff. Mix the baking powder with the sugar and fold into the whipped egg whites. Pour the meringue into a buttered springform and spoon a bit of the mixture from the middle towards the sides. Place in the hot oven, turn it off and leave for a day or over night until it has set. 

Chocolate sauce, serves 6

40 g caster sugar

20 g  cocoa

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp double cream

Mix sugar, cocoa and water in a non-stick sauce pan. Bring to the boil while stirring. Add the cream and let it thicken for a few minutes, while stirring. Serve warm. 

Zuleika cake (chewy almond base with custard topping)

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When I last baked for the office, this cake from the Swedish baking bible Swedish Cakes and Cookies, was very popular. I have a similar recipe on the blog already, that I must say I prefer, but it is always fun to try different recipes and make comparisons.

This is still a very nice cake, it’s smaller than the other recipe and especially the custard tastes different, almost lighter actually.

Zuleika cake, serves 10

From Sju Sorters Kakor (the Swedish version of Swedish Cakes and Cookies).

Base:

100 g almonds, ground

3 egg whites

100 ml / 80 g caster sugar 

Topping:

3 egg yolks

75 ml / 60 g caster sugar

200 ml double cream

50 g butter

35 g almond slivers

BUtter a regular cake tin. Beat the egg whites stiff. Mix the ground almonds and sugar in a bowl and fold in the stiff egg whites. Spread out the mixture in the tin. Bake in the bottom of the oven, 160C (fan oven) for 30 minutes. Leave to cool. 

Mix egg yolks, sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan. Simmer until thick while stirring. Leave to cool a little. Pour over the base. Garnish with almond slivers. Best served really cold.

Meringue cake with dulce de leche

In my fridge there always seem to be a gathering of egg whites, sometimes just a few but more often than not quite a few. I simply hate throwing food away, and egg whites keep for several weeks in the fridge, so I rather use them than throw them away.

Meringues is always a good way to use them up, but to be honest I find meringues on their own a bit boring. But with icecream or cream it is a different matter, and that is why I like this simple meringue cake so much.

If you just have made the meringue bases all you need is a tin of dulce de leche (caramel) and some whipping cream, and it literally takes 5 minutes so assemble. The cake also keeps for a few days in the fridge although it will loose some of its crispness.

Meringue cake with dulce de leche, serves 8

Double this recipe for two meringue bases

1 tin (398g) dulce de leche

300 ml whipping cream

milk chocolate shavings for decoration

Place one meringue base on a cake plate and spread half the dulce de leche on top, then add half the whipped cream on top of the caramel. Add the other meringue base and repeat the layers. Decorate with some milk chocolate shavings.