In Britain Eton Mess is a real classic and I thought it would be fun to introduce it to some of my Swedish friends. Strawberry season was over in August though so I used raspberries from my parents’ garden and passion fruit to flavour my mess. Homemade chewy meringues further added the va-va-voom. This went down such a treat among my Swedish friends that I was surprised. I thought the amount of whipped cream would put them off!
Raspberry and passionfruit mess, serves 4-5
300 ml whipping or double cream
100 ml raspberries
melissa or apple mint (regular mint will of course do too) to decorate
Whip the cream. Break up the meringues and add them to the cream. Add the passionfruit pulp and the raspberries, mix carefully. Divide between four bowls. Decorate with melissa or mint and serve.
Sometimes I forget how much I love to cook. It’s true. When I have a busy work week and come home exhausted in the evenings and haven’t hatched a plan for what to cook for my evening meal I usually surrender to a cheese toastie or just toast with cheese and cucumber slices, which in my world does not constitute cooking.
On Friday I had promised to cook for my flatmate as it was one of those rare occasions when we were both spending a night in. Although I almost regretted my decision as I noticed how very tired I was when I was on the tube home.
But when I got home, put my pinny on and started prepping I got second wind. And it was so much fun! I wasn’t stressed because my flatmate Daisy was happily perched on the sofa in front of the TV with a glass of wine in hand and I let the cooking take its time. Because it’s usually the time aspect that is my downfall. I can be a bit of a time optimist and when I realise that I am running late I get stressed and become clumsy and a not-so-great cook. But when cooking without the time pressure I am truly happy. Cooking is my yoga. It relaxes me and keeps me sane.
What I cooked? My favourite spring time starter; steamed (British) asparagus with wild garlic mayonnaise and Parmesan shavings (and some watercress) followed by caramelised pork fillet, an amazing mushroom crème, roasted new potatoes and steamed purple sprouting broccoli. To finish vanilla icecream, chewy meringues, whipped cream and chocolate sauce.
Eating it would make anyone happy, so lucky me who got to cook it too.
When I have left over egg whites, which is like all the time, I usuallt make meringues or use them in a cake with some kind of meringue base. Of course there are other ways to use it up, but making meringues is the easy way out.
The good thing about egg whites is that they keep for a long long time (minimum of two weeks, but even up to a month – just smell them to check if they’re ok) in the fridge, so you can ‘save up’ and make a bigger batch if you like. You can also freeze egg whites, but I usually don’t since they keep for so long anyway.
This recipe for meringues I came across at Smitten Kitchen and it has now become my go to meringue recipe. The reason for that is that they just come out perfect; brittle on the outside and chew in the middle. And they don’t require hours in the oven or to be left over night. All it takes is about half an hour in the oven + cooling time.
Meringues, makes about 25
Adapted from this recipe at Smitten Kitchen.
2 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
175 ml caster sugar
Beat the egg whites foamy. Add the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla. Beat until soft peaks occur. Add the sugar bit by bit and continue to beat on high speed until very stiff peaks. Use a tablespoon to spoon the mixture on to baking parchment. Bake for 25 minutes in 150C. I baked two trays at the same time, swapping place after half the time. The meringues are done when they are slightly golden and crispy on the outside. Check that they are dry and crisp underneath and they are done. Store in an airtight container.