Sunday, January 24, 2010

Raspberry and Vanilla Meringue Layer Cake

I have had a lovely, if somewhat jam packed three weeks with Mr A, and I was very sad to see him go on Friday. It was not a very culinary holiday, but that being said, I did not go hungry and had some excellent fish and chips (several times), a delicious spiced soup care of Mr A's sister-in-law which I intend to make, an excellent BLT on gorgeous sour dough bread at a very nice cafe in Cooma, yum cha at the Marigold in Sydney, a gorgeous peppery meat pie with mash potatoes mushy peas and gravy at The Lord Nelson.

Adelaide was beautiful, and the sunset we saw at Mount Lofty in the Adelaide Hills was gorgeous. We flew from Adelaide to Melbourne and after spending a day or so with Mr A's mum, we headed off to drive to Berridale. We took the scenic route, down through Gipsland and up the coast. It was beautiful, and really fascinating to see how the country changes. We visited lots of nautical things in Sydney, including the Maritime Musuem and Fort Denison, where Mr A, much to his excitement, got to fire the gun.

I did manage to get a little cooking in amongst all this travelling, though nothing really note worthy - except the dessert I made for the BBQ I held at my place so Mr A could meet some of my friends.

I had planned to make a pavlova, but as I didn't have a stash of egg whites, and didn't have time to make two desserts, one with egg whites and one with yolks (I was thinking a fruit flan). I combined the two and made a Meringue layer cake with creme patisserie filling. I based it on Nigella'sGooey Chocolate Stack from Domestic Goddess,which I have made before, but substituted chocolate for vanilla, adding a good bit of vanilla extract to the meringue mix before baking (and white wine vinegar instead of red wine vinegar) and some vanilla bean paste to the creme patisserie. The meringues were wonderful, chewy but crisp and the raspberries, which were inbetween each layer, as well as on top, cut through the sweetness. By the time I served it, the raspberries had bled quite a bit as they weren't defrosted when I assembled it, but it created a lovely raspberry sauce, which if anything, added to the overall deliciousness.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas Pavlova and the misadventure continues

I was feeling very unmotivated for Christmas this year, and whilst several batches of mince pies did make me feel a bit more festive, nothing could persuade me to make a proper boiled pudding this year. Instead I resorted to an ice cream pudding and a pavlova. I normally use Nigella's pavolva recipe, but I went with Jamie this time after eating a delicious offering from this recipe. It was pretty damn good. The unsugared egg whites are beaten until stiff and then the sugar is added gradually, but not a painstaking teaspoonful-at-a-time like Nigella suggests. The egg whites and sugars are then beat for between 6 and 10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. It only took an hour to cook and doesn't have to cool in the oven - bliss for when you have left things a bit late and don't have time to let it sit in the oven. It is also the most wonderful texture, the perfect balance of soft and crunchy. Wonderful. I decorated it with mango and passionfruit, though it would have benefited from strawberries or raspberries, but I couldn't justify paying for the strawberries and I forgot to get frozen raspberries. But with vanilla cream, it was lovely.

In other, non-baking, news, I am reunited with Mr A tomorrow. It is only for 3 weeks, but it is better than nothing after what has been a long 11 months! We are heading to Adelaide then Melbourne and home via Berridale (wherever that is). Hopefully it will all go well and be lovely.

In thesis news, well, perhaps we shouldn't talk about that.