One of the things I enjoy most about blogs is that you get so many inspirational ideas from other people, you can store them in a little pocket in your head (or on your C: Drive) for when they might just come in handy. Much easier than the bottom kitchen drawer and shoe boxes full of clippings like people used to use in the “olden days”.
The other night I saw just such a recipe on a post from Almost Italian for cinnamon meringues. These were served with some poached cherries and they looked beautiful. We had friends coming last night so I thought this would be a good, easy dessert. That is until I googled ‘cinnamon meringue’ and came across a recipe from Nigel Slater. I made these using half quantity and that made 6 just the right sized meringues. Makes it easier to manage in my ‘toy oven’. I also put cream on top before placing the berries in place. Drizzled the chocolate and they were done in a flash. Nice, slight chewy texture yet still light. Guess Francesca’s recipe will go in the flagged box for next time. It does sound really good! That buzz of cinnamon certainly gives the meringue a lift.
Nigel Slater’s Cinnamon Meringue (half serve)
140g/5oz caster sugar
3 free-range eggs, whites only (no yolk at all please)
pinch of cinnamon (good quality)
350g/12oz raspberries (1 punnet)
50g/>2oz dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven on to 140C/275F/Gas 1.
- Pour the sugar onto a lined oven tray and bake to warm it for 20 minutes. If using a small oven like mine, drop temp a bit to avoid top element browning the sugar.
- Whisk the egg whites till ‘firmish’ then keep whisking/beating while adding the warm sugar. Whisk well until the whites form a hard peak shape when the whisk is removed.
- Line an oven tray with baking paper.
- Spoon mounds of the egg white onto the baking tray in rough shapes approximately the size of a tennis ball.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a simmering pan of water or in microwave
- When the meringues are cooked and cooled, flatten (bang with a spoon gently) the tops down. Place a dollop of whipped cream or even yoghurt on. Evenly distribute the raspberries or selected fruit on each one.
- With a spoon or fork, trickle the melted chocolate over the meringues and leave to cool until the chocolate is solid before serving.
Steak and chips with a yummy sauce.
I can’t remember the last time we had steak for dinner. It’s such a rare event, no particular reason apart from not really enjoying being overloaded with red meat. Find it a bit heavy to process! It did seem however, to be a good thing to serve as a quick meal for our friends. Home from work, made the meringues, my healthy style chips prepared, mushroom, roast capsicum and brandy sauce made and a salad thrown together. Easy peasy!
My healthier (and tastier) chips.
I like these because I can prepare them in the microwave and finish them off in the ‘toy oven’. With space at a minimum I need to keep things as freed up as possible.
You need, potatoes (how ever many you think depending on number of people) I used 5 small fist sized spuds for 4 people.
- Wash thoroughly, no need to peel, cut into fat chip sizes, more about the size of wedges but really whatever you prefer. Not too small as they will fall apart.
- Put into a microwave suitable container with only a couple of spoons of water. Put lid on and microwave until just starting to cook through (still some crunch in centre). Mine took about 6-7 minutes. Can just boil in a pot if preferred.
- Strain and let dry out on a tea towel or in the colander/strainer. Preheat oven to 200-220 while potatoes are cooling.
- Put potatoes into a bowl and give them a light sprinkle with olive oil and the seasoning of your choice. Gently toss them around so they are covered with the oil and seasoning then place onto baking tray that has been lined.
- Pop into oven and let go for about 35 minutes then shake or turn till cooked till your liking.
Sauce that I hope I can remember how I made, because it was yummy!
Ingredients: (this is where I fall in a heap because I don’t really measure anything),
- Mushrooms-couple of handfuls, sliced thinly
- Olive oil, couple of tablespoons
- 1 ish, tablespoon of butter
- 2 garlic cloves
- 500 ml stock (preferably homemade or light on salt)
- 1 roasted capsicum peeled and sliced. see below*
- a bloorb of brandy (probably about 1 generous tablespoon). You know, open the bottle tip a bloorb in and that’s how much!
- Cracked black pepper. I used about 1 teaspoon, but just taste and tweak as you go.
- 1 Tablespoon light sour cream (optional)
Place oil, butter, garlic, black pepper into pot/pan and heat. When hot add mushrooms and cook off well. Add ml of stock and half of the sliced roasted capsicum. Simmer away until reduced by at least a half and starts having some body to it. Check seasoning. Add the brandy and sour cream, stir through, turn off and let sit until just before serving.
Throw a salad together, if you are lucky like I was, you can pick most of it from the garden, chuck the steaks onto to barbecue (don’t cremate them!). Check your chips. While the steak is resting reheat the sauce until the thickness you like then serve all together. Garnish with the remaining roasted capsicum. We loved it!