Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Spring Has Sprung

Overloaded, overwhelmed, over-stimulated – and I loved it. Not sure if it was the nice turn in the weather, my first outdoor mediation this year or just my senses waking up from a winter of hibernation, but oh my, this weekend was an orgasm for my senses.

My eyes were able to feast on the blooms of the season and luckily continue to do so. My table is now sagging under the weight of apple blossoms and lilac boughs. My generous sister let me clip her lilac tree and my equally understanding Aunt Mildred stood by pointing out “good” branches to trim from her umbrella of a crab-apple tree. My nose is also reeling from sensory overload thanks to the lilac. Even though they are in a separate room, I awoke this morning to the beautiful scent. But I was torn between leaving my spring fresh sheets that were dried on an outdoor line in farm fresh air and going to break fast with the lilac. So many scents to savor and so little time!

Also titillated were my taste buds. They, and me, feel to the ground at the knees of Nigella Lawson and her Pavlova. Talk about simple to make, light on the tummy and ecstasy on the tongue. Make it – it is sure fire hit and easy as 1, 2, 3.

For the chocolate meringue base:
6 egg whites
300g caster sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sieved
1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
50g dark chocolate, finely chopped
For the topping:
500ml double cream
500g raspberries
2-3 tablespoons coarsely grated dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar, and the chopped chocolate. Then gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in. Mound on to a baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 23cm in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150C/gas mark 2 and cook for about one to one and a quarter hours. When it's ready it should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on top, but when you prod the centre you should feel the promise of squidginess beneath your fingers. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate meringue disc cool completely.When you're ready to serve, invert on to a big, flat-bottomed plate. Whisk the cream till thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter over the raspberries. Coarsely grate the chocolate so that you get curls rather than rubble, as you don't want the raspberries' luscious colour and form to be obscured, and sprinkle haphazardly over the top, letting some fall, as it will, on the plate's rim.

Welcome out of hibernation everyone! Enjoy the spring! Snaps to spring.


Blogger Blair said...

I can't WAIT for the first Pavlova of the year! Yum! And thursday is just around the corner...

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought you said it was easy to make. Easy to me is opening a box or at the most pre-heating the oven. I guess that is why I had such a good cook for a son.
If I had all those blooms in here, I couldn't breathe, but I do love the smell when this season is over.

4:50 PM  

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