April 23, 2015

rhubarb meringues with ginger cream


With spring time comes two of my favourite foods; asparagus and rhubarb. I've always found the best way to make the most of rhubarb is to make a sweet and tangy compote, it's perfect for meringues and a dollop of ginger cream. I spotted a bunch of bright pink young rhubarb in the supermarket which makes this desert look even more wonderful, but you can always cheat it with a few drops of pink food colouring. 

Rhubarb compote

400g rhubarb 
juice of half a lemon (or orange)
50g caster sugar
one piece of finely sliced stem ginger

Place chopped rhubarb in a medium-sized saucepan with the lemon juice, caster sugar, a tbsp of water and the sliced ginger. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for five minutes if you want rhubarb pieces still intact or ten to fifteen minutes for a sauce consistency. 

Ginger cream

2tbsp ginger syrup 
400ml whipping cream

Just whip up the cream with the syrup until it's at the thickness you're after. Easy. 

Meringues

3 egg whites
150g caster sugar

Heat oven to 110°c. Tip the egg whites into the clean bowl of the food mixer and whisk until the whites double in volume and hold a peak when the whisk is drawn through them. Keep the whisk running and add the sugar one tbsp at a time and whisk until stiff peaks form and the whites are glossy. The easiest way to check if it's ready is to take a small amount and rub it between your fingertips, if you can still feel sugar granules then keep whisking until they've dissolved

Use a star shaped tip on a piping bag and dip a pastry brush into pink colour paste, then paint two to three large stripes from the tip to the top of the bag. Dollop your meringue mixture gently into the piping bag and swirl out nest shapes onto a parchment lined baking tray (watch this video as a guide).  Bake for two hours until they are crisp and can be lifted straight off the paper and then leave to cool on a wire rack before assembling the whole lot together. I find the best way is to fill the centre of the nests with the cream and drizzle the compote all around the sides. 

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April 12, 2015

brookies


Yesterday I finally got round to making brookies (a cross between brownies and cookies) after weeks of wanting to give them a go. They were ridiculously simple and easy to make, the dough itself takes about four minutes using an electric whisk to make up and then after a couple of hours chilling in the fridge they take just ten minutes to bake. I got the idea from seeing the recipe over on Lily's blog, so I've copied in the same method here but have halved the quantities as I found this way it made around 30 cookies which was more than enough. The only change I'd suggest is leaving your dough to rest once it's out of the fridge for around ten minutes or so, and put small truffle sized amounts onto the baking tray. 

Ingredients:

42g good quality cocoa powder
200g caster sugar
62ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
125g plain flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
30g icing sugar

Method:

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the cocoa, casted sugar and vegetable oil. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 180 d c gas mark 4. Line baking trays with parchment. Pour icing sugar onto a plate using a metal tablespoon, spoon and roll mixture into 2.5cm balls coating each one with the icing sugar before placing onto prepared trays.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Let them stand on the baking tray for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool. 

They turned out so damn tasty that I ended up eating ten in just one day, oops.