Thursday, 23 September 2010


We are having a tea party on Saturday in conjunction with the Nantwich Food Festival.  It's a drop by event - we invite our guests to drop by either on route to or from the Festival for a cuppa and a slice of cake.  So I've been busy this week thinking about what I could make for the party.  I even posted on Twitter and got a wonderful suggestion from Deanna.  You can check out her blog here:  She said that she thought it was all about textures, having a selection of textures - something chocolately, fruity, a meringue, cake and pastry.  I liked the thoughts on texture, so with her Twitter post on my mind, my menu will conist of the following:

  • French Apple Flan - Fruity but in a sweet pastry case
  • Carrot and Pistachio Cake - To get that spongey texture but with a nut crunch (plus doesn't everyone love carrot cake?
  • Lavender shortbread - a biscuit but with a floral twist
  • Some cupcakes - Just because 
  • And finally meringues
Nothing chocolately on the menu yet, but there's still time if I have a change of heart.

I decided that I would make the meringues today to try and get myself at least a little prepared and so not to leave everything until the last minute.  I have never made meringues before and was a little apprehensive having read all sorts of things about how wrong it can all go.  Anyway again with some help from my Twitter friends and Good Food online support I made a start. 

They seem to have gone ok, although I've not yet tasted one as they are still in the oven "drying out", despite the fact that I started to make them at 10 am this morning.  And that's what I found so fascinating about the process - everything had to slow down.  After whisking your eggs, you have to add the sugar a dessert spoon full at a time and then whisk this in, but not at full speed otherwise you can overdo it.  Once you've scooped your meringues onto a baking tray, then you put them in a really low temperature oven and cook them for an hour and a half/three quarters.  Once they are crisp, you then switch off the oven and leave them in there until the oven has cooled completely. 

So I'm glad that I chose to make them today as I would have been in a real panic if I'd have attempted them tomorrow and not been able to use the oven for the other cakes I'm intending to make.

However, what was nice about the whole experience was that it was slow.  I had to slow down, think about things and make sure that I got it right.  I couldn't sling in the sugar and whisk it into a frenzy.  I couldn't turn the oven up to a higher temperature and get a quicker result.  In this world where everthing seems to be so high paced and fast, it was nice to go slow for a change.

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