The proof is on the plate

It began innocently when I was doing my house-girlfriend duties yesterday morning – the dishes. I was cleaning one of my antique pie plates. I had bought a set of three; all detailing different recipies on the bottom of each dish. Quite cute, plus, they’re massive plates so they come in really handy.
So, getting to my story, while I was washing one particular dish, the recipe on the plate finally got to me. The particular recipe was for lemon meringue pie. I had never made lemon meringue before so I thought, why not.
Be warned: have about 2 hours to dedicate to this recipe. It took a while to make, since the center is lemon curd, and that takes some time on the stove top. Also, it demands your attention, so plan to make this tasty treat when you don’t have anything going on on the side that may distract you. It is worth it.
I was really pleased with how it turned out. The meringue was perfectly set and brown on top, although the curd was a touch runny / not completely set, so we referred to it as our lemon meringue soup for the evening {be stingy with the water at the beginning}. There’s always next time.
A word of warning: don’t go overboard with the lemon. Less is more in the case of this recipe.
I made a plain pastry for the base and blind baked it before adding the lemon curd. No specific recipe was used for the pastry – just straight forward. Nothing fancy.

If you’re interested, see below for the recipe from inside the dish …

Ingredients
1.5 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 cup of water {be stingy with this bit!!!}
3 beaten egg yolks 
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons of butter
0.5 cup of lemon juice
9″ baked pastry shell 
3 egg whites
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
6 tablespoons of sugar

Method
Mix first three ingredients on saucepan, stirring in water. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring until thick for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir small amount of hot mixture into the egg yolks, then return to hot mixture. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add lemon peel and butter. Slowly stir in 0.5 cup of lemon juice. Cool to lukewarm, stirring frequently. Pour into cooled pastry shell. 

Beat egg whites with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to soft peaks. Gradually add 6 tablespoons of sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Spread over filling, sealing to edges  of the pastry shell. Bake in oven at 200 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool before serving. 
Click here for a handy cooking calculator, should you prefer to measure in cups, mls, oz etc.

Om nom nom nom om nom nom.

How many people does it take to change Tom Dixon’s light bulb?

This afternoon my boyfriend and I stopped off for some yummy dinner at Yo! Sushi on Clarendon Street in Dublin. While we were tucking into our tasty plates, I was taking note of a minor design crisis to the left.

What had happened was one of the light bulbs had gone in one of the Tom Dixon Mirror Ball lights. No biggie, it happens. But what I found interesting {to the embarrassment of my boyfriend} was that it took 3 staff members to try to change the bulb. After 20 minutes and countless attempts of trying to get into the light fixture, they all gave up.
I’ve commented on the lights in Yo! Sushi many times, as I am a fan of Tom Dixon. I’m really hoping, for Tom’s sake, that there’s a certain knack to changing the bulbs. I will now save you all from a rambling rant about the lack of a manual which, if the bulbs are that difficult to change, should have been on the premises.
After witnessing the ordeal the staff went through to try to change one light bulb, I can’t help but wonder how practical these specific light fixtures are. Again, I’m hoping for Tom’s sake that there’s a lot less involved in changing the bulbs, and that there’s a trick to it. I’ve never worked with or encountered one of Tom Dixon’s lights up close, but going forward I’ll need to figure one out before I suggest using them in the future, after what I’ve seen today.
They’ve since managed to change the bulb. Or maybe it was easier just to replace the light?
Dear Tom,
I have not yet lost faith.

Lavender delights

My weekend treat is to wake up earlyish on Saturday morning, and watch cookery shows on BBC 1. This usually results in me making said cookery items, since I tend to watch these shows on an empty stomach. Without fail, each week I’m in the kitchen trying the latest recipes. Scrumptious fish pie by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Olivers homemade pasta, onion rings by Rick Stein, and this week, lavender cream meringues by Valentine Warner.
If you could eat heaven, these little delights would be a close second. If you don’t have an electric whisk {like myself}, it will take about 3 times longer to make the meringue. But the end result it well worth it.
I will make a note to follow Valentine’s advise closely when he states the amount of lavender stems to use. I thought to myself the quoted amount of lavender couldn’t possibly be enough, so I added a touch more. Mine turned out a bit stronger than they should have, but no complaints were made {to my face}.
In stead of serving mine like in the image on the right, I used the whipped cream as a dip, and dunked the little suckers right in. More lazy way / less preparation.
Meringue image credit: BBC website. The lavender image is all mine, care of the plentiful lavender bushes in our communal garden which I raid on a weekly basis when in season.
Should you like to try this recipe, I’ve included it below …


Ingredients
3-4 fresh lavender stems, flowers only
2 egg whites
100g/3½oz caster sugar
1-2 drops of red food colouring, mixed with 1-2 drops of blue food colouring {optional – to make purple}
150ml/5fl oz double cream
½ tbsp icing sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 130C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Grind the lavender flowers in a mortar and pestle until fragrant. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar, a tablespoonful at a time, until all of the caster sugar has been added. Sprinkle one tablespoonful of the ground lavender flowers into the egg white mixture.

Dip a cocktail stick into the food colouring mixture and shake off a drop into the egg mixture. Mix well, adding more food coloring until you get the color you want. NOTE: You may not need all of the food coloring. Spoon the meringue mixture into a piping bag {OR a zip-lock bag, and cut off one corner as I did}. Pipe small swirls of the meringue mixture onto the prepared baking tray.

Transfer meringues into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 100C. Bake the meringues for two hours, or until crisp but not coloured. Turn off the oven and leave meringues inside until the oven is cool. When the meringues have cooled, store them in an airtight container until needed.

No more than 30 minutes before serving, pour the cream into a mixing bowl and sift over the icing sugar. Whip until soft peaks form. Place a teaspoonful of the cream mixture onto the base of one of the lavender meringues, then sandwich the cream between a second meringue. Place onto a large serving plate. Repeat the process with the remaining meringues, then serve immediately.
Click here for a handy cooking calculator, should you prefer to measure in cups, mls, oz etc.

Valentine Warner’s recipe can be seen in full here on his website. Bookmark it if you’re hungry. Do it now.