A couple of Sunday’s ago Ben’s parents hosted a Garden Party to mark the 60th Wedding Anniversary of Ben’s Grandparents Clive and Freda. It was a fantastic day, made even better by a little sunshine, practically the only sunny day we had in the whole of July. Ben’s mum, as always, went all out and produced a huge spread with a barbecue, poached salmon, salads, cheesecake, trifle, apple pie and cake amongst other things. I really wanted to contribute to the day in some way and made some Marinated Lamb Kebabs and a Summer Pavlova.
The marinade for the lamb skewers are from a previously tested Alice Hart recipe, and I added peppers, red onion and cherry tomato to pad them out and add some colour.
Marinated overnight, prepared in the morning and then cooked on the BBQ, the meat was tender and flavoursome and complimented the myriad of burgers, chicken and sausages.
My main contribution to the meal was a dessert, in the form of a Pavlova. I’d made smaller meringues before, and this follows the same method, and is surprisingly simple to make, it just takes ages in the oven. I went a bit mad in Waitrose choosing fruit, picking out strawberries, cherries, blueberries, kiwi’s and pomegranate seeds as well as wild white strawberries (from my very own courtyard garden I’ll have you know!).
My one criticism of the pavlova’s that I have had in the past is too much cream swamping everything else, so I decided to cut out the top of the meringue and stuff it with fruit, before adding a layer of whipped double cream and then more fruit to decorate. To hide the cracks that inevitably appear in the sides of the meringue I stuffed sprigs of mint leaves into the cream, and scattered about more of the fruit. I was really pleased with the overall result, and it was all eaten, so I think it must have tasted pretty good too!!
Meringue recipe from ‘Cook, Eat, Smile’
Serves 8 to 10
-For the Meringue-
3 large egg whites
175g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 level tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
-For the Topping-
Approx 400ml double cream
Mixed fruit and berries (I used strawberries, slices of kiwi, pomegranate seeds, blueberries and cherries)
- Preheat the oven to 140C. In a large clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar, whisking as you go until you have marshmallowy-like and shiny peaks. Fold in the cornflour, vanilla extract and vinegar.
- Cover a large baking tray with baking parchment and spoon the meringue onto the paper. Create whatever shape you like, mine was circular, you may want to build up the sides to create a bowl shape if you do not wish to cut the top off and stuff the meringue with fruit.
- Bake for 1 ½ hours, then turn off the heat and leave the meringue to cool in the oven until it is completely cool.
- Peel the baking parchment away and place the meringue on a serving plate. At this point I cut the top off my meringue carefully and stuffed the inside with fruit before spooning on a layer of whipped double cream and then adding more fruit to decorate, the more fruit the better!!