Thursday, 19 December 2013

Spectacular Meringue and Red Fruit Salad Christmas Wreath

I love meringue in any form! I like meringue so much that when my mother asked my what type of cake I would like for my 21st birthday I requested tiers of meringue piled high and decorated with strawberries and cream. It was a triumph!

And so it is that for sweets at Christmas dinner, a very light meal in our family - having done the full traditional Christmas lunch complete with turkey and pudding - we serve a light marshmallow meringue in the shape Christmas wreath. Topped with a red fruit salad made with seasonal fresh berries and redcurrants, succulent cherries and watermelon stars it is much anticipated and a spectacular end to the meal!

With family spread across Australia 2013 has been our year to host an early Christmas gathering.  On a glorious December day recently we celebrated with an informal lunch under brollies in the backyard. Reminiscing and wrestling with the teepee - gift for Grandson 3 were popular! It was all over too soon - but then ... there's next year to look forward to!

I do hope you enjoy your Christmas with your loved ones. Merry Christmas!

Meringue and Red Fruit Salad Christmas Wreath

Marshmallow Meringue

4 egg whites at room temperature (I used large eggs)
1 cup castor sugar
a few drops of vanilla
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon white vinegar
pinch salt

Set the oven 180 degrees centigrade.

Trace your wreath onto baking paper. Using a bowl or cake tin of appropriate size draw a large circle on baking paper - making sure the circle fits your baking tray.  Draw a smaller circle in the centre.

Add the salt to the egg whites and whip until stiff peaks form. Beat the sugar into the egg whites a quarter of a cup at a time. Beat until thick and glossy. Gently fold through the vanilla, cornflour and vinegar. Spoon the mixture onto your marked wreath moulding the mixture as high as possible. Smooth the top so that the wreath will lay flat on the serving dish.

Turn the oven back to 150 degrees Centigrade and place the meringue in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

Turn the oven back to 120 degrees Centigrade this time and bake for a further 20 minutes.

Switch the oven off and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven.

Remove when cold. Store in a dry place.

*Make this a day or two before serving

Red Fruit Salad

Red seasonal fruit - strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, mulberries, redcurrants
Pitted cherries
Watermelon - chunked or cut into stars

Chill these well.

Boozey Syrup

Make a syrup with 1/2 a cup water and 1/2 a cup of sugar. Cook the syrup until it thickens and is at the soft ball stage. If using a candy thermometer cook until the mixture reaches 118 degrees Centigrade. Cool the mixture, then add 1/4 cup of a good rose wine and 1 tablespoon of your favourite brandy. Pour over the chilled fruit and allow to macerate for 20 minutes.

Whipped Cream

300 mls whipping cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar (sifted)
a few drops of vanilla

Place the chilled cream in a bowl. Whip to very soft peaks. Add the vanilla and icing sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Chill.

To Assemble

Turn the meringue wreath over and place on serving tray. Carefully remove the baking paper.

Spread a layer of the chilled whipped cream over the wreath.

Drain tablespoons of the fruit and then place on the cream until the top of the meringue is covered with the fruit. Chill until serving time. Serve with a fabulous vanilla icecream.





Friday, 6 December 2013

Quick and Easy Raspberry Jam Scrolls

 Big eyes looked up at me.

'Granny, I'm soooo... hungry!' the small voice pleaded. 'Me, too!' a second little voice chimed in. How could I resist a request like that from Grandsons 1 and 2!

Thinking about what I could whip up quickly I replied, 'How would you like it if I made a batch of ...' 'Raspberry scrolls!' cried the two voices in unison!

And so it was decided - quick and easy Raspberry Jam Scrolls to satisfy the hunger pangs of two active and growing boys!

These are a great little recipe for when you need something quick, easy and tasty - for unexpected guests perhaps - or small boys!

Quick and Easy Raspberry Jam Scrolls

2 cups Self Raising flour
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch salt
60gms diced butter
3/4 cup full cream milk


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade. Line a 23x23cm square cake tin with baking paper.

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the sugar and mix through. Using your finger tips rub the diced butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the centre and stir in half a cup of milk. Continue to add the remainder until you have a soft, sticky dough. Knead lightly until smooth. Dust the dough lightly with flour and turn out onto a piece of flour-dusted baking paper.

Using your hands gently press the dough into a rectangle approximately 30cm x 40cm. Spread generously with raspberry jam. Roll lengthwise into a long log.

Using a knife mark into 12 equal pieces. Cut into pinwheels and place cut side up in 3 rows of 4 in the cake tin.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until golden on top and 'hollow' to the tap.

 My oven is fan forced, so if yours is not add a few more minutes of cooking time - every oven is different!
Serve the scrolls warm to the hungry hordes! I guarantee they will not last long!

And now the reveal! Bravely I include this! At the time I was baking these tasty little treats I was also having my hair cut and coloured - at home by a friend! So this me - foils in hair - not quite looking my glamorous best!!! What do you think!

Oh, and I didn't even get a photo of the boys tucking into their scrolls! They ate them too quickly! But - they did leave me the lonely one below - although their Grandpa did fess up that he'd helped demolish more than one!

What special things do you bake for your loved ones?



Monday, 2 December 2013

In My Kitchen ... in December

This fabulous series - In My Kitchen is hosted by Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. It is a fascinating sneak peak into the kitchens of bloggers from around the world and I feel privileged to be a part of it! Thank you, Celia!

In My Kitchen ... in December

In my kitchen ... in December the Christmas pudding hangs maturing in its calico cloth. This year I'm trying Maggie Beer's recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks 'Maggie's Table'. The uncooked mixture tasted superb - and OK, I admit I had more than one taste! I can't wait for the Christmas dinner reveal of the cooked pudding!

In my kitchen ... in December I am thrilled to have found my local Foodland Supermarket at Norwood is stocking Pepe Saya products! I will using Pepe Saya cultured butter to make a superb brandy butter to go with the Christmas pudding! Yum!

In my kitchen ... in December I am using this old chopping board - given to me by my late Mum.  It brings back treasured memories of cooking in her kitchen and learning from her! I do miss her, and Dad, and those precious moments. This beautiful board has a juice ring and is very useful when cutting anything that leaks! My Mum knew what she was doing!

In my kitchen ... in December my annual purchase of new Christmas tea towels will add a festive touch to doing the dishes!

In my kitchen ... in December we are enjoying cherries grown in locally in the Adelaide Hills. How I wish the cherry season was longer!

In my kitchen ... in December these cookie cutters will get a workout! I make biscuits each year to give away as gifts.

In my kitchen ... in December I'm using this stone shortbread mould. Bought at an after Christmas sale last year I fell in love with the Scots thistle motif. This Christmas it will be my way of paying tribute to the Scottish part of my ancestry!

Finally, from my kitchen to yours ... in December I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy and Safe New Year!



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