Thanks everyone for making it happen 🙂
I couldn’t spend too much time on my high horse though. Last night I tried making the Lemon Meringue Cake from Nigella’s Feast (although it first appeared in Forever Summer) with the idea of putting fresh passionfruit in the middle instead…and nothing would go right. Crucially, I got a tiny bit of yolk in the egg whites – the first time that has ever happened – and true to form, they just would not hold shape. Recklessly, and I admit, a little maniacally, I just biffed the whole lot in the oven anyway where…it got burnt.
However, all was not lost. Luckily the chargrilled stage gave it more of a caramelised, rather than carcinogenic flavour, and with lashings of cream and the airbrushing effect of lots of icing sugar it went from this:
Above: Yes, that is the top layer of the cake in the background. Anyway, here’s the ‘after’ snap:
Above: I would have loved to have taken one of those photos where everything in the background is blurry – it’s such a pretty cake – but despite repeated attempts I can’t figure out how. Shutter speed or aperture or something…any tips? Anyway, I guess the lesson here is actually: when in doubt, smother it in cream. Despite the odds, this cake tasted wonderfully good – the textures really define it, as you sink your spoon softly into meringue, then sponge, then cream, then fruit, then sponge, then meringue again. There is something truly exquisite about the elusive fragrance of fresh passionfruit and it proved an excellent contrast for all that sweetness. All I can say is, if it tasted this good, imagine how delicious it would have been had I not cocked it up at every step of the way.
In case you thought we’d only been having pudding for breakfast lunch, and dinner (which incidentally, is how I imagined living my life by now when I was a child), you would be sorely mistaken, my friend. (Surprise! It’s lentils!)
Above: Another step in my increasingly arduous quest to find the ultimate lentil soup. I think the triumverate of brown, red, and French lentils is pretty essential, as is plenty of garlic and coriander. As well as chopping garlic into it, I’ll biff in a couple of whole cloves to gently impart flavour as they simmer. For something so robust, this flavour seems to get lost easily here. Coriander gives the almost too-earthy pulses a kick. I tried making it with spring onions instead of plain ones, but it definitely is better with the latter – spring onions are too delicate in flavour.
Above: The addition of frozen peas worked, giving it a slight sweetness, more texture variation, and they were also aesthetically pleasing (oooh I sound very serious now). Finally, taking a tip from Nigella, I splashed in a little dry sherry. I am getting ever closer, and when I find the prototype you can be sure I post the recipe here.
I realise I am sounding a little Gollum-esque (heck, even I can picture myself hunched over, hissing “pressciousssss“) but what can I say. I like lentils. I’m not sure they will ever be ‘sexy’ in the manner of chocolate and the like – perhaps unless Kate Moss decides that she’s into them – but they are not without their charms.
Relay for Life this weekend. I have a deep, deep hatred of relays after PE being compulsory in my schoolgirl years, but this is for a very good cause and I understand that the popular kids won’t be choosing the teams. And more importantly, it’s about being there, not actually running (finally! A concept that works!)