Saturday, 3 March 2012

Who is Herman?

Of all the bizare things in life, Herman the Friendship cake has to top the list of incomprehensible activities  for me. Who is Herman anyway and why did he want to make a sour dough cake with seething and bubbling dough that you have to stir once every day for NINE days? You then give 3 parts to your friends if you dare! Then fling the cake ingredients into hungry Herman and bingo 10 days to make a fruit cake. Wow! that really suits my economy of time and movement lifestyle but how kind of my treasured neighbours and the gesture is much appreciated.
Yesterday, in glorious sunshine I set off with my plumber terrier to gather kindling for next winter from the orchards next door. This should have been a tranquil and delightful afternoon but alas this activity is not ideal with a stick loving dog. To begin with it was quite funny, every time I picked up a stick to break it and put it in the wheelbarrow, Lucy would grab it and proceed to have a game of tug of war. One stick, fine. 3 sticks fine. 500 sticks not fine! I had to deploy immense deception to divert her by pretending to collect another less worthy stick and then grab the best stick and throw this into the wheelbarrow. A cunning plot you may think but with great intelligence and dexterity my dear dog leapt into the wheelbarrow and started extracting the sticks and spitting them back out onto the ground!.... I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! Actually I pretty much did both as she then bit my finger by mistake trying to wrestle a stick off me!
I am making a gorgeous prune and brandy ice cream for my next dinner party when I have 8 guinea pigs to dinner! I will serve this divine ice with my squidgy brown sugar meringues which are the best that I have ever made. So, just in case you are not a guinea pig destined to taste these incredible edibles, here is the recipe. Cheap and Easy and will keep for over a week in a sealed airtight container for your next spot of light entertaining. You can then use the egg yolks to make the chocolate ice cream in the previous blog or the prune and brandy ice if it is as gorgeous as the recipe makes out and I put it in the next blog
Brown Sugar Meringues
This recipe doubles up easily for 6 egg whites used in the ice cream recipe in the last blog.
As you know, whisk the egg whites until the mixture is so stiff at the end that you can turn the bowl upside down and contents will not slither onto your gorgeous new hairdoo!
Heat oven to 140C/fan120C/gas 1. Lay non-stick paper over a baking sheet or two for double quantities
Blend together in a tea cup 1 teaspoon each of cornflour, wine or cider vinegar, pure vanilla extract until smooth
You will also need 3 large egg whites
100g caster sugar
50g soft brown sugar

Use a hand held electric whisk to beat egg whites until stiff in a metal or glass bowl. Add half the caster sugar and beat until thick, add remaining caster sugar and beat until glossy and then add half the cornflour mixture. Beat again and then add brown sugar followed by remaining cornflour mix. Beat until super stiff. Use a tablespoon to scoop up enough mixture for each meringue, I make them huge which is much more fun and trendy.Bake for 1hr and then turn off the oven and leave them in for the rest of the day or night. Bake for longer if they are really huge.

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