Saturday, 4 September 2010

A day of culinary creativity!

I was struck by a real need to cook yesterday...! Apparently, the making of the Spanish omelette wasn't enough to satisfy it so I got into the kitchen on a bit of a mission...

First up... meringues! But not just any old meringues...

Chocolate meringues! (I don't know why this picture is the wrong way round; it's not saved like that!)

I used 80g of sugar, about 55-60g golden caster and 20-25g soft light brown for a toffee-ish effect. I stirred them together with about 5g cocoa powder.
Then, beat egg whites to soft peaks stage and start adding the chocolatey sugar, a spoonful at a time. Once it's all mixed in, the mix should be at the stiff peaks stage.
Dollop it on to a lined baking sheet and cook for at least an hour and 20 minutes. I preheated my fan oven to 100c but a normal oven would be slightly higher.

After that time, they weren't quite ready but I had to go out! So I turned off the oven at that point but left them in and hoped for the best - and it worked! Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside (remember that Dime bar advert?!) and a lovely chocolate flavour. Next time, I might up the proportion of brown sugar and maybe add a bit more cocoa. I might also try to make them flatter and more cookie-like and then sandwich them with almond butter-maple sauce and banana slices *drools at the thought*

But they also went well with my next creation....

Jam! (kind of)

My dad had thoughtfully planted three different types of raspberries, early, midsummer and late varieties... and those late ones were calling my name!

I also had some bargain strawberries from Sainsbury's so mixed-berry jam was the way to go.

I put the raspberries, about 450g of them, into a big pan with about 300g chopped strawberries and heated them with 5 tbsp sweetener.I let the mixture boil for a few minutes, during which time it turned into a beautiful crimson mass...

But it looked a bit thin so I added about one and a half tbsp cornflour, mixed with the same amount of water, stirred that in and kept heating until it thickened. Once it had cooled, I put it in jars (except some which may or may not have found its way on to one of the chocolate meringues. Mmmm...)

And the "jam" gave me an idea for today's breakfast. I may have gone on and on about mentioned my obsession with fondness for the melted banana trick in the past and it's still the way forward but, having eaten it A LOT recently, either mixed into porridge, or (blended with some almond butter while it's hot which is even better!) on a breakfast cookie, I thought it might be time to try something else : )

So I cooked some porridge last night (I always do it the night before. I know it's weird but I don't like hot porridge and I'm too greedy to do it in the morning and wait for it to cool down!)
As normal, I cooked 40g oats and 20g oat bran with about 1 cup water on the stove, stirring all the time. Then, instead of just chucking it in a bowl like normal, I carried on stirring after I took it off the heat. I gave it a good whipping with the wooden spoon for ages and then poured it into the bowl. I gave it another couple of stirs as it cooled and it really made a difference - so much creamier!

Then, in the morning, I took about 80g of the jam, heated it in the microwave and stirred it in.

It looked so good; check out that colour! And it tasted great too; the jam is tangy and not too sweet. Definitely a winner...

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