Sorry for the late write up for Week Two of my cooking challenge. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long - it's just been one of those weeks where time seems to disappear. Oh well, I'm here now!
Week Two was a fun week, as my 'try-a-recipe' day was the day that two good friends came over for dinner. The main course almost counted as a new recipe - I made Jamie Oliver's mushroom risotto - but as I have done a mushroom risotto from another book before, I decided it probably shouldn't count.
Dessert, on the other hand, was a brand new, very fun challenge! I wanted something that I could make in advance so that I wouldn't need to worry about timing and burning whilst my friends were here, especially as I knew I would have had a couple of glasses of wine by pudding time!
I wasn't sure what to make, so I turned to Twitter for some advice. My followers are a very helpful bunch and made a number of excellent suggestions, but the one I settled on was pavlova. Having never made meringue before, I was fairly nervous. But I found a lovely looking recipe on BBC Good Food and decided to press ahead. On the advice of my mum, I got up super early to prepare the meringue. The longer you can leave the meringue in the oven to cool, the less likely it is to crack when you go to serve it, apparently.
Meringue, I discovered, is incredibly easy to make. Whisk egg whites, add sugar, bake. As simple as that. Or, almost as simple as that. I did actually have to make the meringue twice, because where the recipe says to add the sugar slowly, it doesn't mean put your electric whisk onto the slow speed - it means add the sugar slowly! If you do it too fast, your eggs will lose the beautiful stiff peaks you've just spent ages creating and you'll end up with a bowl of slimy goop, like I did.
Attempt two went very well though and produced a beautiful, un-cracked meringue. The semi-freddo topping in the recipe was so easy too. It involves smushing some raspberries and whisking together mascarpone and cream, before freezing for a couple of hours.
And the result? A truly delicious dessert that will leave your friends with very big smiles on their faces.
I didn't do too well on the photo taking front this time. The pavolva was gone too quickly, but here's a shot of what was left at the end of the evening:
And the scores?
10/10 from all four of us! One friend even said that it was a far better pavlova than she had ever tasted in a restaurant. Thanks BBC Good Food - you did me proud!