Archive for February, 2009
I really like the combination of strawberry and meringue, especially for Valentine’s, and I’ve also posted a strawberry and meringue dessert option here. This time, I wanted to try heart-shaped, strawberry-flavoured meringues, to give out as treats in the shops this weekend. It worked quite well, although the colour wasn’t as pink as I had hoped. They are very tasty, though, and they look quite decorative as well.
In case you’re wondering, the boy in the photos is my nephew Ryan, who is here in Dingle from Germany, on his mid-term break. He loves cooking, and after a very small amount of instruction, he turned out to be quite proficient at the piping!
Murphys Strawberry Mini Meringues
- 3 medium egg whites
- 130 g sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon strawberry coulis (recipe here, but leave out the sage!)
What to Do:
- Preheat the oven to 100C.
- Beat the egg whites in a dry glass or stainless steel bowl (if using an electric mixer, do this at medium speed rather than high speed, which will take a bit longer but give the meringues more strength) until foamy.
- Add the lemon juice.
- Continue mixing until they are fairly stiff.
- Beat in the sugar in a slow stream.
- Beat until very stiff and shiny.
- Mix in the strawberry coulis.
- Transfer to a piping bag and pipe out little hearts on a baking tray or silicone mat.
- Bake for 60 minutes.
- Cool on on the mat, then carefully twist to remove.
- Store in an air-tight container.
Makes about 60 small hearts.
- If you want to make meringue nests, start in the centre, work out in a tight spiral, then build up the sides.
- Please do follow my instructions about the mixing speed. If you mix them on high, the meringues will not be as strong and could develop unsightly bubbles.
You know you’re a real blogger when even as a tiny company, you can get a reaction from a huge company. In this case, Ben & Jerry has decided to pay for the google.ie search “ice cream ireland” so that their site will come up above mine (see above) as a “sponsored link.” I’m not sure whether to be flattered or frustrated by the possible confusion this might cause among readers.
What’s ironic about their move is that Ben & Jerry built their brand by taking on the food giant Pillsbury, and their “What’s the doughboy afraid of” campaign. Now they are owned by food giant Unilver, so maybe the question should be, “What are the Vermont boys afraid of?”
Given that google charges per click, maybe I should start a campaign to get people to click on the link as much as possible! Still, I hardly think a company their size would feel the pinch much…
I spent today in our Killarney shop, doing a bit of Valentine’s decorations, making a few coffees, eating some ice cream and catching up with customers.
The 2009 All Ireland Irish Dancing Championships are on in town, and the dancing spilled out onto the street this afternoon.
Recently, I’ve found it a little difficult to cope with the dour mood in the country and the endless bad news on the radio. There is nothing like the exuberance of children, however, to lift the spirits and to underline the fact that life will go on.
With the sun out, the costumes colourful, and the music lively, Killarney showed that there is plenty of joy left in this part of the world.
The competition goes through until the 15th, and there’s a timetable of events here.
I’ve been worrying quite a bit lately, since the Venetian, my pregnant partner is not a big chocolate fan. She’ll eat white chocolate sometimes, she doesn’t mind milk chocolate, but she’s does not care at all for the dark stuff. For me, an insatiable chocoholic, the idea of offspring without real chocoholic tendencies was deeply troubling.
A couple of days ago, J.P. made some milk chocolate ice cream in production, and I brought a tub home. The Venetian ate some, and the baby inside her, normally a gentle soul, went absolutely nuts. It kicked, jumped, and probably did ecstatic cartwheels, such was the commotion in the belly for the next half hour. The Venetian was astonished, and it was the first proud moment for this Daddy (to be). I think there is very little doubt that the chocoholic gene has been passed on.
This is a delicate flavour for those with delicate tastes, when it comes to chocolate. Although we call the ice cream “Milk Chocolate,” we actually use 70% chocolate, just less of it. For our tastes, actual milk chocolate puts too much fat into the ice cream.
Murphys Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
- 125g sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1/4 teaspoon natural vanilla essence
- 230 ml cream
- 200 ml milk
- 60 g bittersweet (70% chocolate)
What to do:
- Melt the 70% chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water or a microwave. Take care – chocolate burns easily!
- Beat sugar and egg yolks together until pale yellow.
- Add the vanilla bean to the milk and bring to a simmer.
- Turn off the heat and remove the vanilla bean.
- Add the milk to the melted chocolate in small parts, mixing thoroughly until fully combined.
- Immediately beat the milk/chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture in a slow stream. Pour the mixture back into pan and place over low heat. Stir until the custard thickens (around 60C).
- Allow the chocolate custard to cool.
- Whip the cream and fold into the mix.
- Freeze the ice cream using a domestic ice cream machine.
- Otherwise, cover and place in the freezer, stirring every few hours to break up the ice crystals.
- This ice cream will only be as good as the chocolate you use. Find the best you can!
- The boiler or container in which you melt the chocolate must be completely dry or the chocolate can clump.
- To pasteurise the eggs, heat the custard to 73C and keep at that temperature for three minutes. Use a cooking thermometer, though! If the custard goes any higher than 76C, the eggs will scramble. Immediately cover and place in the freezer until cool.
It’s rare enough to get any kind of snow in Dingle, but last night, we had a few inches. There is a silence on a snowy night that’s amazing.
I stood outside and watched the snow drift down onto plants, the grass, the house, and even the cat.
Soon it will be time for summer, sunshine (hopefully), and ice cream, but it’s nice for now to enjoy a peaceful, snowy night in Dingle.
I was very remiss in not better publicising Caroline’s recent and excellent food series, made with Kevin Thornton (photo above), for Newstalk. However, all is not lost. After all, we now live in a world of podcasts and radio on demand!
- Foodtalk on Newstalk – Garden
- Foodtalk on Newstalk – Dairy (you’ll hear me!)
- Foodtalk on Newstalk – Wild Food
- Foodtalk on Newstalk – Spices
- Foodtalk on Newstalk – Seafood
- Foodtalk on Newstalk – Livestock
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