Happy Wife, Happy Life…

Over the weekend my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary!

Every time I think about it, I have to pinch myself, 40 years… thats a life time.. thats longer than my life time… Mr Lid and I just celebrated 8 months of marriage- my parents have been married 50 times longer than us!

So for such a special occasion we had a family picnic on the beach, not just any beach, it was the beach where we as kids spent most of our summers as it was where my Grandma and Granddad used to live, on the hill over looking the water, it is a place that has such strong memories for me, family, summer, food… Which really made it a lovely afternoon, the kids running in the water and playing in the sand (well crushed up shell), the adults drinking bubbles, catching up and eating way too much food.

For such a relaxed Summers day I thought what better sweet treat for dessert than a Hazelnut meringue.

Light and slightly chewy, smothered with a layer of dark chocolate to give a bit of bite, soft juicy slightly tart Strawberries and lashings of vanilla whipped cream- layer it all together and you have a wonderful dessert to share with friends and family.

Hazelnut Meringue

5 Large Egg Whites at room temperature (I like Free range egg whites)

275g Caster Sugar

2tsp Cornflour

160g Toasted Hazelnuts- (shells removed, cooled, chopped)

Heat oven 120-130c fan forced

Prepare the trays for the meringue before starting- I drew two large rectangles on baking paper to fit my trays, lightly grease trays and place baking paper drawing side down (you will still be able to see the outline- you just wont get pen/pencil in your meringue)

Whisk whites in a large clean dry bowl till firm/stiff peak (when the whisk is removed the whites should stand to a peak without falling over).

One Tablespoon at a time whisk in the sugar, till glossy, when rubbed between two fingers you should no longer feel any graininess of the sugar.

Fold in cornflour and Chopped Hazelnuts till well combined.

Once the meringue is ready divide onto the two paper lined trays and gently push mix to the edges of your drawn outline.

Make sure the meringue is even.

Bake 40 minutes then swap the trays over so that they cook evenly, bake for another 40 min, turn the oven off, leave the door slightly open and leave to cool. I keep my meringues in the oven till I need them- just make sure the kids don’t play with the knobs, or your husband doesn’t try to make you dinner and ruin your meringues!

To finish off my meringues I melted some dark chocolate and covered the two flat sides of the meringue (carefully turn the meringues over, peel off the paper)

Next layer vanilla whipped cream and sliced strawberries (or any berries) carefully place the second meringue chocolate side down on top of the other meringue. Cover the top with more cream and berries and chocolate if you like.

This is great for a crowd or if you are feeling fancy you can make individual meringues and layer them for a amazing dinner party dessert (if making small meringues the cooking time will vary).

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Brioche made me do it.

Mr Lid and I are not dessert eaters at home, on the odd occasion Mr Lid will open a bag of jelly lollies and eat a whole packet but that doesn’t count..

Funny because desserts are my thing, I love making a treat for someone and watching their eyes light up when you present them with a dainty decadent delight, even a massive mouthwatering mess is satisfying to watch people dig in and love every bite.

So sitting here on the couch, knowing that there is a half loaf of brioche sitting there- begging to be used up and not thrown away I had to do something- right?!

Not only did I have to make a pudding for tonight, but I had to make it with what I had because it is simply too cold to go outside. And I know we will be going to the gym tomorrow.

Dark chocolate and Berry Bread & Butter pudding

Brioche- cut into chunks

250ml Milk

65g Brown sugar (1/4 cup firmly packed)

2 Eggs

Dash of Vanilla

2 Rows Dark chocolate

Berries

As I am using brioche there is no need for butter- I do however butter the dishes I am baking the puddings in (I am making 4 puddings)

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Mix the milk, eggs, vanilla and sugar together add the bread chunks to soak.

Mix through chocolate and berries (about a handful or two, I used frozen)

Squish mix into buttered ramekins, you can leave these to sit till you are ready to bake.

Sprinkle a little more brown sugar ontop.

Bake 180c 22min

*you can use white chocolate, banana, coconut milk – anything goes with this recipe.

Yum in a Mug

Its raining. But I mean really raining. Its grey and cold and everything is wet- walking from the car to the house is like running up stream. I need something warm, gooey, easy and chocolate and I need it now!

I remember in primary school my sister was in intermediate- she is 6 years older than me, and when you’re growing up that is huge- she was a star, she was older, wiser, taller, she got to do way more neat stuff at her school… like cook… I remember one night after dinner she asked if she could make what she learnt at school that day- a chocolate self saucing pudding… WOW.

It was magic and my big sister could make it, I was so impressed. Not only could she make a chocolate cake quickly she could make it with chocolate sauce, and she could make it after dinner- dessert?! It was better than Christmas- we NEVER had dessert growing up- we had a cup of tea with a sugar and an apple- at the time I used to think it was great, after spending time with my cousins or friends, I realised I was being cheated!

So when Mr Lid and I were watching the T.V , and it was raining, really raining and I had a craving… I knew what had to be be done… so I played around and voila- chocolate self saucing pudding in a mug- for one.. two, if you feel like sharing- but seeing as it only takes 1 min 30 sec to cook… why not have your own?! Did I mention its gluten free? So its basically healthy…

Chocolate self saucing pudding in a mug- for one

2Tbs Coconut flour

2Tbs Brown sugar

1Tbs Cocoa

1 Egg

3Tbs milk (I used rice milk- cause that what we had, still tasted amazing)

1Tbs Oil (again all I had was a really light olive oil- worked fine)

Dash of Vanilla essence

2 Rows of Chocolate (I had 72% dark chocolate, and some white)

Mix dry ingredients in a mug- mix well.

Add wet ingredients- mix well( make sure you get the spoon in around all the edges/corners)

Microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds

You can tip into a bowl to eat or you can just eat right from the mug- make sure you get right down to the bottom tho to get all the gooey, saucy, yumness…

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