Weekend Cooking – Forever Summer

Although it’s not yet summer here, it’s been feeling like it this last two weeks. We’ve had some gloriously sunny days, which made me think of cooking something from Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer. This is a book full of recipes to give you that summery feeling all year round. There are recipes from around the world and I decided to make Strawberry Meringue Layer Cake.

Nigella writes that this is an Oz-emanating recipe that she scribbled down from a friend after a gardenside Sunday’s summer lunch.

It’s a combination of Pavlova and Victoria Sponge: make the sponge mixture by creaming 100g very soft butter with 100g caster sugar, beat in 2 egg yolks, fold in 12g plain flour, 25g cornflour and 1½ teaspoons of baking powder, add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and stir in 2 tablespoons of milk to thin the batter. Divide this mixture between 2 x 22cm Springform tins.

Then add the pavlova mixture – whisk the 2 egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually add 200g caster sugar and spread a layer of the meringue on top of the sponge batter in each tin and sprinkle over 50g flaked almonds.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes in a preheated oven – 200°C/gas mark 6 until the almond scattered meringues are a dark gold. Let the cakes cool in the tins until you’re ready to assemble the cake.

Whip 375ml double cream and hull and slice 250g strawberries and sandwich the cream and berries between the two cakes – meringue on the base layer and on the top.

I made this last weekend when we had the family round,  As Nigella suggested I placed more strawberries in a separate dish to eat alongside the cake and it was half gone by the time I remembered to take a photo of it. It’s definitely a recipe I’ll be making again – it’s scrumptious.

Strawberry meringue layer cake

Weekend Cooking is host at Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. For more information, see the welcome post.

Weekend Cooking: Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post at Beth Fish Reads.

Nigella Lawson’s programmes and books never fail to entertain and inform. Her latest is Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home.

Click to watch this video

In the Introduction she writes about what the kitchen means to her and says:

A real chef would have an apoplectic fit and a nervous breakdown simultaneously – if forced to cook in my kitchen. The surfaces are cluttered, the layout messy and getting messier by the day (and, overall, I’ve no doubt my kitchen would fail many a health and safety test and law of ergonomics). But I love it, even if it is more of a nest than a room. (page xv)

Thank goodness for that , not only is Nigella a real woman she has a real kitchen too. I like the way she writes, with no fuss or nonsense and I like her mouth-watering recipes, that are easy to follow and a pleasure to cook. In this book she begins with a list of kitchen equipment that she regards as essential and non-essential too.

I previously posted a recipe from this book – Blondies, which my husband made. I bought him the book for Christmas and yesterday he made Strawberry and Almond Crumble, which is so delicious! We had friends round so I didn’t take a photo and we ate it all up! Here’s a photo from the book:
Strawberry crumble

The recipe is online at BBC Food Recipes.

Nigella writes:

The oven doesn’t, as you’d think, turn the berries into a red-tinted mush of slime, but into berry-intense bursts of tender juiciness. This is nothing short of alchemy: you take the vilest, crunchiest supermarket strawberries, top them with an almondy, buttery rubble, bake and turn them out on a cold day into the taste of an English summer. Naturally, serve with lashings of cream: I regard this as obligatory. (page 131)

I love that description of crumble as an ‘almondy, buttery rubble’, and I love this recipe. This book is one of Nigella’s best.