Having been born in early January, I sincerely sympathise with anyone who celebrates a winter birthday. After the splurge of holiday season and the carouse of New Year's Eve people are left with neither the will to make whoopee, nor funds or ideas for great gifts. Let alone the fact that I will never have a meringue with seasonal berries as my birthday cake. It would be perfect for my party, as it is light, delicate and graceful. And so am I.
Luckily for me, I don't need birthday to make myself some cake.
Summer meringue with red fruit
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Beating, gradually add sugar. Add vinegar and potato starch and keep beating for a while.
Place the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet and form a circle.
Bake at 130C for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 100C and bake for another 2 hours.
Let cool completely.
Blend raspberries and drain the mixture.
Combine with mascarpone, using a mixer.
Top cooled meringue with cream. Arrange fruit on top of the cream.
Refrigerate unless serving immediately.
I'm pretty positive that whole roasted chicken is one of the best possible meals ever. It works great for more fancy occasions, as well as for an ordinary family dinner on an insignificant weekday night.
Roasted chicken is ranked rather high on my list of possible last meals. I suppose I would go for mussels in white wine in the end, especially if they came with a really crispy baguette. Luckily, I don't have to make this tough decision at the moment. One day I can devour some chicken, another day I can enjoy the mussels. Life really is beautiful when you eat the right things.
Recipe: Roasted whole chicken with lemon and thyme
Whisk together all the ingredients of the marinade.
Combine marinade with chicken and refrigerate for a few hours, preferably overnight.
Remove the chicken from the fridge (at least 30 minutes before roasting).
Fill the cavity with garlic, thyme and lemon slices from the marinade.
Truss the bird. Place in a buttered baking dish, breasts down.
Roast at 200C for 50 minutes.
Combine vegetables with oil, salt and pepper.
Remove chicken from the baking dish, place vegetables on the bottom and place the bird on top of the vegetables, this time breasts up.
Top with melted butter and roast for another 50 minutes.
Remove chicken from the oven. Wait 10-15 minute before carving.
Bloody Mary seems to be a good friend of everyone who ever had to deal with the morning-after syndrome. Potassium and vitamin C (and vodka) make it a perfect choice for brunch, especially when Mimosa is just not enough.
There are at a few conflicting claims of who invented the Bloody Mary (and even if most of these bartenders are lying, it's hard to blame them). The cocktail was probably created in the first half of the 20th century. Its name comes from sorbiquet given to Queen Mary I of England, known for gory executions of Protestants when she tried to turn England back to Roman Catholicism.
The simplest recipe includes vodka and tomato juice, the most classic mix adds lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, salt and pepper. There are numerous variations. Bloody Fairy contains absinth instead of vodka, Bloody Maria replaces vodka with tequila, Bloody Moly - with Irish whiskey. The inventors of Bloody Bull combined beef bouillon with tomato juice, the admirers of Bloody Mariyaki substitute Worcestershire sauce with teriyaki. Bloodless Mary comes without tomato juice, Bloody Shame is a sad cocktail without vodka.
The most common garnish is a celery stalk, sometimes coming with olives, pickles and lemon slices. More elaborate ones include jalapeño peppers, becon, cheese, oysters or shrimp. The most extraordinary Bloody Marys are garnished with mini burgers (as well as full-size burgers), pizza slices (as well as entire pizzas) and hot dogs.
Recipe: Bloody Mary
Serves: 2 adults
Combine all the ingredients in cocktail shaker with a few cubes of ice.
Strain into chilled cocktail glasses.
Light summer brunch. Or even lunch, if the day is really hot.
Broad bean salad
Cook broad beans and green peas.
Young broad beans need about 10 minutes (it should be tender, but not overcooked), young peas only about 2 minutes.
Remove skins from broad beans.
Whisk all the dressing ingredients together.
In a large bowl, combine beans and peas with the dressing.
Transfer salad to two bowls.
Prepare the eggs: bring water to boil, add vinegar. Crack each egg to a shallow bowl. Stir boiling water to create a whirl.
Carefully drop the egg into th center of the whirpool. Cover the pot, remove from heat and let it poach for 3 minutes.
Place eggs on the salad. Top with freshly ground pepper.
It wasn't love at first sight. Simple yeast cake with blueberries seemed so much less attractive than sophisticated desserts. I never craved anything below tiramisù or chocolate soufflé. Luckily for me, with age came wisdom. I finally learnt the value of delightfully hot, freshly baked blueberry buns with zesty icing.
Recipe: Jagodzianki - blueberry buns
Makes 12 buns
Combine milk, butter and sugar in a pot. Scald the mixture. Set aside and let cool until lukewarm. Add yeast, let them sit for a minute and add flour. Stir the mixture together until well combined. Cover and let sit for at least an hour. Work the dough. You might need to add some more flour (about 1/2 cup). Sprinkle surface with flour. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape.
Combine quark cheese with sugar and whisked egg yolks.
Top the dough with cheese and blueberries. Role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 rolls.
Bake at 200C for about 15 minutes.
To make sugar with lemon juice until thick and pourable.Top warm buns with the icing.