Tuesday, 1 April 2008

A taste of summer

I've always loved pavlova. It's one of those absolutely classic desserts, that's found its way onto our dinner table year after year after year. And it's so lovely a summery, light meringue, whipped cream and red fruits. But there's an emotional connection too, because it was always my Granddad's favourite pudding.

My Granddad died of a sudden heart attack when I was 11. No one saw it coming. He was always so active, so fit, he ate healthily...it just didn't seem like something that could happen to him. I can't imagine how awful it must have been for my Grandma. She went out for a walk one morning to get the newspaper and when she got back she found him collapsed in the kitchen. I went to stay with her a few months after it happened, on my own, and remember being amazed at how strong she was.

I've always been closer to my mum's parents than my dad's. I visit my Gran when I can, and she's been to visit me at Uni and calls regularly to check how I'm doing. When my Granddad was alive, he was the one I always wanted to impress. If I was playing sports at school and got onto the team, he was the one I wanted to tell. If I got a really good grade in a piece of written work, he was the one I wanted to show. Even after he was gone, I still tried to stay close to him. I support the same football team as him - Everton - and always will. I have a picture of him on my wall at college, and I look at it often and hope that he'd be proud of me if he was here. And whenever I'm feeling a bit down but the weather's starting to clear up, I make pavlova.

Pavlova with Red Fruits

3 egg whites
6oz caster sugar
1tbs corn flour
1tsp vinegar
1/2 pint single cream
strawberries, raspberries or any other fruit.
set the oven to 150°C

1. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
2. Beat in the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time.
3. beat in the corn flour and vinegar.
4. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and place in the oven for around one hour. It should harden and go slightly darker in colour, but don't let it get golden.
5. whip the cream and spread over the pavlova. Top with fruits.


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