Wintry blackberry pavlova

IMG_2833I think of pavlova as a summery thing, with cream and raspberries or strawberries. But after cold turkey this wintry pavlova provides a refreshing and clear contrast to the richness of traditional Christmas fayre of Christmas pud, mincemeat and Christmas cake. My neighbour, Fran, lent me a Scottish book from which I took this recipe which will be attributed when I discover what the book was.

4 egg whites 8 oz caster sugar 1 tsp ginger 1 tsp vinegar 1 tsp corn flour A pinch of cream of tartar 1) Whisk eggs whites until stiff 2) Add sugar slowly until well combined 3) Add the vinegar 4) Sieve the cornflour over the meringue and combine Spread the mixture and bake at 180C for 5 minutes then 130C for 1 1/4 hours. Remove and cool. Then top with whipped organic double cream and blackberries with a few raspberries, blueberries and mint for aesthetic value.


The proof of the Christmas Pudding


I was very pleased with my Christmas pudding this year. Not being able to find my favourite Scots recipe with its rugged whisky and apple character, I ended up concocting this one with a subtle feel of cranberry and orange. I was grateful for the help of May Smart who advised to ensure that it was nut-free and the alcohol content was sufficient for the pudding to keep and mature for six weeks but, at the same time, not too alcoholic for children.  I have based my creation based on various Irish recipes I found on the internet.  Grand Marnier or Cointreau would be good substitutes for the rum, if the alcohol content is similar.

5 oz sultanas
1 oz natural colour glacé cherries, halved
8 oz raisins
7 oz currants
3 oz good quality mixed peel
Grated zest half organic orange
100 ml dark rum
50ml sieved fresh organic orange juice
225g (6oz) cold grated butter
225g (8oz) fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
225g (6oz) dark or light muscovado sugar
75g (3oz) plain unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1.25ml (¼ level tsp) salt
3 large eggs
100ml (4fl oz) milk

1) Mix the alcohol and the fruit and leave for 12 hours.

2) Combine the remaining ingredients.

3) Steam for 3 hours and on Christmas day a further 3 hours.  Serve with whipped or pouring organic double cream.