It now seems an age away, but less than a month ago, some friends came to visit for the day. It was their annual summer trip down to seaside: they still live where we used to live in Middlesex. With five children between us we headed to the beach in the afternoon. I bought each of our child guests buckets and spades and made an afternoon tea picnic to enjoy before paddling in the sea.
I took along a Blackberry, Almond & Cardamom Cake and these Chocolate Swirl Meringues, for which my friend Reena requested the recipe. So Reena, here as promised is that recipe. It's one to do of an evening when your gorgeous children are tucked up snuggly in bed and you feel like a bit of pottering about in the kitchen.
Chocolate Swirl Meringues
100g good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped or broken
3 large egg whites
150g caster sugar
cocoa powder, to serve
Makes approx 12
Preheat the oven to 150℃ / 130℃ fan / gas mark 2 and line a couple of baking sheets with baking parchment.
Heat the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Put the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously, until all the sugar has been incorporated and the mixture is very stiff and glossy. Drizzle the cooled melted chocolate over the meringue and use a metal spoon to fold it gently through to create a marbled effect with bold chocolate streaks running through the mix.
Carefully place spoonfuls of meringue in 12 large dollops on the baking trays, making billowing peaks on each one with the back of a spoon.
Put the tray in the oven and cook the meringues for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave them to cool and dry in the oven overnight.
To serve, pile haphazardly on a large plate or decorative dish and dust with a little cocoa powder.
Recipe: Bill's Cookbook: Cook Eat Smile.
Photography: Buttercup Days