Monday, April 30, 2012

Grown up meringues

When I was a child one of the greatest treats that we would get was a tin of Hadji Bej Turkish Delight.  Despite the Armenian origins the makers of Hadji Bej were firmly adopted by the people of Cork and their Turkish Delight was part of growing up in Cork.

Anyway, the taste was actually quite 'adult' and unusual and it wasn't until quite recently I discovered that the flavour came from Rose Water.  So when  I came across a recipe for meringues flavoured with Rose Water and pistachios I just had to give it a go.  The ingredients are straight forward - the technique a bit different and the result is extraordinary.

Ingredients :  10 egg whites
                     600g sugar (should be caster but ordinary is ok too)
                      3 tsp Rose Water
                      75g Chopped Pistachios (weight after shelling)

Pre-heat oven to 200'C.  Warm sugar on a baking tray in oven until edges start to go slightly brown.  Turn oven down to 110'

Beat the egg whites in a mixer on fast for about a minute and gradually add the sugar and the rose water.  Beat on fast for about 10 minutes until the mixture looks like a silky Jedward !
Put the chopped nuts on a flat plate and roll one half of a tennis ball size of egg mix in the nuts.  Put on a baking tray.  Make sure they have space as they will expand a good bit.

I used two serving spoons to portion them and although I tried to make them roughly spherical it didn't quite work - but I like the 'curly' effect that transpired.  Then bake for 2 hours at 110'C.  Don't be tempted to open the oven to check on them - the cold will destroy them.

 2 Hours later and voila.  Stunning meringues.

The result was really top class, brittle on the outside with a creamy almost chewy centre.  And the rose water brought me right back to the Hadji Bej of my youth.  A great result.

Friday, April 6, 2012

That 80's cake

Nothing says the 1980's in cooking terms like Carrot Cake (well maybe stuffed potato skins).  Someone sent me a recipe recently for the classic version and I must say it really is superb.  I'd forgotten how good it could be.  Recipe below - it's a bit tome consuming but very easy.


  1. 1 cup pecans (4 ounces)
  2. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 cup vegetable oil
  8. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  10. 4 large eggs
  11. 2 cups sugar
  12. 1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded


  1. 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  2. Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  3. 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  4. 2 cups confectioners' sugar