Christmas Cooking Wash-Up

Too many eggs died for this dessert.

In This Girl’s Christmas post, I foolishly suggested that cooking was the only time I took instructions.

I have a recipe for a festive dessert I’ve been making for years: raspberry sorbet swirled through champagne icecream scooped in balls between little meringues and set in a giant tower. It’s an impressive dessert to place on the Christmas table and everyone loves the sherbet of the meringue mixed with the tart fruit and sweet creaminess of icecream.

The meringue calls for 13 egg whites. If you didn’t know, icecream is just frozen custard. I’d made it the day before and kept the egg whites for the meringues. It wasn’t long into the beating that I noticed the mixture looked a little peculiar. I persevered. After all, I am Priscilla, Queen of Desserts.
At the designated time, it was obvious the meringues weren’t cooked. Big Sis and I conferred. We decided if anything would save them it was more cooking. Close, but no cigar. Thirty chewy baby meringues were scraped into the compost.  Egg whites left in the fridge overnight were blamed. We went off to the Supe to buy, amongst other things, a lot more eggs.
So I set to cracking and separating another 13 eggs and started whipping the whites and adding sugar until Big Sis, who’d been poring over the recipe yelled ‘STOP!’ I was adding icing sugar and I was meant to be adding caster sugar, the 101 of meringue making. My brain obviously addled with Christmas cocktails. I scraped 13 beaten egg whites and icing sugar into the compost and started cracking eggs again.

My icecream castle was eventually a success but took 37 eggs to make. Third time lucky I forgot the two last eggs L

On Christmas day, my sisters had the run of the kitchen while we stayed in bed and drank sparkling. Until Bone, the youngest, appeared at the bedroom door and suggested I might want to impale her with the knife she’d just melted the handle off over the gas cook top. Initially uncomprehending, I thought she was joking. I take cooking knives very seriously. She wasn’t. Cursing I chipped little bits of melted Wusthof resin off the stovetop and went back to bed with more alcohol.
The blade has now been packaged off to my Mr Fix-it brother-in-law for a new handle and I managed to nab a 20 cm Global vegetable knife at the Habitat sale for about $100. Global is one piece of forged steel from knife tip to handle end. It wouldn’t be possible to burn this handle off I threw over my shoulder to the sales assistant on the way out of the store.

The next night while making enchiladas, I also managed to get my knife in the way of the flame. But as predicted, it’s still in one piece. I burnt my hand but I’m more humble about kitchen mishaps now.

A couple of months before Christmas I bought a mandolin. I wanted to reproduce restaurant-thin slices of fennel. I brought it home, washed it, inspected the instructions in German, cut myself and threw it to the back of the cupboard in disgust.
The only thing in English is the danger ‘sharp object’ warning.
Within a few hours of her arrival, Big Sis asked if I owned one. Defensively I ask why. She tells me she’s had one in the back of her cupboard for a year she doesn’t know how to use. We spent some time on YouTube. We ate nice looking salads but I still managed to cut and grate myself.
They should be licensed weapons.
And last but not least is the ‘follow the recipe’ versus ‘use your intuition’ dilemma.Big Sis had a meringue recipe that called for two tablespoons of cornflour. I had a jelly recipe that advised two tablespoons of gelatine. Most meringue recipes use between two teaspoons to one tablespoon of cornflour. The amount of gelatine needed to set a jelly depends on the quantity of liquid used and this can vary if you’re making a syrup from fruit.

We both bemoaned the request for two tablespoons but used it anyway. The meringue was more shell than marshmallow with a starch after taste (says big Sis, I snuck leftover mouthfuls from the fridge in the middle of the night Nigella-esque) and the jelly tasted delightfully of strawberry and blueberry and was as hard as the hardest of jubes.
I didn’t read the recipe properly, again, and left the jelly out of the trifle assembly. Sliced cubes of jelly-rock decorated the trifle top instead of fruit.
Here’s the take home messages:
  • Watch where you put your knife.
  • Practise recipes beforehand.
  • Recipes are not always right.
  • Recipes are often right, if you read them correctly.
What was your Christmas cooking wash-up?


Read the first post So this is Christmas here.

One thought on “Christmas Cooking Wash-Up

  1. The one responsible for the knife writes:
    Well, I shrieked a few coarse words when I beheld the state of the knife. I was anxious about doing a good enough job, particularly being next to the Renowned Chefs that had governance over most of the cooking and the kitchen. Plus the pressure of limited time. And I just didn't see it. In an unfamiliar kitchen everything kind of blends… And i insist on being billed for whatever the replacement is.

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