Oof! I don’t know what happened there, but one day it was May, and then suddenly it was July. What happened to June? I’ve gone straight from early rhubarb to elderflowers, without so much as a whiff of wild garlic and hardly an asparagus spear to be seen. My sister is becoming really quite concerned that I don’t seem to have eaten in a month. (I’m secretly hoping that she’ll take pity on me and come and live in our flat when her lease is up, and make me lots of her delicious food to fatten me back up).
In reality, though, I have been eating – mostly ice cream, I admit, but I have been eating – I just haven’t been writing any of it down. I blame John, who very unreasonably had a birthday only a week before our old housemate returned from 18 months on the other side of the world for four very short days before jetting off to Finland, only a week before my godfather flew across for a visit from Australia (although, in his case, not with a new Finnish girlfriend).
Obviously, it’s been a very hard month.
I bought a punnet of Spanish strawberries a couple of weeks ago. Spain, I thought, that’s not so far away. Maybe they will be nice. They weren’t. Are you surprised? No, I wasn’t either. It’s that time of the year, though, when soft fruit is back on the shelves (the week-end special at the Spar up the road is £1 for a punnet of nectarines or peaches, indistinguishable in their hard scentlessness except for the half-hearted fuzz on the peaches), far, far before it’s even remotely beginning to be nice to eat.
We are lucky enough to live near a good greengrocers and within walking distance of a farmers’ market, but this time of the year makes me long for French markets – the kind you pop to to buy something for lunch, instead coming back laden with armfuls of cherries and doughnut peaches and spending the afternoon in the garden continuing the eternal competition to see who can spit their cherry stones the furthest. Currently, Mum is winning (although she wouldn’t thank me for telling you that); none of the rest of us have quite mastered the technique for the over-the-garden-fence bonus points. Proper class, we are.
Don’t you want to make these, just so that you too can say ‘pink peppercorn and pistachio meringues’? That was most of my reasoning, right there. Admittedly, it does help that pink peppercorns have been my new favourite thing to eat ever since I found this recipe for a pasta dish with broad beans and pink peppercorns last summer, and so now I find myself forever on the hunt for other things to put them in. It’s an easy step from broad bean pasta to meringues, clearly. No?
I can’t, unfortunately, claim credit for the peppercorns-in-meringues idea, which comes from a recipe swap in the Valentine’s edition of the Observer (theme: pink. Of course. What else would you expect?). Whenever I’ve tried to add anything to a meringue, just on the off-chance that I will – this time! – have hit upon such a spectacularly winning combination that I will be lauded throughout the land, and maybe even have a whole new dessert named after me (crêpe
suzette katherine? It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, somehow), it has invariably been a disaster.
For example, perhaps – just perhaps – you might think that I should have known better than to swirl blood orange curd – which is, as we all know, mostly egg yolk – through the egg white mixture before baking the meringues. As usual, you would be right, but I did learn a very useful lesson: namely that if you add a mixture which is mostly barely-cooked egg yolks to a meringue, what you get is not delicious pink-citrus-swirled meringue, but something much more akin to scrambled eggs. Also, that thinking things through properly in my head might sometimes be a good idea.
It probably won’t have escaped your notice that it’s Shrove Tuesday tomorrow. Any excuse for a pancake, I say, and so I have
used this blog as an excuse to eat pancakes twice in one week brought you a recipe for something truly delicious to make for dessert. Surely I don’t need to sell this to you, to attempt to persuade you of its loveliness? Look – it’s pancakes! and passion fruit!
I was sold, three words into the recipe’s title.