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Am Cooking: Preparing for Christmas

14 Dec

Get-ahead Christmas gravyEvery year I pre-make my gravy, bread sauce, roast potatoes and pigs in blankets well before the big day. Then freeze them. I love it. I’ve Christmas songs on the radio and the house comes alive with the smells and sounds of Christmas. I’ve learnt from the past that I like to do a lot of the cooking on the day myself. I’m a bit of a control freak – though I’m working on it. So if I pre-prepare it takes the stress off myself, allows me to have a bucks fizz (or two), enjoy the present unwrapping, and not be tied to the kitchen from early on. The get-ahead gravy I make is Jamie Oliver’s minus the star anise (we’re not fans of it in this house), and with three times the amount of ingredients.

This all sounds like I’m terribly organised and domesticated – but believe me I’m not. I may have made my Christmas gravy but have I written any Christmas cards yet or done¬†anything else remotely Christmassy? Nope.


Am Baking: Chewy Meringue Recipe

14 May

I’m a huge fan of meringues.This is a fabulous recipe that creates billowy, chewy, moreish meringues (and I know they’re moreish as I’m having to restrain myself from having another). I’ve just served mine with some whipped cream and icing sugar with a dash of vanilla plus some fruit, for health, obviously.


  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • dash of vanilla extract
  1. Turn oven to 130 degrees fan (150 regular).
  2. Beat the egg whites until stiff with an electric mixer. Then, while the mixer is still going, pour in the sugar. Beat until glossy, thick and will form stiff peaks. Mix in the vanilla extract. If using a hand electric mixer this might take slightly longer but with my kitchenaid the whole process takes about ten minutes.
  3. Put spoonfuls on a baking tray with greaseproof paper stretched over (I stick mine down with a blob of the raw meringue in each corner) and bake in an oven for 1 hour 10 minutes.
  4. When the timer goes off, switch the oven off and allow the meringues to cool down in there.
  5. Beat the double cream (I used about 200ml). When thick mix in a little vanilla extract and a few teaspoons of icing sugar.