Chocolate pavlova with raspberries

Full disclosure, I have never made a pavlova before I made this one because I normally leave that to my neighbour Lynne, ‘Queen of Pav’. Anyway, I bit the bullet and made this chocolate and raspberry beauty for my lovely family for a post-lockdown reunion lunch. It was a hit!

Chocolate raspberry pavlova
  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsps, cocoa powder, sieved
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 35g dark chocolate, very finely chopped
  • 300ml whipping cream
  • 225g punnet of fresh raspberries
  • 1 tsp icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons of coarsely grated dark chocolate or curls

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 180oC.
  • Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and use a 20cm baking tin to pencil in a circle to use as a template for adding the meringue base.
  • To make the French meringue base, you must use a bowl that is completely free of any trace of fat. It’s best to use a metal bowl (I used my Smeg kitchen mixer but a bowl with a freestanding electric whisk will also do nicely) wiped with a little kitchen paper dipped in vinegar. It’s also important not to get any of the fat from the egg yolk into the egg white or the meringue won’t form. I break each egg in a separate bowl to the mixing bowl, that way if I break one, it doesn’t taint or waste the rest of the whites.
  • Beat the egg white until it forms satiny peaks. Beat in the sugar a tablespoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny and then the cocoa powder. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand or put aside your hand whisk. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate and the vinegar over the meringue. Gently fold everything in using a rubber spatula – preserve the air and the structure of the mixture but make sure everything is fully incorporated.
  • Use a little of the meringue to stick the underside of each corner of the baking parchment to the baking tray. Mound the meringue mixture into the centre of the circle you’ve drawn on the baking parchment. Use the back of a spoon or a palette knife to spread the meringue so that it covers the circle evenly – it should be flat with the sides at the same level as the centre.
  • Place in the oven on the middle shelf and immediately turn it down to 150oC. Cook for and hour and fifteen minutes. It should be crisp around the edges and squidgy inside. Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and allow it to cool completely.
  • If you make this ahead of time it will keep perfectly well in a cool room, don’t be tempted to put it in the fridge or it will go soft.
  • When you’re ready to serve, invert it onto a flat bottomed plate or cake stand and peel away the baking parchment.
  • Whisk the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla paste until soft and cloud like. Pile it on top of the meringue. Scatter the raspberries over the cream and top with grated chocolate.

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Pondicherry curried cod

The Rick Stein’s India TV series was first broadcast in about 2013 and we’ve loved rewatching the series on iPlayer during lockdown. Fish curries were a big feature throughout and it inspired me to dig out my recipe book to adapt and make this fantastic one with North Sea cod with a spicy coconut-based sauce. Asian grocery stores stock packs of frozen coconut and dark red, fairly mild Kashmiri chillies so I always have some to hand. The original recipe calls for some other more difficult to source items like fresh curry leaves so do add them if you can find them. Although less authentic than the one made in Pondicherry, it’s still totally delicious. 

Pondicherry Curried cod

Serves 2

Curry paste

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 ripe, fresh tomato, chopped
  • 100g frozen or freshly grated coconut 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 6 dried Kashmiri chillis, stalks and seeds removed
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsps salt

Fish

  • 2 cod loins
  • 50ml veg oil
  •  tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 150ml water
  • Handful of fresh coriander (optional – fresh curry leaves)
  • To serve: 100g basmati rice, rinsed and pre-soaked in cold water. Drain before cooking with a dash of oil, a pinch of salt and just enough water to cover. Cook using the absorption method i.e. bring the water to the boil, cover with a tight lid, remove from the heat and leave to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes for perfect fluffy rice. 

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  • Put all the paste ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a thick paste. Add a splash of water if needed.
  • Heat the oil in a wok-style pan over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and stir for a minute or two until they begin to pop. Next, add the paste and the turmeric and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the water, half the coriander (curry leaves if you have them) and stir. Set aside. 
  • Lightly grease a gratin dish and lay the cod loins skin side up. Pour the sauce over the fish and bake in the oven for 15 minutes until the fish is cooked through. It should still be slightly firm and translucent. Scatter with the remaining fresh coriander before serving on warmed plates with basmati rice. 

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website. 
  • Follow me on Twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen, and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?
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Calves liver with onion gravy and bacon

Liver is one of those real Marmite ingredients. You either love it or hate it but it’s always been a favourite of mine, even as a child. Perhaps this meltingly tender calves liver dish served with beer and onion gravy, buttery mash and crisp bacon will make it your favourite too! 

liver and bacon

Serves 2

  • Calves liver slices, not too thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • Butter, rapeseed oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 bottle dark ale
  • Rich beef gel stockpot
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • Optional: streaky bacon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mash: Potatoes, cream and butter

To make…

  • First, make the onion gravy. Sauté the sliced onions in a tablespoon of oil until soft and caramelised. Add a tbsp of flour, cook out for a couple of minutes. Stir in the beer and the stockpot. Allow to thicken and cook through on a low heat, season with salt and black pepper. Keep warm until you need to use it. 
  • Next prep the mash. Peel and quarter a couple of large potatoes and simmer in salted water for about 10 minutes until cooked. Drain, air dry and then mash with plenty of butter, a dash of cream and season with salt and pepper. You can use a ricer to get a very smooth mash or mash with a normal masher and whip the fats in with a fork so it’s lovely and creamy. Set aside. 
  • Now for the liver. It only takes a few minutes to cook so it’s important that the mash and gravy are cooked and ready to go and that you have your serving plates warmed.
  • Coat the liver slices in flour. Heat the pan, add the oil, cook the bacon until crisp. Set aside. Add a little more oil if necessary and cook the liver. It will only take a couple of minutes a side to get a good brown colour. Don’t be tempted to overlook it or it will be tough – it should stay soft and be pink inside. Add the butter and sage, nap the liver i.e. quickly spoon the melted butter over the liver, add the sherry vinegar to deglaze the pan. Set aside to rest for a couple of minutes.
  • Plate the liver with the pan juices, the bacon and mash and serve with the onion gravy. 

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

    • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website. 
    • Follow me on Twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen, and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
    • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?
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