Nawr yn dod â rhai pwdinau hufennog ni …
If I was Father Christmas I would generally go for the glass of sherry over the milk, I am sure the reindeer are perfectly capable of doing their own navigating by now and it would be just too bad a PR for the police to pull over FC on drink driving charges. When dropping off the presents on a dairy farm in Wales however I would defiantly go for the milk, fresh from the udders of the herd it would make a most nourishing drink.
My weekend was spent in an incredibly beautiful area in Pembrokeshire, Wales on a farm cooking a traditional Christmas Turkey dinner for 12 a canapé party for 30 and a Sunday lunch. Although I was as busy as one of Santa’s elves in the pre Christmas rush, preparing the food for the parties I did have time to take a quick spin around the country lanes, up onto what’s known as angels mount and down into the sheep spattered valleys. My excellent guide amusingly told me all the local gossip (I think there must be something in the Welsh water) and historical facts about the area, we were very near where the stones from Stonehenge in the west country originated from. I could have listened to them for hours although this could also be because I have fallen in love with the lyrical Welsh accent.
The weekend was a joint celebration of the family’s Christmas together and a milestone birthday. The traditional Christmas dinner was like a session at the gym, carrying a 9 kilo turkey plus stuffing in and out of the oven and then once cooked parading it into the dining room on a spectacular silver tray filled with hot water – I tell you I now have arms like the incredible hulk. What was impressive was the fact that they requested 4 puddings! Sticky toffee pudding, a triple choclate cheese cake, a sloe gin and quince trifle and a raspberry meringue roulade (this postcards recipe). Mind you if you can’t eat four puddings at Christmas when can you?
The canapé party was great fun as all the generations pitched in. Setting up the rooms ready to receive the guests, making the cocktails and handing out the drinks, helping finish the canapés (some rather enthusiastically) and of course passing round the plates of food.
Come Sunday morning there was a fridge filled with various goodies and a chicken pie if needs. With everyone well fed and watered and a definite festive spirit now in the house I packed my bags said my goodbyes and headed west towards Dorset for Christmas…
Mince pies made: 72
Mince pies eaten: 12
Every home should have a dairy herd.
Raspberry Meringue roulade
Serves 8 – 10
You can make the meringue a few days before and add the cream and fruit just before serving.
There are quite a few methods to make merengue’s but having tried a lot of them this is my favourite way to make them and it works for roulades, individuals and pavlova. It definitely is easiest to make if you are have a standing electric mixer though you can use hand held electric whisks and a lot of patience.
4 egg whites
caster sugar – double the volume of egg whites
400ml double cream
1 tbs. icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
400 raspberries and
4 sprigs of redcurrants to garnish.
Pre heat the oven to 110°C. Place one oven rack on a low shelf and one on a high shelf. On the highest shelf put an empty baking sheet or roasting dish (this just helps the meringue stay white.
You will need a flat baking tray lined with baking parchment roughly 30 cm x 25cm.
Get two glasses the same size.
Pour the egg white into one of the glasses then measure the same volume of sugar in the other.
Pour the sugar into the bowl of the electric mixer (making sure it is grease free).
Measure another volume of sugar the same as the egg whites and keep to one side.
Pour the eggs whites into the electric mixer (with the first half of sugar) and whisk until thick (about 6 minutes).
In 3 stages over the next ten minutes add the glass of caster sugar, continuously whisking on the fastest speed.
By the end the mix should be thick enough to hold the bowl over your head (or someone else’s) and for the meringue mix to stay in the bowl.
Ladle the mix out onto the lined baking sheet into a rectangular shape.
Bake in the oven for about 1 ½ – 2 hours until firm (but it should still be soft in the middle). You can check by having a gentle prod in one of the corners.
Once cooked bring put the oven and leave to cool.
Whip the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla till soft peak stage.
Flip the cooled meringue onto a clean tea towel.
Lather the meringue with the whipped cream, scatter on the raspberries then roll up (using the tea towel to help) into a roulade.
Serve with extra raspberries and redcurrants on top.
Next stop …Dorset.