Three years ago today I sat in my kitchen and wrote my very first blog post! The idea at the time, was to bring together all our families favourite recipes in one easy to access place. Simon had left home and would often ring me for cooking advice and recipes, plus there was always that occasion when you desperately needed to find a recipe and never could. So Gelsomina’s Cucina was born.
A lot has happened and changed in those three years, firstly on a personal level, we have moved a couple of times, I, with the support and encouragement of my lovely Hubby gave up my job to concentrate on my baking, Stephen has left home and moved into his first home with the lovely Rieanna, both Olly and Rosie have left secondary school and are now at college and of course we have the Pup, and Luca starts secondary school in September! Everyone is growing up !
On a baking level, I have learnt so much and I can not believe, looking back over old posts and photographs just how much I have improved.
Then there was being a guest foodie blogger on Market Kitchen, where I was given the label of ‘Queen of Desserts’! I personally would of preferred “Queen of Baking’, but hey, beggars can not be chosers can they? Plus being chosen from 1000’s to make it to the baking auditions of the prestigious ‘Great British Bake Off’ and buggering it all up on the day with the now famous saying of having a SOGGY BOTTOM! I have been asked to review products and ingredients and was highly honoured to be asked to be a guest blogger for the lovely Nikki at Butterfly Lane. http://butterflylaneinteriors.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/gelsominas-cucina-gorgeous-elderflower.html
What has truly overwhelmed me over the last three years has to be the lovely people I have come into contact with because of the blog. I have made some truly lovely fellow foodie friends and also I can not believe the amount of people my blog has reached, helped, inspired and just how much of the World has bothered to read my badly written and spelt ramblings. I thank you all so very much for putting up with me and I am just so pleased that you all enjoy it.
So 278 posts written, 77299 page views, from the UK to 70 countries worldwide, some I have never even heard of, I would just like to say a massive HAPPY 3rd BIRTHDAY GELSOMINA’S CUCINA and heres to many new recipes and bakes.
I feel a bit teary now, so there is only one thing left to say…. Buon appetito 🙂
Serves 10 to 12
For the meringue
4 teaspoons of cornflour
4 teaspoons of organic cider vinegar
8 large free-range eggs whites (make sure there is no shell or yellow)
pinch of salt
350g unrefined golden caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
600ml double cream
4 tablespoons of maple syrup
600 to 800g mixed berries or fruit of your choice or that is in season
A few handful of cherries
Unrefined icing sugar to dust
Preheat the oven to 200C
Line two baking sheets with baking parchment, draw three circles on them, 10cm, 18cm & 25cm is a good guide.
Mix the cornflour with the cider vinegar until thoroughly combined and lump free.
In a large clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the salt until stiff peaks form, then add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, alternating with small amounts of the vinegar mix, until everything is thoroughly combined. Your meringue should be glossy, smooth & thick.
Fold in the vanilla extract.
Spread a layer of the meringue mixture onto your 3 circles and then blob the mixture around the sides to form a wall. I used a tablespoon for the larger 2 circles and a teaspoon for the smaller one.
Pop the meringues into the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 100C.
Bake for 2 1/2 hours.
Just keep an eye on the smaller ones as they may need less time and also the larger one may take a little longer, if so, just take out the two smaller ones and leave the larger one for a while longer.
You need them to be crisp on the outside, if you tap the bottom and it feels firm, then they are done.
Once they are done, turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar and allow the meringues to stay in the oven until they have cooled.
Once they have cooled and you are ready to serve, whip the cream until soft peaks, fold in the maple syrup and vanilla extract to taste.
Place the largest meringue onto your favourite serving plate, spoon nearly two-thirds of the cream on top and sprinkle with your chosen fruit.
Repeat with the remaining two meringues to create your three tiered impressive pavlova.
Dust with icing sugar & a little glitter for sparkle. A few crystalised rose petals or other edible flowers would finish it off beautifully.
Meringues can be stored on greaseproof paper in an airtight container until needed, but leave assembling your creation until you are about to serve it, as everything will start to dissolve and become soggy with the moisture from the cream and fruit.
Recipe taken from ‘Love Bake Nourish’, by Amber Rose, this has to be the best meringue I have ever tasted. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Bake-Nourish-Healthier-puddings/dp/0857831674/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie;=UTF8&qid;=1368099903&sr;=1-1&keywords;=love+bake+nourish