And the cricket World Cup has begun! You have to be Indian to understand the passion and emotion the game brings out amongst us. Everything pales into insignificance when India is playing. Roads empty out, meetings are planned according to the game schedule, business news channels give way to sports channels and work.. well.. it gets done, almost, but with one eye always on the score!
So, this is where I make my confession. The only games I'll watch are the ones with India in them. When India is playing, I'll cheer every Indian boundary and cry out in horror when an Indian wicket falls. I'll cross all my fingers and toes and bite the skin round my nails when the game goes down to the last over. But, for all other matches, I couldn't be bothered. Because the truth of the matter is that after all these years, I haven't yet figured out how one judges a LBW or for that matter, what is the difference between a yorker and a full toss. And no, we won't even go near the Duckworth-Lewis rule!!!!
With that confession out of the way, let's get back to the point of this post. This time, the Cup is being played out in Australia and with the time difference, the games start in the morning and end somewhere near teatime. With the last two India matches being played on Sundays, most of us, I reckon, watched the games in our pyjamas and most likely, the friends also came over in their jammies.
The last of the strawberries are in the market and there is no easier dessert than eton mess. There are three components to the desserts - strawberries, whipped cream and meringue. Whether you layer the three components or toss them all together, that's for you to decide.
You can use shop bought meringues or make them a day earlier as I did. Having never made meringues before, I decided on swirled meringue kisses. Read through the directions once and they are very simple to make and you have to admit, extremely appealing to the eye. With the meringues done, the rest hardly takes any time.
If there is one suggestion I could make is that be generous with the strawberries. The fruit keeps the dessert light, fruity and easy on the palate. Perfect for the weather of the moment!! Despite all attention being on the match, this dessert get its fair share of compliments!!
Back to the Cup, India are the World Champions and I don't see any reason whatsoever why that should change. Go India!!!
- 150 gms strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 100 mls double cream
- a few meringue kisses (recipe given below)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoon sugar
- 2-3 teaspoons orange liqueur (optional)
- Macerate the strawberries in a bowl with 2-3 tablespoons sugar and the orange liqueur, if you are using it. Keep the bowl aside for half an hour till the strawberries have softened and released their juices.
- Whip the cream with the vanilla extract and if you like, 1-2 teaspoons of sugar, till stiff peaks form. Chill the whipped cream for ten minutes in the fridge.
- If you like, you could crush a few meringue kisses into the cream or you can keep them whole.
- Once the strawberries are ready, you can prepare the dessert.
- In a chilled dessert glass, spoon some of the strawberry mixture, then add some of the whipped cream on top with a couple of the meringue kisses. Then, top off with some more of the strawberry mixture and meringue kisses along with a drizzle of the strawberry juices.
- I recommend the dessert be serve chilled. So before you serve them, chill them in the fridge for 15 minutes!
Makes 20-25 kisses
- 1 egg white (The rule is to use 1/4 cup of sugar for every egg white used)
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- red food colour (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 100 deg C. Line a large baking tray with parchment or aluminium foil.
- Beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until foamy. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat, on medium-high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff peaks.
- The meringue is done when it holds stiff peaks and when you rub a little between your thumb and index finger it does not feel gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers.
- Before placing the cookies on the cookie sheet, place a little of the meringue on the underside of each corner of the parchment paper. This will prevent the paper from sliding.
- Using a small paintbrush, paint 3 vertical stripes of food coloring inside a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. Fill bag with meringue, and pipe 1 3/4-inch circular shapes (they don't need to be perfect rounds) 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. As you finish piping each shape, apply less pressure to pastry bag, and swirl the tip off in a circular motion.
- Bake meringues until crisp on the outside but still soft inside, about 1 hour. Do not let the meringues brown. The meringues will continue to cool even after the oven is switched off. Leave the oven door slightly open and let the meringues cool completely inside the oven.
- Once cool, the meringues should peel off easily and store them in an airtight container.