Valentines, Love & Eaton Mess Cakes

Eton Mess

The below article originally appeared in the Nottingham Post on 10th Feb 2016.

When coming to write this article I first conducted a quick poll of my friends and was shocked to find that almost all them see Valentines as nothing more than a day dreamt up by supermarkets in a cunning plan to make us buy cheap, celebrity endorsed perfume. How miserable indeed!

Romance, to me at least, is about showing my long suffering fiancée how much she means to me and how grateful I am that she continues to put up with my daft ideas, flights of fancy and the endless hours I spend in the kitchen.

Whether it be a little thing like having a warm towel to arrive home to when coming in from the rain or an overly extravagant home baked cake, both my partner and I believe that is what makes our life together special.

All of us can be accused of maybe being a little too complaisant when it comes to our better-halves. The things we loved about each other upon first meeting fade into the background only to be replaced with the boring trappings of life.  Long days at work can eat away at us leaving very little for those at home.

Well no more I say! I want us all to re-appropriate Valentines from the disposable teddy bears, the hastily bought naff cards and the half-dead bunch of flowers that line the shelves at this time of year.

Let us all take this day to remind one another about all those little things that make us a couple. It’s not about money but about taking the time out of your day to do something, anything, which your partner would enjoy.

Bake your partner something, go for a walk or simply stop and talk to each other.  Not about the bills or the kids though!

Enjoy each other’s company and love each other a little more. The world could always do with a bit more of that.

Eton Mess

Eaton Mess Cake – Inspired by the Meringue Girls

200g caster sugar

200g unsalted butter

4 large free range eggs

200g self raising flour

1/2tsp baking powder

2tbsp milk

1 vanilla pod

For the sauce:

200g strawberries

2tbsp caster sugar

For the cream:

300ml double cream

some of the cooled strawberry sauce

50g crushed meringue – either homemade or shop bought

To decorate:

100g meringue – either home made or shop bought

50g fresh strawberries

Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a 8” round cake tin or two 8” sandwich tins.

Cream the butter, sugar & seeds from the vanilla pod together for 5mins until light and fluffy.

Whisk in the eggs one at a time then fold in the flour followed by the milk.

Spoon the mixture into the pre-prepared tin and bake for 20 to 25min until a skewer comes out clean from the middle.

Remove from the tin and leave to cool.

Heat the strawberries and sugar over a medium heat for 5mins before passing through a sieve and leaving to cool.

Whisk the cream until stiff then fold in half the raspberry sauce and crushed meringue.

If you have baked just the one cake, cut it in half. Fill the cake with cream then smooth round the sides and top to cover it all.

Decorate with the remaining meringue, strawberries and mint.

Eton Mess 1

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