Peeping into an oven to be met with the vision of an ugly and flopped cake is like suddenly coming face to face with the futility and wretchedness of, well, everything. You see, for the existentially-sensitive, time spent in the production of an ugly cake raises questions best left unasked. Once you consider: “What was the point of all that baking” your are just one fateful leap of the imagination away from the devastation of wondering: “What’s the point of anything?”
Can you believe this thing? It’s monstrously pretty I’m am a tiny bit concerned that I might have used up all my femininity in creating this tower of floral pinkness. Although, this is unlikely given that I am also excitedly considering knitting myself a jersey that looks very much like this vacherin (or perhaps it would make for a sensational hat).
It’s perfect for Mother’s Day, no?
Good recipes, like good sci-fi and fantasy novels, tend to come in a series. Once you fall for a flavour combination it can be difficult to move on. This is recipe is the third instalment in my “Spiced Pear” trilogy (although I expect, in time, there are likely to be prequels and sequels).
After you turn 30 hangovers are truly brutal. Today’s was made up of all kinds of the cruelest symptoms: shakiness, insomnia, shame induced cringing, a sort of energetic kind of guilt and the taste of how I imagine the floor of a seedy bar to taste in my mouth.
My face is an ashtray.
Cath Kidston’s designs bring out the girly-girl in me. They are so sweet and pretty that they make me want to mind my manners, practice my ballet plies and brush my hair- 200 strokes a day.
Her “victoria rose” is just the most precious of them all. In fact it has been quite a turn around for me. A few years ago I would have scoffed at a rose thinking myself far too clever and sophisticated for such an “old-lady” flower. Now when I see a rose, or something vaguely shaped like a rose, I can’t help but think of a myriad of ways in which I might attach it to my person or objects I have lieing about my flat: objects that I formerly cherished but that have now suddenly become dull and dreary in their lack of an association with the flower.
Of course the best use of all for a Rose is in its application to confectionary. (Surely if something can be used to make a sweet this will have to be its best use of all). Since my new romance with Roses I can be constantly found ecstatically applying rose designs to biscuits and tossing Rose Water wildly about my kitchen. Ooh the delight!
So it comes as a suprise that it took a suggestion from a freind to make Rose Water marshmallows. Homemade marshmallows are just such fun. There is something very “sciency” about a candy themometer . And nothing quite boosts your worth in the eyes of others, I have found, than being able to conjure these little pillows out of air and sugar. I try not to let on just how easy it is.
Rosewater marshmallows: What a charming notion, no wonder they are now a dime a dozen in our shopping isles. I decided to add the pistachio brittle partially in attempt to make a more complex experience (the Rose hits you in a burst first followed a little later by the slightly more sophisticated flavour of the pistachio) and partially just to tone down the femininity. I like even the most insecure men to be able to enjoy my treats unabashedly. The Pistachio helps to butch things up a bit- although, lets face it, not much.
I made these using Alton Brown’s marshmallow recipe (no egg white to worry about) but with the addition of a fair amount of Rosewater. Its a tricky business getting the rose flavour just right, too much and your mallows will taste like soap and the elderly (the Rose has not yet entirely divorced itself from the old-lady aesthetic); too little and you will lose the flavour too quickly against the Pistachio. My strategy is to add a bit at a time and stop when the Rose flavour is just on the edge of being unpleasant. (A good strategy for living in general, I should think, is to always stop on the edge of unpleasantness).
As soon as I have coaxed the wilful marshmallow mixture into its tray (no small feat) I pop a shard of pistachio brittle (the internet is littered with recipes) in lines on top, so that when I cut the mixture into individual marshmallows each has a little crown of the britlle in more or less its centre (in my case usually less). Very proud and and very pretty!
Adding the Pistachio before the marshmallow sets means the Pistacthio Brittle will firmly attach itself to the marshmallow- making it one unified object of joy. A wedding to be celebrated- most certainly a good reason to wear a hat.
Next time I might try whizzing the brittle about in the blender and substituing the resulting “pistachio-brittle dust” for the marshmallow mix (icing sugar and cornflour) that usually goes on top of the marshmallows to combat the drawbacks to its lovely stickiness. Oh gosh, I’m clever -what a thought!
Thank-you Cath for bringing the Rose back into my life and thank-you fate for making me a girl.