Skip to main content

Roulade-heaven and vegetarianism

The daily task of feeding the household - dogs, children, assorted adults who drift in and out of our home - is either easy: four-legged family members take on the role of shadow, closely applied to the ankles of the adult they regard as most likely to feed them, blocking doors, preventing access to stairs, standing between that adult and any activity that might delay dinner, or not so easy: endless nights of endlessly attempting to be endlessly inventive with meat and two veg. Then Littlest jettisons the meat part and the dinner dynamic changes to pasta and veg, pasta and two veg and occasionally pizza and veg until we reckon a rebalancing is required and start to experiment with fish (partial success - salmon ok, other fish “tastes of mango”), vegetarian ready-meals (all bad), vegi-burgers and sausages (“If I wanted to eat something that looked like meat I’d probably eat meat”) and the world of vegetables beyond peas, sweetcorn, broccoli and carrots (still working on this one). 

One benefit of cooking for a new vegetarian is being forced to step up out of the rut created by years of steadfast meat-eating (boring) predictability - the cycle of chicken, lamb and beef punctuated with intermittent insertions of pork, fish and the exotics - turkey, ham, venison and pheasant. The vegetarian diet is not only more colourful, it also tastes better and has a beneficial effect on the waist-lines of the older members of the family. Win win situation. But with one disadvantage - the letter d. Winwind situation might be more accurate. A finger on the window-opening switch of the car and a rendition of ‘Jubil-farti deo’ on the journey home after a school chapel service.

Daily house-hold feeding inevitably leads to signature dishes. Those meals that become part of family lore - shared, enjoyed and oft repeated: comfort food at it’s best - not too fiddly to conceive nor too time-consuming - the taste of which ignites memories of time together, laughter, tears and a recipe which becomes part of family heritage.

I have two signature dishes. Or three. Although, the third is just a tip - when making chilli con carne and as it starts to simmer, add a few blocks of good dark chocolate. Stir and inhale. The smell of melting chocolate and chilli is heavenly; the taste even better. Would this work with aubergine chilli stew I wonder? - I’ll let you know.

My two signature dishes are fruit crumble and lemon roulade. I have shared the crumble recipe on this blog before, so here are the instructions for the roulade - 

First, you need to whisk up a meringue - caster sugar and egg white with a little dark brown or molasses sugar to add a hint of caramel. 
You could add other flavourings to the meringue at this point depending on the end roulade desired - coffee, chocolate, nut. Experiment! Whatever meringue recipe you use the next step is the same.
Pour onto a lined baking tray and if wanted lightly sprinkle with ground almonds. Next, bake in a slow oven until slightly brown and set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Turn out onto a drying rack. It may crack ... like the one below: don't panic! It may break in half: still don't panic! It may break into multiple smaller pieces: yet again, don't panic - you have the broken foundations of Eton Mess and can start again.

Spread lashings of lemon curd onto the meringue

followed by whipped cream.

What you now have is an open lemon curd-cream-meringue sandwich. And now the fun starts.

Oops! At the point where you inverted the cooling meringue base onto a wire rack you needed to do two things. Before you did that! Okay - this is an awful recipe! Let me tell you what you should have done earlier...

It involves more non-stick baking parchment and a tea towel. 

With the meringue still in the baking tray, cover it with a sheet of parchment. Cover the sheet with a tea towel. Invert the drying rack on top of the tea towel. Grip everything at the sides. Hold together and flip the tray onto the drying rack. Lift the baking tray off and allow to cool a little, before peeling the parchment off the meringue. It is this exposed surface of the meringue that you spread with the curd and cream.

Hmm ... hoping that I haven't forgotten anything else - it's time to roll the roulade.

Hold the (nearly forgotten but vitally important) tea towel and parchment and use them to lift and roll the roulade into itself. At this point lots of cracks will appear. This is normal and gives the roulade character.

Admire your creation. Lick your fingers.

Either chill in the fridge before serving, or wrap in cling film and freeze.

We prefer it frozen. Slices of ice-cream lemon roulade.


Variations on a theme - orange curd and cream; raspberry curd and cream; coconut ice-cream (lactose free) and raspberries ... mmm :-)

I want to try passion-fruit and raspberry; blueberry; apple and cinnamon ice-cream with bramble.  

Now do you understand what I was hinting at when I said signature dishes are your own little slice of food heaven?


Popular posts from this blog

Life in the slow lane - Part One.

Recent hypothetical text message from parent to adult son -

Been in the garden all day. Time for a bath first then I'll leave, with you by 8. Chilly here - have you had snow? See you soon. Lots of  love xx
PS. Bought too many aubergines yesterday - would you like some?

All very mundane; boring even? Hmmm.

In an effort to save time or appear somehow with-it or hip or whatever term is used now to mean 'not ancient', the parent could instead have sent this -

Been in the garden all day. Time for 🛁. Chilly here - do you have ❄️. 
PS. Would you like some 🍆? Lots of X

Yes, I punctuate my texts.

Punctuation, however, isn't the point here. Or rather it's not the only thing unmasking me as someone who is not hip/cool/sic or lit (which list, of course, proves without a doubt that I am none of these things).

No. The point is that with the insertion of a few emojis, I changed an innocent message about gardening, the weather and vegetables, into something x-rated and made myself …

#2019 Connections, characters and a stone ball.

Half-way into January. A small step into a new year. And I am another year older. How did this happen?

I could answer part of that by reminding myself that as I was born in January and have just had a birthday I am a year older. But half-way into January (over half-way now - several days have passed since I started this blog) and a small step into a New Year; how did these happen?

Time doesn’t stand still. I've said that before. In November's blog. I called it out as a cliche then too. It is. But if cliches can be good and I think this is a good one. Time is animated. Time moves. I wittered on about this at length. In November. Two months ago. Two months filled with frantic present hunting; over-eating; over-spending; under-sleeping; and wrapping (always late on Christmas eve - so late that I risk Father Christmas finding me sitting on the floor surrounded by paper and string - the sellotape always runs out at about 11.57pm on Christmas Eve, doesn't it? - hot chocolate insul…

Time and dreams. And a mountain or two.

Time doesn’t stand still. Not for any man or woman. Time is physics. It proceeds and there is nothing that we can do about it. Not yet anyway. Probably not ever.

While perhaps it's not great writing to start with a cliche (or even a few), the standing still of time, as sometimes observed in a moment of awe, is something we can perceive. Sometimes. Okay, time doesn't actually stop. But it feels like it does. Insert here any moment when for you time 'stood still'; that moment, perhaps, when you had raced to summit a mountain and - with your feet standing on the highest point, your body in that state of elated exhaustion - you watched as the rising sun crept long pillars of light above the distant horizon. And you realised - literally standing still - that you were holding your breath. 

The sun of course went on rising and time did not actually stop. At moments like these, we tell ourselves that it did; just for a moment. But that is an illusion. A mere mistaken perception.…