I have two great friends who both have birthdays in the first week of January. (Along with my son and my dad, it’s a busy week!). This year Vana and Gilly were both 40, so more of a month of celebration than a day, this year.
Given my love of all things homemade you might expect that I had the bright idea of a gift of a beautiful jar filled with homemade meringues. Sadly not, although I did get to make the meringues. Although I love the idea of homemade gifts I somehow can’t always view them properly as “real” gifts so generally give them as well, rather than instead of, something else. Part of it might be that I’m never sure if my things qualify as “good enough” to be a proper gift and part of it is probably that I am afraid it might be seen as a “cheap” option. I’m not entirely sure why I feel like that as I am always delighted by other people’s homemade gifts! Something I need to work on, I think.
So my friend Gilly had the excellent idea of giving Vana this beautiful bird jar and asked me if I would like to make something to go in it. I have never been an expert at meringues (I love Eton Mess, which is perfect if you’re concerned about how they are going to turn out). If they were going to go in a jar they needed to be good so I went to the Queen of meringues, Delia Smith, and followed her instructions word for word. I really wanted to create beautiful white meringues, so instead of using golden caster sugar, like I would normally, I used white caster sugar. I even set the oven to conventional, rather than fan, in case that made a difference. And within about 15 minutes they started going brown again! So I would love some tips on how to get meringues to stay white, if you have any.
So lots of parties this month, which is great, and I consider myself very lucky to be able to celebrate with two such wonderful friends. (Belated) Happy Birthday to Gilly and Vana; the month’s not over yet!