EDITORS NOTE: Happy to introduce Chick Lit friend from across the pond, Sue Watson, who dazzles with her delicious reads, FAT GIRLS and FAIRY CAKES and YOUNGER, THINNER, BLONDER. Make sure to read the directions to Heartbreak Pavlova, they are hilarious! Thanks Sue! ~
HEARTBREAK TIPS & HEARTBREAK HEAVEN
I haven’t had a ‘heartbreak’ Valentine’s Day since I met my husband a few years back – I hope that doesn’t sound smug, because trust me I’ve done my time with Valentine. I’ve sat on that back row watching the other girls get the flowers, cards and romantic Valentine dinners, and pretended I hadn’t even noticed the date. I’ve helped my pretty friends ‘guess who could it possibly be?’ from a long list of suitors sending chocolate hearts and touching declarations of anonymous love to them. And yes girls, I’ve cried into my pillow andshouted ‘stop Mr Postman’ in true Karen Carpenter style … which, I’ll admit, was a little weird.
But take it from me, when you’re standing on the sidelines watching the rest of the world fall in love there is an alternative. Baked goods. They just don’t let you down the way men do, and like Indira the feisty funny heroine in HEARTBREAK CAKE I have a weakness for ‘fresh from the oven stuff.’ I lust for Indira’s cardamom muffins, her fig and cherry scones and don’t start me on the chocolate ganache wedding cakes with candied bacon bits.
So for those of us still waiting for the chocolate heart, the dinner a dieux and the Valentine cards dropping on the mat trust me, they will come, but in the meantime, embrace Valentine’s Day.
Make it extra special whether you’re with the one you love or on your own. Like New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s day is the best time of the year if you’re holding the right hand – and the worst if you’re not.
So if you’re holding the wrong hand let go now, and if you’re single, call off the search and celebrate your status. And nothing says ‘single and happy,’ like sugar and whipped cream. Who needs a man when those bad boys are working it?
My advice this Valentine’s Day then, is to forget your ‘ho on the go’ bags, stay home and let crispy meringue and softly whipped cream give you all the TLC you need.
With this in mind, here’s my prescription recipe for ‘Heartbreak Pavlova.’ This little slice of ‘Heartbreak Heaven,’ is to be taken liberally on Valentine’s Day with a large sprinkling of Cindy Arora’s delicious ‘Heartbreak Cake,’ – the perfect Valentine’s celebration. ‘
Recipe for Heartbreak Heaven Pavlova
1 copy of Heartbreak Cake
4 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 cup and 2 tablespoons of superfine sugar
1 ½ cups of heavy cream whipped
350 g (1 and ½ cups) raspberries, strawberries and redcurrants
a little powdered sugar
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C) .
Measure the sugar and put aside, now put the egg whites in a large clean bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks. Stop! Before you set off, don’t get too whisk-happy because over-whisking will cause a major collapse! Girl, just keep whisking and checking until you can turn that bowl upside down without the snowy white fluff sliding out and ruining your hair.
When the egg whites are at ‘upside down stage’ – whisk in the sugar slowly a large tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition until all the sugar is incorporated. Now take a metal tablespoon and spoon the meringue mixture on to the prepared baking sheet, forming a heart-shape (you can draw this on your grease proof paper or simply just think of the one you love as you dollop).
Now using the tip of a skewer, make little swirls in the meringue all round the edge, lifting the skewer up sharply each time to leave tiny peaks. This will look like you know what you’re doing – even if you don’t! Then place the baking sheet in the oven, immediately turn down the heat to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C) and leave it to cook for 1 hour.
While the heavenly meringue is cooking, take out your copy of ‘Heartbreak Cake’ (on kindle or paperback) and read about Indira and her scandalously sweet, cake-filled love life.
After an hour of reading turn the oven off, but leave the Pavlova inside the oven until it’s completely cold. You could even bake this the night before, take the book to bed and allow the meringue to completely cool overnight in the oven (you won’t be able to put the book down so will be up all night too).
To serve the Pavlova, put the book down and lift it from the baking sheet, peel off the paper and place it on a serving dish. Then just before serving, spread the whipped cream on top, arrange the fruit on top of the cream and dust with a little sifted sugar.
Put the kettle on, serve cut into wedges (remember it’s not for sharing!) and carry on reading ‘Heartbreak Cake…’ .
My heart-shaped Pavlova serves 5… but hey, that’s just a number, if you need to eat it all!
About Sue: I was a journalist on women’s magazines and national newspapers before leaving it all behind for a career in TV. As a producer with the BBC I worked on garden makeovers, kitchen takeovers and daytime sofas – all the time making copious notes so that one day I might escape to the country and turn it all into a book. For more information: http://fatgirlsandfairycakes.blogspot.co.uk