We had warm eggplant & pumpkin dip with lavosh crisps (served warm quite by accident – I was running late – but it disappeared before it had time to cool, so it must have been good!)

We had arroz barcelonas, a carnivore’s delight of pancetta, chorizo and pork, a combination of white and brown rice, with peas, tomato and capsicum to round it out.

I even got out the ‘good’ crystal from which we sipped our various fizzy drinks (just because we’d decided to have an alcohol-free night, didn’t mean we couldn’t use the pretty glassware!)

But the real hit of the evening was dessert: Chocolate Meringues with Raspberries and Cinnamon Cream.

For the recipe, keep on reading…….

The paella recipe was from this book. I did a test run a couple of weeks ago, making a half-recipe, and produced enough food for about six people. Don’t you love it when a recipe says ‘Serves 4’? So this time around I fudged it and make a sort of three-quarters recipe, which worked out quite well.

But back to the meringues! Isn’t it just magical, the way egg whites and castor sugar, with the application of a serious beating, can turn into something as creamy and delicious as meringue?

For the meringue, separate 3 eggs and put the whites in a large bowl. Apply a whisk with vigor. (I have a stick blender with a whisk attachment. It’s awesome.) If anyone has a recipe for leftover egg yolks, I’d love to hear about it.

When the egg whites are forming soft peaks, gradually add 250g castor sugar. I add about a spoonful at a time, beating the heck out of it in between. It will go thick and glossy and gorgeous.

Don't you love my hot pink spatula?

Carefully fold in 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder. Don’t stir too much or you’ll lose air. In the meringue, I mean.

You will have remembered to preheat your oven to 150C (300F). You will also have remembered to prepare a baking tray with baking paper. Spoon the meringue into large dollops onto the tray – I made six, and had enough left over to make a bunch of mini ones. I sprinkled flaked almonds on top, too. Bake for 45 minutes, then turn off the heat – BUT, leave the tray in the oven with the door open until it’s cooled. Store in an airtight container until required.

For the cinnamon cream, add ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ cup castor sugar to 250mL cream. Allow to stand for a couple of hours to let the flavor develop. Then, get out your trusty whisk and whip the cream until thick.

Serve the meringues topped with fresh strawberries and cinnamon cream, and serve the remaining cream on the side. Enjoy!

You know you want to make these.

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