January 18, 2011

Fairy Meringues and Mushroom Magic

The other day my sometimes broody, sometimes bubbly twenty year old came home in a very bubbly mood. I thought to myself; where is she off to this time? Who's party? Who's meeting? Which club? Who's place? The answer turned out to be, no one's and nowhere.

She's been working very hard saving her money.  Working two jobs to put her pennies together, she dearly wants to go travelling in Europe.  Especially England.  This year.
Phone in hand, computer on lap,
When she isn't working, she's busy catching up with her friends. I get exhausted watching her.  In her room, get dressed, go to work, come home, no time for dinner, get dressed, off again: to work-do's, friends place's, photo shoot drives, coffee's late at night listening to the pain of recent break-ups, planning and dreaming of ambitions, partying, etc.  Late at home back again, tired, hit the computer, facebook, fall asleep in bed.  Day after day.  We hardly see her. We hardly talk to her. We do try. She is the one with "little" time.

One day recently she arrives, with a shopping bag and a big smile on her face.  What do you have there Nicka?  A present for someone's birthday, clothes or food for a party, alcohol?  None of the above.

Our Nicka, who I always used to see as my little girl who believes in fairies, was carrying a bag from the craft shop.  Inside she had the material required to put together these little characters. She eagerly began cutting, sewing, stuffing and crafting. The phone was running hot, but Nicka said "no" to everyone.  She was having a quiet night in with her family and her project.

Mushroom Magic

I was delighted to see her enthusiasm and her intensity toward creating these little blighters.  They turned out. They even turned out better than the pictures on the template.  I watched Hubby, as he watched Nicka working.  A warm smile crossed his face.  I watched Mitch as he intently examined the little fellas.  He's a harsh critic old Mitch.  To get his nod of approval, would crack us up. Laughing I mean.  It's like waiting on tenterhooks, while Simon-what's-his-name from "Idol" delivers his verdict.

Fox in the Fern

In a quiet moment, I said to Nicka "awww, I'm so happy to see my little girl is still there. Deep down inside, innocent and still believing in fairies."   Stitching "Racoon", she tossed her magnificent mane up in the air, looked at me with those big,brown, almond eyes and replied "well of course I do mummy".

Roaming Racoon
 Excuse me. I must check my oven.  A little birdie told me that fairies love to eat sweet, light as a feather meringues. Sprinkled with angel dust. I had better get a move on then.  It seems the fairies have been there the whole time.  I simply chose to stop seeing them.

My Meringue Mushroom

2 egg whites, must be room temperature
110gm caster sugar
a pinch of cream of tartar

In a clean glass or ceramic bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar and half the sugar. This will take about five minutes.  Or till the mixture is thick and glossy.

Add the remaining sugar; beat for a further minute; no longer.  Pipe into shapes onto a metal baking sheet lined with baking paper; no need to grease the paper.  I filled my big tray with snowy, white creations. Such fun.

The baking part is critical.  My oven  manual recommends baking meringues at 75 degrees celcius.  My oven is a bit on the warm side; for instance my pavlova will come out a coffee colour if I bake it at 130 degrees.  So I knock it back about 20 degrees. For the meringues I baked mine at 60 degrees for, get ready, four hours. Yep. Four hours.

Look, if you're having a day at home, and your timer is reliable then it's an extremely easy thing to do.  I pace myself with my timer and set it hourly. That way I don't forget about them!  You can cool them in the oven, but I found it didn't really matter. Mine remained beautifully white and crisp on the outside, powdery inside with a slight chewy centre.  For my liking; perfect. 

I actually had the egg whites leftover after using the egg yolks in my vanilla slice.  This recipe will be my next post.  If you can't find an immediate use for the egg whites, they are fine kept in the fridge for a couple of days, or freeze for three months.

Our weather is very humid and steamy up here, given all the recent rain.  Deadly weather for meringues as they will get sticky on the outside.  By the end of my photo shoot, they were sticky, especially with the crystal glitter on top. Oh well. I'm sure the fairies won't mind.  Isn't that right Nicka?


  1. awwwww..that was a touching and sweet post. :)) we always want to remember them as little girls (n boys)

    we hardly 'see' our girl Natalia either bcos she's as busy as a bee too (altho she lives at home). on occassion she'll stop by and talk...then we'll know whats going on in her life. glad ur Nicka still believes in fairies :))

  2. oh and the meringues are so sweet and beautiful Mariana.what a lovely complement to fairies. :)

  3. Just lovely Mariana and tell me is Nicky going to sell those little animals on ebay to help her pay for her trip to Europe...maybe little finger puppets??? Children would love them I am sure!!

    You are such a perfectionist , those meringues are just stunning.

  4. Zurin - as usual I can see you well relate to where I was coming from.

    Natalia is such a beautiful name. I hope you don't mind me asking how old is she? I know some "kids" who still live at home and are over forty years of age. Somehow I don't think I'll have my Nicka for that long. Thanks for dropping in dear Zurin. Mariana xxx

  5. Hey Gayle - trust you to come up with a commercial prospect. What a good idea - finger puppets. Imagine what a beautiful craft shop "our girls" would own. Your Kylie and Sara and my Nicka. They are all so clever with crafty things. Now that would be a good commercial prospect. Hehe.

    Your compliments always make me smile. Tar dear.

  6. Thanks for coming back to blogging Marianna!
    We all love your interesting entries and this one is a great example of how you notice things that many just tend to overlook!

    Thanks for brightening my day!

  7. Sorry for taking so long to reply Bruno. I've been in Sydney for a week and not looking through my kitchen window. Oh you're such a sweetie. Your comment just brightened my day! Thanks. Love to you and Kylie. Mariana xxxx

  8. So pleased my "little girl" dropped by.

    Love Mummy