Chef Dario Cavaliere writes a weekly food column for the Waterford News & Star
THE easier the better is sometimes the way to go when it comes to preparing dinners at this time of year. Frantic seems to be a word on almost everyone’s lips. Well until we settle down and this becomes the new normal, try this lovely chocolate meringue, as it will melt all your stresses away! The great thing is that it can be rolled in advance, and whipped out when ready to divulge. The pasta dish here uses broccoli tips and Gorgonzola cheese, which is a great combo. If you do not like blue cheese then substitute for a cream cheese like mascarpone or Philadelphia.
5 egg whites
250g caster sugar
1 tbsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
120g dark chocolate bar
1 tbsp. liquid glucose
Icing sugar and cocoa for dusting
Fresh berries to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a large baking sheet or Swiss roll tin with non-stick baking paper or greaseproof parchment.
In a small bowl mix together the cream of tartar, vanilla and vinegar until you have a smooth paste.
In the bowl of an eclectic mixer, whisk the egg white until soft peak stage, then add the sugar alternated with the vanilla mixture. Make sure that you have the speed on high and add only one tablespoon of sugar at a time, mixing well between each addition.
Whisk the meringue mixture until stiff and glossy, then tip out onto the baking sheet lined with paper. Smooth out evenly on the tray and place in the oven for 30 minutes until lightly browned.
Remove and allow to cool. Meanwhile whip the cream until stiff and set aside.
Lay a second sheet of non-stick paper on a large work surface and place the meringue on top. Carefully pace the rough edge of the meringue downwards on top of the paper. Then carefully peel off the baking paper that the meringue was cooked on, and discard.
Using a carrot peeler or a sharp knife, make chocolate curls from the bar of chocolate. To do this, simply run the knife or peeler along the smooth side or under side of the chocolate bar until you scrape away chocolate curls using about half of the chocolate for this. Then melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water. Add the glucose and stir before removing from the heat.
Smooth the cream all over the meringue, then drizzle some hot chocolate over the cream. Then roll the meringue and cream up, in the same way that you would roll a Swiss roll cake. Use the extra sheet of baking paper as a guide and to help you roll the cake without touching it too much.
When rolled into a log, carefully place the cake on a serving dish, and then drizzle the remaining melted chocolate all over the top.
Finally dust the cake with some extra cocoa powder and icing sugar and decorate with the berries.
Place on a serving tray and dust with icing sugar and decorate with any remaining berries.
Linguine with Sprouting Broccoli
1 small onion, chopped
300g sprouting broccoli, cut into small spears
500g linguine pasta
50ml olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
30g Gorgonzola cheese
50ml white wine
50ml double cream
Salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the chopped onion and the broccoli spears over a medium heat until browned and crispy. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute, then add the white wine. Reduce the liquid by half before adding the cream.
Turn to a simmer and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the Gorgonzola and stir until it has all melted.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pan of salted boiling water. It should take about 8 minutes for linguine to cook to an al-dente stage. Drain well, reserving a teacup of the cooking water.
Add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce along with the reserved water, and mix well. Cook for a further minute before dividing between four warmed bowls and sprinkling with grated Parmesan cheese.