I don't know about you, but I get such a buzz when a writer includes food of some description in her book, film or TV series. From tempting shortbread dunked in cocoa in Sally by Freya North, to brightly coloured cupcakes in Sex and The City, and that amazing chocolate cake in It's Complicated. I know I can't be the only one looking at Monica's kitchen table to scope out what's on there? Yep, they're drinking fresh orange juice for breakfast – I think I'll have that tomorrow. I'm steering clear of the trifle with minced beef though. Apparently it tastes like feet.
Not only am I curious about what a character is eating or drinking but I love that it tells me something more about them. It adds another layer – through taste.
Then, of course, it inspires me to switch on the oven and grab the mixer.
So, every week I'm going to be sharing with you what has made my tastebuds tingle from something I've read or watched.
And, oh!, we have just got to start this series with Bridget Jones's Diary. After all, this is the book credited with starting the entire chick lit phenomenon. Bridget has provided entertainment for many a year, along with her friends Shazzer, Jude and Tom.
When Bridge gets together with her friends it is always a celebration. A chance to catch up, bash the current man in their lives and put the whole world to rights. All whilst eating and drinking something rather tasty. On Friday 12 May the men being bashed, metaphorically, was Vile Richard and Daniel Cleaver. Bridget was thoroughly renjoying herself, fag in hand, slurping Pinot Grigio, listening and agreeing loudly and with forcefulness to one of Sharon's rants. The food to accompany this 'delicious night of feminist ranting with Sharon and Jude' was not a family sized bag of kettle crisps. It was celebratory food, from M&S no less – hummus and mini pittas, smoked salmon, mini-pizzas.
And a raspberry pavlova.
Bridget's friends are important to her. This is reflected in the delicious, and not inexpensive, food they have chosen.
RASPBERRY PAVLOVA RECIPE
For the pavlova base
6 egg whites
300g white caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
For the topping
300g raspberries (you can also add strawberries if in season)
2 tsp icing sugar
142ml pot double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from vanilla pod
Baking tray covered in baking parchment with a dinner plate circle drawn on. Electric mixer.
- Heat oven to 220c/200c fan.
- Whisk the egg whites with an electric mix until very stiff.
- Keep the mixer going and gradually pour in the sugar.
- Once it is glossy, thick and forms stiff peaks, add the vanilla, cornflour and vinegar.(Make sure it goes stiff again after the addition of the vinegar.)
- Turn out onto the baking tray and form into the circle you've drawn, making a slight dip in the middle.
- Place in oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 150c/130c fan.
- Bake for 1 hour.
- Switch oven off but leave in the oven until cool as long as possible. You could even leave it there overnight.
- Take a few of the raspberries in a bowl and mash until smooth.
- Push the mashed raspberries through a sieve to remove the seeds. Mix in one tablespoon of the icing sugar.
- When the meringue has cooled whisk the cream with the remaining icing sugar and vanilla until thick and smooth.
- Spread the cream thickly over the meringue, tumble the raspberries onto the cream and finish by drizzling over the raspberry sauce.