Meringue Easter Nests

Post by Giulia Doyle of Audrey’s

Meringue Easter Nests

I wanted to create something really cute and precious for Easter. I was thinking of something whimsical in pastel colors, something sweet, but not a cupcake. I’m not sure why, but that’s where my mind was taking me. I had seen these Martha Stewart Meringue nests, which were cute; but then Sweetapolita upped the ante by coloring her nests blue. I wanted to make my nests pink at first, but realized that I didn’t have any red food coloring left – so blue it was. I kept them simple by adding a couple of chocolate eggs in beautiful pastel colors. This way they make an instant Easter treat and are easy to hand over as a gift as well.

Meringue Easter Nests - Making MeringueWhile meringue is not hard to make, it does take time. So make sure you’ve got a couple of hours at home. Once you have the nests, your options are limitless. Fill them with candy like I did above, add some butter-cream like Rosie did, add fruit like Martha did, fill them with melted chocolate or make some lemon curd with the left-over egg yolks. I made this lemon curd and filled a couple of nests. It makes for a nice flavor combination, but they do get messy with all that sticky sweetness.

Meringue Easter Nests - Adding Candy

You can also store your meringue nests in an air tight container for a couple of days, just make sure you don’t crush them as they are quite fragile. The perfect bit of pastel whimsy just in time for Easter. And yes, we did give most of them as gifts, because there’s only so much sweetness I want to keep in our house.

Meringue Easter Nests with Lemon Curd

Meringue Easter Nests – adapted from Sweetapolita and Martha Stewart

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: Approximately 14 three inch nests

Ingredients

  • 5 egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 cup superfine (caster) sugar or regular sugar
  • Drop of food colour or food gel colour of choice

Instructions

  1. Line two baking sheets or one large baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to lowest temperature (for my oven this is 175°F).
  2. Separate your eggs (best done when cold) and add the 5 egg whites into a clean metal mixing bowl. If you get any yolk into the mixing bowl, remove all contents and begin again. Leave bowl on counter until they come to room temperature.
  3. Once egg whites are room temperature (warm is best), place bowl back on mixer and fit with whisk attachment. Mix on low speed until egg whites become frothy, about 2 minutes, and add cream of tartar.
  4. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gradually add all of the sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. You should be able to hold the bowl upside down over your head with no meringue falling out. Add food colour and beat until combined.
  5. Fit a large pastry bag with a large tip and pipe approximately 3-inch circles, working from the middle outwards, followed by two full rings atop one another around the perimeter of the nest. Pipe 14 nests placing a few inches apart.
  6. Bake in oven until completely dry and crisp, but not browned, about 90 minutes (this can take much longer, depending on your environment). Nests should lift from parchment with ease. Turn off oven and leave nests inside until oven has cooled, then remove nests from oven.

Notes

If you don’t want to pipe your nests, you can spoon the meringue on to the parchment and use a spoon to create a small indentation. This will create more organic looking nests.

Post by Giulia Doyle of Audrey’s

Nectarine and Blueberry Millefeuille

1

Aren’t these pretty? I’ve been eating my share of nectarines this year – at least one a day, usually with a paper towel or napkin next to me to catch the drips. While eating my allotment of fresh fruit, I was thinking about a fancier way to present these lovelies – something that looks impressive, but is easy to make. Puff pastry fits that description – it’s easy to use, versatile and looks impressive. Add a little vanilla whipped cream and a couple of blueberries for colour (and antioxidants) and you’re done.

2

I use frozen puff pastry – I’ve never attempted to make the pastry from scratch. Having a couple of rolls in the freezer has made many fast meals possible. I’m also using the term ‘millefeuille‘ with creative freedom here. While there are three layers of puff pastry, and there are variations with whipped cream – this version doesn’t include icing and has fruit, which I think makes it prettier.

Nectarine and Blueberry Millefeuille

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 nectarine, sliced thinly
  • A few blueberries
  • icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Cut puff pastry into rectangles on parchment – about 3×2 inches
  3. Transfer pastry on parchment to cookie sheet and cover with another piece of parchment. Cover second parchment with another cookie sheet to weigh down puff pastry while baking
  4. Bake about 12-15 minutes until edges are golden.
  5. While pastry is baking, whip cream with sugar and vanilla. Whip by hand for fluffier texture.
  6. Once pastry has finished baking, remove top cookie sheet and parchment and let cool completely.
  7. Assemble dessert by starting with one pastry base, dust with some icing sugar, add a dollop of cream, some blueberries and 2-3 slices of nectarines. Add a second piece of pastry, push down gently, repeat sugar, whipped cream and fruit layer. Cover with last piece of pastry, whipped cream and decorate with final fruit. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar right before serving.

Notes

Make sure to weigh down your pastry while baking or it will puff too much and you won't be able to stack it.

3

 
Post by Giulia Doyle : Audrey's

Watermelon & Tomato Salad

At Nod, we believe your home should be a celebration of family. We'll be featuring our Managing Director, Michelle, at home celebrating her own family with recipes, crafts and décor created by our friend Sweet Paul

I love to have a simple yet interesting go-to summer salad recipe each year.  This year I’m thrilled by the combination of herbaceous fresh tomatoes coupled with supremely sweet watermelon.  The simple dressing of lemon juice and oil brightens everything up into a salad that sings!  Bring it to your next potluck barbecue and I’m SURE you’ll be going home with an empty bowl!

LoN_VgtblDtl-0492 (2)

Serves 4

1/4 watermelon
24 red and yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half
4 cups watercress
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper

1. Use a melon baller and make a bunch of watermelon balls.
2. Place them in a bowl with the tomatoes and watercress. 
3. In a small bowl mix together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. 
4. Pour the dressing over the salad, mix and serve.

By Paul Lowe:

When it comes to making simple crafts or elegant meals, Paul Lowe is the man to call. His blog, Sweet Paul has now spun into a successful magazine, providing tons of useful design tips. 

Eggs and Smoked Salmon Toasts

Audreys-Egg-and-Smoked-Salmon

We seem to only eat eggs on the weekend. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t make eggs more often during the week. They are fast and keep you going. But weekday mornings are just crazy – between the kids not wanting to eat breakfast or get dressed, lunches and book bags to pack – I’m lucky if we get out the door on time with something in our bellies. The eggs would just be ignored and that would be sad. So I save them for the weekend, when we’re not in a hurry and can enjoy a breakfast when our bellies are ready for it. Most weekends that would be an hour later than during the week.

This time we added some smoked salmon. It gives the meal a beautiful colour and satisfying salty flavour – adding my usual cream cheese to the bread makes these eggs perfect for breakfast, brunch or a light lunch.

Audreys-Eggs-and-Smoked-Salmon

Audreys-Egg-and-Smoked-Salmon-3 (1)

Eggs and Smoked Salmon on Toast

Ingredients

  • Fresh whole wheat crusty bread
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Cream Cheese
  • Chives or Dill
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut your fresh bread into slices. If the bread is a day or so old, toast the slices.
  2. Scramble your eggs in a hot pan and finish off with a splash of milk.
  3. Fold small pieces of smoked salmon into the hot eggs.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Spread a small amount of cream cheese on each piece of bread, top with egg/salmon mixture and garnish with chives or dill.
  6. Serve warm.

Post by Giulia Doyle : Audrey's