Hazelnut Meringue

DessertServes 6

# Butter and flour the sides of the 2 size 8 sandwich tins and line the bottoms with a disc of baking parchment. # Set the oven at 375°F/190°C/Gas Mark 5. # Whisk the egg whites until stiff with a rotary or electric beater, add the sugar 1tbsp at a time and continue beating until the mixture is very stiff and stands in peaks. # Lightly whisk in the vanilla essence and vinegar, then fold in the prepared hazelnuts. # Divide the mixture between the 2 prepared tins and smooth the top with a palette knife. # Bake for approx 30-40 minutes but no longer at 375°F/190°C/Gas Mark 5. The top of meringue should be crisp but the underside soft and gooey. # Turn out on wire racks to cool. The meringue can be made the day before using, which gives it time to set and makes it easier to cut into portions without breaking up. # Fill them about 3 hours before eating. # To fill, whisk the cream until fairly stiff, sweeten with a little extra sugar and vanilla and use about 2/3 to fill the meringue. # Cover the cream layer with the raspberries and then the second meringue. # Decorate the top with the rest of cream and dust with icing sugar.

To make the melba sauce:

# Pick over the raspberries and rub through a nylon strainer, then beat in the icing sugar, 1tbsp at a time. Frozen raspberries can be used, but thaw them out first in the fridge. # Serve the sauce separately. # The sauce is also delicious served with ice cream or to make a peach melba.


# The best way to brown hazelnuts evenly is to bake them in a really hot oven for 5-6 minutes. (Watch carefully as they scorch easily). # Turn onto a clean tea towel or oven cloth. Rub briskly in the cloth to remove dry skins. Chop very finely or blend in a mixer.

Roasted Asparagus with Hazelnut Dressing

Side dishServes 4

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 5. Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and place in the oven to toast for about 10 mins. Remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 220ºC/gas mark 7, ready for the asparagus. Place the nuts in a clean tea towel, fold the towel over and rub so that the skins come away from the nuts. Next, coarsely chop or lightly blitz the nuts in a food processor and keep to one side. To make the dressing, place the nut oil, half the olive oil and the vinegar in a small bowl add salt and pepper to season. Whisk until combined and set to one side. Place the asparagus spears on a baking tray and toss with the remaining olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for about 12 mins, until they are just lightly browning and tender. If the spears are small they will take less time to cook, so keep an eye on them. Transfer the asparagus to a warm serving dish and drizzle over the dressing, then sprinkle over the hazelnuts and serve.