Q Every time I make meringue, it either cracks or collapses. What am I doing wrong?
A Making perfect meringue is tricky and requires a lot of practice. Here are a few tips that should help you get it right.
First, avoid making meringues on humid or wet days because the sugar in the egg white mixture tends to absorb moisture from the air, which causes the meringue to weep, crack or collapse.
Second, ensure eggs are at room temperature. It’s not just easier to whisk them but they also tend to hold more air, compared to cold eggs.
Third, be careful while separating the egg whites and yolks. Even a small speck of yolk in the white can cause the whisked white to deflate. Separate each egg in separate bowls before transferring the whites into the mixing bowl. This way you will not spoil the whole batch of egg whites if a dot of yolk lands in it.
Fourth, don’t use plastic bowls to make meringue as they tend to retain fat residue from previous uses. This fat could stop air from getting incorporated into the egg whites. Instead, use a clean and dry metal, ceramic or glass bowl.
Q Please share a recipe of stuffed tomatoes, preferably vegetarian.
A Stuffed tomatoes are delicious. Here’s an easy vegetarian recipe.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Slice off the tops of 8 ripe but firm beef tomatoes and reserve. Scoop out the flesh and seeds carefully, and place the tomato shells cut side down in a roasting pan. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and roast for five minutes.
Chop 2 shallots and 200g button mushrooms. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan over medium. Sauté shallots for two minutes, then add mushrooms and sauté until tender. Add 6 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs and 35g grated Parmesan. Stir well and remove. Mix in 1 tbsp oregano and fill the roasted tomatoes with stuffing. Cover with reserved tops and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes. Drizzle with oil, season and serve warm.