So, apparently the other day I had a barbecue with some ghosts.

Whenever we break out the barbecue, I tend to turn to middle eastern foods – not really surprising, given that it’s pretty much the go-to region for grilled meats and grilled meat accompaniments. We’ll usually have merguez sausages, delicious, skinny wands of lamb, either the spicy or less spicy version from the brusque guy behind the meat counter at the Maroc deli. Then houmous, of course, some kind of aubergine salad, maybe even more lamb in the form of koftas or a marinated shoulder. I’m usually lukewarm about lamb, but barbecued I love it.

So on this Sunday we had all the usual barbecue components, plus a box of crushed up meringue I’d rescued from work and planned to turn into Eton Mess. And then I wondered what would happen if I continued the Arabesque theme into dessert, adding a little bit of orange blossom water, some honey, and mixing the cream half and half with yoghurt. Meringue isn’t very middle eastern, whichever way you look at it, but I figured that in lots of countries they put gum mastic in their ice-creams, which gives a sort of chewy texture perhaps not a million miles away from the inside of a homemade meringue. I might be stretching it a bit now. Anyway, I think it worked – one of the guests had brought along the M&S orange and passionfruit meringue pie, which is Very Good, and we had some of that left. But the Marrakech mess (I think Nigella, who I think of as the queen of naff food names, would be proud) was all gone.

Marrakech mess

Serves 6, with seconds

1 big punnet strawberries
2 tbsp honey, or to taste
2 tsp orange flower water
250ml double cream
500g pot thick, full-fat yoghurt, e.g. Total Greek
6-8 big meringues, preferably homemade
rosewater, to taste

Hull and quarter the strawberries and mix them with the honey and orange flower water. You may need more or less honey, depending on how sweet your strawberries are (I had the disappointing kind that look big and juicy and ripe but make your mouth pucker when you bite into them.)

Whip the cream to soft peaks. It should more or less double in size. By the time you’ve done this, the strawberries should have started to exude some juices. Stir the softly whipped cream and yoghurt into the strawberries.

Crush up the meringues roughly if they’re not already broken, and fold them into the strawberry mix. I like quite a meringue-heavy mess, so adjust if you don’t.

Stir in a tsp or so of rosewater. This will give it a more pronounced sort of exotic flavour, but you can always leave it out if you don’t like the flowery stuff.

Advertisements