Halloween Ghost Meringues

Halloween is tomorrow and this year I'm off to a party. 

Instead of thinking about my costume, I thought about what sweet treats would be great to make and take along. That's when I remembered seeing some cute Ghost meringues on the Meringue Girls Instagram last week and thought it would be fun to make them.

These girls are great and, their meringues are divine. Move over cupcakes as these are the best sweet treat right now!

You will need:
Piping bags - Lakeland disposable ones are great
200g caster sugar 
100g free-range egg whites (3-4 eggs). 
*I used Two Chicks liquid egg whites which is what the Meringue Girls use*
Halloween Ghost Meringues by What Laura did Next
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Line a small, deep tray with baking parchment, pour in the caster sugar and heat it in the oven until the sugar is just beginning to melt at the edges. Heating the sugar helps to create a glossy, stable mixture. 
Halloween Ghost Meringues by What Laura did Next
Halloween Ghost Meringues by What Laura did Next

Pour the egg whites into a mixer and whisk them slowly, allowing small stabilising bubbles to form, then increase the speed until the egg whites form stiff peaks.

Take the sugar out of the oven. With your mixer on full speed, slowly spoon the hot sugar into the beaten egg whites, making sure the mixture comes back up to stiff peaks after each addition of sugar. 
Once you have added all the sugar, continue to whisk on full speed for five to seven minutes.

Feel a bit of the mixture between your fingers; if you can still feel the gritty sugar, keep whisking at full speed until it has dissolved and the mixture is smooth, stiff and glossy.

*IMPORTANT - at this point, turn your oven down to 100C*

Next, grab a tall drinking glass and place your piping bag inside it - this will help you spoon the meringue mixture into it without any mess. Half fill the bag with mixture and cut the tip of the bag off.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. To get the 'Ghost' shape, you need to swirl the meringue mixture.
Halloween Ghost Meringues by What Laura did Next
Halloween Ghost Meringues by What Laura did Next
Then, pop them in the oven for an hour until they're set and lift easily off of the baking tray.
Halloween Ghost Meringues by What Laura did Next
When they've cooled, get some black food colouring and a brush, and draw eyes and a mouth on each one. So you end up with something like this:
Halloween Ghost Meringues by What Laura did Next
Easy, peasy and so yummy with a cup of tea!


Parsnip crisps

This is the easiest recipe you will come across and, it's quite healthy as well.

All you need is a couple of Parsnips, Sunflower Oil and some salt.
Parsnip crisps by What Laura did Next
Heat a large glug of the sunflower oil in a saucepan. Whilst this is heating up, peel your Parsnips.
Get rid of the skins. You just want the white bits.
Parsnip crisps by What Laura did Next
Once the oil is hot enough (you need it REALLY hot) place a small handful of the peelings into the pan. They should start sizzling immediately.

Leave them in there for a few minutes, or until they are crisp and golden.
Parsnip crisps by What Laura did Next
Parsnip crisps by What Laura did Next
Place some kitchen towel on the chopping board and with a slotted spoon, scoop the parsnips out of the oil and onto the board. Leave to cool.

Keep chucking the peelings into the oil until you don't have anymore.

Once they've cooled down, place them in a sandwich bag with a pinch or two of salt and shake it like a polaroid picture.
Parsnip crisps by What Laura did Next
Then, pile them into a bowl and snack away! 

A perfect snack for sitting out the storm - they'll be gone in minutes.
Parsnip crisps by What Laura did Next



Smoked Haddock and Prawn Chowder

Smoked Haddock and Prawn Chowder by What Laura did Next
I'm currently tucked up in the flat with the dreaded lurgy which, gives me the perfect excuse to research lot's of yummy, comforting recipes ready for the Winter months. 

For me soups and chowders are one of the most comforting dinners - they're filling and, if you make enough they're great for lunch the next day. 

I've only ever had Chowder when eating out but I thought I would give it a try at home and as it turns out, it's really easy. 

Ingredients (serves 4)
25g butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Leeks
600ml milk
300ml fish stock made with 1 Fish Stock cube
handful of new potatoes, chopped into cubes
450g traditionally smoked haddock fillet, skinned
225g cooked and peeled prawns
Lemon juice, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the butter in a large heavy pan. Add the onion and cook gently for 10 minutes until soft. Add the milk and stock and bring gently to simmering point.
Smoked Haddock and Prawn Chowder by What Laura did Next
Smoked Haddock and Prawn Chowder by What Laura did Next
Add the potatoes and simmer for 8-10 minutes until they are soft. Take care not to boil or the milk may curdle.

Cut the haddock into bite-sized pieces and add to the pan. Cook very gently for 6 minutes, then add the prawns, lemon juice and pepper.
Smoked Haddock and Prawn Chowder by What Laura did Next
Smoked Haddock and Prawn Chowder by What Laura did Next
Cook for a further 2 minutes then serve. If you have any fresh, crusty bread with a smidge of butter use that to mop up the dregs at the bottom of your bowl.
Smoked Haddock and Prawn Chowder by What Laura did Next
Although it may not look very appetising, I promise it's delicious!