Recently I’ve been consuming an inordinate amount of sugar. On the plus side, this surfeit of sweetness, for the most part, is virtual. Well written cookery books, and I purposely make this distinction, should display a health warning. A clear definition of what is well written as a cookery book must be purely subjective so I won’t bother with it any further; suffice it to say that on this disappointingly chilly spring morning I was to be found warming myself before a roaring fire and reading one such book. When engrossed in good food writing I become miraculously aware of each and every ingredient in our store cupboards and their exact geographical location within those confines. However, was I to be actively engaged in cooking in that same kitchen, this clairvoyance ceases to operate. Critical ingredients hide themselves in the shadowy recesses at the back of shelves and packets that I remembered as full are empty or were never bought in the first place. So, when I encountered what was a tooth achingly sexy recipe and could clearly see in my mind’s eye all of the ingredients taking a curtain call in my cerebral proscenium arch, it was but a moments work to root out their physical counterparts from their resting places and get on with making what Nigel Slater calls a “heavenly parfait of orange and lemon”……by the way, the book was “Kitchen Diaries II” by him. The hook, together with line and sinker, for which I fell was the suggestion of crumbling homemade meringues into thick cream and adding dollops of lemon curd together with orange zest.
As you can clearly see, virtual sugar has been left a long way behind. We have entered into a world which, according to the multitude of health gurus, is several steps past heroin fuelled, drunken prostitution…..so, a pretty exciting spot which has the added advantage of there being no health gurus in the hood. The hidden beauty of this recipe is the ease with which it is made, should you happen to have about your person a box of unwanted home made meringues and some very tart Creme de Citron ( a rather sexy French version of lemon curd)…but the success of this parfait relies on a light touch. You need to retain chunky pieces of meringue together with thick streaks of lemon curd. The prepared mix is spooned into a lined container and covered with cling film. Freeze the parfait for around 4 hours….the parfait will happily remain frozen for several days, but take it out of the freezer about 30 minutes before serving.