Life throws many things at you but none more life-changing and complex than the loss of your own mother. Maman left us on 14th March. She was tough, yet caring and tender. She was loyal, loving, beautiful and stylish. She was shy, yet outspoken when she thought there was injustice. A perfectionist, she achieved much, yet never really believed she did. She is missed. So much. Loved. More than words could ever express.
The journey continues and every day I discover a little more of the legacy she has left behind. She is like sand. She is everywhere. In my personality, in my love of food, in my determination when I run, in the decisions I take, in the things I appreciate, in the books I read, in the songs I hear, in my thoughts always. This is only goodbye. She lives on through my brother and I, and in the memories of all the people whose lives she touched.
This is the last recipe we made together as a family. The result was deliciously delicate and good-looking. Style and substance.
Slightly adapted from In the Mood for Entertaining by Jo Pratt
100g shelled unsalted pistachios
175g icing sugar
2 free-range egg whites
4 tablespoons good-quality raspberry jam
2 tablespoons organic clotted cream
You will also need a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle and a couple of baking trays lined with non-stick parchment paper and lightly brushed with oil.
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3/170ºC/fan 150ºC.
Place all but about 15g of the pistachios in a food processor, sift in half of the icing sugar and blitz to fine crumbs. The rest of the pistachios can be chopped fairly finely and kept to one side.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Sieve in the remaining icing sugar and continue to whisk until the meringue becomes glossy. A minute should be fine.
Using a large metal spoon, fold the ground pistachios into the meringue with a few drops of green food colouring, if you are using it.
Spoon into the piping bag and pipe twenty-four round blobs (about 4cm in diameter) on to a lined baking tray, leaving a small space between each. Add a little sprinkling of pistachios on top of half of the meringues. Now leave to stand for about 10 minutes to allow a ‘skin’ to form on top and prevent them from spreading too much in the oven.
Place in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes (watch them carefully as all ovens differ), or until they are firm but not coloured. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
When cold, sandwich the macaroons in pairs with a little raspberry jam on one side and clotted cream on the other, making sure each pair has a pistachio-sprinkled top. Serve in little cake cases or on a plate. They will keep for a day or two once made.