In 1994 I bought a jumper. I was a medical student in Birmingham and the jumper came from a shop called Paco. It was a remarkable jumper. Bright, pure and brilliant colours zig-zagged and interwoven together. I loved my Paco jumper. You couldn’t help but smile, bounce and bubble whilst wearing it.
Not quite the same but it looked something like this!
I wore my jumper everywhere and it filled me with happiness. I was the real me in that jumper. It was the perfect outfit.
Then came my friend Tabitha’s 21st Birthday party. It was a fancy dress party with everyone asked to attend dressed as something beginning with the letter T. My friend Martin decided he would appear as me. My cruel and evil house-mates allowed him access to my jumper draw. My trademark Paco jumper was stolen and formed part of his Tim costume. Martin combined the jumper with a pair of big fake glasses with ‘hilarious’ big comedy eye balls on springs. I arrived at the party to see him dancing wildly, drunk and enthusiastically. He was a blur of primary colours, springy eyes and laughter. It was shocking – the jumper looked ridiculous. What had I been thinking? I was crushed. I never wore the jumper again.
I’m drawn to marshmallows for the same reason I bought that jumper. They are bright, jolly and precise. The perfect bouncy cubes make me laugh. They are both ridiculous and refined.
In the same way macarons can carry a vast array of flavours, colours and textures, I think marshmallows are ripe for the sort of development seen in macaronworld.
I started off making a blackcurrant and violet marshmallow, it’s a flavour combination I use in one of our macarons. Since then I’ve moved onto Limoncello flavours and recently a layered dark chocolate, brandy and orange bitters mallow.
For my most recent recipe I drew on a classic flavour mix and Twitter.
I love the Pierre Herme classic Ispahan flavour. It combines Lychee, Raspberry and Rose. The universe is full of sound flavour combinations but this ridiculously fragrant, fruity and exquisite congress is one of those sensations that inspires greatness. Try an ispahan flavoured macaron and you’ll feel like building a grand temple for a loved one, leading an army into battle or maybe opening a garden centre just to sell roses.
The idea to create an Ispahan marshmallow came out a Twitter conversation with MiMi @meemalee and Ceri @bakescrumptious about alcohol flavoured marshmallows. The moment I was made aware of a lychee flavoured liqueur called Kwai Feh, I was reaching for the laptop to order some, alongside Chambord (Raspberry) and a Rose liqueur.
The recipe I use combines whisked pasteurised egg whites with a hot sugar and glucose syrup heated to 130C. A ridiculous quantity of gelatine is softened in water and then melted in a pan with the liqueur. This mixture is then whisk into the meringue mixture. I added a little natural colouring to each layer to heighten the flavour sensations.
I’ll try these out and about at markets and shops over the next few weeks to see how well they go down. If they are warmly received I may add to our range. They are a little bit of a fiddle to make and I’m all about the streamlined efficient kitchen these days. Or maybe that’s just an excuse. Maybe I’m just a little bit scared that it’s bright coloured charms will betray me. Betray me and leave me like Martin and my jumper did…