First up, rhubarb champagne; something that oldies and even tots can enjoy, and if something stronger is needed, it's easy to add a dash of imagination to individual glasses.It's pink, fizzy, and looks expensive if served in an appropriate glass.
Rhubarb is in season at the moment, so it's a great opportunity to make some ahead of time. I was just a wee bit worried that it's still a bit cool for the fermentation to happen within my time frame, but I needn't have worried - I just helped it along a little by putting it the linen cupboard with the hot water cylinder, and sure enough - 3 days fermenting with natural yeasts from the rhubarb and lemon, then strained and bottled, back for another 3 days and voila!
I've also been working on a very simple but great tasting entree of stuffed mushrooms en croute, then the main course will be a marinated sliced salmon dish and a spreadeagled chicken, both with a nod to Asian flavours, and some lovely salads and veg, of course. The dessert will be really, really simple; two different 'good time meringues' served with lots of fresh berries (all reds, black, purples and pink from watermelon balls) and softly whipped cream or creme fraiche.
A friend made some meringues with melted chococlate swirled through last summer, and I always meant to ask her for the recipe. However, I figured they can't be too difficult and they weren't; I just used my faithful old meringue recipe from 25 years ago, melted some chocolate and swirled it through at the last minute, then baked the meringues a bit longer than usual. They were scrumptious; I'm always a sucker for meringues, especially when they're crisp outside and marshmallow inside.
My lovely editor came up with the idea of teaming them with pink meringues, flavoured with a little rosewater and dried strawberries. I have to say, they were nice too, although the photo shows them before cooking. I wasn't too keen on using pink food colouring so on my first try I used freeze dried plum powder. Unfortunately the colour faded with cooking, though, so food colouring it will have to be. . .