I did something I've never done before tonight, and I still feel vaguely guilty about it. Even if it's patently ridiculous and I should have always been doing it this way for years - I used a mix master to make meringue.
I've always found a lot of masochistic pleasure in beating eggwhites to soft and then hard peaks by hand, waiting for them to gloss and shine as my wrist threatens to snap from the effort. The first time I ever made lemon meringue pie for Bingley I actually whipped the whites with a fork, literally taking half an hour to get to soft peaks and being almost in tears at the effort and wondering if my secret recipe beautiful lemony curd would taste good enough on its own, but being ridiculously stubborn and whipping those whites until my wrist burned. The resultant meringue was slightly chewy, but beautiful with effort.
Tonight, I had 3 egg whites left over from making dinner and 20 minutes before masterchef meant I didn't feel up to making a cake or souffle or mousse. So I went with the easiest thing I could think of, and cheating with the mixmaster just made it even simpler. 4 ingredients (2 less than a teaspoon) and the glossiest, shiniest, silkiest meringue appeared within minutes. I couldn't decide whether to make individual piped chewy centred meringues or a full pavlova which I've never attempted before.
I still hadn't decided as I spooned the first satiny mouthful onto the baking paper and watched entranced as it formed a perfect circle, adding more until it spread into a perfect 30cm circle, smooth and glossy on top like a macaron. And I've sat in front of the oven for 20 minutes now watching it rise slightly, watched the shell form light and airy without cracking.
And it's only now as I leave it to cool in the oven that I realise that I have absolutely nothing to serve it with, and no real inclination to eat pavlova on a Tuesday night. But I enjoyed making it so much. I miss standing in my kitchen and mixing with mathematical precision while creating with flavours and spices. There's nothing very exciting about pavlova, but watching it form from the clear stringy egg whites was magic.
I miss being at home and doing the things I used to love.