Now that the worst of the summer heatwave seems to be subsiding here in Rome, life is improving. I might actually cook something soon, after weeks of proscuitto e melone, caprese salad, Greek salad, anything that did not require cooking. What I have been enjoying are the articles in the Rome news about the heatwave. Like this: Il criminologo e gli effetti del caldo, where a criminologist advised us to avoid places with many people, as the aggressive tendencies increase with rising temperatures. Of particular interest were the dietary recommendations for a heatwave, in another article. Eat fruit and veg, of course, avoid mayonnaise, but drink warm or tepid beverages rather than iced drinks, as iced drinks may create alterations of the mucus of the stomach. I daringly continue to drink iced tea and iced coffee, wondering what havoc I may be causing internally.
We had a few days by the sea, at Isola del Giglio in Tuscany, sharing a holiday flat with friends again, with a limited but OK holiday kitchen. One person was allergic to eggs, to I thought this was the perfect time to make vegan meringues with chickpea brine (also called aquafaba, trendy this summer). I have been reading about them, and optimistically packed my hand mixer to try. Indeed, the chickpea brine and sugar whisked up amazingly!
The chickpeas themselves we heated with some raw-el-hanout spice mix and olive oil, and sprinkled over a green salad.
Liquid from one 15-ounce can of chickpeas
3/4 heaping cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (to take the chickpea taste off)
Whisk until airy and stiff, bake at 250C on baking parchment. All fine so far. Unfortunately I had forgotten how unforgiving the holiday oven was: open gas flames, licking at the tray from below, which soon scorched the meringues. Still edible: we salvaged these not entirely black on the base, and served them as a do-it-yourself summer dessert: halves of fresh apricots, with cold vanilla yoghurt spooned over, and caramelised vegan meringue shards crumbled over the top.
Definitely to be tried again, maybe next time with more sugar and longer whisking, and an oven with more all-over heat. This should be possible to conquer, and I love the idea of an egg-free pavlova.