A few days ago Arabella received a text message from a school friend of hers and this is what the message said:
“Dad was catching a bus and he told me of a young man who was on his bus and wearing Ray Bans just like the ones he has. He said he looked a lot like Leonardo di Caprio and was serenading people on the bus with his guitar and good voice. Dad said he was very ‘James Dean’. Does Archie catch buses?”
Hmmm. Archie wears Ray Bans. He also has a guitar.
Apparently this ‘serenading’ took place a week or so ago. Nothing had been said to me.
I had a chat to Archie.
He said, ‘Oh yeah. That was me. So someone we know was on the bus? That’s hilarious’. He said he was on the bus and had his guitar with him. An old lady came up to him and pointed to his guitar case and in an abrupt sort of a way asked, ‘What’s that?’
‘A guitar’, he said.
‘Well can you play it?’
‘Yes’, said Archie.
‘Well can you play it well?’
‘Well, I guess so’.
‘Well sing us a song then.’
Everyone on the bus had been listening in to this conversation and laughing at the old lady’s demanding tone and so Archie stood up and said, ‘Does anyone want to hear a song?’ And they all said they did.
Archie said, ‘Well how does everyone feel about a Jack Johnson cover?’ And as they all wanted to hear a song, any song would have done and so there was a resounding, ‘Yes’.
Archie sang ‘Taylor’ and received great applause.
The old lady said, ‘That’s bloody great’. Someone up the back then yelled out, ‘Encore’, so Archie sang ‘Wagon Wheel’ by Old Crow Medicine Show.
Everyone clapped but alas, the bus had reached Archie’s stop so he packed up his guitar and headed for exit. The old lady said, ‘Thanks a lot. That was brilliant. You’re very good’. The bus driver said, ‘Thanks mate, that made my day a lot more interesting’.
And Archie alighted the bus and carried his guitar home and said nothing. The only reason we know anything about this impromptu performance is because a friend of Arabella’s had her father on that bus and he came home and relayed the story. The friend thought, ‘that sounds like it could be Archie’.
Archie’s just come home from a weekend away. He walked through the door yelling out, ‘I’m back and something smells great. What are you cooking?
Archie was in luck because I had just pulled from the oven these chocolate meringues that I filled with vanilla cream and macerated berries.
Degree of Difficulty: 3/5
Cost: I only needed to buy berries and cream as meringues require few ingredients. Very inexpensive for a great effect.
- 4 eggwhites
- 1 1/4 cups castor sugar
- 2 tbspns cocoa
- 50gms dark chocolate, grated
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 punnet strawberries, washed and hulled and halved
- 1 punnet blueberries
- 1 tbspn caster sugar, extra
Preheat oven to 130C.
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and using a pencil draw 8 x 9cm circles onto the paper. Turn the paper over.
In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites until stiff. Add sugar 1 tbspns at a time, mixing well to make sure sugar is dissolved before adding another spoonful. Continue beating until meringue is thick and glossy. Add cocoa and grated chocolate. Turn off beaters as soon as cocoa and chocolate is incorporated.
Spoon meringue onto circles.
Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave in oven with door closed for another hour.
Whip cream with vanilla extract until soft peaks form.
Place berries in a bowl and sprinkle with extra sugar. Set aside for 15 minutes.
To assemble, place on meringue disc on a plate and top with cream. Top with berries. Place another meringue disc on top. Add more cream and finish with berries.
This recipe has been loosely adapted from Berry Chocolate Meringues on Taste.