For Fanny, Children's Cookery had to have all the excitement and colour found in the great classical writings (we can presume she means her own here), but with added WHY's and HOW's for the young fans. She believed in 'safety first' to protect the smallest readers from any chance mishaps. Especially for garnish. Fanny recognised that young cooks loved to arrange and decorate, so she made sure that she provided stimulating ideas with 'only simple, inexpensive, edible trimmings' to be used by small chefs.
The weekly partwork always had something for the 'small fry' to try. They didn't often make a great deal of sense, but it was Fannys attempt to inspire. Who wouldn't be inspired by chocolate mice nibbling cheese? These little mischiefs are made from meringues, one of Fannys starter recipes, so perfect for wee ones. Once whisked up, they simply need to be shaped 'like mice' by doming them between two oiled dessertspoons and dried out in a low oven. Fanny's Top Tip - Try to make sure they are flat bottomed, broad in the behind and narrow to the nose. Easier said than done, for beginners. As she is keeping it simple for the children, she refrains from saying 'quenelle' but that's what she means.
With safety first in mind, Fanny suggests melting the chocolate to coat them by taking a packet of chocolate chips, plonking them in a bowl and whacking it on the bottom of the low oven until a wooden spoon can make them a bit squidgy. Then, beat them 'very hard' until they are smooth. Just as well to introduce the super keen young ones to Fannys favourite techniques at an early age. I opt for both milk and white chocolate chips, just to be fancy. The cooked meringues are them 'wiggled' in the chocolate and their 'overcoats' left to dry on greaseproof paper.
To complete the illusion of mice, small slivers of almond are added for ears, and I've added sugar balls for eyes. Fanny is always one for realism though - so mice must have tails. She suggests cutting small lengths of string, dipping them in the melted chocolate and attaching them. So bang goes the 'safety first' message. How many poor wee inspired souls choked on the string tails I wonder? Fanny justifies this veering from the rules by pointing out that Sugar Mice you buy in shops have string tails, so that's OK then. Authenticity. To delight the little ones' parents to the point of no return, the completed mice should be displayed a top a large chunk of big holed Emmental Cheese. Fanny warns us not to be fooled by our sneaky cheesemonger keen to sell us the more expensive and smaller holed Gruyère. I say set the chocolate mice on him should he try...
I'm entering this into the new challenge linky thing from Belleau Kitchen, Simply Eggcellent, which celebrates all things eggs, check out all the other ideas so far!