Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pavlova and a Night With the Whanau

In full glory

After many many years and acrimony between New Zealand and Australia it has finally been proven that WE invented pavlova!! Sorry Aussies but sometimes you just have to give it up...especially when you have already tried to steal some of our greatest assets like Phar Lap, Russell Crowe (hmmm do we really want him though...), Split Ends/Crowded House and list goes on. Pavlova, however, truly and rightly belongs to us....according to the Oxford Dictionary anyway.

This wonderful dessert is so easy to make and looks spectacular. You can have a number of different toppings but my favourite is fresh strawberries followed by fresh passionfruit. Excuse the photo quality but they were taken in a bit of a hurry. Last night we had a big family BBQ as Dons' brother and our soon to be sister in law were over from Melbourne to do some wedding stuff and catch up with the family as they won't be here for Xmas. Dons has a big family with 6 brothers and sisters so it was sure to be a bit busy as well as a lot of fun, (unfortunately Gaz and Maz couldn't make it). The night was lovely with good (and lots of) food, lots of talk and laughter as well as catching up with Bex and Marc before they go back to Melbourne on Tueday. Bex's mum and her partner also came to dinner so it was really nice to meet them. Dinner was a BBQ with a whole lot of salads that I made along with the obligatory garlic bread. Dessert was Pav, a couple of chocolate logs (one with cherries and one with strawberries) and ice cream. Needless to say we were all pretty full afterwards. ALl the kids ran around and played like mad things until they all left at about 1130pm. Needless to say Harry was rather tired and is more than a little shattered today.

Pavlova's can be quite variable. I personally like mine to be more crunchy on the outside with only a bit of a marshmallowy centre rather than for it to have too much of a marshmallow middle. To make Pav you need only a few ingredients and a scrupulously clean bowl. I wipe my bowl out with a bit of lemon juice or vinegar as any trace of fat can affect how the eggs will whip up. I also use the Kitchen Aid which makes the recipe so much easier to make. This one I made more flat so it would go around further but I usually make it so it's stands a bit taller. But I think it looks pretty regardless of how flat or tall it is. I always use the same recipe too as I have tried many and this one seems to work the best for me.

Pavlova (from Nigella Lawson's 'How To Eat') 

4 egg whites at room temperature
250 gms caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
pinch salt
few drops vanilla extract

Oven to 180 C
Beat the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form.
Slowly add the sugar beating well. This takes about 10 min all up. Make sure it is dissolved properly so when you rub some mixture between your fingers you can't feel the grins of sugar. 
Fold in the cornflour, vinegar and extract.
Put onto a baking paper lined tray and shape how you like it.
Put it into the oven and immediately turn it down to 150 C.
Bake 1 1/4 hours then turn the oven off and leave in, with the oven door closed, overnight to cool.

Some photos from last night...

Jen and Tam

Marcel and Dennis

Barbara (Bex mum), Bex, Marc and Dennis (Bex's stepfather)

Marc and Dons

Dion, Jen, Jack, Tam, Kiwi, Hollie and Harry


Brothers and sisters (no Tarn though)

The girls

The boys

Harry, Hollie, Tia very late at night

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