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Sunday, 7 February 2010

Advance Australia fare

To celebrate Australia Day this year, instead of going down to our local Walkabout dressed as cast members from Home and Away to drink copious amounts of VB, we had a civilised lunch at Kim's.
With Possum Magic on high rotation at bedtime in our household, it's no surprise that I've been thinking about pavlova - sweeeeeet pavlova.
Pavlova has a Proustian effect on me. One bite and I'm at a barbecue in someone's backyard, beer in hand, the smell of 30+ sunscreen and Aeroguard in the air, shooing flies off my plate. Nothing tastes more like an Australian summer...other than maybe a Golden Gaytime.

Surprisingly easy pavlova (serves about 8-10)

What you need
4 room-temperature egg whites (you can keep the egg yolks covered in a bowl in the fridge for later use, see below)
Pinch salt
1 cup golden caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

and to top it off...
1 tub of whipping cream (200-300ml)
1 kiwifruit, quartered lengthways and sliced
2 handfuls strawberries, halved lengthways and sliced
2 handfuls of raspberries, squished up
2 handfuls of blueberries

The do
Preheat oven to 180. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then trace a 25 cm circle on the paper. Put egg whites and salt in the clean bowl (any grease will prevent the egg whites from expanding to their full potential) and beat with the whisk attachment of a hand blender on medium-low speed until frothy (approx 2 minutes). Increase speed to medium-high and beat until whites form stiff but not dry peaks (2–3 minutes). Gradually add sugar while whisking, then increase speed to high and beat until stiff and glossy, 3–5 minutes. Sprinkle cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla over whites, then gently fold in with a rubber spatula.
Fill traced circle with meringue, build the sides slightly higher than the middle so the cream and fruit have somewhere to sit. Place very gently in middle of oven and reduce heat to 150, taking care not to slam the oven door shut. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave meringue inside with door slightly ajar until completely cool for about 4 hours - or make it at night and leave it in the oven til morning.
Remove paper and place meringue on a cake plate. Whip cream to soft peaks, spread onto the meringue and pile the fruit on top. Passionfruit pulp would also be a nice addition, but a little hard to find at my local Sainsbury's in the middle of winter.

Tip Stephanie (Alexander) says "if syrupy droplets form on the surface of the meringue, you'll know you have overcooked it; liquid oozing from the meringue is a sign of undercooking".

Carter's use-up-the-egg-yolks mustardy mayonnaise
2 egg yolks
4 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
2 cups olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

The do
Place yolks and mustard in a medium bowl. Beat with a wire whisk, and begin to add the oil a tablespoon at a time, adding more as each bit is incorporated. When it starts to come together, you can add the oil a bit faster. Add salt and pepper, then stir in the vinegar.

Warning: this makes an obscene amount of mayo. Alternatively, you could halve this recipe and throw the other three egg yolks into some scrambled eggs for breakfast.

A playlist including Magic Dirt, You Am I, Screamfeeder, Sandpit, Howling Bells, The Avalanches, The Go-Betweens, Nick Cave, The Cruel Sea, the theme Tune to Round The Twist, and plagiarists...Men at Work

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