Pavlova

I’m not a big fan of pavlova. Yeah its un Australian to admit it, but it’s just not my thing.

Now we have that confession out the way, I’ll also confess I’ve only made pavlova 3 times, including making it for this blog post.

Why am I making it if I don’t really like it. Well it all starts with last Christmas. We were hosting 20 + people at our house for lunch. If you’ve been to our house you can kind of understand this was a feat in itself (we have a small house). So because re arranging the whole house and cooking a meal for 20 people wasn’t enough of a challenge I thought I should serve Pavlova. I mean it’s the quintessential Australian desert (or maybe it’s from New Zealand, I’m not even going to go into that argument), perfect for summer and Christmas.

So I studied a few recipes, did a test Pavlova, took it to work where everyone said it was great. Was feeling confident. Well….

I was planning to make the pavlova Christmas eve and put the cream and fruit on it on Christmas day. Fairly sound plan, except with so much to do I only remembered the pavlova at 11:30pm Christmas eve. I mean that’s ok. We had so much else to do we’d be up till 2am anyway. So I go to make the pavlova and immediately stuff it up by adding the sugar to egg whites without whipping the egg whites up. Ok, stress levels starting to rise, I was down to my last 6 eggs. So I give it another attempt. no mistakes, it turns out perfectly. I leave it in the oven to cool as the recipe states.

Now for breakfast Christmas morning we have croissants for breakfast. I stick the oven on to cook them, get distracted, come back 15 mins later to put croissants in oven, opps pavlova is still in there. Ok it’s now kinda double cooked but still seems ok. So we move it to the kitchen bench were it sits quite happily until husband opened upper cupboard and box of crackers falls out and lands on pavlova.

At this point I’m really beyond caring. It’s Christmas day I’ve got 20 people coming for lunch, 2 kids who have opened toys and are over excited. There is mess everywhere. I’m like lets shove whipped cream and fruit on it and hope for the best. We do and people love the pavlova (ok lots of wine was drunk with lunch so it might have clouded people’s opinions but hey I’ll take the positive feedback).

So why make it again. Well it’s so quintessentially Australian I have to make it as part of my classic Australiana baking series. And also because I used to be scared of the idea of making pavlova. Really its not that hard, plus if it gets crushed by a falling box of crackers, it can totally be saved by whipped cream and beautiful seasonal fruit.

So let’s make Pavlova

There’s eggs or egg whites to be precise (lots of them)

Bit of salt

Bit of whipping

Sugar (lots of it) and then more whipping

Vanilla + vinegar + cornflour

Pavlova – recipe adapted from Julie Goodwins Our Family Table

6 egg whites

1/4 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups caster sugar

1 tlbps cornflour

1 tsp vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

600 mils cream

seasonal fruit (although in this case I used frozen berries)

Preheat oven to 170 degree C (150 if fan forced). Line baking tray with baking paper.

Beat egg whites and salt together until soft peaks appear.

Add in in sugar a little bit at a time. Once all added beat until stiff and glossy

Fold in cornflour, vinegar and vanilla. Be very gentle when doing this as you don’t want to knock the air out of the mixture.

Spread mixture on baking paper. make sure it’s not all the way to the edges.

Bake 30 mins then turn down heat to 140 degrees C (120 fan forced) and bake another 40 mins. Turn oven off and leave pavlova to cool in oven (its fine to leave it in there overnight or several hours).

When ready to assemble whip cream, spread on pavlova, top with fruit, serve bask in glow of having made and excellent pavlova.

A Burgess Easter

This Easter like nearly every other Easter since 2004 we went camping. This year we went to the beautiful Lake Albert here in South Australia. There was fishing, Kayaking, wine, sunshine (and wind) and much fun and frivolity.

I was going to write about cooking while camping . But our Easter camping adventures are perhaps a bit different from the standard camping trip. We go with my Husbands extended family. My husband comes from a massive family and this year there were 31 of us camping as one big group. It’s all lovely and communal and the children roam free with each other for company.

One of the things that makes the Burgess family Easter camp a bit special is Roast night. This is where each family cooks a roast meal. These roast meals are prepared using webers or in our case a fancy webber type thing called a cob.

They are also prepared in tiny prep areas, in fact I had to serve with our plates on the ground as I had run out of room

The best wines are brought out for the meal, all of our tables are pushed together to form on long table, the tables get table cloths and candles and people go all out. But the best bit is this family all sits together and chats and laughs and enjoys themselves.

The next morning there is a big fry up – mmm bacon.

and of course chocolate, including an Easter egg hunt for the kids.

Sometimes life’s so busy that little things like catching up with family just fall by the wayside, so it’s nice to be part of a family (even if only by marriage) who make the time every Easter to camp together and really catch up.

Buttermilk Pancakes

I’ve been making pancakes nearly every Saturday since my husband and I bought our house nearly 11 years ago.  It wasn’t like we decided that this would be some sort of tradition, just that we both liked pancakes and we had plenty of time on Saturday mornings and it sort of became a ritual.

Fast forward nearly 11 years and now with 2 kids Saturday mornings are often hectic but we still find time to make pancakes, and I can report our love of pancakes has been passed on to our children who seem to be able to inhale  ridiculous amounts of pancakes. 

Over the years we have tried several different recipes which have been good but this recipe we think is the best, and every time I suggest something different Lucas looks at me like I’m a crazy lady.  It makes fluffy light pancakes (kinda hot cake style), best served with homemade vanilla syrup

So lets make pancakes

 

There’s flour, mixed with sugar and bi carb

 

And eggs mixed with butter milk

Then wet plus dry are whisked together

Fried in our perfect pancake size pan with butter (some people suggest frying them with no butter or oil, but it’s never worked for me)

Drizzle with “once you taste it you’ll never go back to maple syrup” homemade vanilla syrup

Buttermilk Pancakes (makes a lot)

Recipe adapted from Julie Goodwins Our Family Table

2 Cups self raising flour

½ teaspoon bi carb

½ cup sugar

2 ½ cups buttermilk

2 eggs

Mix self raising flour, bi carb and sugar together in a bowl.

In another bowl mix whisk together eggs and butter milk.

Add egg/buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients.  Mix until it’s all incorporated and there are no lumps, but don’t over mix otherwise you’ll get tough pancakes.  Sometimes the batter seems a bit thick so I thin it with a little bit of water, you want the consistency similar to cake batter.

Melt a small piece of butter in a pan, then add batter to pan. How much you add will depend don how big your pan is how big  or thick a pancake you want.  Once bubbles start to appear its time to turn the pancake.  Cook for another minute or until cooked through.

Repeat with remaining mixture

Homemade vanilla syrup

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can use vanilla essence if the budget doesn’t stretch this far)

Mix sugar and water in saucepan over medium heat till sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat add vanilla extract

Store in fridge