My Pavolva Success!

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Home Made Pavlova, originally uploaded by Larelle_M_R.

It was an accident, Gov!

On Wednesday night I was looking to make myself a little treat. I thought of meringue nests. I knew all I needed were egg whites and castor sugar, of which I had (eggs needed to be used up as they were going out of date).

I looked on the ‘net for the correct ratio of sugar/egg and then saw that the oven had to be SO low to avoid burning it would take 1-2 HOURS to cook the meringue. There went my sweet snack for that night!

I still wanted to make the meringue though, to use up the eggs, etc. So I planned to make them the next morning. One recipe I saw said you could cook the meringue for 10 mins, then turn the oven off and let them cool in the oven to finish off baking. Sounded a good idea to me! So I went for that one.

I pre-heated the oven at Gas mark 3 and fluffed up 4 egg whites and a teaspoon of vanilla essence and slowly added 250gms of castor sugar. I didn’t realise it was going to make so much! It made TONNES. I’d scooped out about 10 or 12 meringue nests and still had loads left. So I lined a little sandwich tin with grease-proof paper and filled the sandwich tin with meringue.

I left the oven on for about 20-25 minutes (had it on Gas mark 3 for the first 15 mins, then turned down to GM 2), then turned the oven off and let them finish cooking.

Two hours later, I got all the meringue out of the oven. The nests had crispy tops, but fluffy innards. The shell had a crusty top and a spongy, soft bottom. I transfered the nests on to a plate, and put the shell on a plate, still on the grease-proof paper. I put both plates in the fridge.

At this point I thought “the shell would make a GREAT pavlova base!” and decided to get Em to go to the supermarket and get some strawberries and cream to fill the shell.

Later, I inverted the shell (so the crusty top was now a crusty base) on to the plate, added whipped cream, sliced strawberries and then sat four of the meringue nests on top.

ZOMG! It was LOVELY! The meringue nests gave it a chewy top, then the shell was all spongy and fluffy in the middle and crusty on the bottom. Oh, it was just like pavs you get back home in Oz. NOT what is classified as pavlova here in the UK, with crunchy hard meringue all over and a few token bits of fruit and crappy bits of cream.

It was the pavlova I’d been dreaming of for a LONG time, and all put together quite by accident. It was like an orgasm in a bowl! I just sat there savouring every spoonful. I can’t believe I actually made it!!

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Fruity Mascarpone “Cheat”cake

This is a “cheats” cheesecake that’s no bake and can be made in short time. Prepare the fruit compote before making your evening meal to allow time for cooling.

Ingredients:

250gm Mascarpone Cheese
4 tablespoons of icing sugar
4 Digestive biscuits
150gm of berry fruits of your choice (I’ve used blackberries)
2 tablespoons of castor sugar
Juice of one lemon
A knob (I used a heaped teaspoon) of butter/margarine – melted

Method:

Crush the digestive biscuits either by putting them in a small food bag to crush with your hands, or in a bowl with the back of a dessert spoon. Crush into finely crumbed. If food bag was used for crushing biscuits, transfer to bowl and add melted better and mix well. Set bowl aside for the moment.

Line 4 small or two larger sized ramekins with cling film (I used 2 of the empty Mascarpone containers when doing the recipe). Set aside. **please see note below

In a bowl empty contents of Mascarpone, add the icing sugar and fold into Mascarpone gently until well blended. Spread the mix into the lined ramekins/moulds. Smooth the biscuit mix in top. Put in fridge to set.

For the fruit compote:

Put the the berries, castor sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Heat gently for 3-4 minutes, or until berries start to burst. Leave to cool.

When ready to serve, gather the corners of the cling film, lift out mix from ramekins, moulds and invert into a serving bowl. Drizzle with a tablespoon or two of fruit compote.

**NB: Will add a picture shortly. Also had a bit of a disaster with the Mascarpone on second make. It went runny. I was hoping that it would “reset” and harden, but it didn’t. Only put in moulds if Mascarpone stays firm, If it doesn’t, obviously serves as a messy dessert, with biscuit base, then the Mascarpone, then the fruit compote.

My New Favourite Dish.

I like cooking and in particular I like the results of cooking, but I hate the mess it leaves behind. So a few weeks back I decided to do a one-pot meal. Mozzy (see the Who’s who tab at the top of my blog page) had given us a little one-pot slow cooker. Frigging slow alright! I started to use it, but it was obvious it would take HOURS, if it was going to heat up and cook stuff at all (sorry Mozzy, but I can see why you didn’t use it yourself).

I quickly aborted using it, for a trad. saucepan on the stove top. After cooking it, it came out LOVER-LY! I’ve made it several times since, and it’s SO damn easy, I wanted to share my recipe.

Ingredients:

250-400gm of meat (depending on the cut of meat, and or how “hearty” you want your meal), of any type you desire, gammon, lamb, beef, chicken, pork (I’ve not tried it with pork yet, but will be tomorrow night), roughly cut into 1cm chunks.
Optional – flour to coat red meats or pork.
1 small onion, chopped (I use pre-chopped onion that the local supermarket sells – saves the tears)
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped into small cubes

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1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small cubes
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into small cubes
2 tablespoons of uncooked long-grain white rice
1/2 cup of frozen peas
1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 475ml of boiling water
Vegetable/olive oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste.

Use a medium pot 18/20cm size, with a 1.5 to 2lt capacity.

If using red meat (beef or lamb) or pork, coat the meat with some plain flour in a plastic bag.
Add some oil to the saucepan, add onion and cook until lightly coloured. Add the meat and cook for a few minutes until meat sears. Add salt and pepper (if desired). Add all the vegetables, except peas. Add the rice. Give all ingredients a quick stir around, then add stock water. Bring to boil, then let summer slowly on the stove top, stirring occasionally. Leave simmering with lid on for approx 20 minutes, add frozen peas, leave to simmer for a further 10 minutes. The dish is now ready to serve, but can be left to cool slightly by turning off heat and removing lid for 5-10 minutes.

For a meal for 2, just double everything, including the size of pot!

Photo supplied by: 2-Dog-Farm under Creative Commons license.