Yay!! Christmas time~!
Ok, so officially Christmas has ended but I am back in Sydney after spending a few days up the coast at my sister’s place. It seems like I’m stuck in a weird, never-ending food coma. You know how it is- you can’t just make a few dishes, you have to make enough to feed a small country and sample a little (or a lot) of each. My Christmas holiday lasted 4 days, of which I bordered on the verge of alcoholism and diabetes. Every meal had to be a big one, extra special, and downed with a glass of wine or cider, then followed by dessert. Not to mention the copious amounts of biscuits and chocolates.
The special thing about Christmas time in Australia is that you can make whatever you like for Christmas lunch/dinner. Unlike our northern counterparts, we aren’t restricted to heavy winter fare. We branch out and make the most of summer ingredients, fresh cooked prawns, heaps of salads, BBQ meats, more seafood, and heaps of chilled alcohol. But even with the hot climate, we still manage to throw in the odd turkey, roast chicken, or ham.
This year, my family focused on meat. Too much meat. Over the four days we gorged ourselves on beef steaks marinated with black pepper and Guinness, rosemary and red wine lamb fillets, chicken skewers, lemongrass and coriander pork chops, BBQ chicken wings, ham off the bone, roast chicken, 4kg of fresh prawns, 10 dozen oysters, and more salads than we could handle. We ended up taking home most of the stuff we brought anyway.
The best part of Christmas this year has to be the home made pavlova I made. I don’t particularly like pavlova because I hate meringue and it’s usually way too sweet and loaded with too much cream. However, my sister convinced me to make one and eat it too, and thank goodness I listened- it was amazing! Here’s the recipe I followed. You can adjust the amount of sugar to suit your own tastes. I wanted to mix in a little food colouring, but everyone disagreed. How un-Christmasy!
– 4 egg whites
– 1 cup caster sugar
– 2 tblspn corn flour
– 2 tspn white vinegar
– 1 carton whipping cream -500mL
– fruit to decorate
What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric beater to beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, gradually mixing in 3/4 cups of caster sugar. Reserve rest of sugar for cream. Mix in corn flour and vinegar and blend well. Once mixture is finished, you must immediately transfer onto the baking tray and into the oven as quickly as possible.
3. Line a baking tray with baking paper and put a circle guide between the paper and tray. I used a 10cm guide. You can get these at baking stores or print one onto an A4 sheet of paper. Carefully fold meringue mixture onto the baking paper and keep within the guide lines. Be careful not to press out the air and build up the meringue to form a wall going all around the guide.
4. Turn oven temperature down to 100 degrees Celsius and put in the meringue to bake for 90 mins. Once the meringue is finished cooking, turn off the oven but leave the meringue inside to cool. It is safe to take it out once the oven door is cold to the touch. Don’t open the door to cool it faster, your meringue will deflate.
5. When the meringue is completely cooled, take it out and begin mixing your cream. In a bowl, mix cream and 1/4 cup of caster sugar until thick. Place the cream liberally on top of the meringue and spread even but do not spread on the sides. Decorate with fresh fruit. I used passion fruit, quartered strawberries, kiwi fruit, mango, and blueberries. Dust with icing sugar if desired.
I didn’t realise how easy pavlova was to make, and this one was certainly well worth the wait. It convinced me that not all pavlovas are disgusting. But it’d probably still give me diabetes if I make it more than a couple of times a year. Let me know if you have your own pavlova recipe to share or if you eat different things for Christmas. Whatever it is, I’m inspired to start experimenting for next hear. Happy cooking and a belated merry Christmas!