If I had to name a dessert that was my favourite it would be a pavlova. I detest bought ones – the middle all gooey and eggy is not my thing at all – there has to be soft centre but the crunchy crust is the best part! I believe pavlova is the perfect summer dessert. Easy to make the day before and leave the dressing until serving. I think it is probably the dessert that I get asked to make the most – seconded only by my rocky road.
I got this recipe from my recipe book – Everyday Cooking. If you ever see this book I suggest you buy it, it is by Helen Bunney and was a recipe book used by Home Ec departments – so many great recipes (mine was published in 1979 so I doubt it is still in print). Its a great basic recipe that I have made single, 1 1/2 and double batches of and it works every time. My tip is to bake it directly on the serving plate. A pavlova is notoriously hard to change from baking tray to serving tray without cracking – so cut that step out and find a serving plate that is oven safe. I had a wonderful white serving platter I used for years as my pavlova plate but in my new house it doesn’t fit in my oven!
4 Egg whites
1 cup castor sugar
2 teaspoons corn flour
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Brush tray lightly with water if it is your serving tray – if you are baking pavlova on a different tray to serving spray water onto baking paper. The water creates a steam so to crisp up the bottom for easy transfer.
Beat egg whites and salt until firm peaks are formed. (meaning when you lift the beaters out of the mix, the egg whites keep their shape)
Keep beating and add sugar gradually, keep beating after each sugar is added. continue to beat until sugar is dissolved. (to test if the sugar is dissolved rub some between two fingers and check there are no grains left)
Lightly fold in sifted cornflour and lemon juice.
Turn mixture onto baking plate and use a spoon to create a circle of approx 20 cms. Or into 6 miniature pavs.
Bake at 120 degrees for an hour or until pavlova is dry to touch.
Leave pavlova to cool completely and then dress with whipped cream and strawberries, banana, passionfruit or sprinkle with chocolate.
TIPS I often leave the pavlova in the oven over night with the door slightly ajar to cool. The slower the pavlova cools the better chance you have of it not cracking. If you baked the pavlova on a different tray to serving tray get someone to help you can left two edges of the baking paper each and transfer onto your serving tray.
In our family I am in charge of Christmas Treats – it’s my thing and I love it! So this is my list of the treats that must be on your christmas table this year, they have been always winners. Perfect for the bring a plate to the never ending list of events, perfect for a gift and perfect on a platter for an easy dessert! All the christmas treats you need – all in one place!
2. Chocolate Fudge – Im a massive fudge lover from wayyyy back. Like make my husband pull over if I see a fresh fudge sign! love it! I like making it but try and limit it to Christmas because you know – I have no self control. And for this recipe you need self control, it only has four ingredients. Head over to Fat Mum Slim to check out her fudge recipe here
3. Rum Balls – the classic christmas must have! I must confess i have been making these for years. When I was 12 I started my own christmas treat business with my bestie, these were on the list! And only about 2 years ago had I ever tasted one! So now i can honestly say that they are great because i actually know! To mix up these bad boys, don’t be afraid to use gingernuts or chocolate ripple biscuits! Check out the recipe http://monaandolive.com/2014/12/22/rum-balls/
4. Cherry Ripe Balls – if rum balls aren’t your thing or you have kids around try these guys out! From the organised housewife these guys are bound to be awesome! Check them out here
5. The final and by no means least the chocolate spider. You know how much I love chocolate spiders, I love them. I want them to be at all parties not just christmas! But a must a Christmas!!! Check them out here
What did I forget? Anything that is a must on your christmas list?
Pretty much everyone has a teacher to buy for – sometimes a lot a teachers to buy for, to thank them for their hard work during the year. This range of gifts has a priced gift for every giver – and not a coffee cup or a box of chocolates in sight! Teachers spend A LOT of their own money on making their classroom prettier/better/more interesting for your kids so sometimes it is nice to buy something like the light box or pen holders to help out and save their own money. But sometimes it is nice also to give them something for themselves – candles, movie tickets, vouchers, even a christmas ham! That helps them and their families celebrate! And if in doubt (from a teacher) wine, always wine!
When I was about 37 weeks pregnant I bought a range of ingredients that may or may not of been for the sole purpose of chocolate spiders. However my need to have peanut butter and chocolate in my mouth was out weighed by my desire to sleep 20 hours a day. So call it willpower or call it laziness but no chocolate spiders were made. This week I tidied up my pantry (found 4 packets of M&M’S?!?!?!?!) and found the magical ingredients to realise my dream of chocolate spiders! So in celebration of the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, I celebrated with chocolate and peanut butter!
If you haven’t made chocolate spiders – you’re missing out. If you have made chocolate spiders but not recently – you’re missing out. They are often left to the realm of children’s parties and christmas, when really they are just simple and delicious treats for every chocolate and peanut butter addict! And the ingredients have a long shelf life if you have a strong will power – so they are a great stand by because its bring a plate day tomorrow at school/work/life and you forgot (again)!
CHOCOLATE SPIDER RECIPE
200 – 250 grams of melting chocolate
2 tablespoons of peanut butter
1 packet of fried egg noodles
Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir.
Add peanut butter, microwave again for 30 seconds, stir.
Keep putting in microwave in 30 second bursts until smooth. (I normally find 1 1/2 minutes)
Stir in egg noodles, place in little haystacks or spiders on a tray with baking paper.
The must have sweet at a Christmas event, or really any event. Rum balls serve as the easy to make, delicious to eat sweet. they are easy to eat and easy to serve – thus making it the entertainers best friend!
1 packet crushed biscuits (scotch finger, milk arrowroot, or if your feeling adventurous chocolate ripple or ginger nut!)
1 tin condensed milk
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup coconut + extra to roll
1 cup mixed fruit
2 tablespoons of rum
Crush the biscuits in either a food processor or by hand – place in large zip lock bag and bash with a rolling pin.
Mix in all other ingredients.
Roll into balls and roll in coconut.
Store in fridge or freezer for as long as they last! Haha in the freezer at least 3 months, but no matter how good you hide them, they will be found and will be eaten!
Makes about 24
If making them on a particularly hot day, as I always seem to manage, putting the mix into the fridge for 30mins makes them easier to roll.
Today I experimented with wrapping in plain paper – just in time for christmas! So go from plain paper to something pretty and specialised in seconds!
So today I have for you plain wrapping paper – 3 WAYS! All you need is plain paper like brown kraft paper or butchers paper. And however you are going to decorate the paper
– washi tape
I bought my paper and washi tape from K-Mart. And the waterpaints, crayons, and stamps from Big W.
This one is great – easy, relatively mess free and would be good with kids.
So you just need to work out how big the gift will be wrapped and stamp out a design that will fit – I did it in the middle of the paper. EASY! From memory these stamps were $10, so I think that’s a good deal for the heaps of projects you could do with these!
I stamped these once the present was wrapped but I think before or after would be fine!
I wiped down these with damp paper towel after use.
I LOVE this one! If you take yourself back to kindy you might remember this one – it is always a hit at playgroup. It has just grown up a little.
First you need to write your message in crayon – I chose white, because it makes it neat but it’s entirely up to you. “Merry Christmas” Happy Birthday” “Be my Valentine” whatever takes your fancy – the best thing is you can personalise so no gift tag required! Make sure you estimate the size of the gift before you start getting creative – so you know the size of the area to work on and your wrapped present looks well placed, once finished!
Then in your watercolour paint – add water to your brush and mix. Paint over your secret message. Just a tip make sure you have added a good amount of water so you get good coverage. – Would be great done with the kids for personalised wrapping paper! Dark coloured paints work best as you can see with the pale pink isn’t as affective as the darker blues and greens.
3. Washi Tape.
Probably the cleanest out of the three options! But takes a little bit more vision of how you want the end result to look like. You can spell out words or make designs – what ever you like but once the tape is down on Kraft paper is pretty much there – so just have plan going first! Washi Tape is pretty and it does stick but in my experience if you are using a thick wrapping paper – it is not a substitute for sticky tape. This I did after the present was wrapped but I don’t think it would matter if you did it before or after.
Hope you have fun experimenting with your wrapping! xx
18 months ago my husband and I went to the USA for the first time and fell in love! We truly loved everything about it, and when we came home were devastated to come back to our boring lives! haha but we thought that I would be a while before we could go back to our new favourite place! But for this Christmas I have managed by some stroke of luck to convince CJ take me back! I know I am a lucky girl!
So with only 99 work days left until we leave, I thought I would share our ideas so far of our “trip of a lifetime” take 2! So this time we have decided to go through the South, thinking when we go back (we may have kidlets… eek) and so driving for hours and days may not be family friendly! This is our plan so far… We will drive from LA to Miami and them fly to NYC and from there to Las Vegas!