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Pavlova – a Perfect Dessert for Celebrations

Traditional Australian Pavlova

The Pavlova recipe I make is an old recipe taken from my trusty Aussie Women’s Weekly Recipe book. *(Page 32 is a tomato veal dish, Peggy!)

This book that was gifted to me in 1979, by my Mother. 41 years later, with its spine tatted and broken, this book continues to reveal recipe secrets I have yet to make.

nostalgic greeting with words Love Mum 1979
My Christmas gift the year after I left home

Pavlova Recipe

Following is the recipe I use, although I don’t use a piping bag to make the edges.

I just dump the meringue mix on to a lined baking sheet and form it into a makeshift circle, by dragging around the edges from base to tip with a broad spatula. It is less fuss, and noone wants too much fuss in the kitchen, when the mercury soars in summertime!

Australian Womens weekly pavlova recipe

Pavlova Cooking Tips

I cook my Pavlova in an oven set on 150 degees C. (300 degrees F.) for around 35 – 40 minutes. Then I will leave the pavlova to cool in the oven.

Once the Pavlova has finished its cooking time, I turn the oven off, and place a wooden spoon in the door to allow some heat to escape, but not all the heat, at once. This extended minimal heat is enough to dry the outer shell of the Pavlova whilst allowing the middle to be all soft and gooey.

It ends up quite rustic looking but leaves a crater or depression in the top into which you can place your fruits, custard or cream, or all three.

Photo by Sandra Filipe on Pexels.com

Celebration Pavlova with Chocolate Dome

This year I decided to make something a little different. Impressive isn’t it? And it is quite simple.

Do you want to know how to make the Chocolate dome for the top?

Find the directions for this variation at my other blog – Something to Ponder About

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food, health

A Gluten-Free Christmas Menu

You know your own children’s preferences, but when they become adults and bring home partners, you might have to face the prospect that the partners has different dietary preferences that need to be accomodated at festive occasions, like Christmas.

Scandinavian Christmas light

I am rather late in planning this Gluten free Christmas menu and it is not Vegan, nor vegetarian so that is a heads up. But it is highly nutritious.

Entree or Nibbles

First off we have a Prawn, snow pea and Capsicum Entree, I used the following Prawn dish idea but made it a kind of tasting nibbles board, rather than a whole dish. I will add some nice cheeses, home made Knekkerbrød (Norwegian crackers) and nuts to accompany this.

Fresh is best for this opener. Given that all prawns are frozen at the point of capture, fresh is a loose term these days. But we are Australian, so we have to have some kind of shellfish option to start the hot meal.

Christmas food

Mains

Meat

  • Assortment of oven-roasted, gluten-free meats – without stuffing and preferably organic in nature

Roasted Vegetables

  • Potatoes roasted with garlic, thyme and dill
  • Pumpkin, sweet potato, and carrots (all roasted with rosemary sprigs)
  • Onion
  • Choko
  • Red capsicum drizzled with olive oil and roasted lightly

Salads

  • Cauliflower butter beans and Pumpkin Hommus
  • Chickpea Spinach and Eggplant Salad
  • Broccoli, Quinoa and Edamame Vegetables (served warm for the Moth)

Christmas food collage

Dessert

Smashed Pavlova with seasonal stone fruits – there is just a little teaspoon of cornflour in this Pavlova recipe but when there is a coeliac visitor, one has to be extra careful. This is not just Gluten intolerance, but allergy!

  • Gluten-free Option – Chocolate Brownie

For the Moth: Warm Plum Pudding served with custard and ice cream

(not gluten-free)

What kind of different dishes are you cooking this Christmas?

Are you breaking from preparing traditional foods?

Merry Christmas from the Home by the Sea

A Home by the Sea
chocolate brownie
food, health

Fast Chocolate Brownie Slice Recipe #Onecakeaweek

Who wants to spend too much time in the kitchen these days?

Even with Covid lockdowns, the easier and simpler the recipe, the better it is for everyone. Right?
This Chocolate Brownie recipe will be perfect to whip up for Afternoon or Morning Tea treats, school lunches, surprise gifts for friends and impromptu family visits.

In just 45 minutes you can serve up this mouth-watering delight.

The dark chocolate component of this slice makes it a healthy option, when eaten in moderation. Provided you use quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it is actually quite nutritious.

It {Dark chocolate] contains a decent amount of soluble fibre and is loaded with minerals. 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is a fairly large amount and something you should consume in moderation. All these nutrients also come with 600 calories and moderate amounts of sugar. The fatty acid profile of cocoa and dark chocolate is also excellent. The fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated, with small amounts of polyunsaturated fat.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-dark-chocolate#section1

A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70–85% cocoa contains:

  • 11 grams of fibre
  • 67% of the RDI for iron
  • 58% of the RDI for magnesium
  • 89% of the RDI for copper
  • 98% of the RDI for manganese
  • Minerals: potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium
Photo Credit: A Saucy Kitchen

Chocolate Brownie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 200 grams Dark Chocolate that has 50%- 70% Cocoa
  • 250 grams (9 oz or 1 & 1/4 cups) Butter
  • 200 grams (7 oz or 1 & 1/2 cups) Brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 150 grams (5 oz or 1 & 1/4 cups) Plain or All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 30 grams (1 oz) Cocoa

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 or 350 F and line a square cake or slice tin with baking paper.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously till smooth. Once all lumps have melted, take off the heat.
  3. Mix other ingredients together, adding the eggs last.
  4. Mix in melted chocolate mixture and stir through.
  5. Bake for 28 minutes.
  6. Brownies may look slightly underdone, so allow them to cool in the tray.
  7. Dust with Icing sugar and cut into small squares to serve.

Variation:

  • Add roughly chopped walnuts for a tasty and healthy variation.
  • Serve warm with ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

This is the recipe for this week’s #Onecakeaweek series.

Do you have a recipe you wish to link up?

Pingback to this post and I will come and visit your blog.

Sunrise

#Onecakeaweek. Are you tempted by any from previous weeks?

I will be making one cake each week and would love you to link up any cake recipes you have posted on your blog, so I have more recipes to try out.

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food

Sticky Date Pudding Recipe – My Way

pudding with ice cream

Ingredients

Pudding:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 and 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 60 g or 2 oz butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup soft brown sugar or dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup self-raising flour (All-purpose flour with 1 tsp baking powder and well sifted)

Butterscotch Sauce

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 250 ml or 2.5 dl cream
  • 50 g or 1.75 oz butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 celsius (375 F) – slightly cooler for fan-forced.
  2. Grease and flour/line a base of a 20 cm cake pan.
  3. Combine the dates, boiling water and baking soda in a bowl. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.
  4. Cream butter, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy with an electric mixer.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add the date mixture and flour and mix until well combined.
  7. Pour into the prepared cake pan.
  8. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean

To Make Butterscotch Sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat on the stovetop.
  2. Stir regularly and bring to the boil.
  3. Simmer for 1 minute until butter and sugar have dissolved.
  4. Pierce pudding all over with a skewer. Pour sauce over warm pudding. Stand for 10 minutes.*
  5. Serve warm with ice cream or as you prefer.

Variation:

I served the pudding as it was out of the oven. I let it cool slightly and then cut it into wedges, to serve with the sauce and icecream. Pouring the sauce over immediately prior to serving.

* The recipe recommended letting the sauce sit and permeate through the whole pudding, however, I prefer a slightly firmer texture better, than a soggy pudding.

It is up to you how you tackle that!

Sunrise

#onecakeaweek

Follow this blog for more recipes. They are posted weekly at the Home by the Sea

sliced lemon blueberry bread cake
food, health, home

Lemon Blueberry Bread

#onecakeaweek

The cake for this week is a bread that is really a cake.

Blueberries are in season here at the Home by the Sea. Blueberries the so-called Superfood packed with antioxidants means this bread-like cake can legitimately claim the label of a healthy home-baked food.

You will find it especially delightful served warm with a cuppa.

Recipe for Lemon Blueberry Bread

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup light or low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F or 175° C
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
  4. Fold in the blueberries, nuts and lemon zest.
  5. Transfer to a greased 8×4-in. loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
  8. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over warm bread.
sliced lemon blueberry bread cake

Recipe Variations

Because of its lemon base you can replace the blueberries with raspberries or any other bey in season. Or you could turn this into an orange cranberry bread by using orange juice and cranberries. Cherries and almonds also pair beautifully with either lemon or orange.

Using full fat milk, will mean the bread will keep moist for longer.

A Home by the Sea
lemon yoghurt cupcakes
food

Lemon Yoghurt CupCakes

Speciality delicatessens and bakeries in my part of the world offer Lemon Yoghurt cupcakes to die for. Mostly they come from one or two bakeries, ones that are Italian in origin and their product offerings. Yet, it seems that the Lemon and Yoghurt Cake may have been French in origin:

Grandmother all over France are renowned for Lemon and Yoghurt Cake. In French, this cake is called Gâteaux de Mamie, which translated is: Granny Cake. The part of the story I love, is the way these French grandmothers measure the cake ingredients – with yogurt jars!

https://thecafesucrefarine.com/french-grandmothers-lemon-yogurt-cake/

You can try that version of the recipe out at this site.

This week, the cake for #onecakeaweek comes from Best Recipes, however, I wanted to produce a cupcake experience, rather than make another ring cake. My ingredients vary slightly from the French version in that there is more yoghurt and sugar, but less eggs and oil. Yeah – nah! – probably evens out, doesn’t it?

LEMON and YOGHURT CAKE RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups fine or Caster Sugar – I only used 1and one half cups
  • Zest of 2 Lemons
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 cup Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1 cup Natural yoghurt
  • 2 cups Self-raising flour or plain flour and baking powder
  • extra leftover lemon juice

Method

  1. In a bowl, mix rind, oil, eggs and sugar with a fork.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and combine well.
  3. Pour into greased ring tin or lined cupcake pans and bake at 180C for 30 – 40 minutes – more time, for the ring tin.
  4. Poke holes in the top with a toothpick and drizzle few drops of lemon juice for extra tang. Not too much or the cake will go soggy.
  5. Leave to cool and dust with icing sugar to serve.

Variation: I added Pearl Sugar and an Almond on the top prior to baking. White chocolate chips could also be added for an extra measure of decadence.

Donna Hay, Australian cook and Cookbook Author, uses almost an identical recipe to mine, but decorates the cake with icing and strangely of all, thyme leaves. If you want to try that variation?

More lemon cake recipes from other bakers are found here

#OneCakeaWeek

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Friendly Friday Challenge- Comfort Food Chocolate Cake

Cake!

Chocolate and raspberries are a match made in heaven.

There is nothing more satisfying, more of a comfort food than a moist chocolate cake.

But perfection is never perfection and can handle change. That is why I added raspberries to this recipe and I am more than happy with the result.

This is really light cake, moist and with a healthy dose of antioxidants from the raspberries. Adding raspberries has many health benefits for us.

Health benefits of Raspberries

Raspberries are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They may protect against diabetes, cancer, obesity, arthritis and other conditions and may even provide anti-aging effects. Raspberries are easy to add to your diet and make a tasty addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert.

Healthlinewww.healthline.com › nutrition › raspberry-nutrition

Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 180 g (around 3/4 American cup) of softened butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g sour cream (around 1 American cup)
  • 1/2 cup or so of frozen organic raspberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. (160 fan forced), 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease and line sides and base of small loaf tin/s that you wish to use.
  3. Combine cocoa and boiling water in a heatproof jug stirring until a thick sauce forms. Set this aside to cool.
  4. Place butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and beat on medium for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in eggs, one at a time until well combined.
  6. Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda together and add to the butter mix.
  7. Add cocoa mix and sour-cream and using a large spoon, gently fold together until well combined.
  8. Spoon mix into prepared cake pans. Smooth the top.
  9. Place the raspberries, one by one, evenly around onto the top layer and press down lightly. As the cake rises, the mix will envelope them. * Tip: Placing them rather than mixing them in, will mean that the raspberries will keep their shape nicely .
  10. Bake for 30- 40 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean, depending on the size of pan you are using.

To Serve:
Simply dust with icing sugar – the raspberries add to the choolately sweetness.

N.B. I don’t usually ice my cakes as I feel that they are sweet enough, and we all want to cut down on sugar, but you can add your own desired frosting for more decadence.

A useful conversion table, for American measurements, is included here.

Linking to the Weekly Friendly Friday Challenge – Comfort Food

memorial
building, food, health, home

Day 4-6 Sourdough Starter

The weather is getting cooler at the Home by the Sea. Could this affect the number of bubbles I see in the starter?

Sourdough Problems or Not?

Since I attended one of those slightly cringeworthy Tupperware parties of the 80’s, I always store my white flour in the fridge. I never get weevils or pantry moths in my flour due to this storage method. However, I got to thinking that this might make the sourdough more sterile, due to a lesser number of bugs. So I ask the break making veterans: Would this make a difference?

Day 6

The Starter seems to have run out of steam, a little and I am looking for explanations. I do have a confession to make:

I added the morning feed quantity at the evening feeding and the following morning it was very liquidy on the top.

I may have overfed it!

I may have killed it?

I continued feeding the batch I was intending to keep and use, and left aside this ‘to be discarded if it doesn’t do anything’ batch, for a day but it didn’t seem to improve.

Not many bubbles, compared to day 2, which is seen below.

I have no idea as to whether it is still alive, or if I am flogging a dead sourdough mother.

sunrise morning
home

Anzac Biscuits or Cookies

Over at StPA, I spoke of the Anzac Day spirit living on throughout Australia, as it does here at the Home by the Sea. Today, April 25, is Anzac Day. This morning we experienced an Anzac Day, like no other.

Due to the risks associated with Covid-19, Australians were unable to hold communal memorial ceremonies, at the shrines in each and every suburb, as is the norm.

Our first Anzac Day at the Home by the Sea, was always going to be unique.

In our street and across every residential streets of Australia, people turned out to stand on their driveways, at 5.55 am in order to hold a candlelight line of honour in memory of the Anzacs and sacrifice of servicemen and women.

Thanks to a bugler two streets away, the Last Post wafted quietly over the rooftops and the suburban streets, which had fallen into a 5-minute silent vigil, as a mark of respect. Hearing this tune chokes up the hardiest person, once you know what it represents.

The haunting tune, made eerily more real as humanity battles the Corona virus.

Flags hung from balconies, garage doors and windows. Later, street barbeques with appropriate social distancing were held at lunch. The R.S.L. branches held ‘Two-up,’ online! A first.

Me, I made Anzac Biscuit from my own recipes and shared them (observing appropriate Hand Hygiene practices), with the local community. Rick, our self-appointed neighbourhood watch trooper who scoots about on his Power Wheelchair, was a grateful recipient, scooting off to share the still warm biscuits or cookies, with his “Mrs.”

An Anzac Day we will not forget.

sunglasses on a rock
food, health

Day 2 Sourdough Benefits

As nothing much is happening on Day 2 apart from stirring the sourdough. The little yeast organisms can does their job fermenting on the benchtop.

Meanwhile, I thought I would share some abridged snippets of useful information.

Preservative and Chemical Free Bread

Sourdough is free from other types of breads that have oils, sugar, preservatives, and other chemicals in their ingredient list.

Besides affecting the flavour of the bread, chemicals and additional ingredients are often added to other breads because they can’t stay fresh as long as sourdough can or fend off mould as well. The presence of bacteria, due to sourdough’s unique fermentation process, improves sourdough’s nutritional profile. This allows for better nutrient absorption, improved gut health, and some studies have even shown fermentation alters the structure of carbohydrates in the dough for better blood sugar control and a lower score on the glycemic index.

Bread for Gut Health

Sourdough’s fermentation means it is gentler on our digestive tract and may be tolerated by those with a sensitive tummy. This is possibly attributed to the breaking down of a carbohydrate in wheat called fructans which can mimic gluten intolerances. Phytic acid, also present in bread and wheat products, causes digestive issues and sourdough bread neutralizes the effect of phytic acid on the body.

The long fermentation process involved in making sourdough has shown to improve digestion of gluten-forming proteins, known for causing wheat intolerances and allergies. Research has also shown the presence of fructans, a carbohydrate found in wheat, causes digestive issues similar to gluten intolerances and are now thought to be the cause of many self-diagnosed “gluten intolerances.” However, sourdough fermentation breaks down fructans, making them easier on the digestive system.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15631515

As varieties of wheat have changed over the years, it is possible the changes in composition of the grains, may be the reason some people assume they are gluten intolerant.

Shortcut to Making Your Own Sourdough

This Whole-Wheat Bread recipe recipe only takes 12 hours, compared to almost a week. Probiotic-rich yogurt and vinegar mimic the tangy flavor of sourdough without the need for a starter.

http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/whole-wheat-sour-faux-bread

Sourdough requires very little in the way of ingredients and have many health benefits.

Variations to Sourdough Starter Mix

I used a blend of half wholewheat flour and half white flour.

Do you add salt to your sourdough starter?

What flour do you use?

Whole wheat, white, rye or a blend?

More updates on my starter on Day 3.