One Year On
This month marks one year since I started writing Cooking From The Heart (with a post on spanakopita strangely enough). Starting this blog has given me a gentle push to continue exploring recipes and ingredients that would have otherwise ended up on the ‘one day’ list.
It’s reinforced for me the idea that the enjoyment and experience gained by cooking and sharing food is much like a savings account. For every deposit you make (trying a new recipe or ingredient, or learning a new skill), your account of confidence and memories grows. You can spend that experience at any time and, unlike a savings account, you don’t suffer the loss of any investment. In fact the more you share, the more you get back in return – perhaps the term ‘compound cooking’ is appropriate?
There’s been much focus on ‘fast’, ‘quick’ and ‘easy’ when it comes to cooking and eating over the last decade. Far from being a Stepford type, I think we can all agree that anything that helps us save time in the kitchen is a gift. Personally, I don’t know how I’d manage without taco kits and pasta sauces. But when it comes to really getting the most out of the good things in life there’s often more to it than unscrewing a jar and pouring it into a pan. Dedicating time to learning new skills, sourcing ingredients, or most importantly, allowing yourself to make mistakes, digs a lot deeper into our subconscious. It’s that extra effort that makes for long-lasting memories.
There’s so much to know and learn. Sometimes it can be so overwhelming. We are truly blessed in Australia to have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in any culture and its cuisine, backed up with a vast array of ingredients easily available on our supermarket shelves and markets. My advice is to just start…and keep going, even if it’s just once a week. Now is as good a time as any to get that recipe from your grandma, your friend, your butcher. Have a crack.
Most of all, share your most heartfelt experiences of cooking and sharing. It’s truly what makes the world go round. Gather up some friends and have a go at making something together. Build on the layers of experience and before you know it you’ll have some delicious memories. Just like this chocolate raspberry pavlova…
Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova
6 egg whites
300g caster sugar
3 tbs Belgian cocoa powder, sifted
1 tbs good balsamic vinegar
3 punnets of fresh raspberries
2 punnets fresh blueberries
500ml single or pouring cream
1 tbs caster sugar
Preheat oven to 180˚C.
Place egg whites in the bowl of a mixer and whisk until soft peaks form. Continue whisking while adding the 300g of caster sugar to the egg white mixture a tablespoon at a time until fully combined and the egg whites become glossy. If you can hold the bowl upside down without any of it falling out, the egg white mixture is ready.
Add the cocoa powder and balsamic vinegar, using a large metal spoon, slowly and carefully fold these into the egg white mixture until fully combined.
Line two oven trays with baking paper. Dab a little of the meringue mixture underneath each corner of the paper to ensure the paper stays in place. Place an 9 inch dinner plate on the middle of each tray and draw the outline of the plate with a pencil. This is your template to ensure each meringue layer is the same size.
Place half of the egg white mixture onto each template, smoothing out to the edge of the line you have just drawn. Try to maintain an edge to each circle of egg white mixture. You can smooth out each disc or leave some peaks and troughs to make each disc look a little rustic.
Place both trays into the oven and reduce heat to 140˚C , cook for one hour. Do not be tempted to open the oven door whilst the pavlova is cooking as it will cause the meringue to collapse on itself. After an hour, turn the oven off and leave the oven door ajar slightly to allow the merigues to cool completely.
In the meantime, place the cream in the bowl of a mixer with 1tbs of caster sugar and whisk until thick, about 1-2 minutes. Do not over whisk, as the cream will separate to butter (this happened to me).
Place one of the cooled meringue discs on a serving platter and spoon just under half of the cream on top and then place the second meringue disc on top. Pile on the remaining cream and top with the raspberries and blueberries. Dust over a little extra cocoa with a fine sieve.
Serve within a couple of hours.
Adapted from What Katie AteShare this on: