Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Strawberry Pavlova

The last few days have been absolutely Chockers! On Saturday, my daughter Paige had 8 of her giggling- and- screaming- all-at once girlfriends over for a movie marathon-sleepover Birthday Party to celebrate her turning 11. So, essentially, the day before was dedicated to party food preparation and the highlight: making 50 mini orange butter cupcakes and individually decorating them.

The next morning, I took advantage of the beautiful light coming in the dining area window and snapped something like 300 over photos of the cupcakes using my new Nikon DSLR. I have blisters on my elbows to show for it! I must admit that when the camera first arrived, I felt really intimidated with all the different settings and functions. I’m one of those people who ABHOR reading instruction manuals, so that wasn’t going to help. I secretly thought of putting the camera away and going back to using my Pentax Optio. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. I want to thank Greg Winning, Photographer Extraordinaire and Business Partner to my husband Ming at Brando for offering to ‘take me under his wing’, and our very wise and generous friend, Jeff Miles for presenting me with my very first Tripod! My elbows thank you gratefully, Jeff!

Although the cupcake photos were shamelessly taken on the ‘auto’ function, I was quite happy with them and will do a post on them when I return from my Vacation. Yes, foodies, I’m taking a long awaited Holiday to Singapore and Chiang Mai! YAY! This is my last post until I return on the 10th of September. This holiday is a little different from the ones I’ve had in the past because this time around, I’ll be meeting up with a couple of Food Bloggers. I will also be doing a baking class with Patissier Blogger Lynn Chen who has so kindly fit me in her busy schedule despite the fact that she’s shooting for a cookbook.

Over in Chiang Mai , I’ve booked Ming and myself for a 4 course Thai Cooking Class and Lunch at the Lush Kaohom Cooking School. Apart from this, we will of course be doing the glutton thing and will be eating non-stop. Mind you shopping , massages, spas and delicious foot reflexology is on the agenda too! I am SO looking forward to all this! I promise to document my eating and learning adventures and shall deliver when I return. Foodies’ Pledge! I leave you with a recipe for Strawberry Pavlova, a delectable yet simple dessert .

Serves 10

4 egg whites
2 cups caster sugar
2 tsp white vinegar
4 tbsp boiling water
4 tsp cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla essence


To save time, I used my favourite store-bought custard


1 600ml carton of thickened whipping cream
Icing sugar to taste


500g fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1 tsp caster sugar sprinkled onto strawberries and lightly tossed

Preheat oven to 200C. Line a 30cm (12in) baking tray with baking paper and draw a 20cm circle on the paper. Place the caster sugar, boiling water, vinegar and egg whites into a large bowl. Beat until mixture is stiff enough to hold it’s own peaks. Sift the cornflour and baking powder into the bowl, then add the vanilla and fold in lightly.

Pile the meringue onto the baking tray within the circle, flatten the top and smooth the sides. Place into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 150C for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat further to 100C for an hour longer. After that, turn off the oven and leave the pavlova in the oven overnight to dry out.

To serve, top the pavlova with some custard, then with the whipped cream and the strawberries.