I'm in a bit of a transitional phase at the moment. The husband has just got a job in the North Island so we've moved out of the South Island after living there for a few years. We're still going to be living in a forest location (Tongariro) so I'm so excited to be living in a beautiful setting once again. Problem is the job doesn't start for a couple of months so I'm stuck in limbo living in the city (Hamilton) until the official move. Not that I dislike Hamilton, it's my home town and I have family here. It's just weird to be living in a city again. But cities can be beautiful too, the diverse culture, architecture and even just noticing all the new smells has been an interesting experience. Things I had taken for granted.
Catching up with my family has been amazing. I have a niece and nephew whom I hadn't seen for a year, and wow kids grow up fast in short spaces of time. My nephew is now talking and I can interact with him so much more. My niece is almost four and has such an energetic and curious nature. I help my mum to babysit them during the week while their mum is at work. So it's been great to be getting some amazing quality time with them.
I noticed my niece started to follow me like a shadow into the kitchen, always asking what I'm making and if she can help. Whether it's my porridge for breakfast or a salad for lunch, this little girl wants to get stuck in assist. It's super cute and she's pretty capable for a 4 year old, so I love to indulge her. There's always something a kid can help you with, whether it's just stirring a mixture, counting how many spoonfuls something needs, helping you cut things, watching reactions between ingredients, or just plain helping you lick the bowl at the end. Cooking can be educational and fun on so many levels.
So a few days ago I remembered I had egg whites leftover in the fridge from making the croquembouche. I decided to use them to make a pavlova, another dessert I have never made (shame on me!). So of course when my niece spotted me wandering to the kitchen she immediately wanted to help. She helped me collect all the ingredients, helped with measuring and mixing, and she got super excited to see how much the egg whites grew in size as they got whipped up. And best of all, she got to help me lick the bowl! I can see we are gonna be great buddies in the kitchen.
As for the pavlova, it was delicious, can't go wrong with an 'Edmonds' recipe can you. Next time I won't make the circle as large though, as I like my pavs to be a bit higher. The pav was still as it should be though, crunchy on the outside and soft moist and marshmallowy in the middle. It was a great end to a great day.
4 egg whites (if they've been in the fridge, let them come to room temperature before using)
1 & 1/4 cups caster sugar (fine-ground sugar)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon cornflour
Beat the egg whites and sugar for 10 minutes or until thick and glossy. This is easiest to do using electric beaters.
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Mix vinegar, vanilla and cornflour together, then add to the meringue mixture.Beat on high speed for a further 5 minutes.
Line an oven tray with baking paper. Draw a 22 cm circle on the baking paper (or smaller if you want a taller pavlova).
Spread the pavlova mixture to within 2 cm of the edge of the circle, keeping the shape as round and even as possible. Smooth the surface a wee bit if there are any giant peaks.
Pop the pavlova in the oven then turn the temperature down to 100°C. Bake for 1 hour.
Turn the oven off and open oven door slightly, leave the pavlova in there until it's cold.
Carefully lift the pav onto a serving plate. Decorate with whipped cream and fresh fruit. I used golden kiwifruit as I prefer them to green kiwifruit.
Recipe adapted from the good old Edmonds Cookbook