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Thursday, 2 January 2014

Being an Aussie

Growing up in Australia in the sixties was a very special time, and the carefree  memories of my childhood are precious. My most enduring memories are those times spent with extended family when I was growing up. Huge family gatherings on weekends, and on special occasions, such as birthdays and Christmas. We were always outside, in huge grassed back yards, playing cricket, doing cart wheels and playing with cousins. Being carefree kids, we took being Australian and growing up in our lucky country for granted. We didn't celebrate was just how it was and what we knew.

I don't recall being a part of Australia Day celebrations until the eighties when my own children were growing up. The bicentennial of 1988 was the first time we formally celebrated Australia Day. Every year since then we have celebrated with friends somewhere in our beautiful country on Australia Day.
Barbecues, pavlova (See below for recipe!) and  green and gold iced cup cakes are a feature of the day. Always outside, and always celebrated somewhere in this beautiful vast land of ours.

I do love the tropics  but I am yet to spend an Australia Day up there in the summer heat. One summer we will brave the cyclone season and go sailing in our beloved Whitsunday Islands and celebrate Australia Day on the water. We have already organised our winter trip for 2014 and ...yes... I can feel another book coming on!

In the meantime... you can read about my favorite Australian holiday destination in Dangerous Desire.

What's your favorite way to spend time with your family?
I love cooking pavlova when they come to visit, and we always have pavlova on Australia Day!
The recipe you ask?
Here it is.. with my own secret, special topping!

  • Ingredients 
  • 6  eggs, separated
    1 1/4 cups (270g) caster sugar
    2 tsp cornflour
    1 tsp white vinegar
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    300ml thickened cream
    2 tbs icing sugar mixture, sifted

    1. Preheat oven to 120°C. Line an oven tray with foil. Brush with melted butter and dust with cornflour, shaking off excess. Mark a 24cm-diameter circle on foil.
    2. Step 2
      Use an electric mixer to whisk egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition, until meringue is thick and glossy and sugar dissolved. Rub a little meringue between fingers. If still "gritty" with sugar, continue to whisk until sugar dissolves. Add cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and whisk until just combined. Spoon meringue onto the foil, using the marked circle as a guide. Smooth sides and top of pavlova. Use a small spatula to forms little peaks around edge of pavlova. Bake in oven for 11/2 hours or until pavlova is dry to the touch. Turn off oven. Leave pavlova in oven with the door ajar to cool completely. When completely cold, transfer to serving plate or store in an airtight container until required.
    3. Step 3
      Use an electric mixer to whisk the cream and icing sugar in a medium bowl until firm peaks form. Spoon cream onto the top of pavlova and then...Annie's special topping...
    4. Sprinkle with Tia Maria Liqueur and grated chocolate-covered honeycomb
    5. Step 4                  Enjoy!
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