One of the things they don’t really tell you about moving countries is that you will inevitably eat new things.
While Australian cuisine isn’t completely foreign to the American stuff that I know and love, there are some foods that I have been introduced to over the last decade:
Definitely an acquired taste. I don’t love it, but I don't hate it either.
A childhood birthday party staple. I can't believe this is NOT in North America.
I couldn’t quite get my head around non-breakfast sausages when I first had these, but wowser, they’re great. Add some caramelised onions and sauce (ketchup, BBQ or mustard) and we’re good to go.
Sponge cake covered in chocolate and coconut. At my citizenship ceremony, the Council served these afterwards, along with Australian Breakfast tea.
The first time I had a ‘pie’ my friend asked me what kind of pie I wanted for lunch. I got confused, and said, “Uhhh, apple?” She looked at me like I was crazy and thankfully ordered me a traditional meat pie. Nom Nom.
A glorious dessert made of a meringue base, covered in fresh whipped cream and topped with fruit.
The first Thanksgiving I was here, I attempted to make a Pavlova, in some kind of cultural mash-up. It didn’t exactly work (it’s been so long now, that I don’t quite remember what happened, but I don't think it set properly), so after that, I kept T Day to traditional American foods only. But that’s another blog for another day (actually, let’s visit this in November).
Last Australia Day, I decided to go for the Pav again, and it came out perfect. I did it again, yesterday, for Australia Day 2014. Yesterday’s Pavlova also turned out pretty good. Pretty, pretty, preeeety good.
Now, I should disclose that I didn’t make the meringue from scratch. I don’t know how to do that and I have a sneaking suspicion that it wouldn’t work out so well.
I did however, utilise Pavlova Magic – a powered egg white / gelatine mixture made by White Wings. All you add is water and caster sugar the powder to create the meringue.
It's very simple. Pavlova Magic comes in a plastic egg shaped container. You fill the bottom of the egg with water, add to a large bowl with the powder and beat with an electric mixer until it comes stiff and peaks form. Then, you fill the top part of the egg with caster sugar and beat that into the mixture for a minute or so.
Next, you pour the mixture onto a baking tray, and pile it high. It sort of naturally forms a tall mound anyway. Place in a pre-heated oven, and bake for an hour. After the hour, you turn the oven off, and leave the Pavlova in there until the oven cools completely. You also can not open the oven door during the cooking and cooling process, so while it’s relatively simple, it does take several hours from start to finish.
When you take it out of the oven, store it in an air-tight container until you are ready to add the cream and fruit (I think you can store it up to three days). I always use fresh cream that I whip up with a bit of sugar. I usually add strawberries and kiwi, but any berry/soft fruit would do.
The result is a light and refreshing dessert that is perfect for these hot summer days. Or in yesterday’s case, rainy and cool summer days.
Actually, it's perfect for all days – summer, autumn, winter, spring.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Pav, Pav, Pav!