My Dancing Ladies are making a lovely golden show this year, with three of them flowering at the moment. They are from the Oncidium Orchid family, and when not flowering don't attract a passing glance at all, like most orchids probably. However when they decide to send out a long spike or two, I get quite excited knowing that in about a month a mass of golden blooms will emerge. These are all originally my Mum's orchids, and have been broken up, repotted and I've learned a lot as I went along.
Keep reading for my Tropical Pavlova recipe below.
I never water the Dancing Ladies at night, as the roots are quite fragile and like the sun to dry them off during the day. I've also learned that they like to grow either in hanging baskets, or in plastic pots with holes drilled around the perimeter of the pot so that the roots can find their way out of the pot to breathe. Despite those little tips, the photo below is of one in a terra cotta pot and it has flowered, although it didn't produce a long spike, but is a very pretty golden shade. Orchids can happily defy all established conventions when left to their own devices.
|This one is a darker yellow growing in a hanging basket which needs repotting when it stops flowering.|
Below is my Dove orchid, growing on our Golden Penda tree. It began to break out into delicate white fragrant blooms on Thursday, and by Sunday it was raining. They are the most reliable weather forecaster around. A profusion of these white blooms is a wonderful sight, with the promise of showers to come. Their fragrance is delicate and intoxicating. However, along with the Bureau of Meteorology, they have been known to occasionally get it wrong, just saying, but not very often. If you have a Dove orchid, have you found this as well?
It's Pavlova time.
Everyone loves a good pav don't they, especially for dessert during the Aussie Summer. Pavlovas aren't difficult to make and the wonderful thing is that if by some chance it doesn't work out and has too many cracks in it and collapses, it can easily be converted into Eton Mess, one of my most favourite desserts. Or you can just buy meringues and make Eton Mess from them. This is my
Eton Mess recipe. Easy peasy. A delicious and easy Summer dessert and ingredients are exactly the same. I believe the original idea came from Eton College in England, when a pavlova didn't work out and was reconstructed to become Eton Mess. I like the story anyway.
I think everyone in Australia and New Zealand for that matter, given the controversy about where it originates from, has their own Pavlova recipe in their cooking repertoire. I've certainly tried a few over the years, however these days my no fuss easy Pav recipe to go for is this one my friends, straight off the back of the White Wings Cornflour packet. And it's great to know that if I have gluten free guests coming for dinner, cornflour is gluten free. Need to check the vinegar though. It's also nice to know that White Wings is still an Australian company, even though I notice that the ingredients in the packet are packed in Australia from imported ingredients. How does that happen?
I generally keep a container of 6-7 egg whites in my freezer. There is always something I have cooked which only needed egg yolks. Egg whites thaw beautifully for reuse.This recipe makes a marshmallow pavlova, crisp on the outside with a firm marshmallow filling. Yum.
A warning though, don't attempt to make a pavlova if there are rain showers hanging around, unless your air conditioning is on constantly, removing all of the humidity from the air. Pavlovas start to weep after cooking if their is too much moisture in the air, and then you will weep as well. If you intend to eat it straight away it should be ok.
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
6 tsps Cornflour
1 tsp White vinegar
300ml thickened cream, whipped
Fresh fruit to decorate, hopefully including a couple of sweet fragrant passion fruit. I used strawberries, kiwi fruit, and blueberries.
|In an ideal world I would have had some beautiful passionfruit to add to the topping|
Preheat your oven to 120 deg. C. conventional or 100 deg. C. fan forced. Draw a 20 cm circle in pencil on a sheet of baking paper. I use a 20 cm cake pan as a guide for this. Place the paper, with the pencil circle side down, onto a greased oven tray. Just a biscuit tray will be fine.
Have your Mix Master, Kitchen Aid or whatever you own ready to go with a whisk attached. I don't think a hand held mixer is really the go for the mixing of a pavlova.
Put the egg whites and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat with your electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and beat for 15 minutes or until the mixture is thick and glossy. Then add the cornflour and the vinegar and beat on low speed for 1 minute longer.
Spoon the thick eggy mixture onto the prepared and lined tray, spreading carefully out to a 20cm circle to fit your pencilled shape.
Tricky part is over.
Bake in your preheated oven for 2 hours or until crisp. Don't worry if you see a couple of fine cracks in the crust. Turn your oven off. Then cool the cooked pavlova in the oven with the door left ajar for 1-2 hours.
Hold your breath, (just joking) and transfer the pavlova carefully to a serving plate. A miracle has occurred, it will be delicious.
Cover with whipped cream and decorate and enjoy.
Warm wishes, keep smiling and I hope you enjoy your Monday.