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clancy family pavlova with mango & passionfruit

 

They say that a change is as good as a holiday. And while I’m definitely a girl who is always looking to embrace the new, to be honest, I’d take a holiday any day. I mean there’s nothing like a good vacation, even if you decide to take in the comfort of your own home. Just having the luxury of time is magic. Time to sleep in, time for long leisurely breakfasts, time for picnics by the harbour,  time to potter about, time for long boozy lunches, and time for projects. There are few things that can beat it.

 

I feel very very lucky, not to mention relaxed to have had the last two and a half weeks off. It’s been one of the best holidays I’ve had in ages and I didn’t have to go any where or do anything. It’s been wonderful.

 

We had Christmas in Sydney for the first time ever, just me and my favourite Irishman in the morning and then my dad, sisters and their other halves (and puppy), and most excitingly my new cute-as–a-button nephew Jack(!) joined us in Darling Point for a traditional Christmas dinner. Glazed ham, super moist brined turkey and some good old puddings. A classic Christmas in a new setting.

 

Then New Years Eve at home on the balcony with just my brother and his gorgeous girl and Cait & Keiran, dear friends from the other side of the harbour. A very relaxing evening with lots of laughs and good tunes and five courses inspired by the latest Moro cookbook, washed down with plenty of Champagne, punctuated by a balcony viewing of the fireworks spectacular that is Sydney harbour every year.

 

But the best thing about my holiday, apart from mooching around with my favourite Irishman, was having the time to tackle a project that has been on the list for quite some time now. Yes my friends, I’ve finally gotten around to pulling together a cookbook of my Mum’s recipes and I’m really excited about how it’s coming along.

 

It’s been great fun remembering all the classics and consulting with my sisters on the details. It’s been great fun cooking up my childhood favourites to test out the recipes and to take photos of the results. To be honest I’ve been pleasantly surprised just how delicious most things are, even if there is sometimes a bit of a 70s vibe to them (apricot chicken anyone?). But best of all I’ve felt really close to my Mum even if it is almost 18 months since she died.

 

With the wonders of modern technology and self publishing, via the good people at blurb, I’m going to be able to offer this little treasure of family recipes and stories for sale. So watch this space, it will probably take me a while to get the finishing touches completed but in the mean time I leave you with my Mum’s recipe for pavlova. The perfect dessert any time really, but especially in Summer when there is so much delicious fruit in season…. all good things.

 

 

 

clancy family pavlova

recipe source: Yvonne Clancy via Mum’s recipe book

serves 4-6

 

No family recipe book would be complete without a recipe for pavlova or ‘pav’ as it was known in our house. This was easily the most popular summer dessert. It still amazes me how egg whites and sugar can combine to create such a gorgeous dessert. Light and airy with a crispy shell, served with whipped cream and fresh fruit it’s light enough to be able to squeeze in a piece, no matter how full you’re feeling.

 

The strawberries from Mum’s garden were always the fruit of choice when in season but mixed berries from the shop would also work when we didn’t have access to mum’s bursting-with-flavour fruit. In the height of summer sliced mango and passionfruit as pictured here were also lovely.

 

A word of warning. While it seems so easy to be able to leave the pav to cool and finish cooking in the oven, it can be dangerous. Especially if you have an electric oven like my Mum. I remember one time I’d made a pav and left it to cool and then came back a few hours later, completely forgetting what was in the oven and turned it on to preheat for dinner. Woops. Lets just say that burnt pavlova is not a pretty sight.

 

2 egg whites

1 1/2C (330g or 12oz) caster sugar

pinch salt

dash vanilla extract

1t white vinegar

1t cornflour

3T boiling water

whipped cream, to serve

fresh fruit, to serve

 

Preheat oven to 150C (300F). Line a baking tray with baking paper and grease lightly in a circle about 20cm (8in) diameter. Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 10 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is very stiff.

 

Spread mixture out on the tray to cover the greased circle. Place in the oven and decrease temperature to 120C (250F) and bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave door ajar for pavlova to cool in the oven.

 

To serve, carefully peel foil from the base of the pavlova and place on a serving platter. Generously smother the top with cream and decorate prettily with fresh fruit.

 

The pavlova base will keep in an airtight container for a few days but once the cream has been added its best if served straight away.

 

 

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