Pav Adventures!

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Remember my pavlova disaster?  Well folks, if at first you don’t succeed….

“Try, try again”,  I hear you automatically murmer in response.

What?!

Not a chance.  For this impromptu dessert, it was down to the Cheesecake shop. 😛

But I did dress it myself 😀

One thing that has always disturbed me about pavlovas is the way in which, after all the careful attention that goes into making them, one seems to inevitably throw the last of the ingredients in the top in the most haphazard way.

Here’s my attempt at presenting a more deliberate pavlova costume.

Slice, ever so finely, the fillets of mango with a large, sharp knife.

After a modest application of whipped cream, begin to layer the mango around the pav.  Remembering it’s a circle, make the mango into a cone shape, rather than a cylinder, so that it will sit neatly into the centre and not pile up.  I like to have all the folds running the same way, but  – a man going past on a galloping horse wouldn’t notice if you don’t have that issue.

A layer of blueberries would work just as well as kiwi fruit to provide a contrast for the excess of orange and red, but I didn’t have any on hand.

(The strawberries look more appealing with the little ends peeking out, rather than the large end.  It’s one of the mysteries of fruit.)

The addition of half a fresh passionfruit adds detail, and makes it a moister mix for those who don’t like too much cream.

There is, of course, the need to bring the clean up crew in after preparations are complete..

That’s it!

So remember.. if at first you don’t succeed, there is always Mamuskas! 😛

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Love food, hate waste

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Not into composting? No guinea pigs, or chooks? If you suffer pangs of guilt throwing out your vegetable  scraps, you might be interested in a website called Love food, hate waste.

The idea is to actually eat up more of the food we would normally throw out. Some of the recipes offered are perhaps a tad creative for my liking, (it may be just the mental picture, but I can’t get excited about roast dinner soup! ) while others offer practical suggestions for using things that are getting past their prime, but can be redeemed if cooked cleverly.

For the less stoic among us, the two week menu planner, and the tips for food storage may be a gentle start along this noble journey to reduce waste.

Snack attack

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Having a list of snack ideas helps resist the temptation of sugar laden or processed foods. Not that sugar laden delicacies have no place in the life of person dedicated to experiencing fine food, but I would prefer to eat them after a conscious decision, rather than as a reaction to hunger.

Here are some snack options…

  • Fresh fruit – with or without the addition of cubes of your favourite cheese.
  • Dried fruit and nuts. In particular, I enjoy raw almonds with crystallised ginger; it still has sugar, but it’s better than a handful of choc-chip biscuits.
  • Popcorn, easy to make in minutes, with no nasty additives.
  • Cottage cheese with fruit; apple and raisins, chopped pitted prunes, diced apricots (fresh or dried), experiment to find your best combination.
  • Muffins – not the sweet, white flour variety. Bake a double batch of meaningful muffins, and keep a supply in the freezer for the times when healthful motivation eludes you.
  • Soups – if you can face tinned soup in any situation other than a global emergency, then more glory to you. Otherwise, cook up a large batch of your favourite variety and store in single serves in the freezer.
  • Hard boiled eggs are great to keep in the fridge. You can snack on them, turn them into an egg and lettuce sandwich at lunch, or add them to a salad.
  • If you have left over rice, save it in the freezer in individual serves. It can then be eaten cold with milk, honey and cinnamon, or warm with beef stock and any veges on hand.
  • Crusty bread rolls, warmed and dipped in extra virgin olive oil (with or without crushed garlic added)
  • Whole field mushrooms, add parsley or garlic to the cup, top with parmesan, splash with olive oil, and grill until cheese makes a crust.

Your very best tactic when trying to snack with longevity in mind, is to plan ahead. Before you shop for the week, choose what you will snack on so the ingredients are on hand. If you are responsible for the snacking of others, post a list on the front of the fridge, which you can then point to when the inevitable “What’s to eat?” question comes your way.

Breakfast revival

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Bored with breakfast? Never want to see another bowl of cornflakes? Take heart, a very little time and a teensy bit of effort can rejuvenate the most fatigued palate.

For those among us who are not morning persons, and almost any effort is too much, consider the possibilities of;

  • a bowl of commercial fruit yoghurt, with or without muesli added
  • hard boil some eggs the night before
  • super thick Greek yoghurt with sliced banana, some walnuts and a serious splash of pure maple syrup ( a personal favourite)
  • try a smoothie with milk, egg, and fruit. The few moments it takes to get out your stick blender will be compensated by the speed with which you can consume it.
  • cooked white rice, cold or warm, add milk, sugar, cinnamon, fruit, or condensed milk
  • left overs. You will be surprised how good some things taste cold. Really.

If you have a little more time (or organization ability), foods to keep you going all morning are;

  • grilled cheese on toast. If you have extras; salami, olives, ham, tomato – all the better.
  • bircher muesli.* A breakfast that sticks by you!
  • baked beans on toast.
  • semolina, ceravite or porridge – particularly delectable served with brown sugar and fresh cream. Also enjoyable is the addition of chopped, dried dates before cooking, which produces a sweet, caramel taste as they soften. Some vanilla added after porridge has thickened doesn’t go astray.
  • fresh, warm, wholemeal scones
  • pancakes
  • bacon and eggs
  • baked apples
  • breakfast muffins
  • custom made muesli

* Bircher Muesli – You can make it as elaborate, or as simple as you like. Premix is available in the supermarket now, but I haven’t bothered. I soak oats in milk over night, but you can use juice if you prefer, add whatever comes to hand;

  • frozen, tinned or fresh fruit
  • toasted or raw, flaked or slithered almonds
  • my personal favourite is roasted hazelnuts with blueberries, peaches, a grated apple, some greek yoghurt and shredded coconut. Mmmm!