pavlova with strawberries

since january, life has been happening with full speed… work (my real job) kept me on my toes with a few projects that have been a lot of fun. we moved parts of our family’s domicile this past weekend. my mom organised everything about the move with a general’s authority and discipline, it was incredible. and though i find moving truely horrible, generally speaking, it was okay since i was awarded with the best task, namely unpacking the kitchen stuff. muesli station on a bar cart included! and naturally, as i’m taking my tasks seriously, i also got to do the grocery shopping and cook for the movers and friends who came to help (a nice minestrone verde, which was awfully good but i can’t show you because i forgot the camera, tough luck). it was still exhausting, especially since there will be yet more moving… my home will experience some changes itself. i’m actually looking forward to living alone, really alone, with no one to consider and take care of but me. but the planning simply keeps me breathless… not that it’s that much to do. but there somehow hasn’t been one moment’s peace since the beginning of the year (or so it feels). 
the side effect? well, i’ve always been a troubled sleeper. but lately i find myself sleeping ‘like a stone’ (as we say in german), simply because i’m always that exhausted (by all means – a good side effect, indeed). it’s like a constant domination of clouds. although i can see the sun seep through, partially… but it’s just not big enough to warm everything. 
but i don’t want to complain. what i want, instead, is to stop and think about the good things that have happened that leave me thankful and humbled. 
like, last week i went out in the morning, and in spite of the snow revival, the birds were chirping like there would be no tomorrow. the world seems to wake up from hibernation again. the flowers in my home are filling the air with an awesome perfume. my personal, custom-made pallet bed is currently in the making (you’ll hear about that later). there is more cake in my home than i can eat (okay, my jeans don’t thank me for that…). i’ve got friends who stop by for an impromptu tea time, on a sunday (i think it’s partly because they worry about my sunday blues… isn’t that the cutest thing?). family friends who are so supportive, who stop by with cake (yum) and pizza for short breaks in between moving sessions. my new dotted scarf (that i got from my friend nina and haven’t stopped wearing since). kusmi’s euphoria tea, who keeps me company on lonely nights. whats’app (seriously, how ever did we spend our time without it?). dreams of a summer holiday. and last but not least, the hope that i’ll find love again, in due time. granted, i have no clue where this hope comes from. so i’m surprised but all the more thankful for this hope. it’s curing me from the inside.
yes, that’s the current hurly-burly clutter of thoughts in my mind… there are such an awful lot of thoughts to be thought; good and bad. it’s like a storm in my head… but, just like with the weather, a storm brings cloudlessness and clearness. and there will be peace in my mind, again. i just know it. all in due time. 

pavlova with strawberries
see two other mini pavlova versions here or here

ingredients merinuges:

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice, to clean the utensils
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. corn starch

for the vanilla cream: 
250 ml cream, whipped
1 vanilla bean, extracted
4 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
500 g strawberries
2 tbsp. acacia honey
handful mint leaves
2 passion fruits, pulp scratched out

directions:

preheat the oven to only 100 degrees celsius (200 fahrenheit). this is an (i guess) important first prep step: sprinkle the lemon juice on a paper towel, and wipe it over the bowl and all the utensils that will be in touch with the egg whites prior to beating them (i.e. also the mixer forks), spatula etc. this will remove any potential grease. beat the egg whites with the baking powder, first, for a few minutes, until mostly stiff. add the sugar only then, and the corn starch. beat on until very white-shiny and stiff. shape little meringue ponds with a spatula freestyle, or perfect little heaps with a confectioner’s pipe (like we did), on a baking sheet. you should get around 9 meringues, depending on their size. place in the oven and dry (not bake) for 1.5 hours or until dried out and hard from the outside. turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven to cool completely.
whit the cream, add the vanilla and the confectioner’s sugar. thinly slice the mint. wash and clean the strawberries, slice and sweeten with honey. assemble the pavlovas: pipe on the cream, then top with strawberries, and, if you like, a spoonful of passion fruit pulp (i didn’t have any left for the picture, sorry – but it was good with it, nice and tangy). decorate with some mint slices. serve immediately – before everything is soaked. 
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