Tag Archives: Australian cooking

White Chocolate Rocky Road

Last Christmas, my aunt made this irresistible White Chocolate Rocky Road. She also made this thing called Reindeer Bark where she recycles all those dreaded Christmas candy canes crushing them up and sprinkling the coloured gems over the top of the melted milk chocolate “bark”. She’s like the Christmas Lolly Fairy… a dazzling Pied Piper attracting anyone with a sweet tooth. Don’t tell her this but I’m pretty sure this is why she’s so popular with the wee folk!!

Anyway, last Christmas along with the delectable treats my cousin “the chef” brought from work, I was completely lead astray by the Christmas Lolly Fairy and her platter of White Chocolate Rocky Road, especially when she whispered: “I only use the good Turkish Delight, you know!” Ah! If you have tried the real thing you never forget it. It’s that gooey rose-scented stuff which still sticks to your fingers and everything it touches despite a dusting of “snow”.

Of course, in the great tradition of family recipes, my aunt had thrown the ingredients together and gave me a list of ingredients bt then I was on my own. Potentially facing an absolute disaster using ingredients you don’t want to waste, it’s times this when you yearn for The Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbooks with their legendary Test Kitchen where everything is tried three times before getting their expert seal of approval to go into print. This means they’re convinced that recipe is absolutely fail proof and just like The Titanic…unsinkable!!

Only use this authentic, fresh, rose-scented Turkish Delight!

Only use this authentic, fresh, rose-scented Turkish Delight!

After two goes, I was happy with the results. I must stress that you must use the gooey fresh rose-scented Turkish Delight as that is the key feature of this White Chocolate Rocky Road. While this recipe hasn’t been tried and tested in the Australian Women’s Weekly Test Kitchen, it has certainly passed muster here more than 3 times…especially with my husband who loves white chocolate!

It might be getting too late to make this for Christmas Day, although judging by the crowds at the supermarket Geoff encountered today and the greeting from the guy at the checkout: “Welcome to Hell”, I’m not the only one doing some last minute baking. My excuse is that I like everything to be fresh. Anyway, even if you don’t get it made before Christmas, it’s will make a wonderful treat for the Holidays.

By the way, not that I mean to pick on our puppy the inimitable Lady, but I caught her eating the fresh Turkish Delight the other day. That’s right. The greedy pup had eaten an entire try of Turkish Delight. I’m pretty sure she had accidently or very cleverly knocked the Turkish Delight out of the pantry while wagging her tail. She wags her tail a lot and is a very happy little dog but she’s also an accomplished food thief. I no longer give her the benefit of the doubt. She is usually guilty as charged.

Ingredients

600g melted good quality white chocolate

1.5 cups rice bubbles

1.5 cups roasted Macadamia Nuts

1 cup desiccated coconut

1.5 cups white marshmallows

Fresh rose-flavoured Turkish Delight (use your discretion)

Directions

  1. Line a lamington tin with baking paper.
  2. Snip the marshmallows in half with a clean pair of scissors and put to one side.
  3. Break white chocolate up into pieces. Place in a large microwave-proof bowl and melt on high for 1 minute and stir. It may need extra time. Check the chocolate for further instructions.
  4. Cool a little.
  5. Add rice bubbles, macadamia nuts, marshmallows and coconut to melted chocolate. You might want to chop the macadamias but personally, I like the large chunks of nut.
  6. Chop the chunks of Turkish Delight roughly into four and carefully fold through the white chocolate mix. The Turkish Delight is quite gooey and you want it to spread a little throughout the mix but not get lost.
  7. Refrigerate and cut into squares using a warm knife (pour boiling water into a mug and dip the knife in after each use and wipe dry.
  8. Keep refrigerated. It tastes best when it is served at room temperature and has been left out of the fridge for about 15 minutes before serving. In Australia, our summers can get incredibly hot, so it also depend on your conditions.

Enjoy! Wishing you love and Blessing this Christmas and throughout the New Year!!

Xx Rowena

Christmas 2014.

This is my piece!

This is my piece!

Australian Pavlova

I have always understood that the pavlova, named after the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, was created by Australian chef Bert Sachse from the Esplanade Hotel in Perth and prepared for her while on tour.

However, like most great things which are considered uniquely and indisputably Australian, there’s often a foreign element. Hey, even Vegemite and the Australian Women’s Weekly are foreign owned. So it also appears that the Kiwis (AKA New Zealanders) are trying to take claim to our pav. Is nothing sacred?!! That said, a pav just isn’t a pav without kiwi fruit on top so I reluctantly got to give the kiwis a bit of credit.

This recipe comes from Margaret Fulton who, now aged in her 90s, has to be considered “The Grandmother of Australian Cooking”. I grew up cooking from her cookbooks as a child and even though we have never met, she feels like some kind of surrogate cooking Supergran and I’m sure most Australian women would feel much the same. So much more than a name, she’s part of the family, albeit on the shelf.

This pavlova is my signature dish. It is relatively simple but I always receive gushing praise and have been lauded as the “Pavlova Queen”. With its crisp crunchy crust and soft marshmallow interior, it’s amazing and I find so many people truly love pavlova and nothing compares to the classic home made version. Somehow, it seems to make everybody deliriously happy.

Ingredients:

6 egg whites at room temperature

Pinch of salt

2 cups caster sugar

1.5 teas vanilla

1.5 teas vinegar

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven. There is quite a difference in settings depending on whether you are baking the pavlova in a gas or electric oven. If you are using electric, pre=heat the oven to a slow 150° C (300°F). If you are using gas, preheat it to a very hot 230°C (450°F).
  2. Grease tray. I use a pizza tray covered in foil and spray it with canola.
  3. Separate egg whites into glasses and transfer each egg white to the main bowl in case a bit of yolk slips through the net. You don’t want to waste the lot!
  4. Beat egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form.
  5. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time beating well after each addition.
  6. Stop beating after all the sugar has been incorporated.
  7. Fold in vanilla and vinegar.
  8. Pile mixture onto the tray and swirl it around creating attractive curls.
  9. Cooking instructions vary depending on what type of oven you have. If using an electric oven, put the pavlova in and bake for 45 minutes and then turn the oven off and leave it in there for 1 hour. If using a gas oven, turn heat to the lowest temperature. Put the pavlova in and bake 1.5 hours or until crisp on top and a pale straw colour.
  10. When pavlova is cooked, remove from the oven and cool completely.
  11. Now you essentially drown the pavlova in cream. You can either buy the tubs of very thick cream which you can pour straight onto the pavlova or you can whip some cream up yourself. We always add a bit of icing sugar and vanilla to our whipped cream. Just to make the pavlova healthy, despite all that sugar and cream.
  12. Top the cream with fresh fruit which is typically slices of kiwi fruit , banana and strawberries along with some passion fruit. My sister-in-law used frozen raspberries, defrosted of course, and these went very well with it as well. She actually put the raspberries underneath the cream and that looked very good.

Pavlova is best made the day before and it’s not something you can easily squeeze into the oven in between cooking other things what with juggling oven temperatures and it needing a slow oven. I have been making this pavlova for many years and haven’t had a flop until recently and I think that’s from trying to cook it straight after having the oven hot for something else.

Enjoy and just remember that when you serve the pavlova with fruit, that automatically makes it healthy cancelling out all the other stuff.

xx Ro