The Domestic Gourmet – Liz
At first glance, Liz appears to be your typical Kiwi girl. She loves a good barbecue and Pavlova, has played and umpired netball for most of her life, has always been an All Blacks supporter (especially Jeff Wilson!), and has been off for the last few years (or so) on the opposite side of the world on her OE, working and travelling.
But once you get to know her, she’s so much more than that. Liz is one of the most adventurous, talented and thoughtful people you will ever have the fortune to meet. Plus, once you are her friend, she’s one of the most loyal friends you’ll ever have.
And it’s not just Kiwi food Liz loves – one of her favourite childhood memories is tucking into her mum’s mac and cheese, and she’s also a huge fan of Thai and Greek cuisine. When asked what one of her best food experiences was, Liz speaks of a holiday in Krakow, Poland. “They have these delicious little pasta parcels but they’re sweet! Usually filled with strawberries and then a nice sweet sauce over the top. In the restaurant we went to they had them on the menu as a main and a dessert. So of course I basically had ‘dessert’ followed by dessert; it was practically mandatory!”
Liz has quite the sweet tooth, which is not suprising, considering the recipe she’s contributed. Liz admits that she doesn’t cook much, “I tend to do the prepping and washing up because I can’t burn anything that way! Even toast has fallen foul of my culinary skills!” But she does love to bake. This comes from her mum: “My mum used to bake loads of homemade goodies when we were younger – scrumptious rock cakes, of course Pavlova, not to mention chocolate chip cookies. Probably my all-time favourite was the Christmas cake though – deliciously moist.” Her love of baking is reflected in what she says is her best-loved kitchen gadget – her new Kenwood mixer. And her sweet tooth isn’t helped by her husband’s chocolate mint mousse: “I think this is going to become my new indulgence.”
You would think that her fondness for sweets would slow her down, but Liz has to be one of the most active people I know. As well as working as a web operations manager, Liz is a qualified netball umpire and plays a lot of sport. Her and her husband travel a lot, seeing as much of the world as they can before returning home. Being in the UK is part of the inspiration behind this Pavlova recipe: “I really wanted to bring a piece of NZ to my UK friends. I’m now known for the ‘best Pav ever’ (according to a friend’s eleven year old daughter) and it’s so easy and quick to whip up – it’s perfect to take around to people’s places.”
So even though I miss her a lot, as much as making a Pavlova reminds Liz of home, making a Pavlova reminds me of Liz. To me, this Domestic Gourmet post is about how food can connect people to places and each other – even if they’re on the other side of the world.
2 egg whites
1 1/2 C caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 C boiling water
Place ingredients into a bowl and beat (preferably with an electric mixer) on high speed for about 15 mins, until mixture is still and shiny. The mixture should feel smooth when a little is rubbed between finger and thumb.
Spread mixture on a baking tray which has been covered with a non stick baking paper or brushed with melted butter and dusted with cornflour.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius (356F; gas mark 4 = 350F; Gas mark 5 = 375F) for 10 mins. Reduce heat to 150 degrees Celsius (300F; gas mark 2) and bake a further 45 minutes.
Allow to cool in oven.
When cool, top with whipped cream and fruit.
This type of Pavlova should be eaten within two days.
Liz’s notes: the key is letting it cool in the oven for a couple of hours. When we were living at our old place I even put a ‘Do NOT Open’ on the oven door in case our housemate came home. Otherwise it’s a collapsed Pavlova (cheekily covered by cream so no one knows!).