Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Nadia Lim’s Country Christmas – PLUS Her 5 Best Pavlova Recipes

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Nadia Lim is planning the perfect, simple farm Christmas – and to help you with yours, she’s even given us FIVE pavlova recipes that are bound to go off at your place this festive season.

Nadia Lim used to go all out for Christmas, as one might expect from New Zealand’s most beloved foodie.

“Oh, back in the MasterChef days especially I’d go all out,” she says.

“I loved doing very fancy dinners, but I tired myself out and eventually got to the stage of not wanting to do much at all! I’d delegate dishes to the family – actually My Food Bag helped with that because I just gave the recipe cards and the ingredients to everyone.

“But now I’ve come back around to really enjoying cooking again and I look forward to it, but it’s simple food, especially with being on a farm now, so we use the food from the farm – lamb, salad greens, new potatoes, strawberries and SO much rhubarb! I have like 20 plants – it’s great with strawberry on a pavlova (see below for five perfect pavlova recipes) and rhubarb tarts – just put it on some puff pastry, pop it in the oven and when it’s out, brush with honey.”

Simple is most definitely the buzz word of this winter for Nadia, who’s currently expecting baby number three, much to the excitement of husband Carlos and sons Bohdi and River.

“The pregnancy is so far, so good,” she tells. “He or she is pretty active! I’m in that good phase where I’m not feeling very sick and I’m not tooo big. That’ll change in a few weeks though!

“And the boys are at that stage where they know what Christmas is – they’re pretty excited and they’re counting down the days.”

There’s s the small matter of tending to her farm in Central Otago (as featured on the TV show Nadia’s Farm) and even supplying some of her farm’s produce to My Food Bag.

“It’s really cool seeing the food we produce getting sent out to people across the country, and sometimes My Food Bag will create a dish based on the farm’s produce which is amazing.”

Nadia’s also been busy working with the team at My Food Bag to help develop an incredible range of Christmas menus (available to purchase until Wednesday 7 December. Each of the menus feature delicious recipes inspired by Nadia and fit her ethos for fresh, simple summer flavours.

But one thing that will never change at Christmas is the need for a BANGER of a pav – so see below for Nadia’s FIVE best pavlova recipes, including one for Eton Mess “which is perfect if your pavlova doesn’t quite turn out as well as you’d like,” she laughs.

See below for Nadia’s best pavlova recipes – you’re bound to find your perfect one!

NADIA LIM’S PERFECT PAVLOVA RECIPES:

Chocolate, Cherry & Mascarpone Pavlova

Serves 10

Meringue

6 eggs, separated

2 Tbsp water

1½ tsp white vinegar

1½ Tbsp cornflour

Pinch of salt

300g caster sugar

100g dark chocolate

Toppings

300ml whipped cream

100g mascarpone

1 tsp vanilla extract

200g store bought cherry jam or preserves

50g dark chocolate

Before you start, preheat the oven to 160°C (do not use fan bake). Line an oven tray with baking paper and draw a 22cm circle on it (use a dinner plate as a stencil).

Separate egg whites from yolks (keep yolks in a container in the fridge to make custard or eggnog later). Place egg whites in a large, clean, dry bowl (or bowl of your stand mixer) and use electric beaters to whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form, 3-4 minutes. In a small bowl, combine water, vinegar, cornflour and a pinch of salt, until smooth. Add to egg whites and whisk briefly to combine.

Continue to whisk egg whites on medium speed, adding a tablespoon of caster sugar to the mix at a time, this should take about 5 minutes. Your meringue should look fluffy and silky.

Melt chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 second bursts, stirring in between. Allow to cool completely.

Pile meringue onto baking paper inside your circle (it will be quite high). Use a dessert spoon to flatten the top slightly, then use the spoon to make swoops on the side of the pav, starting from the bottom, sweep up towards the top on a slight angle. Smooth out the top again until you’re happy with the design. Swirl through melted chocolate.

Before putting it in the oven, reduce oven temperature to 100°C and bake pavlova for 120 minutes (DO NOT open door during this time.) The pavlova may crack slightly, this is completely normal.

Turn the oven off and leave pavlova in the oven to cool completely. Do this for 2 hours minimum, or overnight, if possible, put a sign on the door so you don’t forget it’s in there! Once completely cooled, the pavlova can be stored in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Place the cream in a large bowl with mascarpone and use electric beaters to whip to soft peaks, about 2 minutes. When ready to serve, top the pavlova with mascarpone cream, dollop over cherry jam and use a potato peeler or grater to shave over dark chocolate.

Kiwifruit & Plum Pavlova

Serves 10

Meringue

6 eggs, separated

2 Tbsp water

1½ tsp white vinegar

1½ Tbsp cornflour

Pinch of salt

300g caster sugar

Toppings

500ml cream

4 kiwifruits

50g freeze-dried plum

Before you start, preheat the oven to 160°C (do not use fan bake). Line an oven tray with baking paper and draw a 22cm circle on it (use a dinner plate as a stencil).

Separate egg whites from yolks (keep yolks in a container in the fridge to make custard or eggnog later). Place egg whites in a large, clean, dry bowl (or bowl of your stand mixer) and use electric beaters to whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form, 3-4 minutes. In a small bowl, combine water, vinegar, cornflour and a pinch of salt, until smooth. Add to egg whites and whisk briefly to combine.

Continue to whisk egg whites on medium speed, adding a tablespoon of caster sugar to the mix at a time, this should take about 5 minutes. Your meringue should look fluffy and silky.

Pile meringue onto baking paper inside your circle (it will be quite high). Use a dessert spoon to flatten the top slightly, then use the spoon to make swoops on the side of the pav, starting from the bottom, sweep up towards the top on a slight angle. Smooth out the top again until you’re happy with the design.

Before putting it in the oven, reduce oven temperature to 100°C and bake pavlova for 120 minutes (DO NOT open door during this time.) The pavlova may crack slightly, this is completely normal.

Turn the oven off and leave pavlova in the oven to cool completely. Do this for 2 hours minimum, or overnight, if possible, put a sign on the door so you don’t forget it’s in there! Once completely cooled, the pavlova can be stored in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Place the cream in a large bowl and use electric beaters to whip to soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Peel and dice kiwifruit. When ready to serve, top the pavlova with whipped cream, diced kiwifruit and freeze-dried plum.

Lemon Curd & Strawberry Pavlova

Serves 10

Meringue

6 eggs, separated

2 Tbsp water

1½ tsp white vinegar

1½ Tbsp cornflour

Pinch of salt

300g caster sugar

Toppings

500ml cream

200g lemon curd

50g freeze-dried strawberry slices

Before you start, preheat the oven to 160°C (do not use fan bake). Line an oven tray with baking paper and draw a 22cm circle on it (use a dinner plate as a stencil).

Separate egg whites from yolks (keep yolks in a container in the fridge to make custard or eggnog later). Place egg whites in a large, clean, dry bowl (or bowl of your stand mixer) and use electric beaters to whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form, 3-4 minutes. In a small bowl, combine water, vinegar, cornflour and a pinch of salt, until smooth. Add to egg whites and whisk briefly to combine.

Continue to whisk egg whites on medium speed, adding a tablespoon of caster sugar to the mix at a time, this should take about 5 minutes. Your meringue should look fluffy and silky.

Pile meringue onto baking paper inside your circle (it will be quite high). Use a dessert spoon to flatten the top slightly, then use the spoon to make swoops on the side of the pav, starting from the bottom, sweep up towards the top on a slight angle. Smooth out the top again until you’re happy with the design.

Before putting it in the oven, reduce oven temperature to 100°C and bake pavlova for 120 minutes (DO NOT open door during this time.) The pavlova may crack slightly, this is completely normal.

Turn the oven off and leave pavlova in the oven to cool completely. Do this for 2 hours minimum, or overnight, if possible, put a sign on the door so you don’t forget it’s in there! Once completely cooled, the pavlova can be stored in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Place the cream in a large bowl and use electric beaters to whip to soft peaks, about 2 minutes. When ready to serve, top the pavlova with whipped cream, drizzle over lemon curd and finish with freeze-dried strawberries.

Passionfruit & Blueberry Pavlova

Serves 10

Meringue

6 eggs, separated

2 Tbsp water

1½ tsp white vinegar

1½ Tbsp cornflour

Pinch of salt

300g caster sugar

Toppings

500ml cream

25g freeze-dried blueberry powder

200g store bought passionfruit sauce

200g fresh blueberries

Before you start, preheat the oven to 160°C (do not use fan bake). Line an oven tray with baking paper.

Separate egg whites from yolks (keep yolks in a container in the fridge to make custard or eggnog later). Place egg whites in a large, clean, dry bowl (or bowl of your stand mixer) and use electric beaters to whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form, 3-4 minutes. In a small bowl, combine water, vinegar, cornflour and a pinch of salt, until smooth. Add to egg whites and whisk briefly to combine.

Continue to whisk egg whites on medium speed, adding a tablespoon of caster sugar to the mix at a time, this should take about 5 minutes. Your meringue should look fluffy and silky.

Using a large metal spoon, spoon the mixture onto prepared tray into a rectangle/log, about 30x15cm. Using the back of a spoon, make swirling patterns on top of the meringue to flatten it into a tall, but even layer.

Before putting it in the oven, reduce oven temperature to 100°C and bake pavlova for 120 minutes (DO NOT open door during this time.) The pavlova may crack slightly, this is completely normal.

Turn the oven off and leave pavlova in the oven to cool completely. Do this for 2 hours minimum, or overnight, if possible, put a sign on the door so you don’t forget it’s in there! Once completely cooled, the pavlova can be stored in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Place the cream and blueberry powder in a large bowl and use electric beaters to whip to soft peaks, about 2 minutes. When ready to serve, top the pavlova with whipped cream, drizzle over passionfruit sauce and finish with fresh blueberries.

Strawberry Shortbread & Pistachio Eton Mess

Serves 10

Strawberry Compote

500g fresh strawberries (reserve a handful for serving)

½ cup caster sugar

¼ cup water

Eton Mess

500ml cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

12 store bought meringues

200g store bought shortbread biscuits

50g slivered pistachios

Fresh mint

Cut some strawberries in half and leave some whole. Set aside a handful for plating. Put the remaining into a pot with sugar and water. Heat on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until sugar has dissolved, and strawberries have softened slightly. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Place cream and vanilla in a large bowl and use electric beaters or a whisk to whisk, until soft peaks form.

Use a large spoon to dollop half the cream into a wreath shape on your platter or plate. Break meringues and shortbread into different size pieces. Place two thirds of these on top of cream, scattering randomly. Dollop over remaining cream.

Arrange remaining meringue and shortbread pieces on top. Spoon over strawberry compote (including all the sauce) and remaining fresh strawberries. Sprinkle with pistachios and garnish with mint leaves.

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