Tag Archives: pavlova

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    Everyday Pavlova

    Hello, dear readers! Apologies for my lengthy absence but I’ve been working on a few writing projects lately.

    I’ve been trying my hand at writing different types of fiction and I’m loving the new challenge and the creative freedom this has given me. However, working on longer writing projects requires a different kind of focus and I haven’t wanted to risk losing my momentum. But I’m back now and I’ll be popping up more regularly in the future.

    This easy pavlova recipe was inspired by a conversation I enjoyed last week at a popup dinner in Sydney to celebrate 20 years of Foxtel’s Lifestyle Channel.

    At the dinner, which coincided with World Gratitude Day, I was seated at a table hosted by Paul West, the affable host of the excellent series, River Cottage Australia. Inspired by the dishes we enjoyed by Paul, Nigella Lawson, Maggie BeerDonna HayJamie Oliver and Matt Moran, the conversation naturally turned to food: our table discussed everything from food trends, rural life vs city living, shopping for food, healthy and unhealthy approaches to food, home baking, baby food and growing your own food.

    Everyone has a different approach to food so it was an interesting and stimulating conversation. It got me thinking about why food is so important to me and why I’m such a passionate advocate of home cooking.

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    Home cooking is important because it’s an opportunity to bond with those you care about and to create treasured memories.

    The food my parents dished up night after night when I canadian casino news was growing up wasn’t fancy. Sure, sometimes they’d push the boat out but most of the time they cooked simply and efficiently. What made their cooking special, however, was their appreciation of flavour, their knowledge of ingredients and their willingness to experiment and try new things.

    A simple roast chicken. Braised pork and green beans. Spaghetti with local prawns and Goolwa cockles.  Dumplings. My beloved tuna mornay.  Prawn and pork noodle soup (Har Mee). Rosemary lamb roast with potato bake. A fuss-free beef stir fry. A pavlova topped with berries.

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    I adore pavlova so I’ve made lots of different kinds of kinds over the years. I’ve made a triple layered pavlova with raspberries, pomegranate and rose petals for Christmas Day lunch and a deconstructed pavlova when my daughter accidentally destroyed a pavlova I’d just taken out of the oven. I’ve even made a Messy Pavlova, or, as I called it, Eton Mess Down Under style, where I replaced the usual meringues with pavlova pieces.

    But this pavlova is your simple, everyday kind of pavlova. This is the pav you can enjoy after a weekend BBQ with the family. Or the pav you can take to a friend’s house when asked to ‘bring a plate.’ It’s the pav you can make when you have too many eggs in the house and the pav you can make to surprise someone on their birthday.

    I hope you like it. Enjoy!

    This post has been sponsored by Foxtel’s Lifestyle.

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    Everyday Pavlova
     
    Author: 
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Cuisine: Australian
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    An easy, everyday pavlova
    Ingredients
    • 4 egg whites at room temperature
    • Pinch of salt
    • ¾ cup caster sugar (or 1 for 1 sugar substitute such as stevia)
    • 2 teaspoons cornflour
    • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar (you can substitute white vinegar)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean essence
    • 300 mls thickened cream
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean essence
    • ½ punnet strawberries
    • ½ punnet blueberries
    • ½ punnet raspberries
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
    2. Check that all your mixing equipment is clean to ensure that the meringue rises properly. Use a paper towel dipped in white vinegar to wipe out your mixing bowl.
    3. Line one baking trays with baking paper and draw a 20cm circle on it (you can trace around a plate).
    4. Beat egg whites and salt on high with a stand or hand mixer for a few minutes until peaks begin to form.
    5. Add sugar in four batches, beating well after each addition, until the meringue is thick and shiny.
    6. Sprinkle over the corn flour, red wine vinegar and vanilla essence and fold in gently with a spatula. Try to keep as much volume in the meringue as possible.
    7. Using a spatula, dollop spoonfuls of meringue onto your circle, smoothing the top out with the back of the spoon or an offset spatula. Indent slightly in the centre if you wish.
    8. Put baking trays into the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 150 degrees Celsius. Bake for 30 minutes and then reduce heat to 120 degrees Celsius and bake for another 45 minutes. Turn oven off and leave pavlova to cool completely before taking out of the oven.
    9. Whip cream with one teaspoon of vanilla essence for a few minutes until firm.
    10. Carefully peel the baking paper off the base of the pavlova and place the pavlova on a serving plate. You may invert the pavlova if you wish but I like it either way. Spread the whipped cream on top and decorate your pavlova with mixed berries.
    Substitutions
    1. Dairy free - you can replace the cream with coconut yoghurt for a fresher, tangier taste.
    2. Mascarpone - you can replace half the cream with mascarpone cheese for a velvety rich topping
    3. Berry free – you can replace the berries with sliced mango, kiwifruit, passionfruit, nectarines, plums, peaches or apricots.
    4. Chocolate – you can add chocolate shavings
    5. Coconut - you can add dried coconut shavings

     

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    Best Australian Blog 2014 Winner and a Celebratory Layered Pavlova

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    Nearly everything that has happened since I started The Hungry Australian in mid 2011 has been a welcome surprise. But nothing has been quite as surprising (astonishing?) as finding out on Wednesday that I’d won the Australian Best Blogs 2014 competition organised by the Australian Writers’ Centre (AWC). 

    *Mind blown*

    A huge thank you to AWC national director Valerie Khoo, judge Carli Ratcliff and everyone else at the AWC who worked on these awards. Thank you also to competition sponsors Trafalgar and Random House. I’m so excited about all the fantastic prizes I’ve won. You have collectively made my day, week, month and year!

    I’d also like to congratulate all the talented bloggers who were this year’s finalists and winners. Do check them out.

    Nowadays, I’m a slashie: I’m a writer/photographer/recipe developer/food stylist/consultant/blogger. Everything that I do on this blog I now do for my clients, depending on what’s required. Turns out having an eternally curious mind (short attention span) and a broad range of skills (could never do just one thing) are good things in this new, digital economy. But I am a writer first and foremost because it’s something I have to do, regardless of whether anyone is reading. So winning this writing-focused competition is especially meaningful to me.

    Now following in the footsteps of the three previous competition winners — Cook Republic (2013), Edenland (2012) and Styling You (2011) — is a tremendous honour but it is also somewhat intimidating. However, I’ve come to realise that the best way I can honour the judges’ decision is to continue doing what I’ve always done, which is to blog the stories that mean something to me and that hopefully resonate with readers, too.

    So you won’t be seeing any dramatic changes in terms of content on The Hungry Australian: I’ll continue sharing my own recipes, stories about myself, my family and friends, and write-ups of exceptional travel and dining experiences. I will buy a new camera lens and some props I’ve been eyeing for some time but that’s about as far as it goes. 

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    Now while blogging itself is a solitary occupation I wouldn’t be the blogger I am today if it wasn’t for the support, help and love of family and friends. 

    *Drum roll*

    Thank you to …

    My friend, Kerina, who suggested that I start a blog. To which I replied, “What’s a blog?”

    My parents, who still aren’t quite sure what I do, but who support me in too many ways to count, and who look after my kids so well every time I take off on a work/media trip.

    My kids, who keep me grounded and make me laugh every single day.

    My brother, who helps out with computer stuff and rolls his eyes when I talk.

    My ex husband, who let me share some of our stories and a few of his recipes here.

    The talented bloggers —  Cyn, Peter, Billy and John — in the Servved network.

    Adelaide bloggers, Erin, Celeste, Tash, George, Alex, Kirsty and Shai, plus others blogger buddies throughout Australia and beyond. You know who you are and I’m very glad we’re friends.

    Great local photographers, Grant and Kevin, who took the photos of me on my About page.

    Andrew and Johan for technical support at different times.

    Last, but certainly not least, thank you for reading The Hungry Australian and allowing me into your life. Thank you for your comments. Thank you for subscribing. Thank you for sharing my blog via your likes, shares, re-blogs, re-tweets and pins. Thank you for reaching out to me. Thank you for sharing your own stories and anecdotes with me.

    Here’s to a delicious life!!

    Christina xx

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    Layered Pavlova with Pomegranate and Flowers

    I know there has been a glut of desserts on The Hungry Australian lately but I just had to bake a cake to celebrate this award. After considering several ideas, I decided to do a version of Pavlova, my favourite Australian dessert. I’ve previously blogged a Raspberry and Pomegranate Layered Pavlova recipe and this is the same recipe with some minor adjustments. It was a bit of work to prep the flowers but a special occasion calls for a special cake.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 10 egg whites
    • Large pinch salt
    • 2.5 cups sugar
    • 5 teaspoons corn flour
    • 2.5 teaspoons white or red wine vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract
    • 725 mls thickened cream
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
    • 2 large pomegranates, seeds only
    • Assorted flowers to decorate

    METHOD

    1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
    2. Line three baking trays with baking paper and draw a 20cm circle on each.
    3. Wipe mixing bowl with vinegar and then beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form.
    4. Add sugar in five batches (1/2 cup at a team), beating thoroughly between each addition until meringue is thick and shiny. Try holding the bowl upside down – if the meringue doesn’t move, it’s thick enough!
    5. Add cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract and gently fold in.
    6. Divide mixture equally between three baking trays and spread gently to fill in the circle shape (an offset spatula is great for this). Smooth the top and the sides.
    7. Place the trays in the oven and immediately reduce heat to 120 degrees Celsius. Bake pavlovas for 90 minutes and then turn off heat, leaving them to cool in the oven.
    8. When ready to assemble, whip cream with 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract.
    9. Take one pavlova and spread with a third of the cream, leaving a 2 cm gap around the edge. Decorate with 1/3 of the pomegranate seeds and then repeat with a second layer.
    10. Place the final pavlova on top  and cover with cream.
    11. Decorate the top layer with fresh flowers as prepared below and half of the remaining pomegranate seeds.

    NOTES

    • I suggest you read my previous Raspberry and Pomegranate Layered Pavlova recipe before you begin this one for some extra assembly tips.
    • Fresh flowers are not food safe unless they have been organically grown and are free of pesticides. And some flowers are poisonous and/or dangerous for human consumption even if they have been grown organically. So unless you are certain of the flower type and its source it’s best to prepare all flowers with a barrier between the flowers and the cake.
    • Gently wash and leave flowers to air dry. Work out where you want to place the flowers and then cut stems accordingly.
    • If inserting the flowers into the cake, wrap the stem completely in florist tape (available from florists, naturally) before inserting the wrapped stem into the cake.
    • For flowers that will be placed onto the cake, place small  and unobtrusive discs of cling wrap on top of the cake before you carefully place the flowers on top.
    • To insert flower stems into pavlova, use a sharp knife to pierce the cling wrap to make a hole and then insert the flower through.
    • To serve, remove the flowers and cling wrap and then scatter the top of the pavlova with the remaining pomegranate seeds.

    My favourite posts

    Some of you have been reading The Hungry Australian from the very beginning, some of you joined in along the way and some of you are no doubt new readers, curious to see what all the fuss is about. For new readers, here’s a selection of my favourite posts. I’ve love to redo some of the photography and food styling but these are the stories I like best. 

     Posts about family

    Posts with a recipe

    Posts about exceptional travel and dining experiences

    Posts about blogging

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    Messy Pavlova or Eton Mess Down Under Style

    The other day I was at the beautician for a once-in-a-blue-moon appointment. A blonde lady in her 40s was examining my skin when she said, “of course people from your country always have an issue with pigmentation.”

    She then went on about my skin but I didn’t hear what she said because I was too busy processing her words.

    My country? But I thought Australia was my country.

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    I mentioned my experience on Twitter and it sparked an interesting discussion about nationality, identity and racism.

    I was born in Adelaide. I wanted to eat tuna mornay and be Oliva Newton John in Grease when I was growing up. As a high school student studying in Adelaide my Hong-Kong born mother was taught to cook by her kind Australian/German landlady. One of my happiest childhood memories is digging for cockles (pippies) at the beach with my family and friends.

    But you don’t have to be born in a country to identify with it.

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    The beautician didn’t see any of this. She saw my olive skin, my black hair and my almond eyes and she saw someone from a different country.

    The lady wasn’t being malicious or unkind. She would probably be surprised to hear that her words had such an effect on me. But when you grow up in a country when you don’t look like anyone in the mainstream media you can be painfully conscious of your differences. During high school I remember a popular girl asking me “so what do you eat at home?” in the same tone she would have used if I were a martian who had crash-landed on the school oval.

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    It’s funny how times have changed. Well,  the times have changed, and I’ve changed, too.

    After university I worked in London, Leeds, London, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Shanghai. I’ve never identified so strongly as an Australian, or been more proud to be Australian, than when I was working overseas. Because when you live amongst foreigners and have to try to decode foreign words, meanings and symbols every day maintaining your individual identity becomes tremendously important.

    It was when I was working in Asia in my mid twenties that I  heard someone (jokingly) describe me as a banana – that is, yellow on the outside but white in the middle. It was then that I realised it’s not up to other people to tell me who I am; it’s up to me to define myself.

    I will always feel both Australian and Chinese. As an Australian Born Chinese (ABC) I don’t fit neatly into either culture and I’m OK with that. 

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    It was also in Asia that I finally became comfortable in my own skin. Living and working amongst people that looked like me meant that I finally started to like how I looked. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was also when my looks improved; confidence will always trump the most expensive beauty product on the market. 

    The times have changed as well. Nowadays when people ask me what I eat at home I know they’re asking because they’re genuinely interested. Their question is about creating a bond with me, not a divide.

    Similarly, nowadays I’m bemused rather than offended when someone I have just met tells me how much he or she likes to cook stir fries or noodles (without knowing that I work as a recipe developer). On one hand, it’s an indication that they probably don’t know many Asian people, but on the other, it’s a signal of their willingness to be friendly. And so I respond in a similarly positive spirt.

    Change always starts from within.

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    Food can be such a powerful symbol. We can use it as a way to make a friendly overture. We break bread with our families and friends as a way of reinforcing the relationships between us. We cook for those we love and the bonds between us grow stronger with each bite.

    I’ve always liked Eton Mess, that traditional English dessert made from cream, meringue and berries, but I’ve always thought it would be so much better made with the marshmallow meringue miracle that is pavlova. So I created this hybrid: Messy Pavlova. You’re welcome.

    If you want to make a single regular pavlova then simply leave the pavlova whole and decorate as usual. But Messy Pavlovas are a great dessert for less-than-amazing bakers – you don’t have to worry about the pav cracking because you’re going to bash it to bits anyway.

    Either way you serve it, it’ll taste just fine. Or, as we Aussies like to say, she’ll be right, mate. 

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    Messy Pavlova or Eton Mess Down Under Style

    Messy Pavlova is a Pavlova and Eton Mess hybrid adapted from a pavlova recipe in Stephanie’s Alexander’s wonderful book, The Cook’s Companion.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 4 large eggs at room temperature
    • Pinch salt
    • 250 grams (1 cup) caster sugar
    • 2 teaspoons corn flour
    • 1 teaspoon red or white wine vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean extract or essence
    • 450 mls cream
    • 1 punnet blueberries
    • 8 passion fruit

    METHOD

    1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
    2. Draw a 20cm circle on some baking paper (use a plate) and line a baking tray.
    3. Seperate eggs and reserve yolks for another dish (custard, creme caramel, creme brulee)
    4. Beat egg whites and salt with a stand mixer or hand mixer until mixture holds in soft peaks.
    5. Add sugar in four batches, scraping down the sides and beating well after each addition, until meringue is thick, firm and shiny.
    6. Sprinkle over corn flour, vinegar and vanilla and then gently fold in, trying to retain as much volume in the meringue as possible.
    7. Place in oven and reduce temperature to 150 degrees Celsius. Bake for 30 minutes and then reduce temperature to 120 degrees Celsius and bake for another 45 minutes.
    8. Turn off oven and leave pavlova to cool completely inside oven.
    9. To serve, break up the pavlova into small pieces and place pieces into 8 small bowls. Whip cream until soft peaks form and then spoon over the pavlova pieces, and top with fruit. Best eaten immediately.

    Serves 8. Gluten and Nut Free.

    More Gluten and Nut Free Recipes

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    Beautiful Berry Pavlova

    Welcome to The Great Australian Pavlova Blog Hop!

    This post should really be called How Not To Make a Pavlova.

    Let me explain.

    A few weeks ago I was chatting with some Aussie food bloggers about food cravings and pavlovas on Twitter. So the five of us – myself, DelicieuxDining with a Stud, The Capers of the Kitchen Crusader and 84th & 3rd decided to organise a pavlova blog hop so that we could all cook our versions and share them with each other.

    So earlier this week I had visions of coming up with some kind of spectacular pavlova creation for The Great Australian Pavlova Blog Hop. I thought about using exotic ingredients and extravagant but tasteful decorations to create some kind of stunning and delicious masterpiece.

    Unfortunately, I had the busiest week ever, was out every night, and then came down with bronchitis. Too many late nights had finally caught up with me.

    So yesterday, when I grabbed a couple of free hours to bake, I decided to go with a fairly classic pavlova. However, I was feeling so unwell that when I tried to separate the eggs I broke egg yolk into the bowl of egg whites. It was a measure of my fragile mood that I contemplated sobbing into my tea towel for a moment. However, I decided to ask Mr Hungry Australian to separate the eggs for me instead, which he did with a bemused air.

    As I hadn’t had time to experiment I used Stephanie Alexander’s wonderful pavlova recipe from The Cook’s Companion as a starting point. I had intended to dribble some melted blackberry jam over the whipped cream, and use a mixture of fresh blueberries and cherries, and dried cranberries, pomegranates, cherries and blueberries for the topping.

    However, it was not to be. When I was lifting the pavlova out of the baking pan to place it on the cake stand, I asked my five year old daughter to help me by taking the baking tray away. She lifted the tray up to move it and smashed it straight into the bottom of the pavlova, cracking it into large sections.

    I thought about sobbing into my tea towel again but controlled myself with some deep breathing. I had already regretfully cancelled my afternoon and evening engagements but I just didn’t have the energy to begin all over again.

    Then I remembered a photo of a deconstructed pavlova I had seen on Twitter by the crew at Adelaide’s Grace the Establishment.

    So I grabbed the largest unsmashed piece of pavlova, spooned over the whipped cream, and arranged it on plate. I then surrounded it with all the fruit and herbs I was going to put on top of the pavlova – the dried berries, the fresh blueberries and cherries, the mini chocolate melts and the mint leaves. I then dripped the melted blackberry jam straight onto the plate – if I had possessed a squeeze bottle I would have used that instead for a much neater effect.

    As you can see, it all turned out OK. Better than OK, in fact.

    I tell you this story not to elicit your sympathy but to demonstrate how easy it is to cook pavlova. If I can cook a pavlova whilst feeling utterly crap, and then salvage something useable after my daughter has smashed it into large pieces, then you can do it, too.

    So I encourage you to check out all the amazing pavlovas baked by my fellow food bloggers by clicking on the link below. Be inspired, drool a little, and break out the egg whites to make your own magnificent pavlova creation.

    INGREDIENT
    4 egg whites, room temperature
    Pinch of salt
    250 grams caster sugar
    2 teaspoons corn flour
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
    1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
    300 mls cream
    80 grams sugar
    Fresh cherries and blueberries
    1 packet of dried blueberries, cranberries, persimmon, and blackberries
    Handful mini chocolate melts
    A few tips fresh mint sprigs
    A few spoonfuls of blackberry jam

    METHOD

    Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees fan-forced).

    Cover a baking tray with baking paper and draw a circle on it approximately 20cm in diamater.

    Beat egg whites with salt until it forms stiff peaks. Then add sugar, a quarter at a time, until the meringue is glossy and stiff. Sprinkle over corn flour, vanilla and vinegar and fold in to the mixture. Spread mixture over the drawn circle, smoothing up the sides and evening out the top.

    Put the pavlova into the oven, immediately turning the oven down to 130 degrees Celsius (110 fan-forced). Bake the pavlova for 30 minutes and then turn the oven down again to 120 degrees Celsius (100 fan-forced) and cook the pavlova for another 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.

    Whip the cream and sugar until firm.

    Break the pavlova into large pieces (ask a small child to help you if necessary).

    Arrange the pieces of pavlova artistically on a plate and spoon over cream. Decorate with dried cranberries and blueberries. Then arrange fresh blueberries and cherries, tiny chocolate melts, dried blueberries, cranberries and blackberries, and fresh mint tips around the pavlova, to your liking. Melt a few spoonfuls of jam in the microwave and dribble them artistically around (alternatively, using a squeeze bottle will give you greater control and make you feel like a rockstar chef).

    Stand back and gaze in awe at your pavlova still life. Eat it, celebrating your triumph over disaster.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Alternatively, visit Delicieux for detailed instructions on joining the Great Australian Pavlova Blog Hop.

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    Calling all food bloggers: join us for The Great Australian Pavlova Blog Hop on November 27th

    Are you a food blogger? Do you love pavlova, that iconic Australian meringue and cream dessert? Have you ever been curious about making one?

    Well, we’d love you to join us for The Great Australian Pavlova Blog Hop on November 27th!

    A couple of nights ago I was on Twitter when I tweeted that I was eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon. A BIG spoon.

    This led to some friendly banter with other tweeting food bloggers about food cravings. Jennifer from Delicieux asked if I was going to cook a peanut and chocolate cake for my blog and I told her I was actually thinking about a pavlova. Then Nic from Dining with a Stud, Heather from The Capers of the Kitchen Crusader and JJ from 84th & 3rd all joined in with stories about their favourite pavlovas.

    So the five of us decided to organise a pavlova blog hop* so that we could all cook our versions and then share the recipes and photos with each other.

    And if you’re a food blogger, we’d love for you to join us, too!

    You don’t have to be an Australian food blogger to join in either – this blog hop is open to food bloggers world-wide. So if you’ve ever wondered what a pavlova was all about, here’s your chance to give it a go.

    Here’s how it will all work.

    On Sunday 27th November (Australian Eastern Daylight Time) food bloggers keen to take part should post their pavlova recipe and photos on their own blog. They should then visit Delicieux, which will feature The Great Australian Pavlova Bake Off invitation post. Bloggers can submit the link to their pavlova post via this post and obtain The Great Australian Pavlova Bake Off link code to share on their own blog. This way, each blog involved will show everybody’s pavlova submissions.

    You are encouraged to share your post/entry into The Great Australian Pavlova Blog Hop with your fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter, using the common tag, #pavbloghop, when tweeting.

    And that’s it. Too easy.

    So what are you waiting for? Start separating those eggs now!

    And we look forward to seeing everybody’s brilliant pavlova creations on November 27th.

    The Great Australian Pavlova Blog Hop
    Sunday 27th November, 2011 (Australian Eastern Daylight Time)
    Post entries at Delicieux.

    * A blog hop describes the practise of moving from one blog after another to read the entries or to leave comments.