Feeling thankful for 2017 and a mango and passionfruit pavlova

Feeling thankful for 2017 and a mango and passionfruit pavlova

I am not usually one to make a list of New Year’s resolutions.  I like to think that I am somewhat of a reflective person by nature and the ability to turn inwards and notice when I am off-kilter comes naturally. However, like most, I do relish in the opportunity to sit and quietly ponder my aspirations for 2018 and in the same token reflect on the year that has passed.

This year has been full. Not necessarily full of events and momentous occasions but full in the everyday sense.  It has been a year full of emotions, both good and bad. Full of laughter.  Full of tears.  Full of learning. Full of company and of course, full of good food.

Here I share with you my high’s, low’s and grateful’s for the year, in no particular order.

High’s

  • Launching my baby, GH Nutrition
  • Working with the Fyshwick Markets
  • Laughing with my family in Tasmania
  • Celebrating 5 years with Angus
  • My bestie George getting engaged
  • Getting my granola business out of my mind and into your kitchen
  • Landing a job with the amazing women at FEEDinc – bring on 2018!
  • Spending a few nights in the Blue Mountains with Angus and our friends meeting us down there for a night
  • Jem and I hosting our Embrace movie night and raising money for the Eating Disorders Unit here in Canberra
  • Receiving a HD for my research project on a topic very close to my heart, Orthorexia
  • Being able to do a man push up (one of my goals when starting F45)
  • Playing grown-ups and house sitting with Angus
  • Speaking to women, of all ages, brave enough to share their stories with me
  • Finishing all the theory component for my Masters in Dietetics. One more year of prac and then I am finished studying for good (I promise!).

Low’s

  • Losing balance in my personal life.  One of my greatest strengths (and at the same time, my biggest weakness) is that I am an all or nothing kinda gal.  I am one of those people that if I can’t put 110% into a task I don’t do it. While this allows me to get s*it done and achieve things I am very proud of, it also means that I find concepts such as balance, relaxation, being in the moment and all that jazz, very difficult. Ironically, this concept of balance has been with me all along, just in a different shell. When I first started out this blog my yearning for balance was centred around food and exercise. While I am incredibly proud of working through those challenges, recently I was forced to realise that I was becoming out of balance in other areas of my life, particularly my relationships.  After receiving a wake-up call, I realised my priorities needed changing.  This year I have worked my little toosh off when it comes to studying and getting GH Nutrition off the ground.  So much so, that it became all-consuming.  It was all I thought and talked about, it was all I did.  If I wasn’t studying, working on meal plans for clients, or making granola, I felt incredibly *guilty, lazy, anxious and insert any negative emotion here.  Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to pick up but thats not fun for anyone. While I have a very supportive network around me (which is one of my grateful’s below), this is not how I want to keep living my life, nor do the people around me deserve this.  Thus my resolution for 2018 is to bring more balance back into my life.  To have fun. To go out.  To drink too much and regret it the next day.  To be 23.  To just be. In 2018 I am going to challenge my fear of not giving everything 110% because you know what, if pulling back a little means I can still accomplish great things AND have strong relationships with those I love and care about, then the choice is obvious.  I choose that option, every time.  
  • Watching my Nana lose her best friend, her sister.

Grateful’s

  • My health and the health of my family
  • Angus
  • My support network
  • Meeting some pretty amazing clients
  • My growing confidence
  • Meeting like-minded people through my degree
  • My surprise Chrissy present from my parents, my car being paid off
  • Not being confined to my old food and exercise rules
  • My family.  Particularly my little brother Jacko, his love and protection for me recently I will forever be grateful for.

Some of my favourite photos from 2017

Jacko on his first day of year 12

Tasmania

Angus on the first day of his new job!

Christmas 2017

Christmas Day

Jem and I

My granola at the Fyshwick Markets

Triple Layer Mango Passionfruit Pavlova

Made by my brother Mikey on Christmas Day.  Recipe from Not Quite Nigella.

Serves 18 people

  • 300g egg whites at room temperature (approximately 10 egg whites)
  • 2.5 cups of caster sugar
  • 2.5 teaspoons of white vinegar
  • 2.5 tablespoons of cornflour/cornstarch
  • 600ml of thickened cream
  • A few drops of vanilla essence
  • 3 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • Mango curd, see recipe below
  • 1 mango
  • 2 passionfruit

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 200C. Mark three 20cm/8inch circles on three sheets of baking paper. Make sure that mixing bowl and beaters are thoroughly clean. If there is any fat or oil on these your pavlova will not beat up stiffly.

Step 2 – Separate yolks from whites, ensuring that no yolk goes into the whites. Beat with electric mixer on low at first then increase speed gradually until it starts to get fluffy. Add vinegar and cornflour and roughly 1/4 of the sugar until the mixture turns dry looking. Then another 1/4 of the sugar gradually and then the remaining sugar in two lots and beat until stiff and sugar has dissolved. Test by inverting the bowl, if the meringue does not move then it is ready.

Step 3 – Spoon onto the three prepared sheets and using the written border and spatula, smooth the top and make stripe patterns on the side.

Step 4 – Reduce heat to 130C. Bake the pavlovas for 1 1/4 hours. Once the time is up, leave it to cool in the oven (to reduce cracking).

Step 5 – Whip cream, vanilla essence and sugar until you get soft peaks and then keep whipping a little more so that it can stand the weight of the other tiers – keep an eye out on it so that it doesn’t whip up too much because then it turns into butter which is not a bad thing but not very useful for this recipe :).

Step 6- Place the first layer of the pavlova on the serving plate and pile a third of the whipped cream onto the base and spread out leaving an inch border as the weight of the other tiers will push out the filling a little. Spread the mango and passionfruit curd on top of it and then repeat with the remaining two layers.

Step 7- Slice the cheeks from the mango and then slice thin layers from the cheeks. Cut these into ribbons and swirl on top of the cream and curd. Cut passionfruit in half and drizzle the seeds on top of the pavlova. Use the extra passionfruit to create juice drips by making a small half inch cut and then squeezing out the juice and dribble down the edges.

Mango and Passionfruit Curd

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 125g butter cut into cubes
  • 1 cup pureed mango flesh (about 1 large mango)
  • 2 passionfruit

Step 1 – Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Set on low to medium heat. Add the butter and heat slowly until the butter melts.

Step 2 – When the butter has melted add the mango and passionfruit. Stir using the whisk or a spoon. It takes about 15 minutes for it to thicken up and stirring every so often is good. When cool, placed in sterilised jars.

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