If you're staring out of the window waiting for the rain to stop, then this is the perfect dessert to get you into a summery mood. And if you're sweltering in 100 degrees then this the perfect light dessert to cool you down.
It's also a great way of using up the last of the summer soft fruits and, because it's entirely made out of whipped air and fruit, must have very few calories indeed. (This may not be entirely true - Ed).
Having tested a few different pavlova recipes over the years, I've come to the conclusion that the best is from Nigella Lawson's How to Eat(which comes via an Australian foodwriter Stephanie Alexander). Aussies and Kiwis apparently argue about who invented pavlova - I'm just glad someone did.
Nigella's/Stephanie's recipe is pretty much a standard pavlova recipe including both a teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of cornflour. The clever bit is that they suggests preheating the oven to 180°C (350°F), then reducing the temperature to 150°C (300°F) when it goes in the oven. Then after cooking for an hour, the oven is turned off and the pavlova is left in the oven overnight to cool completely.
The aim is to get a pavlova which is crunchy on the outside but is soft and meltingly chewy, a bit like marshmallow, inside. You may need to experiment a bit. The above timings were perfect for my oven in London, but my pavlova here cooked too quickly and went a bit too brown. I managed to salvage it by turning the oven right down and the texture was still pretty much as it should be. Ideally though the meringue should be whiter than in the picture.
I topped mine with raspberries and sliced strawberries. The very best pavlova in the world though is topped with passionfruit pulp (as in Nigella's recipe below).
You could feel the tension bubbling beneath the hushed giggles and gossip in the packed out cinema. The manager of this newly-built complex hurried to the front to welcome first-timers in the hope of wooing their future return. Noone listened, all waiting for the curtains to pull back and the now-familiar swooping notes of the Harry Potter theme to fill their ears.
The time had come.The dementors, the wands, the incantations, the fabulously saccharine wardrobe of Dolores Umbridge (the character, costume and dark punishment methods each deserving their own Oscar), the children’s roles developing along with their facial hair. Potter was back, with a new director, a slightly altered (and I have to say, less satisfactory) score and many more hormones to boot. Hermione Grainger knows no acting skills, I’m afraid, but I’m delighted to say that Ron and Harry have grown into their parts with aplomb demonstrating maturity and subtlety that is used to develop the parts beyond the merely perfunctory. Luna Lovegood proves herself a gifted addition to the cast and the development of Nigel (the eager first-year fan of Harry) and Neville Longbottom are welcome and skilled.
This director showed his skills in set-piece scenes. The post-Harry/Cho-kiss dissection between the three best friends was aglow with giggles, the swooping travels through London on broomsticks with accompanying swooping score, the bonding conversations between Sirius and Harry were each in their own right beautiful moments of cinema.
As ever, though, the books far outweigh the films in detail, narrative and character and plot development. Once again, the director and editor can do little beyond provide the edited highlights, depending ultimately on an audience love of the books, or an acceptance of sudden and unexplained scene shifts with little or no support. Harry and his friends fly to London, and ‘appear’ in the hall of the Ministry of Magic (the set of which sits imagnitavely between 1984, the London Underground tiling and the vaulted carvings of Whitehall– kudos to the design team). Cut to them in the Chamber holding the prophesies with no explanation of how they got through the various doors, vaults and corridors in between. Frustrating episodes such as this jar only momentarily, though, in an engaging and fast-paced film which will certainly delight fans and non-converts alike.
The “green revolution” seems to be here for good, and the best part of the hoopla is that the selection of sustainable and organic products just keeps getting better. The downside is that there’s so much hype around it, sometimes it’s difficult to tell what’s truly good for the planet and what’s just a good excuse to charge a few more dollars. Because it’s such a new market, the nuances of what makes using organic better than non-organic, and why sustainable fashions might actually help the planet the most, are often lost on consumers. As one of my friends recently pointed out, “If you served spotted owl at the dinner table it might be organic, but not necessarily sustainable.” Here are some of my fav new stylish, sustainable, and sometimes organic products that might make your summer a little greener.
Frequenting the cultural festivals near her local hometown in Mexico, designer Olga Abadi discovered the ancient Mayan technique of binding everyday materials into useable products. Abadi’s take on the crafting technique involves turning hundreds of candy wrappers and soda labels into fully functional, fun and stylish handbags The result is Nahui Ollin, a specialty line of handbags inspired by age-old techniques that sustain the environment through recycling materials collected from small, independent factories in Mexico. Not only are they adorably colorful, they are extremely durable and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. My favorite is the tutti frutti clutch, great for toting cosmetics in my bigger bag, and perfect when I want to carry a smaller bag.
If you read my blog, http://www.trustyourstyle.com, it’s not a big surprise that I’m a huge fan of organic cosmetics. I also live in sunny Southern California, so when the organic cosmetic manufacturers I’ve been interviewing started telling me that products containing SPF are not necessarily good for your skin, I freaked! The answer? Very old fashioned advice: wear a hat. The one I recommend is Wallaroo because they use UPF 50+ fabric which has been tested by the Australian Radiation Protection Agency and found to block 97.5% of the sun's ultroviolet rays. Best of all they come in tons of fun colors, prints, and neutrals plus there’s 15 styles. I’m partial to their best-seller, The Casual Traveler.The rounded top and 4" adjustable brim keeps your face and neck protected and a hidden interior drawstring ensures one size fits most. It’s crushable, packable, and ready for your next trip to the beach. For more information go to www. Wallaroohats.com or call (303) 494-5949.
This little suit may not be “green” in an environmental way, but it’s definitely a keeper that you will want to wear for seasons to come. (That qualifies as ‘sustainable’ doesn’t it?) Green poster girl, Cameron Diaz, was snapped everywhere she went wearing this green Le Doux bikini and I predict you will be too. The Le Doux “Lollipop” suit can be viewed at www.ledouxswimwear.com or call 1-888-284-2420 to order.
You don’t usually think of fashionable makeup and the organic movement, but think again! Afterglow Cosmetics offers a truly natural blend of pure mineral makeup with organic infused sparkling colors for a high-fashion look that’s actually safe for your skin and ideal for women with rosacea, acne and sensitive skin. Most impressively, Afterglow products have continuously been among the most highly rated for safety on the Environmental Working Group “Skin Deep Report” website. Chose from neutral colors for a bit of subtle sparkle during the day or a more sophisticated color palate for your most formal evenings out. Afterglow’s Organic Mineral Eyeshadow comes in 25 shades that will take you from day to evening and can be ordered at www.afterglowcosmetics.com
I am always a sucker for a company that makes the move into the all-natural realm, so I’m very excited to include Tarte in this roundup. I’ve always loved their products, especially their blush, that’s why I am so happy that they are now introducing their first all-natural cheek stain, Natural Beauty. Made with a preservative -free proprietary berry complex that includes blackberry, goji, acai, cranberry, pomegranate, and currant, it provides the same wonderful flush they are known for. I’m also loving their new Inside Out vitamin infused lipsticks that are preservative and paraben free and contain Vitamin C, A, E, and K, grape seed, lychee, green tea, acai, and chamomile extracts, plus jojoba, shea butter, and beeswax. I adore the old fashioned square cases that the lipsticks come in which make applying easy and fun. Available in Sweet Dreams (dusty pink rose), Zen (plum-berry), and Revive (true red). Tarte’s new Natural Beauty cheek stain will be available exclusively at Sephora and their Inside Out vitamin-infused lipsticks can be found at www.tartecosmetics.com, Sephora, and Bergdorf Goodman..
Who says organic can’t be luxurious? Under the Canopy’s 100% organic cotton Kimono Robe is soft and enveloping, not to mention free of
chemicals—just the thing to slip on before or after hitting the spa. Available
I’m heading out in a couple of days to sample a few organic spa treatments at the lovely Hanua Spa at Hotel Hana Maui. Voted the ‘Most Excellent Spa Hotel US’ by Condè Nast, Hanua spauses an expansive base of organic ingredients. I’m hoping to have a very green not to mention relaxing visit and be back soon to talk about end of the summer fashions..
This month's judge was Kenzie Kate from incredibly gorgeous wedding blog 'Something Old, Something New'which makes me wish I wasn't already married.
Here's what Mackenzie had to say.
June here in New York is always a mixture of joy and doom. Joy from eating outside and unhurried walks out-o-doors and the return of leafy shade on the city streets. Doom from the impeding oppressive heat of July and it's subsequent air conditioning bills. So many of these images really capture the joy of June for me. Having never judged a photo contest before, (and feeling a little drunk off the power of it all), I'm having a surprisingly hard time choosing between all the glorious springtime shots! I hardly ever have a hard time choosing anything, so this says a lot about all the contributing photographers.
I want to BE the little purple flower. All bathed in sun, sitting by a sparkling stream. The lily actually looks comfortable to me, both warmed and cooled by mother nature. A perfect match for the season.
Having said that, an honorable mention would have to be awarded to the shady cabin view from Aunt Owwee. The technicolor glory of this little paradise really captures the feeling of vacation, (one of my favorite June activities). Everything has the well watered look of early summer, all dried off from the deluge of spring, warming in the sunshine.
Another honorable mention is deserved by cally creates for her June in Scotland image.. I'd love to see that little wildflower enlarged to about 4' x 5', hung a lofty space with lots of light and air. (Again, Cally, we'd love to include the image here, if you can email it).
And lastly, but not leastly, a hearty bravo to everyone who contributed. Even though you all made it really hard for me to decide, I had a great time doing it.
Congratulations to all. The theme for this month's competition is astonishingly 'July'. We'll be setting up the competition next week, but in the meantime get snapping your shots of drinking martinis on yachts, setting fire to things on barbecues, lying about in hammocks etc. etc.
Whereas here in Seattle I'm currently living a very gorgeous life. I'm just too busy playing in the sun to find the time to write about it.
So now I understand why everyone suffers through the rain and gloom of a Pacific Northwest winter. We're off for a long weekend to the Oregon coast, after which I'm hoping a more normal blogging service will be resumed. I might even tell you about our Fourth of July party.
We're all packed for our caravanning holiday in North Wales so I will leave you in Paola's capable hands until my return. Had an amazingly gorgeous week in the presence of mighty musicians and will show and tell all on my return.