Archives for the month of: September, 2010

The heaviness is over and the only heaviness left is the extra weight gained after eating three days of eating gourmet three course meals. All the meals are clearly not enough for me. I’ve planned both of my Princes birthday parties for this week. Today was the first. Right after Shabbat. Was I ready? Well lets just say it was 930am and the table wasn’t set. Did I keep  my temper – nope – and I readily recommit to calmness and serenity in the face of crisis – how to do that well that’s another story. I’m told that breathing helps I just forget to do that in the moment.

So my Prince had his Reptile party and everything did come together and I realised something extraordinary – I’ve cracked the party formula! It’s really, really simple and fun. Cracking it gave me enough time to make a properly iced birthday cake and even cupcakes which the kids decorated in the morning. Yes I’ll be honest it was work, but it was fun and joyful. So I thought I’d compile my party menu and tips and hints to make it the easiest party ever!!! Because once you plan your menu, commit to it and shop you’re half way done.

Okay food glorious food. What’s a party without yummies. I always go to party’s with a bit of room for cheese cake. Although to  be honest my party today didn’t have one (I always cut out the hard bits last-minute. Believe it or not a Pavlova is a 10 minute affair compared to a cheese cake.)

My Yummies: Adult (I always cater for the adults and figure the children will take from the adults table anyway. Notably by the time kids are older 5 and up or so, parents don’t usually hang around so you just need for friends and family.) Prioritised in order of importance.

Fruit Platter – Big One – It just fills the table and is great for all of those adults on diet. I’ve had parties where nothing is touched but the fruit. If you’re lazy and don’t have time go to a fruit shop like Freshfellas or Oaklands, they fill up your dish with beautifully cut fruit at quite a reasonable price. (You can even treat yourself to a coffee whilst you wait.)

Pavlova – Well you all know about that one. A beautifully impressive dessert in minutes. (It was recalled Strawberry Cake  by my brother-in-law today. I think I prefer that name.)

Cheese Platter – Easy peasy dish. A collection of Woolies cheeses, Camembert, Brie, Blue Cheese (If any of you like the smelly variety – I still can’t get used to it.), a yellow cheese, a goats Chevin, Kiri cheese. Any amount is fine. Decorate with grapes (okay I don’t do that, but those who wish to look fancy and French) and serve with a variety of crackers, my latest favourite is the Carrs plain ones. Do refill as the party progresses – I forgot to today.

Dips – Egg (always disappears), tuna, avo, Hummus, tahina – one or two or three. Feed the healthies!

Peppermint Crisp Pudding – This is always fun to serve. Adults and children alike love it. It’s not a must but it is delish and so, so simple to make. See below for recipe! 

Scones, Cream and Jam – Lovely to have and you can premake them and freeze. Although I prefer to make them fresh and freeze left overs. Have a great parve recipe.

And the Rest – Chips, Tea and Coffee, Home made Lemonade, Bar One Biscuits, Iced Cupcakes (with theme if you can be bothered, I could be bothered my kids had a blast covering cookies with snakes, smarties and chuckles, and they looked awesome.)  Kiddie treats – choccies etc

Birthday Cake – You can always buy and they do look great. I’m very old-fashioned and I make mine. I know I’m wonderful but actually it’s not as it seems. Ice cream cake is the easiest trick in the book. Buy vanilla Country Fresh or Woolies and have fun colouring it and shaping it into whatever you desire. Okay the ice cream melts a bit but it’s fun, fun, fun especially if you do it with your child. And yes if you do it with your child it won’t look perfect but it’ll definitely look more fun and be a precious memory. I’ll never forget making an awesome fire truck cake with my then 6-year-old. He made it magical – no joke.

Birthday Tips

– Ask for HELP – Grannys, Sisters, Sister in Laws, Cousins – everyone likes being part of the party and let them make their ‘special’ dish. Less work for you. And ask for set up help. It’s terrible to be alone wishing you could be cloned. (My husband’s family made the party today with all their special touches – like bringing a reptile jungle gym (it was a reptile theme).

– Book entertainment – Borrow equipment – Plan something for kids to do. Even if you hire some highschool kids to entertain them with old-fashioned games. I love animal farms, today we did a reptile park theme with real snakes and a baby alligator educational kind of exhibit. The kids loved it so that was a good idea, playball, little champs, beading, painting, pizza making, jumping castles, cookie making. Anything you can think of. I once went to a party where the kids potted their own flowers. Whatever is easy and works for you.

NB I don’t think the best parties are themed – I never theme mine really it just sort of happens organically like today was just all about snakes, and we kinda got carried away… (in a good way.) A party with love and joy is all that’s needed. Fancy isn’t necessarily the best. Although if you want to go all out great everyone will enjoy it.

KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetheart – I’ve had parties where I put SSSOOOO much effort that it wasn’t worth it. I was at the party but wasn’t because I was EXHAUSTED. Not a good idea. Mummy martyrs don’t enjoy parties.

 Party On – Just load your camera and enjoy your child’s smile as they appreciate the precious gift they are as the only one of them in the whole wide world!!!!

Obviously the above is not the last word on parties – the last word is Women’s Weekly Party book – just kidding it’s a brilliant book though – my kids love looking through it and choosing their cakes, and their recipes DO work.

Peppermint Crisp Pudding

Ingredients

Tennis Biscuits – about 2 packets

Cadbury’s Peppermint Milk Block – 1

Tin of Nestle Caramel – 1 – 2 (Depending how big.)

Cream – 250 grams beaten or more if you making bigger

(I know I’m going to drive you crazy but it’s such a simple recipe that you can’t go wrong with measurements – trust me. Although don’t put too much chocolate it’ll be too strong.)

Method

1. Beat Cream

2. Grate Chocolate

3. Line a square or rectangle tin with whole Tennis Biscuits. Layer on the Caramel. Then layer on Cream. Sprinkle Chocolate on top. (Some people only sprinkle chocolate at the top at the end.)

4. Repeat the layers as much as you want in terms of how big you want it. 2 or 3 layers will do. I love lots of layers. End with chocolate on top!!! You can grate a bit of the chocolate with a knife on the top to give it a rougher texture.

Ready to Serve. Otherwise keep in fridge till ready.

Bon appetite!

 

In ‘A Room of One’s Own’ Viriginia Woolf promotes women having their own room so that they can explore their creative selves to their hearts content. When a dear, dear friend bought it for me I really related to it. How many of you have your own room? I know that I certainly don’t. There’s the study but it’s shared. Everything is shared, and somewhere along the line of getting married and having kids I’ve lost my own space, and that space is certainly more than physical. It’s a sense of self, a sense of inner space, space to be myself.

I would call that space sacred space. Maybe some of us never have that kind of space. I sure want it though and I try and create it in many different ways. One of my most sacred spaces is coffee shops. Where I can sit by myself someone serves me coffee and I can write or read. To make that moment truly sacred I turn my phone off. (Okay I admit I’m a crackberry addict and this is an extremely hard thing for me to do – sometimes, sometimes I turn my dear darling phone off.) Another sacred space is 6am in the morning where if I’m truly disciplined I do some yoga (the Salutation of the Sun is a lovely, easy sequence to remember and do. I have a friend who does it in 10 rounds every morning – if only I did that I’m often too groggy craving sleep.)

Sacred space can also be in the mind – talking to oneself (I know first sign of a crazy person – but maybe we should start exploring the other side of ‘sanity’ if sane isn’t doing it for us.) and nurturing the mind to create space for the self with those lovely positive affirmations like… ‘I am beautiful, I am worthy, I do deserve to sit down and have a cup of tea, I am not going to lose it at this instant because it’s a small, yes irritating, but small issue like my 2 year old insisting he wears undies this morning and after being taken to the toilet promptly making a wee at the breakfast table and this with all the pre-school morning stressing rush. Being aware of the mind is truly sacred – I’m not there yet I’m told it’s a journey – and as far as I can see it’s a lifetime one.

Another sacred space can be, and don’t laugh at me, the bathroom. Noone can enter there and if your 2 year old runs after you – as mine does – sneak in when they can’t see you and make sure your lock works. A bath is sacred as is a shower. And there is the sacred space of the body a walk, a yoga class.

Sacred space can be in a group. My friend scrap books on a Thursday night with friends. I have a writing group, there are Rosh Chodesh groups etc and if you don’t have a group start one.

Now Virginia Woolf didn’t have any children and she killed herself, so I don’t know if she’s our best example. But she did pinpoint a woman’s need to have her own space, her own self. How we lose it on the way in wifehood and motherhood is a whole nother blog (eventually day by day we can get through all the other blog topics that I raise so keep reading and commenting) but what we do know is that if Woolf felt it how much more so modern day mothers with all our feminist pressures and male ones, patriarchal ones, and more than likely our own ones. (Yes another blog)

So our challenge is to make a sacred space for ourselves. Right a list of things you love and commit to some. Bit by bit, five minutes by five minutes you can create your special sanctuary. I’ve begun and it’s certainly made me a better (mind you not perfect) wife and mum. So now I’m going to go into my preordained santuary called the kitchen and make my son his birthday cake in the shape of a snake just like he asked. And yes baking can be (if not forced or from place of have to) a sacred space.

Okay I really should be eating, quickly ramming food into my face except I have a theory that I’m going to be hungry anyway so a few minutes not eating before a fast won’t hurt me (too much I’ll just be hungrier earlier than later oh well!) So before Yom Kippur there are lots of recollections and one of mine especially after having a lovely coffee with my friend Lexi (More on mommy’s and coffees another blog), is about feeling sometimes resentful, regretful and quite frustrated about my children. Feeling if only I had them later or if only I had gone to yoga, ate well when i was pregnant…well I could go on and on and on couldn’t I. The if onlys, the I wish it was’s that we live with carry within us and they weigh heavily consciously or unconsciously and imprison us so we can’t see what we actually do have. Well that’s my story. I was told the if onlys are useless, they’re a fantasy, they don’t exist. You only have one reality and that is the now. The now of this very breath I breathe as I type on this jumping screen (why it’s jumping I have no idea.) The now of going into Yom Kippur and saying I am as I am right now and I will be the best mother, wife and person in this moment until the next moment and in that moment until the next. Breath by breath I’ll connect to gratitude for all I have instead of focusing of what could of been. Instead of lack I choose blessing, and connect to the vast unknown of our Creator.

Okay I’m getting a bit esoteric. It’s a last minute rush and I’ve figured out why the computer is jumping. It’s because I shouldn’t be here the last hour before the holiest day of the year blogging. Oh well I couldn’t resist. Onto the next moment then…

Mommy Martyrs – This is especially for Hadassa!
Somehow I used to think being a Mommy Martyr was a good thing. So I began 7 years ago with my first Prince. So thumbs up for full time breastfeeding. (Which I do believe in if you can.) Forget about if I needed the loo, a shower, or maybe to get out of PJ’s before 2pm. Forget about eating a square meal. I survived on rivers of chocolate. (No wonder he loved breast feeding so much and wouldn’t give it up easy.) And to do something I enjoy to take care of myself like a yoga class – get out of here. I was married to the image of ‘perfect mother’ where pushing myself the extra mile just in case this bundle’s needs wouldn’t be met for a crying second.
By the time the second time came around I fell apart of course as any fantasy that’s not based in reality explodes into glittering crystals of false hopes and dreams. By the third time around I was firmly based in reality and going mad with lifts and the balancing of three very real people (more on that another times) I realized that something has to give, and it wasn’t going to be me. Because EUREKA I have needs and that’s okay, in fact more than okay…NORMAL!
I was asked last year, ‘Sarah what are your needs?’ I had to stop in my tracks dumbfounded. Needs? I don’t have any needs do I? This opened Pandora’s box of needs, wishes and dreams that I had. I realized that I wasn’t just a mom. I was and wanted to be much more than that. I wanted to be kind to myself and not crucify myself for my children and be left with my crunchy bones as they cheerily wave goodbye to me as they leave my house for their well deserved lives.
But the quandary is that being a mother is a BIG job and does require being present for you children and giving A LOT. I know most mothers manage it (or is that another fantasy I harbour let me know!) Work, home, selves. But I found it difficult and to be honest it’s still my challenge.
The way to begin the journey from mommy martyrdom to true self (which includes being a mum but it’s not everything) is small kindnesses and big if need be. Kindnesses as simple as commiting to a yoga class once a week, having a coffee by yourself if your early to pick up the kids rather than spending that time waiting in the parking lot. Asking for help when you need it (I know that’s a big one, for me at least, and it’s a whole nother blog.) Creating a sisterhood that supports you and understands you in a way that sometimes family and even husbands can’t (another blog yes.) Being as nurturing to yourself as you are to your children.
Baby steps for that big step forward to self. We are a new generations of moms and we can break the pattern which many of our moms had of martyrdom, or resentment or not being their whole selves. A big commitment and journey – Yes, but it’s worth every step of the way.
Lots to think about for Yom Kippur – a new year of kindness to self it sounds like something God will want as well.
Here’s the Recipe I promised. I’m afraid of being like Julia Powell doing recipes. But hey we’re Jewish women we like to cook and I suspect eat more than even that. So enjoy!!! It’s from my friend Naami she typed it out. Big thank you to her.
I’m assuming you might never have encountered some of these ingredients before, so i’m adding comments on where you can buy them. Enjoy!

2 cups All purpose gluten-free baking flour (health shop)

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

t tsp Xanthan gum (baking section in p&p, spar, or health shop)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup Coconut oil (health shop. this oil is solid at room temp. so put the oil jar into a bowl of hot water and it will melt easily. Or you can substitute with avocado oil, which may effect texture slightly)

2/3 cup Agave necter (p&p norwood, or health shop)

2/3 cup rice milk (woolies)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

6 medium bananas, mashed

1 slab of Lindt dark chocolate, run through food processor until it’s little choc bits. (this is not in the original recipe, as it has sugar in it. but i added it for the fun and it makes it SO yummy!!)
——–
Combine all dry and wet ingredients, fold in bananas and choc bits at the end.

bake on 325F for about 30 min, depending on oven. Use loaf pans or bundt shape pan.

bon apetitte!!

Today was a mad, mad day. One of those heart beating, thumping days. I seriously thought by the afternoon that my heart was going to jump out of my chest from the sheer stress of it all. And even as I type this I feel like some of it coming back. Because yes I’ve managed to finally calm down at the end of a long, long day with a nice cup of chamomile tea and a piece of cote d’or dark chocolate (the nice rectangle ones wrapped in goldy paper).

 

Well to be honest when I first sat down with my hot cuppa my heart was still beating. I was ready to strangle my oldest who was refusing to go to sleep (we’re renovating and living at our in-laws so the princes are all unsettled) and was causing an almighty ruckus. And as I sat with that heavy, stressed out, worn out feeling (I also hadn’t slept the night before as my 2 ½ year old had a high fever and kept waking up and crying hysterically that there were lions who were going to eat him up) I thought, ‘This isn’t life, this isn’t the way I’m meant to be feeling or handling my life. I shouldn’t be at my wits end because of 2 articles due and a hectic mothering life to live as well. This is my choice.’

 

And the ‘aha’ bells went off somewhere in my tired body and all of a sudden I felt as if I’d had a massage. I kid you not. (That’s the only reason I’m writing here. I was way too stressed to write a blog this evening even though I really wanted to. But all that changed.)

 

What helped with this magical transformation was going for a walk with my friend Jacqui, who’s also a life coach, this afternoon whilst my soccer playing Prince was at his practice. I told her about how I totally lost it with him on the way to soccer as he whined about how far we were from soccer practice when we were only 100 meters (or even less) away. ‘You’re so negative,’ I ranted at him. ‘I want to hear one positive thing from you.’ La lee la lee la – I went. Because obviously I didn’t imbue any lesson of positivity or gratitude in him as I raved loony binnish.

 

‘We all do it,’ Jacqui coached me (she’s a natural she can’t help it) ‘Instead of recognising the facts of the moment (i.e. he is frustrated that he’s a bit late and feels he’s far away from the soccer pitch), we project our mind talk onto our children.’ Such as, ‘He’s so negative, he’ll always be negative, he’s going to get nowhere in life by being so negative. I’ve definitely failed as a parent…..’ You get the idea I’m sure.

 

We project our limiting beliefs on all facets of our life. So I have limiting beliefs about myself writing articles. In that moment with my cup of tea I realised that those beliefs are just that, beliefs. They’re not real unless I feed into them with my overactive imagination and make them the stressful reality that causes my blood flow to go into rollercoaster overdrive. So I move into what is. ‘What is’. I’m sure this isn’t a new concept for most of you. But we need to be reminded of it again, and again, and again as we constantly live in our minds, with its old patterns rooted in past limiting experiences.

 

There’s a lot more to be said on this topic and a lot more to learn. I felt a bit down at myself today for being so stressed when I knew I shouldn’t. But now I realise that that’s part of the 10 days of repentance – actualising in every day life how we want to live and be and in order to do that we need off days so that we can move into the light. So if I can keep this massaged feeling all day tomorrow I’ve achieved some sort of Teshuva. It’s an if – okay maybe a big if – but whatever the case I will report back and hope I manage for my poor heart’s sake.

 

By the by I haven’t forgotten the choc cake recipe. I’ve got it. It’s actually a banana choc chip recipe and the ingredients are outlandish. My email has bogged out so I’m not able to retrieve it as my friend Naami so kindly sent it right away. I will post it next blog post so you can all have healthy, very yummy dessert for next week’s feasting.

Three days of eating over. Yes I did go to Shul and pray. But the feasting, the feasting! I feel tired, lethargic and thick brained as I type this whilst I’m at a pre-fast meal. (More eating I know.) I blame it all on dessert. And where does that leave me, as I’m the main dessert culprit. I love making desserts, the creamier and richer the better. But eating it does me nor anybody else no good. Especially if it’s for 6 formal meals. 

I know you’re probably thinking, ‘What’s this chick going on about eating, when we’ve just experienced the heavy, serious days of judgment and crowning God as King.’ Well you’re right, but here’s the thing I’ve learnt in the past year – you can’t separate body and soul. So the way we take care of our body has an effect on our soul, the way we feel about ourselves and experience the world around us. If our soul is holy our body is the holy temple that houses it, as my good friend P reminded me. (I’m not sure about blog etiquette and naming people.)

So it’s part of my new year’s resolutions to respect my body and my soul, and the souls and bodies of others, especially my children who can’t get enough unhealthy food if it was up to them. Does that mean quit making pavlovas? No not entirely. But it does mean recommitting to healthy cooking, and finding healthy desserts. My friend N has a decadent chocolate cake that’s HEALTHY. Unbelievable but true, I tried it for myself. I’m going to sms her right now and get her to send the recipe and I’m going to post it for all of us foodies. (I believe everyone is a foodie, you either like to make it or eat it. Both are very necessary. So embrace your inner foodie!)

Did I make other resolutions, transformations and discoveries besides gastronomic ones? Of course, and I’ll try share some more over the next couple of days. It’s all a journey and tonight it’s a journey of the stomach. Thank goodness there’s a fast tomorrow. (Okay I’ll admit it I’m not a good small fast day faster. I find it difficult to take care of the three princes and not eat or drink and stay sane.) Until next time – happy fasting and eating, one healthy bite at a time.

I want to have a sweet, new year. Who doesn’t? And as I sit a couple of days (okay much less than a couple of days before Rosh Hashana) my deeds are passing before me like neural water in my brain. I can’t stop them. All the friends who were sick and I didn’t visit. All the calls I should have made – like to my overseas family. (I don’t know about you but phones kinda freak me out that I’m here and they’re all the way across the ocean it feels twilightish. It’s 4-year-old thinking I know and I do get over myself and call but not often enough.) All the hospitals in Johannesburg this month that needed volunteers desperately, and I didn’t go. All that going into the world and making it a better place one good deed at a time.

Then I remembered what I did do this year. I worked incredibly hard at bringing up my 3 boys. And not just bringing them up but actually being nice to them. Not nice, nice but lovingly firm. This is the year that I began to see them as real human beings who need to be recognised, with eyes on them as often as possible. I know this sounds a bit obvious, I’ve always known that these are the years the foundation are laid in a child, but I never really understood that beyond the intellectual level. Now I get it in my heart, and that makes a big difference.

Children are more than dressing them in cute jeans and t-shirts (I don’t do that my Princes basically choose their own clothes – I just hope to get them into cute peak hats I bought them for Rosh). It’s about recognising their needs and reality even though it didn’t follow what i wanted or dreamed about – like schlepping to a hundred therapies and engaging in the strange and wonderful world of remedial, and yes kicking a soccer ball and watching more soccer games in one month than I will for the rest of my life (unless the world cup comes back here of course!).

By the end of all the running around I’m pooped from all the giving. When my husband comes home I claw at him and beg, ‘Give me, give me now, it’s my turn!!!’ (Okay not quite like that or in those words first i give supper etc etc etc. But I definitely feel it.)

So the fact is that I’m a Mummy giving machine and don’t have that much energy left for the rest of the world. Not that it’s not important to give to the rest of the world. It is and it’s great if you can and wonderful for your kids to see it as well. But when push comes to shove if I can manage to create a semi – functional home (there’s no such thing as a functional family no matter what anyone says)  full of love, light and joy then I’ve done quite alot. Imagine if we could all come from such homes what kind of world it would be. So that’s my new year’s resolution, prayer and dream to be able to give to my family as they need so that they can go into the world as beings of light and love. And yes I’ve got a long way to go because it all begins with me doesn’t it, and that my friends is a whole nother blog.

So Shana Tova to you all, wishing you fulfillment and blessing in your lives and your nearest and dearest.

PS For those of you who wish you can now subscribe to this blog and get an email update of my new posts!

I’m including an Apple Jam recipe that I learnt from my Iraqi Grandmother, Nana Aziza. She was a mother of 8 children and the brightest being of light I’ve ever known.

Iraqi Apple Jam – Used as Apple and Honey in Middle Eastern Jewish Culture

Very easy and quick to make (depending how fast you can peel apples) I’ve posted a picture on facebook. I still need to get it on here will do soon.

Ingredients

One bag of apples (any flavour I think will do, although they say Granny Smith is good for cooking.)

Sugar to cover

Cardamom Pods

Method

  • Peel apples and slice them. Can be as big and small as you wish
  • Cover with sugar (can begin doing it as you put the apple pieces in the pot) and leave over night in covered pot.
  • Boil with seeded cardamom in pot. Watch it don’t let it burn. I’ve done that. (You can leave it out if you want but it does give it a special flavour. You can also add rosewater.)
  • When apples brown and jammy it’s ready.

Note – With my grandmother’s cooking there was no such thing as measurements. If you worried about sugar just add more than less you’ll just have more liquid. Bon Appetite!

I have a confession to make. I don’t know how many other mothers feel this. But when my first grade son is ill I suddenly feel lighter, freeer and just that much more happy.

Firstly before you all think I’m starkers let me clarify. When I say ill I mean a little bit sick. That under the weather, little bit of temp, nothing that needs antibiotics or is too sore. I’m not that crazy. Of course I want my kids to be healthy. I blame my rather strange predisposition on the school system. When my 6-year-old is ill as he was this week with the slightest temperature – not enough to go to the doctor, enough to stay home from school –  my Mummy taxi rounds for the day are halved. There’s no soccer for the evening, no homework to do (because he can’t) and here’s the real trump card – I get to sleep in till 7:00 am, even 7:30, which I managed this week. Big treat! Usually I’m up at 6:00 for a good day, 6:30am if I want to rush like mad and wear yesterday’s clothes (as long as they’re clean).

I never thought I’d be like that about my kids going to school, but all the structure is driving me nuts. I love holidays, I think the only reason I survived this school year is because of the extra month off we had with the world cup. I kinda dread next year. (Am gunning for the Olympics just for that lovely school siesta.)

The scariest thing of all is that I’m the one who has to teach my children structure and discipline. So I guess I’m back at school for the next 15 years by my calculations (My 2-year-old has a way to go). I thought I did my time, the moment I graduated school was one of the best days of my life. Now I’m back in the system – what happened?

When it comes to having children everyone speaks about labour, teething, night awakenings, extra weight to lose, even speech therapy and physio. No one speaks about having to go back to school again.

True the big, Big, BIG bonus is those few hours of having my own time. Not to be underrated. How to use that time is a whole nother blog. But lets put it this way since my 2-year-old went to school this year it’s the first time in 6 years I’ve had my mornings completely to myself. Scary fact. I still can’t wait for holidays though. And all those of you with children still at nursery school do yourselves a favour, relax and enjoy the mornings, don’t rush, don’t stress it’s going to come anyway so why do it sooner than you have to?

Speaking of holidays I thought I’d add an Australian Pavlova recipe which I have perfected (After many, many years). It’s quick and easy to make and very yummy – light and fluffy on the inside and hard meringue on the outside. Just follow the oven instructions carefully. You see Australians are great imports!

Pavlova

Ingredients

8 Large Egg Whites

2 Cups Castor Sugar

1 Tablespoon White Vinegar (or for an extra kick use White Balsamic Vinegar a trick I learnt from Nigella Lawson)

1 Heaped, BIG, Tablespoon of Cornstarch (also known as Maize flour in SA. I learnt that the hard way at Pick n’Pay)

2 250ml Punnets of Full Whipping Cream (love Woolies ones)

Berries to go on top as in season. Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries. etc. (All three together look beautiful.)

Method

  •  Preheat oven at 130 C. Make sure the rack is at the centre of the oven. (should be electric oven)
  • Whisk the Egg whites and add the Sugar SLOWLY  and beat until thick and glossy. (Careful not to overbeat or underbeat. Try and get the full meringue from the egg whites.)
  • Add the Vinegar.
  • Stop whisking and slowly fold in the Corn Flour.
  •  Put baking paper on a tray or use a round oven proof plate (I prefer round plate) and scoop the meringue onto the play or tray in a circle (you can draw a circle on the paper if you want. I never have.) You can use a spatula to smooth the sides upwards stroke by stroke so that it looks a bit mushroomy. But whatever you do it’ll be fine.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it’s dry and has a light creamy colour.
  • Turn the oven off and leave the Pavlova inside with the oven door slightly ajar and let it cool completely.
  • Whip the cream until nice and thick. (WATCH THE CREAM – can easily overbeat and curdle.) You can sweeten with sugar – I don’t I find the Pavlova meringue has enough sugar. (And don’t make the mistake I made of trying to reduce the Pavlova sugar. Meringue needs the sugar.) I’ve been told you can add lemon curd to the cream to give it a different taste and feel. I don’t do that either but have fun and try new things.
  • Put berries on top. Can make a  pretty design or just chuck on top – my preferred way – so it looks natural and just plain delicious.

Voila – ready to serve asap!!!

Sorry I haven’t added a photo. I don’t have one on hand. But next time I make one I’ll make sure to take a photo.

NB. Pavlova can be stored in an airtight container.

Anyone who’s heard the story about Moshe ben Leora who fell into his pool and was found at the bottom is I’m sure is touched in in a big way. Touched seems too weak a word. I don’t want to write finished (even though that’s what I felt when I heard) because that doesn’t help anybody. Where there is darkness we need to look for light. He’s in a coma now in Garden City. He needs light. We need light and as mothers I think we are all doubly touched because deep in our hearts we feel survivors guilt. I know I do. It can happen to any child. And we love our children fiercely and it’s just what no mother wants to even think about let alone face. With that fear and sadness, we need to do more than repadlock our pool gates. We need to bring that extra light in our lives and the lives around us. Because life is fragile, and so much is unknown.

An extra hug to our children, an extra smile to a stranger, an extra rand to the poor. 5 minutes of dedicated prayer for Moshe and his family. Send them light and bring more light into our lives. Only light dispels darkness like a candle. We are all candles and we all have the responsibility of lighting up our own lives and our families, and communities. It’s a big task because naturally it’s easier to wallow in negativity, in fear. Positivity is a choice. Acceptance and hope a state of consciousness.

Rosh Hashana is a time where we choice what we will become. Yom Kippur we are judged on our choice. In the Torah God says, ‘I put before you Life and Death, choose Life.’ I believe that means every moment of every day recognising our feelings and yet still choosing to smile, to celebrate Spring, to invite the stranger, the unwanted into our homes. To smile at  the unknown mother in the parking lot and introduce yourself even is one more step forward to light. It’s the small things that create a life of light.

And if we mothers work on ourselves to bring light we will bring up a generation of light bearers into the world. A world of people making it a better place in each of their own unique ways and abilities.

May every decision for light and Godliness that this blog begets go towards Moshe’s light of life and may be be healed and his family merit a happy, healthy, sweet new year.