Kaffir Lime and Rose poached Rhubarb Pavlova...

It's been a while since I made this and I was of course going to post it straight away...but then I didn't. Not only did I simply forget I had made it, but I actively pushed it to the back of my mind. I could blame a hectic social life (ok, not really), work or just life, but I think it's more down to me wondering whether this is the kind of recipe anybody might actually be interested in. You see, I'm looking to not only share random bits of my life here, but also the occasional useful recipe that might inspire people to get into the kitchen and start cooking and baking. And this is when I started to wonder how useful another pavlova recipe really is to the world? 

I've had a few chats with blogging friends who have over time fallen into the same "black holes" as me: what is the point of it all? Why are we doing this when the world around us is seemingly falling apart, countries are being torn apart by war, politicians are only interested in their own gains, the environment is suffering and the world in general feels like a crazy, insecure and at times scary place. What, amongst all these enormous problems, is the point of publishing posts about interiors and food on a blog? Is that really a valid contribution to the world? In the grand scheme of things, it seems so insignificant, self-indulgent and of no real value that it feels like we might as well not bother. 

But we do. We bake and cook, create beautiful interiors, decorate and arrange flowers, we photograph and write, share our thoughts and sometimes our fears, we put a little bit of ourselves into each post and put them up on the internet for everybody to see. It might look shallow at times to not even touch onto the bigger subjects, but for many people it's a way of coping with this scary world. Whilst we know what is happening all around us and are very informed (possibly too informed), we also choose to surround ourselves with beauty and positive things - even if it's in very small ways - as a mechanism to cope with it all. I often read comments in my newspaper of choice about how shallow it is to have stories about fashion, interiors, baking, lifestyle when refugees are drowning in oceans, but would not publishing these stories save even a single person? This isn't a flippant comment about people dying or not caring about tragic events and the terrible things that are happening daily. I do care and I wish I didn't feel so powerless in the face of all these huge events. But it's exactly this feeling of powerlessness, worry and insecurity that drives me to create a sheltered little world of beauty around myself. I sometimes just need to shut down the newspaper pages, not watch the news and shelter my mind from it all. I retreat into my home and my kitchen and share these things here. There's no grand plan to it all, just the fact that I am only able to take in so many bad news stories and need to balance it out with seemingly shallow pursuits. Maybe that's what you need too and despite the fact that it won't change the world, it might give the odd person something to smile about, some form of escapism and even a little hope that the world isn't all bad. Actually, come to think of it, that sounds like a pretty big plan... 

So, here's my recipe for the pavlova. It's very fragrant, the colours look amazing and since we have a Bank Holiday weekend coming up, this might be something to whip up for your guests.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 1tsp kaffir lime powder
  • 400g rhubarb
  • 2tbsp dried rose petals
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250ml water
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod

And here's how it's done:

  • preheat your oven to 130C
  • line the bottom of a round spring form (you won't need the sides) with greaseproof paper
  • separate the eggs and whisk the egg whites on medium speed until they form soft peaks
  • mix the kaffir lime powder with the 350g of caster sugar
  • increase the speed of the mixer and very slowly add the caster sugar whilst mixing
  • keep mixing until you have stiff peaks
  • transfer the mixture onto the spring form, make a mould in the middle and - using a palette knife or the back of a spoon - "pull" the outside into peaks
  • put the mix into the oven and bake for 2 hours
  • clean and chop the rhubarb into roughly 2-inch pieces
  • in a large pan, bring the 250ml water, 250g of sugar and rose petals to a boil
  • turn the heat down to a simmer
  • carefully add the rhubarb pieces and leave to simmer for 10 minutes
  • turn the heat off completely and leave the mixture to cool down with the rhubarb
  • once cooled, take the rhubarb pieces out and leave on a plate
  • now turn the heat back on and reduce the syrup by half
  • once reduced, you can pour the syrup through a sieve and discard any rose petals that have been caught if you want - though I decided to leave them in
  • leave to cool completely
  • take the baked meringue out of the oven and leave to cool
  • once cooled, remove the baking paper and place onto your cake stand
  • cut the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds
  • add the vanilla seeds to the double cream and whisk until stiff
  • now you can assemble the pavlova by topping the meringue with the cream, adding the rhubarb on top and drizzling the syrup on top of it all
  • serve straight away

I hope you and your guests will love this recipe. And if you're interested in learning about styling, food styling and photography, then why not sign up to one of the 1-day workshops I'm holding together with Aimee from Twigg Studios here in London. Find out more and register here