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Pinch, punch, it’s the first of the month! And, is SUMMER! I cannot believe how time has gone by just like that and is already the last month of the year. My goodness, I seriously feel like I haven’t done much this year and a lot of things still need to catch up on. Is it just me or everyone feels the same? I have to say this year has been an interesting one, there are a few changes in my life. The most noticeable one is I spent less time in kitchen and being outdoor as much as possible. No doubt a clean diet (I try my best whenever I can) is essential to go with my healthy regime. Hence, the cooking in the kitchen these days are rather uninspiring, grilled chicken breasts with steamed broccoli, brown rice and sweet potato. I probably can write a cookbook with a gazillion recipes on how to make bland chicken breast taste good to go with bland steamed broccoli and bland brown rice. Hence that’s why you see a lack of recipe posts on the blog these days. It’s not all bad though, I am actually not that strict with my diet, but just be sensible and cut down on indulgence like sweets, cakes and baked goods. And whenever I have a cheat day, I can devour whatever I want and somehow it makes me appreciate food even more. 

Christmas only means one thing – FOOD! There is definitely no holding back in this household; chicken breast and broccoli can wait, hello turkey and roast pork belly! The Pom loves his Christmas Pudding, me on the other hand fancy some pavlova. I usually make a big Pavlova for party, but if just for the two of us, then the mini pavlovas are the solution. As the big one tends to go soggy if you can’t finish in one setting, so is best to make mini ones that I can just store them in tupperware away from humidity, and just pop one out whenever I crave sugar. 

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Watermelon is Australian summer’s best friend. I love watermelon but I don’t eat very often because they are high in sugar and GI, but during summer I don’t mind a slice or two, or even make a cocktail from it. Watermelon + ice + vodka = AHMAZINGGG! Here I have created two recipes using the watermelon for the festive season. For the pavs, I simply top them with any summer fruit, watermelon and honeydew for this instance. And some jackfruit too, but that’s totally optional. I am sure you can add whatever you like, mango too if you must. Who doesn’t love mango right?

Another recipe is possibly the simplest and quickest sweet treat you can whip up, the sago with palm sugar syrup and coconut cream, then dressed it up with watermelon and honeydew. The sago with coconut cream is actually quite a popular sweet treat in Malaysia, so my version is a spin off on that by jazzing it up with gula melaka (palm sugar syrup) and added the summer fruit. You can pre-make this and keep in the fridge to keep it cold the whole time. It is the best refreshing treat to beat the summer heat.  

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Festival Melons Sago
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large water melon
  2. 1 honeydew
  3. 100g tapioca pearls
  4. 50g dark gula Melaka
  5. ΒΌ cup caster sugar
  6. 1 cup of water
  7. 1 can coconut cream
  8. 2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
Instructions
  1. Cut watermelon in half. Use a melon baller, turn one half of the watermelon into melon balls. Do the same with the whole honeydew.
  2. Bring a pot of hot water to rolling boil, sprinkle tapioca pearls into the water and give it a quick stir. Let it boil until the pearls are translucent. Drain and rinse pearls in cold water. Set aside.
  3. To make the syrup, add gula Melaka, caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer until the liquid reduced by half. Set aside to cool completely.
  4. To serve, place some watermelon and honeydew balls in a cup, add sago, drizzle with coconut
Notes
  1. Decorate one half of the watermelon with jagged edges, scoop out some of the watermelon on top using a melon baller. Then fill it with a mix of watermelon and honeydew balls.
A Table For Two http://www.atablefortwo.com.au/
xmas-pav-1

Summer Mini Pavlovas
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 4 large egg whites
  2. 1 cup caster sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons cornflour
  4. 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  5. 2 teaspoons rose water essence
  6. 1 cup (pouring) cream
  7. a wedge of watermelon (about 250g)
  8. half a honeydew (about 250g)
  9. 50g jackfruit, seeded and thinly sliced
  10. rose petals (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 120C. Whisk egg white using a stand mixer or a hand mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking well until all sugar has dissolved, the meringue is stiff and glossy. Add cornflour, vinegar and rose water and whisk until just combined.
  2. Line baking tray with baking paper. Divide the meringue into four or six equal portions on the tray. Use the back of a spoon, gently shape the meringue into a dome with a flat top for fillings later.
  3. Transfer the tray into the oven, and reduce the oven to 90C and bake the meringue for 2 hours. Turn the oven off and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven. DO NOT open the oven door.
  4. When ready to serve, whisk cream until soft peaks form and make watermelon and honeydew balls using a melon baller. Spread cream over the pavlova, top with melon balls, jackfruit and a sprinkle of rose petals. Serve immediately.
A Table For Two http://www.atablefortwo.com.au/