This cocktail is my gift to you. Feel free to do with it what you like. Make it for someone you love, after a romatic home cooked meal. Mix it up for your lips, and your lips alone, curled up with a book. Pass it on to an old drinking buddy, or that new special somebody. Share it with your best friends, or even random Facebook friends. Because whether or not you celebrate Valentines day, one thing’s for sure, February 14th is a great day for a cocktail.
Where do I start with pavlovas. I’ve probably made more pavlovas than you can imagine. Some successful, some not. And one that ended this way. This classic Australian dessert is a great example of how the simplest things can sometimes be the hardest to perfect. The ingredients are straightforward and few: egg whites and sugar whipped up until glossy and white. It’s baked on a low heat until the outside is a crunchy meringue and the inside is a marshallow-y delight. Easy enough right? Well, not quite, but I’ve included some tips in this recipe to ensure you get perfect pavlovas each time. You can top pavlovas with anything you want, but blackberries and Meyer lemon go so well together!
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of caster sugar
1 tablespoon of cornstarch, sifted
1 teaspoon of white vinegar
1 pinch of salt
Blackberry-Meyer lemon topping ingredients:
12 ounces of blackberries
1 pint of heavy whipping cream, cold
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of water
1 Meyer lemon, zested and 1 tablespoon of its juice
a small handful of chopped lightly toasted unsalted pistachios
I can only think of one way to describe these truffles: luscious. They’re infused with fragrant cardamom and vanilla and have the most amazing texture. Truffles are typically made with heavy cream, but these are made with egg yolks, which creates a silky texture that pales in comparison to a truffle made with cream. When I first saw this technique in a recipe by Alice Medrich, I knew I had to try it. I love the idea of conversation hearts so simply turned these into “conversation truffles” and used these stone letter stamps to customize my own. These are a must make for your loved ones- they’re easy to make and oh so impressive!
Nothing embodies Valentine’s Day more than flowers. Ok, chocolate too. And maybe even a pretty cocktail. More on those next week. But honestly, have you ever seen a flower you didn’t LOVE? They are sumptuous, fragrant, and breathtakingly beautiful. When I spotted an assortment of metal letters at boutique a few months ago, I thought they’d make the perfect vessel for a floral arrangement. And when I happened to score on an X and an O, well, it was just destined to be the inspiration behind this Valentine’s Day DIY!
I love granola bars, but I always have a problem with the store-bought kind: if I like the dried fruit, I don’t like the nuts and vis versa. Customizing your own granola bars is easy. I’ve included every nut and fruit I love, including some new additions like flax seed and toasted quinoa for that extra crunch! I add a little touch of salt to balance the sweetness, but if you use salty nuts, you may not need this. To me, there is nothing better than cashews and almonds in a granola bar, and I’ve added almond butter in this to really give it that almond taste. If you prefer a crunchier granola, you’ll need to bake it longer. I personally like a bit of a chewier texture, but if you follow this recipe, the outside pieces will be pretty crunchy and the inside pieces soft. Don’t be intimidated by the recipe either– it’s a lot of ingredients, but some you probably already have. This couldn’t be easier to make!
This past weekend Karen, Erica and I were busy recipe testing when it quickly became evident that we needed a cocktail break. I decided to crack open my bottle of Owl’s Brew, which I’d been saving for a special occasion . . . like getting hit in the face with a pavlova (don’t ask)! None of us had tasted Owl’s Brew before, and we were excited to give it a try. Owl’s Brew is a tea crafted specifically for cocktails! It’s made from natural ingredients, and contains no preservatives or concentrates. I opened a bottle of The Classic: a mix of English breakfast tea, lemon, lime and agave. We followed the directions on the bottle, mixed it with a little gin, and garnished with a fat twist of lemon. I think the first word out of all of our mouths was, “refreshing.” The freshness of the ingredients truly comes through, which can be rare for bottled mixers. Not to mention, how cool is that bottle?!