I have this wonderful friend who recently hosted an incredible event at her amazing hobby farm home. She has been battling a rare and brutal form of cancer for the last year, and the moment she’s had the first clear scan she’s immediately thought of giving back. That is the sort of person she is. I’m not going to go into the details of her story, as it’s not my story to tell. What I will tell you though, is the story of her awesome Biggest Morning Tea to raise funds for the Cancer Council of Australia.
This marvellous being has an network of friends and family who love her dearly. Again, that’s the sort of person she is. With their help she put on the most fantastic of events. Local businesses volunteered their time and expertise – caterers, coffee carts, bakers; friends with businesses donated fabulous items for a silent auction; a professional photographer documented the event, and took portraits at $5 a pop of guests with Taco the baby donkey and the cutest mini pony dressed as a unicorn; there was live music in the form of a talented young singer; and other friends baked – me included.
The turn out was impressive – over 100 people I reckon, all tucking in the delicious cakes and pastries and sipping on real coffee, in a gorgeous farm yard setting with the barn decorated within an inch of it’s life. Happiness, relief and positive vibes. A lot of cash was donated, exciting goodies bid for and $15,000 raised. I told you it was incredible!
She said her initial idea was to raise $500. The response was so positive she changed her target to $5000. This girl doesn’t do things by halves and soon it turned into this epic event. Good work Miss B.
I was so busy taking snaps that I failed to get myself a portrait with Taco the baby donkey, and I missed trying out many of the sweet treats. However, I did, give my friend the biggest of hugs, stuff myself with yummy homemade scones with cream and jam, and win the auction for a gorgeous French Linen tablecloth, which will appear in future food photos, I’m sure. Happy, happy, and happy!
I made a Rhubarb and Almond cake, and some mini rosewater pavlovas with raspberries and pomegranate. Here’s the recipe.
- 4 x egg whites
- 250g castor sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons rosewater
- Pink food colouring
- 300ml cream suitable for whipping
- 2 punnets fresh raspberries
- 1/2 ripe pomegranate, pieces removed.
- Whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until firm.
- Continue to whisk, adding the castor sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, until all the sugar has been added and the mixture is stiff and shiny.
- Add the rosewater and gently fold in.
- Add a few drops of pink food colouring and swirl with a knife or skewer if you want a swirly pattern.
- You will need 2 baking sheets lined with baking paper.
- To make 24 pavlovas I traced evenly spaced circles around a 7cm diameter drinking glass with a pencil.
- Turn the paper over - you should still be able to see the circles through the paper.
- Using a piping bag and medium nozzle for more accuracy, pipe 24 nests of the meringue mixture, using the circles as a guide.
- You can go a bit more free-form and use 2 spoons if preferred.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 120 centigrade for 1-11/2 hours, until firm.
- Leave to cool completely.
- Whisk the cream until stiff - do not over over-whisk or it will separate.
- Using a piping bag for accuracy, pipe cream into the hollow of each meringue nest.
- Top with raspberries and pomegranate jewels (apparently called arils)
- Arrange on a platter and scatter with dried rose petals, edible flowers or other pretty things.
I had intended to make a raspberry coulis and drip some into the meringue mixture to make the pink swirliness. This would have been nice but I ran out of time. You could consider it though. It would look and taste great drizzled over the finished mini pavs too. If you like the taste I’d add the two teaspoons of rosewater. Mine had one teaspoon and just the merest perfumed hint of rosewater.
The meringues were made the day before and stored carefully in layers between sheets of kitchen paper to minimise breakage. They were transported like this to the venue and the final pavlovas put together when I got there, so they didn’t go soggy enroute. I prepared myself with the pre-whipped cream already in the piping bag, plastic clips at either end, and with an ice pack for transit, and all the fruit prepared before hand. It was an easy job to just get all the meringues on the serving platter and piping cream and popping fruit on in the barn as soon as I got there. A scatter of dried rose petals and they were ready.
I surprised myself with this efficiency. It went exactly according to plan – I can highly recommend this if you are attending some kind of function that requires you to bring a platter. Easiness to ‘Wow’ ratio is quite high!