Pavlova Cake

Pavlova: is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. (Wikipedia)

I had been on a meringue kick having started with baking a lemon meringue pie, then Forgotten Kisses (meringue cookies) and now this. I never heard about Pavlova Cake until an Australian buddy brought it to my attention. Researching this dessert, I found there have been arguments over where this cake originated from, whether it was in Australia or New Zealand. The last I’ve read, New Zealand is the winner but I’m sure many people will dispute this. I was a bit apprehensive about this cake and how it would taste but now I’m hooked. It has a light, airy, white mashmellow type filling with a crisp, egg shell colored crust on the outside. It is usually topped with homemade whipped cream and fresh fruit. I topped mine with strawberries and kiwi as this time of year in Saskatchewan doesn’t provide a wide variety of fresh fruit that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Pavlova

Pavlova cake with strawberries and kiwi.

In baking this cake, one difference I noticed was the addition of white vinegar that my other meringue baking didn’t include. It also baked at a lower temperature and the resulting color was an off white egg shell coloring versus the pure white coloring in my other baking. I found the cake harder to remove from the parchment paper without the help of adding cornstarch to the parchment paper prior to adding the batter. You should be prepared that the cake may cave in and it can crack easily but it is definitely worth it in the long run.

Chicken Oysters

chicken oysters: Oysters are two small, round pieces of dark meat on the back of poultry near the thigh (Wikipedia)

chicken oysters

The round bulbous pieces of meat (near the bottom in the photo) located on either side of the backbone.

Since I’ve been practicing deboning whole chicken (which I find surprisingly fun), I’ve discovered a tasty morsel that I never knew about – chicken oysters! I do have to caution that the oysters are a darker meat with a different texture than the rest of the bird. There are only two that are located on either side of the backbone and both have an oyster shape to them, hence the name. I can’t recall ever being served chicken oysters in a restaurant but I could be wrong. The chicken oysters are considered a delicacy as they are a well-toned muscle that is hardly used. When roasting whole chicken, breast side up, the oysters are protected from direct heat and get to bathe in rendered fat and roasting juices.

Chicken oysters have been referenced in a few movies, most notably the movie “Red Dragon”. In the movie, chicken oysters are what indirectly leads the detective to realize Hannibal is the serial killer. I like to think chicken oysters are the fish cheeks of chicken. I highly recommend trying these and will think of creative ways to serve the oysters as an appetizer.