Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pavlova Shells, London Fire, Shooting, Balcony Work, Bowling

I forgot to mention yesterday, when we went shopping in our usual grocery store, I came across boxes of Pavlovas. i.e. the meringue shells which one would  use to make a Pavlova. What an excellent idea. You can then fill them with cream and fruit, or yoghurt, or whatever you want. This is a picture I found on the internet which looks very similar to what I saw in the box. I wanted to buy one but hadn't anything particular to do with one. I wonder how they keep.I made a Pavlova, with several tiers of meringue, many years ago. not something I would do today they are a lot of work and very time consuming. Of course, I could be behind the fair, many of you may already be familiar with these. It is a fact that soon one won't have to cook at all, if it's not frozen, boxed, canned or otherwise presented, it is not very popular. I have noticed lately that our store, Zehrs, also has confit of duck legs - not cheap mind you. I keep meaning to try one, maybe one of these days.

A dreadful fire in London, England, on Wednesday morning in an apartment block with 120 apartments. 20 killed and many injured in the report I read last. There is a video on the Guardian website which shows people trapped in their apartments waving in order to attract attention to their plight.

Then of course there was the shooting in Washington today at a ballpark. Not quite sure what politicians are doing practicing base ball? I thought they were there to run the government.

On the return from bowling I asked Matt to drive round the back so I could have a look where they balcony work  had got to. I told him to drop me off and then I was going to come in at the back door. Wrong, I was stopped and told to go to another door - they have the back door closed from 9-5 or something every day. Lovely, I don't walk too well these days and frequently hurt plus having bowled 3 games and I had to stagger around the building in order to enter the place. I was not pleased. Matt had already gone of course. I went in at a side door which nearly knocked me over so by the time I got to the main lobby I was NOT a happy camper. Anyway, my judgement call is they will get to us by August. We will see.

Bowling not too bad today, we took 5 of 7 points - hard work mind you, one of the opposing team had a 187 average and a -12 handicap. Are we in the same league?? So, we are still in 5th place which pleases us. I actually bowled pretty well compared to my usual efforts lately.

I do have more asparagus recipes to share, but when I saw this, I couldn't resist. I have always loved Baklava and I am a chocoholic, what more could I want.

Chocolate Baklava

This Chocolate Baklava is one of my favorite desserts. Sweet, crisp and buttery layers of phyllo filled with pistachios, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and Nutella, baked to perfection then drizzled with a
sweet honey syrup.

For Syrup
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick
For Baklava
1/2 cup hazelnuts toasted
1/2 cup pistachios toasted
1/2 cup almonds toasted
1/2 cup walnuts toasted
1/2 tsp cinnamon ground
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup Nutella
1/2 cup butter unsalted, melted
24 sheets Phyllo pastry (14x9-inch), thawed according to package instructions

1. Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. If you use a 13x9 baking dish, the phyllo sheets will be bigger, so you might need to cut the ends off, either before using them, or after you've done layering the baklava, or you can simply tuck the ends in.

2. If your nuts aren't toasted, simply place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast them for a few minutes in the oven, just until you start smelling them. Make sure you don't forget them as they will burn quickly.

3. Place all the nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times until they are finely chopped.

4. Combine all the nuts with the ground cinnamon and salt in a bowl and set aside.

5. Microwave the Nutella for about 30 seconds on high, until melted and easily spreadable.

6. Take one phyllo sheet and lay it on the bottom of the baking sheet. While working with one phyllo at a time, make sure you cover the other sheets with a damp towel. Brush this phyllo sheet evenly with butter. Repeat  with 5 more sheets, you should end up with 6 sheets, all brushed with butter. Drizzle about 1/3 cup of the melted Nutella and spread with a spatula as evenly as you can. Sprinkle evenly with 1/3 of the nut mixture.

7. Repeat the above step with 6 more phyllo sheets, Nutella and nut mixture, two more times, ending with 6 sheets of phyllo. Therefore you'll have 3 layers of Nutella and nuts and 4 layers of buttered phyllo sheets. Press gently into pan. Cut the ends off if necessary, or simply tuck them in.

8. Cut into equal size squares or diamond shapes, using a very sharp knife.. You should end up with about 24 pieces.

9. Bake for 35 minutes or until phyllo is golden brown and the edges appear slightly crisp.

10. While the baklava is baking, make the syrup by adding all the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and bringing it to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

11. After you remove the baklava from the oven, immediately drizzle the honey mixture over the baklava. Cool the baklava in the pan.

Source: Joanna Cismaru

Author Notes
To thaw out the phyllo pastry I usually take it out of the freezer the night before, and thaw it out in the fridge over night. About an hour or two before using it, I place it on the counter to bring it to room temperature.

The secret to crispy layers of phyllo is brushing each layer with butter or oil. This helps them crisp up when baked. Phyllo is extremely thin and delicate, and needs to be handled with care. Only work with one sheet at a time, and cover the rest with a clean damp towel, this will prevent them from drying out.

I usually store the baklava in the fridge, right in the pan covered with plastic wrap for up to 5 days. You can even freeze baklava wrapped in plastic wrap then placed in an airtight container, for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 4 to 5 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Have a great day


  1. I've never seen Pavlova shells in the store. Great idea. Especially sice strawberry season is upon us here. The politicians were practicing for a charity game. I actually think we are better off if they stay out of their workplace.

    1. Oooh yes, lots of strawberries and crème Chantilly. Or a Romanoff type filling. Good idea Denise. You are right about the politicians LOL

  2. Terrible about the fire. Horrible way to die.
    The senators were Republicans and it was a Democratic aide that shot them.

    1. As you say Alex, terrible way to die. They are still not sure of the total.


  3. I can feel your pain by having to walk around your building when you are already sore to begin with. The fire was truly horrible and I know the amount of people who died will go up since so many are unaccounted for. the man who shot at the republicans was nuts. I feel bad for the people who were shot and the victims.

    1. Pain was definitely the word Birgit. It was horrible and you are right about the numbers. Anyone who does a shooting like that is nuts whatever the reason IMHOP

  4. That fire is soooo sad. I haven't heard the cause yet, or why the sprinkler systems failed. Whatever they used as the siding really went up like a torch.

    1. Terrible wasn't it JoJo? No I haven't heard what the cause was either, but that siding is very worrisome - Apparently there was a similar fire in Australia with the same siding.