Monday, December 16, 2013

Feast with Friends and the Pavlova (Gold Coast)

On the night after finding the Littonjua couple's fish and chips shop in Monterey Keys, Girlie would take me to her sister Daisy's home in Pacific Pines, a residential suburb of the Gold Coast set beside the Nerang State Forest with a population close to 6,000. I haven't seen Daisy in ages so it was such a thrill to finally meet her and her family, including a godson I've only seen in photos. I came bearing gifts, of course. But if that was meant to surprise them, I was in for more generous gestures. They actually set up a mini feast of sorts to welcome me. There was barbecue and a menu fit for a starving country.

What I found most interesting was the Pavlova, a merengue-based dessert that came to being after an iconic Russian ballet dancer named Anna Pavlova went to visit the region (below).

Pavlova reigned supreme in the 1920s, thus when she embarked on a world tour that eventually took her to Australia and New Zealand, the people in the region were celebrating. In fact, her presence inspired a still unnamed chef in a hotel in Wellington, New Zealand to create the Pavlova.

Its origin is still a source of debate between the two countries with Perth's Bert Sachse allegedly producing the first Australian Pavlova in his Esplanade Hotel kitchen in 1935.

Regardless, the dish isn't Russian, as I earlier thought. It is an important part of the national cuisine of the aforementioned countries. Where there's revelry, there's a Pavlova to cap the celebratory gastronomy.

This is understandable. One look at the cake and you're salivating all the way to Brazil! While gently masticating on its crisp crust, the soft and sweet interior melts in your mouth. And what a way to visit Australia and be honored with a Pavlova, right?

The night was punctuated by laughter and one story after another. I have genuinely missed their company. Daisy had been living in London for almost 3 decades.

Pacific Pines Park
When Daisy started a family of her own, she left the constantly nippy weather, her own Walthamstow house in Queen Elizabeth Road, and a high-paying job from the University College Hospital to start life anew in warmer Australia with her utterly charming hubby Jerry and their adorable kids who now amazingly and effortlessly vacillate between English and Australian accent. How fun is that?  I was home among the dearest of friends, and I just felt so honored to be in their presence.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Pansit palabok brimming with shrimp.

Pork barbecue straight from the grill.

After breaking a slice of the Pavlova cake...

Green salad

Sweet corn

A gift from London. Jerry gave this to me so this became additional wardrobe for my Aussie adventures.


Ramakrishnan said...

HHmmm ! That is some feast ! Both the Pavlovas look delightful - one elegant & stylish and the other yummy & delicious :)

eye in the sky said...

And both delicious. :)