M is for … Melon Cucumber Salad

M is for … Melon Cucumber Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 tbsp lemon juice
• 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tsp agave nectar
• 1/4 tsp sea salt
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 1 small honeydew melon, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks
• 1 golden kiwi, halved and sliced
• ½ English cucumber, cut into chunks
• 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
• 1/3 cup black olives, roughly chopped
• 3 tbsp finely chopped dill
• ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Assembly
1. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, agave nectar, salt and pepper until emulsified.
2. In a large bowl add honey dew, golden kiwi, English cucumber, red onion, black olives and dill.
3. Drizzle dressing over salad and mix.
4. Finally top with crumbled feta cheese and give one last quick mix and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is one of my most creative salads to date. The combination of fruits and vegetables and it being both salty and sweet was very delicious. I would make this for a dinner party in a heartbeat.

Christmas Pavlova Wreath

Christmas Pavlova Wreath - Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Pavlova Wreath – Candy Coated Culinista

A festive spin on my favourite dessert; with the flavours of Christmas in a perfectly light and airy dessert that will put anyone in the Christmas spirit.

Yield/Serving: 4 – 6
Prep Time: 20 min.
Bake Time: 1 hour 30 min
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium, time consuming

Inspired by Epicurious

Ingredients
For Pavlova
• 3 egg whites
• 9 tsp granulated sugar
• 1 tsp raspberry balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Sugared Cranberries
• ½ cup cranberries
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• ½ cup water
Cranberry Pomegranate Maple Syrup
• ½ cup cranberries
• ½ cup pomegranate seeds
• 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• Remaining sugar syrup
Whipped Cream
• 1 cup whipping cream
Garnish
• Sugared cranberries
• Pomegranate seeds
• Kiwi, cut into thin pieces

Assembly
For Pavlova
1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
2. Using a piece of parchment paper trace one large plate and one small plate inside the large plate into a ring shape and place on a baking sheet.
3. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.
4. Gradually add sugar 1 tsp at a time until the meringue forms into stiff shiny peaks. (bowl can be held upside down and nothing falls out)
5. Add balsamic vinegar, vanilla extract and lemon juice until incorporated.
6. Spread meringue within the ring shape and then bake for one and a half hours. When it is ready it will be crisp around the sides and dry on top. Let cool with the oven door slightly open and let remain in the oven overnight.
Sugared Cranberries
7. While the meringue is cooking; using a small saucepan boil water and sugar together until sugar is dissolved.
8. Let the sugar mixture cool down until lukewarm.
9. Put cranberries in a jar and pour the sugar mixture over top and cover.
10. Let the cranberries soak for 2 hours and drain and reserve the syrup for later for the cranberry pomegranate syrup.
11. Using a small bowl pour the cranberries in and mix the sugar until covered and let dry for 30 minutes and set aside.
Cranberry Pomegranate Maple Syrup
12. Combine cranberries, pomegranate seeds, maple syrup, vanilla extract and the remaining sugar syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce temperature down to low and continue to stir until mixture thickens up a bit and then turn off once most of the cranberries have burst.
13. Using a sieve pour the syrup into a bowl and press out any remaining juices from the cranberries and pomegranates through the sieve.
14. Let cool down completely.
Whipped Cream
15. Using an electric mixer, whisk the whipping cream until cream thickens.
Garnish
16. Place meringue on a cake pedestal.
17. Top with whipped cream and then start placing sugared cranberries, pomegranate seeds and kiwi.
18. Drizzle with syrup and serve.

Tips
• You can prepare the meringue the night before, like I did.
• If you need to get the syrup mixture to cool faster, place in the freezer for a few minutes.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Pavlova is probably my most favourite dessert to make, even though I don’t make it much because it is time-consuming. The meringue was light and crisp on the outside and chewy and soft on the inside. The sugared cranberries added a tartness and sweetness along with the pomegranate seeds and fresh kiwi all topped on the light and creamy whipped cream. This is a festive and beautiful dessert to look at. I was elated at how this turned out exactly how I envisioned it and once again my dessert was a pre-dessert as my taste testers couldn’t wait to try it including myself. I even had a piece for lunch yesterday.

Christmas Pavlova Wreath - Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Pavlova Wreath – Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Pavlova Wreath - Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Pavlova Wreath – Candy Coated Culinista

Aprium-Pluot, Exotic Fruit & Berry with Grand Marnier Pavlovas

Aprium-Pluot, Exotic Fruit & Berry with Grand Marnier Pavlovas - Candy Coated Culinista

Aprium-Pluot, Exotic Fruit & Berry with Grand Marnier Pavlovas – Candy Coated Culinista

I just can’t resist a pavlova and therefore I couldn’t resist this cooking club challenge. Just give me an excuse to make pavlova. I can’t believe I never heard of these things till my Irish co-work told me this was his favourite food and I made Pavlova for the first time. When this was the cooking club challenge I was not going to partake in the fun, but how can I resist my fav dessert. If this is an option when I go out for dinner it’s either this or brulee.

Slightly Altered from Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 1hr & 15 min.
In-Active Time: 1 hr
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Meringue
• 4 egg whites
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 tbsp cornstarch
• 1 tsp white vinegar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
Toppings
• 1 ½ cups 35% cream
• 2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
• 3 tbsp Grand Marnier (orange liqueur)
• 1 pluots, cut into thin wedges
• 1 aprium, cut into thin wedges
• 1 kiwi, cut into chunks
• ½ mango, cut into chunks
• ½ dragonfruit, cut into chunks
• Handful of blueberries
• Handful of blackberries
• A few strawberries, thinly sliced
• Mint leaves (optional)

Assembly
1. Pre-heat over to 250°F.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat eggs on high until soft peaks are formed about 2 minutes.
4. Slowly add in sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until stiff glossy peak have formed. About 2 more minutes.
5. Beat in the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla until combined.
6. Spoon the meringue into six portions onto the parchment paper, and form into circles using the back of a spoon and make an indent in the middle of the meringue.
7. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes to let the top become crisp and dry.
8. Turn off the oven and let them dry in the oven for one more hour and leave on the parchment paper to completely cool.
9. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the cream and confectioner’s sugar until soft peaks form, about 1 to 2 min and set aside.
10. Prepare all the fruit.
11. Spoon whipped cream onto the meringues and then top with fruits and drizzle with liqueur.
12. Sprinkle with mint leaves if desired and serve.

Tips
• The original recipe called for 3 tablespoons of brown sugar but I decided to forgo that and I’m happy I did as I found the meringue sweet enough already.
• Use any flavoured liqueur you have on hand that works with the pavlova and fruits. I used Gran Marnier (orange liqueur) instead of the Amaretto recommended.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts

I am a sucker for pavlova! I can’t believe I only came across this dessert a couple years ago. I love the sound it makes when my fork break through the crisp exterior and into the fluffy gooey insides. Looking at the original recipe I found there to be too much sugar and I questioned it, and I omitted the sugar topping on the fruit and I am glad I did. The meringue was pretty sweet. A great desert I would make for a dinner party.

Aprium-Pluot, Exotic Fruit & Berry with Grand Marnier Pavlovas - Candy Coated Culinista

Aprium-Pluot, Exotic Fruit & Berry with Grand Marnier Pavlovas – Candy Coated Culinista

Aprium-Pluot, Exotic Fruit & Berry with Grand Marnier Pavlovas - Candy Coated Culinista

Aprium-Pluot, Exotic Fruit & Berry with Grand Marnier Pavlovas – Candy Coated Culinista

Aprium-Pluot, Exotic Fruit & Berry with Grand Marnier Pavlovas - Candy Coated Culinista

Aprium-Pluot, Exotic Fruit & Berry with Grand Marnier Pavlovas – Candy Coated Culinista

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