mofo: family


20) Veganize an old family recipe.

My sisters suggested I veganize the star anise chicken we ate frequently as kids. I called mom and said I was coming up to the house to get the recipe. She said it’s so easy; she’ll just tell it to me over the phone. I cut her off and said ‘No, no. I’ll come up’. When I arrived dad was in his blue terry cloth robe and had just finished trimming his beard. Mom called from the living room that the recipe was by the coffee. Dad was standing in the kitchen grinning at me. When I picked up the old recipe card he said ‘Now, don’t get overwhelmed by all the ingredients.’

IMG_6718I did veganize this with extra firm tofu and brandy mixed with rice vinegar instead of going out to buy sherry. It smelled and tasted like the original but over all, I was underwhelmed by the experience.

Jesse’s leaving for school and we had a party last night to say goodbye. I finally decided what I wanted to make with the left over liquid from the Lovecraft beans. Pavlova! Fucking pav-lo-va! The one thing I thought would/could never be veganized. The dessert we grew up on.

I wanted to surprise mom so I didn’t call her this time to ask how she makes pavlova. I turned to the internet breaking my desire to only use cookbooks for this MoFo. I used the recipe from Australian blogger Like A Vegan. I whipped up coconut cream and bought really bland strawberries at the farmers market -strawberry season has long passed I don’t know why I thought they’d be sweet but the kiwi and defrosted blueberries made up for it. And the fact that pavlova is more or less made of sugar.

IMG_7072It cooked to a crispy dome that collapsed when I spread the coconut cream on it. I was so excited I blew the surprise by blurting it out to my sisters outside the bookshop. When I served it at the potluck, even though everyone knew it came from whipping up bean juice, they said it tasted just like pavlova. I don’t like being deceitful. I did that once in elementary school on ‘bring a food from your culture day’. I brought vegemite but told everyone it was chocolate spread. It was funny but I felt bad after because some of my classmates took big spoonfuls of it.

The biggest compliments came from my mom who loved it and Roz who said all these years because of her lactose intolerance she has never had the chance to try pavlova. Another vegan win! Actually even though Darby and I are technically the only vegans among the group, everyone made an effort to think about us with the dishes they brought. Meat and dairy was put on the side for the omni’s and we vegans had a serious spread to chose from, making me feel very grateful for the company we keep.

  1. awesome story and the pav looks great. I haven’t made a bean liquid pav (or any meringue) yet but might do ti before the weather starts getting too horrible-hot.

    • lysette said:

      Over here it just turned into Autumn, wind howling from all directions, flip flops no longer acceptable footwear. I had no recollection that pavlovas baked as long as they do! I never turn my oven on for hours at a time but it was worth it. It blew everyone’s minds and I think they all liked the coconut whip cream better than the usual dairy too. My sister asked me to bring a vegan pav to Thanksgiving šŸ™‚

  2. Yay, I’m so glad someone did this! I thought about making a pavlova for local food day, but as I haven’t tried it before I didn’t want to embark on what seems like an epic mission – I’m not well practiced with aquafaba yet. But oh my gosh I can’t wait to eat a pavlova again!!!

    • lysette said:

      It was easy but I might have lower pavlova standards than the homeland. I saw someone -I unfortunately don’t remember who- do mini pav’s filled with blueberries, I really want to try that next. From reading Glue&Glitter’s extensive round up on aquafaba the recommendation was to beat the liquid for 10-25 minutes. I’m not on Facebook so I can’t access the Aquafaba group that’s been going on but I bet there’s lots of advice in there.

  3. Caroline said:

    Looks fab. Some one made one and brought it along to a Cake Liberation Front meet up and we were all blown away by it. Sounds like a lovely family gathering.

    • lysette said:

      So cool you guys have CFL meet ups. If I wasn’t introverted I’d organize something like that here, whenever the mildly extroverted part of my brain goes ‘Hey you should do this’ the stronger introvert in me goes ‘But look at all these books you want to read!’ šŸ˜‰ Pavlova was the staple cake growing up. I wish I’d had passion fruit for it.

  4. kittee said:

    Wow!! It’s so perfectly gorgeous!

    • lysette said:

      Thanks Kittie ā¤ It looks like a berry fortress guarding the kiwi in the center!

  5. I am interested in that chicken dish. Sounds interesting. Is it baked in the oven?

    • lysette said:

      Yeah it is ad I can’t remember what temp I did it at. I think 350 is always my default. The star anise smells amazing, total childhood dinner scent without the bird.

  6. Kelly said:

    Haha, that recipe! Good stuff. And so interesting that pavlova is your go-to family dessert; I’ve never had it!

    • lysette said:

      Mom’s from Australia, it’s kinda like the national dessert over there.

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