Curry Dinner with Chocolate and Berry Pavlova

Had the local winners of the Spiceblog Name that Obscure Reference and Suggest a Nice Dessert to Bring Over competition over last night . I was going to just give them their free small sized coke vouchers and send them on their way but they charmed their way inside with Erdinger beer and a home-made Chocolate and Berry pavlova.

Request was for curry, but put research project Lamb and Spinach Curry on hold to use the shotgun approach. Had

  • Tandoori Lamb Chops
  • Beef Curry with Coconut and Almonds
  • Pork, Lentil, Spinach and Sweet Potato Curry
  • Aloo Sag
  • very small chapatis – had a “that’s inches moment”.
  • Cardamom Spiced Pistachio Pilaf
  • Cucumber and Yogurt Raita
  • Tomato and Mint Sambal

Good luck if you think I’m going to type up the recipes for all those up – but you can try. I’d like to say it came from a ghee flecked copy of a Madhur Jaffrey book, but it was almost all from religously following one of those little $4 Women’s Weekly supermarket cookbooks that are unfussily tried and true. Not something you’d have sitting on the recipe book holder when guests come round but they worked well.

Massively impressed by the Pavlova itself and the logistics – being brought ready for assembly with berries, cream, and chocolate shavings. Cream was even in a pristine 1970’s green Tupperware container. Serves 8-10 size too.

A few puzzles came up-

1) Our kind Pavlova bringer had trouble keeping it from getting huge air bubbles, cracking or both. Any help?

2) Is clarified butter the only way to make ghee, are there vegetarian versions out there?

3) What’s a good use for brown butter?

I found out the answer for 3) because it seemed familiar

– brains.

Next clever people that come along…


  1. Robert’s avatar

    Just double-checked, and you’re right about ghee. Don’t know what we were on about. Maybe hing?

    Anyway, thanks for an enjoyable evening. What was the stout that you gave me? Something Adams?

  2. Jeanne’s avatar

    Re. 2) – vegan websites tend to say that vegetable oils can easily be substituted for dairy-based ghee – see for example Nowhere does it mention that ghee can actually be made from something else – merely substituted…

  3. Lord Sedgwick’s avatar

    Is that chocolate and berry on a pizza base I see before me?

    Sheer genius!! Bring on the “Knackered Chef” TV series!

    Vaguely coincidental … we’ve chosen to make a Chocolate and Berry Trifle to take to our annual feast.*

    (*Since before man come down out of the trees a mob of us (16+/-) have had an annual nosh up whereby courses are allocated. We got dessert this time. Lucky, because my last effort at entree, “Szechuan blanched ducks’ feet on a bed of deepfried rhubarb leaves and butterscotch polenta, drizzled with golden syrup” wasn’t met with the unrestrained joy that had been expected.)

    P.S. Your use of Tupperware worries me given the meaning of “tupping”.

  4. Reid’s avatar

    Wonderful looking food. I’m sure it tasted good as well. There is a shortage of good Indian food restaurants here, and I’ve alway thought it was difficult to cook so I’ve never tried. Wish I could have participated in the festivities…thank you for sharing!

  5. Anthony’s avatar

    Ghee debates! Out of the politics frypan and into the foodie fire. Thanks for coming over and keeping us up late -where’d the time go?
    Nice memory linkage – it was Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout. They’ve quite a range and I’m working my way through them but they’re looking like taking the place of port in the dinner chronology.

    You’re right but I’ve just checked and the HK’s use ghee (so Rob’s right too) but rather than finish the debate happily there, “hing” is a spice used instead of the inexplicably unsuitable for Krsna, onion and garlic.

    Your Lordship,
    It was a real pavlova base but had the feminine touch so without the vertical obsessions of men. TV series will follow the book but precede the kitchenware range synchronised with the range of expensive meat marinades.

    Given the toxicity of rhubarb leaves I’m surprised the guests weren’t cursing from the end of a stomach pump – but where’s the adventure eh? And to think they desserted you after that. Nice tradition, one friend has dreamt up a collective all beer menu but I’ve yet to nag him into action.

    “Tup” good grief! It’d kill my Mum to know that.

    Thank you. Food turned out alright but the pav was the star. Sorry you missed it too. With the filthy weather here, I’d be happy to come over to Hawaii and cook it for you.

  6. Jeanne’s avatar

    Re. His Lordship’s enlightening definition of “tupping”:
    So in actual fact, when Aussies talk about Tupperware, they are referring to condoms?? :o)

    Oh, and forgot to say – the food looks fabulous – I’m a great fan of pavlova. Back home I made pavlova with mango chunks & whipped cream – heaven!

  7. Lord Sedgwick’s avatar

    The time-honoured tradition of the Tupperware party opens up a Pandora’s box of possibilities.

  8. Anthony’s avatar

    The original tupperware.

  9. Anthony’s avatar

    The original tupperware.

  10. Anthony’s avatar

    Actually what I meant to say was to ask Carita when she was going to take a well deserved bow.

  11. Reid’s avatar


    I’ve never had pavlova before, but it looks great. I followed the link and I’m tempted to make this dessert. By the way, the weather here has been nasty and uncomfortably humid. You’re welcome to drop by and cook anytime you want! I like it when I don’t have to do anything but eat!

  12. FXH’s avatar

    I have to agree that those Women’s Weekly Magazine type cookbooks from the newsagent are the best thing. The recipes always work. I suspect thats because they actually cook and eat the results. The stuff is always in Australian words and is usually get-able at a shop or supermarket where there are a few Indians around eg Oakleigh, Dandenong.
    I found all their other books ok too.

  13. Anthony’s avatar


    They seem to have nothing to prove and go for competence over flash. Bit of a soft spot for Donna Hay too.

  14. FXH’s avatar

    Thanks for that – I hadn’t really heard of Donna Hay. I see from her website she wrote the “marie claire” series. A friend was only mentioning the other night they they had never had a failure with the “marie claire” books. I hate fussy stuff. I aim for a modern urban peasant family style. Whatever that is.

  15. Anthony’s avatar

    Donna Hay’s recipes are simple, impressive and have never ended in tears for me either . Peasants have always had food smarts, apart from grinding labour and procreation – food was all they had.

  16. Anonymous’s avatar

    Hi all, this is Manas…didn’t have time to log in properly.

    Thank you for the heads up, Anthony. The pavlova is impressive-looking, but I swear, if I can make it, so can anyone else! (I am typically troubled by baking cakes).

    RE: Donna Hay, she wrote some of the Marie Clare series, but not all. When I get a chance, I can chack the other authors. I have to say that I absolutely love the Marie Clare books, I cook from one of them probably once every week. My favourite is flavours, which I don’t own, but have used from time to time. We do have ‘zest’ and ‘food fast’ at home, both gifts, lucky for me!

    Thankyou for a lovely meal Anthony, and a most delightful evening! And great to meet Toni, too.

  17. Anthony’s avatar

    Manas – at last, look at what your family heirloom has sparked off here.

    Great pavlova- many people may be able to crank out a pav but you went the extra yard or three and the on-site construction prep was pure pro.

    Yep yep Marie Clare- good stuff. My formative mages were Gourmet Traveller about 10 years ago. Inspirational as they were, the writing at the time required there to be at least one unobtainable ingredient without which the recipe would be horribly compromised. Always made me feel just that little bit inadequate, which I guess is the purpose of glossy mags.

    Very welcome for dinner and appreciate the lengths you went to to make it (and the pav). Next time you’ve got a spare cake I’ll see you get your regular table.

    I thought it was great to meet Toni too just glad I did it 14 years ago.

  18. Anonymous’s avatar

    The secret to no cracks in your Pav – Slower the oven the better. Don’t take it out when it’s cooked – leave it in with oven door ajar, to cool slowly. Even better if you’re lucky enough to run an AGA or similar – and you can cool it in the warming oven then on the stove top.

    And a bit of trivia for proud sandgropers – the hallowed pav was invented by the Baker from Mullewa (small, easily missed and somewhat unremarkable town that’s bred a range of wonders aside from Pav’s in its time, which rests on the border between tree deprived, wheat-burdened acres and miles of endless station country, well north of Perth). I confess I think the baker had moved on from Mullewa at the time and was cooking at the Parmelia – keen to whip up something special for Anna Pavlova, who was the hotel’s star guest at the time.

  19. Anthony’s avatar

    Thank you masked commentor – fellow sandgroper?

    Never knew about the Mullewa-Pavlova connection. I remember going there as a kid to visit my Dad’s friends. One had a general store/ liquor shop there and I can remember being impressed the booze delivery arrive (one whole rail carriage I think). Like most in people semi-isolated towns they weren’t there for a long time, just a good time.

  20. Anonymous’s avatar


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