With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I can’t think of anything more perfect than to share with you a dessert that I discovered in Ireland when I was visiting family there in 1988. The funny thing is, the dessert Pavlova originated in New Zealand. But Northern Ireland (the six counties in the northeast) is still a part of Great Britain to this day, so it’s only natural that a dessert from another British Commonwealth country should be one of their favorites.
Writing the romance novella Londonderry Dreaming of the Passport to Romance line was such a hoot for me. Being born in N. Ireland, and all my relatives still living there, I simply had to write this book when I saw the call for submission by Pelican Books for a romance set in the city of Londonderry. I’ve been there. I know the people. I know their sense of blarney. Oh my…do I know their blarney, and I hope that shows in the book’s humor. And it was in Londonderry, in the ancient church St. Augustine’s, that the Lord comforted me when my heart was low.
(Sarah and Lana right as bookends.)
It was a few years after my reunion with my birthdaughter, Sarah, the child I had relinquished to adoption when she was three days old, and reunited with 20 years later in 1999. But the close relationship I wanted with my birthdaughter didn’t seem to be happening. I had even planned a trip together for Sarah and my daughter Lana, and me, to Ireland in 2006 to hopefully draw us all closer.
Sadly, Sarah had to cancel out of the trip, and Lana and I went to Ireland just the two of us. We had a wonderful time, though we missed Sarah. It was in that ancient church in Londonderry that I saw the stained glass windows portraying the biblical Ruth and Naomi.
The Lord whispered to my heart that the close bond between Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi was arranged by Him. I took comfort in that lovely glass window that shared a biblical truth. All good things come from God—even the relationships we long for, such as that between an adult daughter and the mother who gave birth to her.
That Ruth and Naomi window was the inspiration behind my romance novella Londonderry Dreaming. And it is in this story that my character Naomi eats her favorite dessert that she always gets in Ireland when she visits—Pavlova, named after the famous ballerina. The hero of the story, Keith, remembers that this is Naomi’s favorite dessert too.
So, with St. Patrick’s day on March 17, just around the corner, may I take this moment to wish you this old Irish blessing: (Water below rope bridge pictured below.)
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Below you will find an easy recipe for Pavlova from the internet. But for now, let me share the back of the book for Londonderry Dreaming.
Acclaimed New York artist, Naomi Boyd, and music therapist, Keith Wilson, loved one another five years ago, until her grandfather with his influence over Naomi separated them.
That root of bitterness keeps them apart until a letter from Keith’s grandmother, Ruth, draws Naomi to Londonderry to find she’s too late. Ruth has passed on. After the death of his beloved grandmother, Keith has also come to Londonderry only to open the door to his past…Naomi...beautiful as ever, the girl who broke his heart.
A mysterious painting in Ruth’s attic brings up questions about their grandparents’ entwined past and their own broken romance. But more comfortable with the unspoken languages of art and music, Naomi and Keith find it difficult to share their old hurts and true feelings.
Will the majestic coastline of Northern Ireland inspire them to speak the words to bring peace to their grandparents’ memory and to rekindle love?
Spiritual takeaway from Londonderry Dreaming:
Just as Jesus is the Word that became flesh to heal our relationship with God, words are needed to heal relationships with others. We must speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4:15 (NIV) “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
"In this elegant dessert, a crisp white meringue layer is filled with whipped cream and fresh fruit. To keep your meringue from being flat and grainy, try beating egg whites until stiff but not dry. Overbeaten egg whites lose volume and deflate when folded into other ingredients. Also, when beating in sugar, beat in about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well between each addition. Then beat until meringue is thick, white and glossy. Be absolutely sure not a particle of grease or egg yolk gets into the whites."
Original recipe makes 1 pavlova
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pint heavy cream
6 kiwi, peeled and sliced (or any other fruit you like)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9-inch circle on the parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and cornstarch.
3. Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly. This should leave a slight depression in the center.
4. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack.
5. In a small bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form; set aside. Remove the paper, and place meringue on a flat serving plate. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream, and top with kiwifruit slices.
• PREP 30 mins
• COOK 1 hr
• READY IN 2 hrs
• Other fresh fruit may be substituted for kiwi, like sliced strawberries, pineapple, mango, or a combination thereof. If you prefer sweetened whipped cream, you may add two teaspoons of sugar while whipping the cream, or to taste.
ABOUT CHRISTINE LINDSAY:
Christine Lindsay was born in Ireland, and is proud of the fact that she was once patted on the head by Prince Philip when she was a baby. Her great grandfather, and her grandfather—yes father and son—were both riveters on the building of the Titanic. Tongue in cheek, Christine states that as a family they accept no responsibility for the sinking of that great ship.
It was stories of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India that inspired her Multi-award-winning, historical series Twilight of the British Raj. Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and Christine is currently writing the final installment of that series called Veiled at Midnight to be released August 2014.
Christine makes her home in British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada with her husband and their grown up family. Her cat Scottie is chief editor on all Christine’s books.
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