On Tuesday I was silly enough to do another cooking class for the lady who came by herself last month. Of course this time she also came by herself, but this time I didn't try so hard to do wonderful things with her in the hope that she won't be so keen to come again next year..... one person just doesn't make for a great day! She wanted to do some "Christmas cooking" so as well as making gingerbread men - well cookies anyway and decorating them, some special herb tea and an eggplant dip (very Christmassy right!) I showed her how to make pavlova. The night before I also made a pavlova so it was going to be like a cooking show where you put one in the oven and miraculously another one is ready. The only problem was that the first pavlova was a complete flop... I have had the same problem in the past where it just doesn't stay crispy on the outside despite looking wonderful in the oven while it was cooking.
Anyway yesterday I finally discovered why after reading a recipe for pavlova that was written in Japanese. They said "if it is raining you should either give up completely or try to dry out the air with the air conditioner etc." Unfortunately Japan's climate just isn't appropriate for making pavlova for most of the year! The summer is far too hot and humid and rainy. In the winter my husband has the fire going far too hot which makes the air too "moist" too..... I guess that leaves the spring and autumn!
Just in case you are wondering... I managed to open all the windows while I was cooking the second pavlova and it was beautifully crispy on the outside and soft in the inside. We enjoyed it for dessert!
Another thing that I have struggled with here is rhubarb. Again I think the humidity is the problem and although I can usually keep it growing for a few months it always dies off in the summer and never appears again. I guess some things just weren't meant to be grown in rural Japan!
By the way - I can't take credit for either of the photos in this entry, but the page looked a little lonely with no photos and the pavlova is gone and it is dark outside....