Thursday 27 December 2012

Fruit mince cheesecake

Okay, so this one was a bit of a disaster but I know what I did wrong and I am sure it would be fantastic if that was rectified.

I had a jar of fruit mince in the cupboard that I had been given. I was part of a hamper received by a friend from her employer and she said that she wouldn't use it. I decided that it should be used up and I thought about making a cheesecake for dessert on Christmas. I ended up not taking it to the dinner at my uncle's as I had something else to take. It was a good thing too as it was almost inedible. In fact the after the one small slice that I had last night the rest ended up in the bin.

My biggest error in this was not remembering just how strong fruit mince is. The other thing was that I had never used bought fruit mince before, only ever my own. I, stupidly, used the whole jar in the cheesecake when in reality I should have only used probably a 1/4 of it. I would say a couple of tablespoons. To be honest, I only mixed in half the jar to start with but the flavour didn't seem that strong so I put the rest in. Oh, but it intensified during the cooking process.

The cheesecake recipe is one that I have made a number of times before. It comes from the October 2003 issue of Delicious magazine. It is a low fat version that uses ricotta and low fat cream cheese. I have never had a fail with the recipe. The original recipe says to cook in 3 10 cm springform tins. I do have them but the recipe also says that you can use a 20 cm tin which I do all the time. The low fat is achieved by using ricotta and low fat cream cheese in it. The only problem I have with the recipe is that every time I make it I forget that the recipe for the base has way too much butter in it and I end up with it leaking butter all over the oven. I don't like to mark my delicious magazines but I might have to for this recipe.

Low-fat Cheesecake

150g plain sweet biscuits, crushed (I like to use gingernuts)
40 g butter (original is 70 g)
500 g ricotta
250 g light cream cheese
1/2 c (110 g) caster sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 egg (I put the extra yolk in)
1 egg white

Preheat oven to 160 C.
Line base of 20 cm springform tin.
Mix biscuits and butter. Press into tin and refrigerate until needed.
Beat ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, zest, juice and egg until smooth.
Beat egg white to soft peaks and fold into ricotta mix.
Pour over base.
Bake for 40 - 45 minutes.
Refrigerate overnight.

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all. Hope that your day is filled with family, friends and plenty of food.

Monday 24 December 2012

Cake Decorating - My Little Pony

I had a late request for a birthday cake for my friend's now four year old. She is such a beautiful little girl and, of course, I was happy to oblige. I am happy any time I am asked to make a cake either with plenty of lead time or short notice, it doesn't matter to me. I just love to decorate. I do my best to make every cake as pretty and good as I can within the time frame that I have. 

I was asked if I could do something that involved My Little Pony. My friend gave me one of her daughter's toys to put on the top of the cake. I do, sort of, remember My Little Pony from when I was young. All of these cartoons seem to be doing their circle and coming back around. However since I have no children of my own it has been a long time since I saw any of them. I did a quick google to see things that were associated. 

I made my standard chocolate cake, which everyone loves so much. I would like to come up with a recipe for a cake that is equally as good but different flavours. I think I have said that before but I might start experimenting, it could end up quite expensive though. Anyway, I did the cake in two 20 cm sponge tins and joined them with a quick little chocolate icing. I decided, that since it was fairly hot, I would do a buttercream using half butter and half crisco. It actually turned out fairly well. One other time it was really dry and hard to spread for some reason. I coloured it pink, keeping some white aside for piping. I made accents with fondant and raided my container of excess flowers and leaves I have made for other cakes to put on top. I even piped her name on top. I have had problems writing with icing but this time it just worked perfectly. Hopefully I will be able to do it again next time. 

Friday 21 December 2012

December 2012 - Chicken with chorizo mango & piquillo

Like every year this is a double issue and there are plenty of things to make during December and January even with the delivery of my Thermomix sometime soon. Perhaps there are things to make with the Thermomix, I will have to look at the recipes again with a different eye. 

I was going to make Bill Granger's quinoa fritters with green goddess sauce. I did make the sauce and it is excellent. I cooked the quinoa. Well, sort of cooked the quinoa. I forgot it on the stove and boiled it dry. So dry that it was starting to smoke. OOPS. It was a nightmare trying to get my saucepan clean. I did manage to though. I haven't tried again but have eaten all the sauce, first as a dressing in a rice salad and secondly with some carrot and celery sticks. I am planning to try making it again in the next week. 

I decided to make the Chicken with chorizo, mango & piquillo. It was very good. Both the chicken and the salsa were really good. I am probably more likely to make the chicken again than the salsa though as I really love just eating mango rather than cooking with it. The recipe uses chicken breast with the skin on. I never seem to be able to find it with skin on and I am too lazy to buy a whole chicken and chop it up myself. I used some chicken thigh cutlets and it was wonderful. I served with coleslaw.

Chicken with chorizo, mango & piquillo

4 chicken thigh cutlets
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika (I used 3 tsp sweet & 1 tsp of hot for some pep)
100 ml olive oil (I wouldn't have used closed to this much) 
1 chorizo, chopped 
400 g jar piquillo peppers or roasted capsicum, drain & chopped (I used roasted capsicum) 
1 mango, chopped 
2 tbsp parley, chopped 
Juice of 1 lemon (I used lime) 

Cut slits in the chicken. Combine paprika, garlic and 2 tbsp oil in a bowl and add chicken and coat. Marinate for 4 hours or overnight (recipe said 30 min I didn't think it was long enough). 
Pre-heat oven to 180C. 
Heat oil in fry pan (I just added a little bit of oil). Add chorizo and fry until cooked. Remove and drain. 
Add chicken to the pan and brown on one side and then place in the oven for 15 - 18 minutes or until cooked through (recipe was 10 -12 min, I added extra time since the thigh was on the bone). 
Combine remaining ingredients with the chorizo. 
Serve chicken with salsa. 

Tuesday 18 December 2012


I will get around to posting my December delicious magazine recipe in the next day or so. First though I recently entered a baking competition over on Taste. You had to pick one of four recipes to make. The prize for winning was a thermomix. 

Yesterday lunch time I was sitting talking with the vet with my email account open and in came an email with a subject line congratulating me on winning the competition. I have no idea what the woman on the phone was say nor what I replied. I will admit to literally jumping up and down after I got off the phone. 

I have wanted a Thermomix ever since I discovered they existed but I never thought that I would get the opportunity to own one. I am absolutely thrilled with winning and I am so excited to receive it. 

So the recipe that I made was Choc Christmas Cookies. The dough was a bit hard to work with. I added a bit of extra flour to see if it would help. I needed to make two batches as the one didn't make quite enough. The second batch I made in the evening when it was a bit cooler and it was a little easier to handle. I also added some ground ginger, cloves and nutmeg to make them a bit more christmasy. The cookies tasted great but I am not sure I would make the recipe again. 

Here is my entry to the competition.

Monday 3 December 2012

Noodle salad with wasabi vinaigrette

Noodle salads are one of my favourite things to make in summer. They are quick and easy to make. You can put anything you want in them. Plus you can use different dressings to change the flavours. 

Some time ago I purchased a bottle of Pukara Estate wasabi olive oil which I hadn't used. I have previously made a rice salad that had a wasabi dressing (using wasabi paste) so I decided that the oil would work well in a vinaigrette. It really did too. It had just the right amount of bite to it. I didn't make quite enough dressing for the amount of salad that I made but I could still taste the dressing. 

For the noodle salad I just soften some thin rice noodles and then add whatever finely chopped veg that I have and finally add a dressing. It is best to leave in the fridge for a while for the flavour of the dressing to penetrate.

The dressing was just:

wasabi olive oil 
white wine vinegar 
pinch salt 

Whisk until emulsified and pour over salad and toss to combine.

I served it with a grilled lime & herb chicken. Most of the time I just put shredded chicken in the salad or I cook some steak and serve with some slices of that.