Saturday, May 14, 2011

triple chocolate ricotta cheesecake


now that i have your attention with that heading, let me tell you about this cheesecake from my favourite magazine Australian Gourmet Traveller (Oct 2010 issue). This recipe is the BOMB. I made it earlier this year or late last year for a family gathering and decided to make if for lunch at HHM♥ parents place for mothers day this year after his mum sms me with a craving for 'something cheesy'.

its made in layers, so if your home during the day - it works out perfectly. it doesn't keep to long as its made with fresh FRESH ricotta cheese. I have no idea what the lifespan on ricotta mixed with melted chocolate is, but consult the expiry date of your ricotta as a guideline.

now the recipe, relatively simple and I got to use my Kitchen aid Mixer + Kitchen aid Processor. A recipe that uses both bits of kitchen sexiness definitely has my tick of approval.

now the gourmet traveller version also has a layer of dark chocolate ganache on top with a pile of crystallised hazelnuts. I omitted both of these having bought the 1.2kg ricotta and utilising left over Easter eggs for the 480g of chocolate required. plus I find you don't necessarily need the ganache on top. I'm sure its positively decedent though!!

First up - Chocolate Sable Pastry Base

60gm caster sugar
60gm sour cream
100gm soft butter
90gm plain flour
30gm cocoa

Preheat oven to 180C. Beat sugar, sour cream and 60gm butter in electric mixer until very pale. Add flour and cocoa, stir to combine. Roll out pastry between two pieces of baking paper. Place on an oven tray and bake till crisp (25-30 minutes), then cool. Break into pieces, process in food processor to fine crumbs. Melt butter and process to combine. Press into base of 22cm ring mould placed on paper lined tray. Bake till firm (8-10 minutes), cool.

 Next up - white chocolate ricotta filling

240gm white chocolate, chopped
600gm firm ricotta.

Melt white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (2-3minutes). Process ricotta in food processor until smooth, add chocolate, process to combine. Spoon over crumb base, smooth top, refrigerate until firm (30 minutes).

Then we have - dark chocolate ricotta filling
240gm dark chocolate, chopped
600gm firm ricotta
20 gm icing sugar, sieved

Same as white chocolate mixture, except add icing sugar to ricotta prior to blending to a smooth consistency.

Final photo - now I should have a photo of the whole cake HOWEVER I forgot and this was my leftover piece that I got to take home (after everyone else made sure they had a piece!) 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

pea n ham soup

this afternoon i made some pea and ham soup for dinner. mum always use to make this soup when i was at home but i was never really a true fan. it used the classic split peas though which might make it a more stronger flavour?

however i found a recipe last winter for a pea and ham soup using FRESH/FROZEN PEAS. Now I love peas. I am pea crazy so I had to give this one a whirl.

last year it was our most popular soup and made in abundence at our house. frozen for quick meals and great on the palate.

tonight my little one couldnt get enough of it.

i am sure that super food ideas wouldnt mind if i shared the recipe with you. its quite the affordable soup!

 Pea and ham soup (serves 6)

1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
450g potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed, chopped
800g ham bone (uh oh mine was 1.6kg!), rind removed (whoops forgot that!)
6 cups salt reduced chicked stock
2 dried bay leaves
4 cups frozen peas

1. heat oil. add onion and garlic, cook till onion is soft (5 minutes).
2. add potato and celery, cook for another 5 minutes until they start to brown.
3. add ham bone, stock, 1 cup water (if it fits in) and bay leaves. season with pepper, cover and bring to the boil. reduce heat to low, simmer 30 minutes.
4. add peas, simmer 15 minutes or until meat starts to fall of the bone. remove from heat.
5. discard bay leaves, remove ham bone and shred ham. discard bone. blend soup until smooth, add ham back into the soup and serve.

great with toasted garlic rubbed turkish bread (if its on sale!)

Friday, March 18, 2011

happy 89th birthday gran !!!!!

This is gran turning 89 years old. Pretty cool huh? Our son Samuel (is on the right) loved LOVED the candles.

I made her a chocolate ginger cake. It was divine.

This was the extra cake for dessert because you can never have enough.
Its Mieze's Plum Cake from a Stephanie Alexander recipe.
It has 1kg of plums cut in half on top and roasted.

Summer = stone fruit season.

Enjoy xx

Note - all photos take by my lovely sister sarah

Saturday, February 5, 2011

one word - salmon

last month we bought a salmon. a gorgeous new zealand salmon. she was a whole 4.5kg salmon that was filleted and pinboned at no extra cost, then vacuum sealed for the freezer.

she is delish!! we have 6 meals worth of salmon, however last week one lot made two lovely dinners for our family.

dinner 1 - grilled teriyaki salmon fillets

so i LOVE peas and ate my dinner pretty simply - grilled teriyaki salmon fillet with a side of smashed peas. it was soooooooooooooooo good. however for the man, i made some teriyaki udon noodles to go on the side. we love teriyaki in our house - its great on chicken. plus you have all the ingredients in your pantry. dont buy the premade teriyaki sauces, they are full of other stuff! this was from a low GI cookbook :

teriyaki marinade

combine 2tbsp soy sauce, 2tbsp brown sugar, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1tsp grated ginger, 1/2tbsp sesame oil and 2tbsp water. brush over meat of choice or marinate for at least 10 minutes. cook, basting half way through. use remainder of marinade for noodles.

teriyaki noodles
put 1/2tbsp sesame oil in wok, heat. add 2 chopped spring onions and 2tbsp sesame seeds. fry 1 minute. add noodles (250g rice noodles or udon noodles) and remainder of marinade. heat through. top with coriander and serve.

dinner 2 - salmon rice paper rolls.

these were so good with hoisin sauce (bottled for this one, i have no idea how to make it!). and crushed peanuts. i kept my rice paper rolls simple - they are filled with chunks of grilled salmon fillet, mint, vermicilli noodles, carrots and cucumber. mmmmmmmmmmmmm gotta repeat this dinner.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

tonka truck birthday cake

yesterday was samuels 2nd birthday party.

today is the last day of him being 1 - how time has flown on by these last two years.

so for his birthday we had a few kidettes (3) around and some family and friends (30odd) over for a birthday morning tea. it was lovely but still exhausting! we were zonked last night!

for his birthday cake i made a tonka truck. what do you think?

i had to make 3x square cakes (2x chocolate and 1x vanilla) plus some chocolate ganache butter cream to stick the cakes together and a yellow truck butter cream frosting. using a black gel icing pen i was able to write tonka and draw samuel and his doggie marsba in the front.

needless to say i have about 1/2 a cake left. now i know why you give everyone a piece to enjoy at home!

Friday, December 31, 2010

christmas baking - gingerbread afternoon

i love christmas. let me rephrase that, i love the christmas season. a season of giving, creating and baking. mmm baking!

for the last four christmases i have devoted an afternoon to baking gingerbread creations, the first afternoon i did on my own when we lived in tamworth. it was an afternoon of solitude and bliss, i always forget the OD on gingerbread dough each year!

the second time was also in tamworth, i was 8 months pregnant and my sister Cat was over to celebrate with us. I think I gingerbreaded her out that year.

2009 christmas was celebrated back in perth, so both my sisters and mum came over to gingerbread it up. and in 2010 we did it all over again but this time we had our house guests Ingo & Kate playing with us and my BFF Sandy with her boys Tasman & Ryan
over to create some christmassy goodness. I premade the dough (4 batches of gingerbread goodness!) that morning whilst samuel napped.

making the dough in the morning was a smart move. we had people in the house by 230pm and started rolling out dough and cutting christmas figurines. the new addition this year - a dashhound cookie (not christmassy but very 2010 in spirit!). we had bowls of silver cashews, mini m&ms and sprinkles on the table, trays for the finished masterpieces and piping bags full of lemoney white icing and green icing.

i really have no idea how many cookies we created in the end but this is a snapshot of some of the finished products.

side note : many of these biscuits were eaten by us and given to friends and family as christmas presents.
2011: will this be the year that i have a gingerbread making afternoon PLUS a gingerbread house making evening? oh imagine the creativity that could be had!!

all of these photos were taken by my younger younger sister k-sara xxx

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

christmas baking - cake, cookies, chocolate and fish

so I have been busy and no I am not crazy and stay up late and get up early. I have a wee bit of time at home playing with Samuel as I only work 3 half days a week. I really REALLY enjoy my four day weekends with Samuel and they are especially fantastic when Jonathan isn't working and has time off too. We get to do something as a family and something as a couple. I really love our family. This weekend we had fish and chips down at South Beach (sure it lasted 20 minutes and we ended up eating at home because Samuel wanted to see the beach and play with everyone's doggies) and last week we had a date night at Blend Cafe in Melville. Soooooooooooooo good.

Onto my cooking. I have a few recipes that I have wanted to make this season, mainly as gifts for our friends and family. Of course, I need to try them out first though! I don't want to give something that tastes ikky!

So the first thing I made was a christmas cake. Initially when I cut into this cake, it was very rummy! But now - droolishious! I have gone out and bought more ingredients to bake a few more of these cakes. Here is an inside peak - full of dates, cherries, raisins, currants and prunes. Very VERY moist.

Now my Gran (mums mum) is a ginger freak - in a good way. When we lived in Sydney I use to buy her these Indonesian Ginger Lollies from the IGA in Chinatown and mail them to her. She use to ration them out each week. So when I saw these Buttery Ginger Squares I HAD to make them for her present. They have crystalised ginger and ginger powder in them and smell divine. I decided to bake 1/4 of the mixture. The rest is rolled into logs which Gran can cut at her leisure from the freezer. It lasts for one month in the freezer. Cool huh? Most importantly, I got to use my lovely peacock paper on the wrapping. You can buy it from The Wrapping Paper Company.

I have decided to enter this recipe into the December Cook Off Competition at Kitchen Corners. How I love Damaris and her blog. Its a refreshing read which I recommend. Here is to inspiring her to bake some Australian recipes!!!

Now the buttery ginger square recipe came from Belinda Jeffery's 'mix&bake' cookbook. The same book holds the secrets to the last minute christmas cake featured above.

As quoted from her book :

300g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp ground ginger

180g crystallised ginger chunks
250g unsalted butter
150g brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
optional, flaked almonds to decorate

1 - put flour, baking powder, salt + ground ginger into processor and pulse to combine. add ginger chunks and mix until chopped into small chunks (or forget about it like I did and make it so small you cannot see it but you can taste it!). Tip this into a bowl (important, although I completely MISSED this sentence, recipe did not FAIL!).

2 - put butter and sugar into processor. whiz until creamy. drizzle in vanilla whilst machine is on.

3 - tip flour back in and combine with butter. do this quickly as too much mixing once flour is added can make the biscuits tough.

4 - scrape the dough, which is pretty soft, into a bowl. cover with gladwrap and put into fridge for around 45 minutes to get firmer. divide dough into 2, roll into a log and wrap in foil lined with baking paper. put back into fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. you can freeze at this point.

5 - take logs out of the fridge and bang onto the bench to create a flat side (or use a rolling pin if your kids are asleep) and this creates the square shape. back into the fridge for 15 minutes.

6 - preheat oven to 160C. cut dough into 8mm slices and put onto baking tray. cook for roughly 25-30 minutes. make sure you rotate trays and turn front to back for even coverage. they will change colour when ready. cool on tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to rack.

Your home will smell fantastic, trust me!

Yesterday I made two batches of Rocky Road. Was I somewhat inspired by Corrie's White Rocky Road and Chocolate Rocky Road blog entrys. Why YES, I somewhat was ....

Now last night we had our church connect group christmas dinner. I baked wild snapper (which created a funny discussion on what exactly is domestic snapper??) stuffed with nutty rice. It is a really lovely recipe. The rice is flavoured with coriander, cumin, fresh coriander, salt, pepper, parsley, lemon rind and toasted pistachios.

Unfortunately I dont have a cooked picture from last night. Let me know if you want any recipes, I am more than happy to share!