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Archive for April, 2009

 

Well, well, well….another month has passed and once again I bring to you this month’s DB challenge. We have gone back to the good, old classic – everyone’s (or nearly everyone’s) favourite – cheesecake. The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes and she has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. The DB-ers had the freedom to do anything they wanted with this cake – flavours, decoration – everything entirely up to you – basically the sky is your limit! 

 

I’ve probably mentioned before that Alan’s favourite dessert is cheesecake. If he could, he’d have cheesecake and only cheesecake for his 3 meals! However, he’s a really classic and traditional eater so in order to ensure someone finishes this cake, I had no choice but to succumb to his classic tastes. :( In the end, I decided on passionfruit and lime – something to celebrate the near end to fresh summer fruits. 

 

 

Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake:

Ingredients:

Crust:
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs

1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted

2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cheesecake:
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature

1 cup / 210 g sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream

1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)

2 fresh limes – juice and zest

4 fresh passionfruit

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too – baker’s choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lime juice, lime zest and passionfruit and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!

 

 

 

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Well, it’s about time I come back to updating this blog more frequently. After 3.5 months, things have finally started coming together. Moving to Sydney was and still is a nightmare. From movers, to internet, to phone etc, nothing seemed to fall into place. It took us more than a month to get all our stuff (long story..movers were a nightmare!), and then 3 months before we got our internet. The bad news is we still don’t have a home telephone but the good news is we are finally on track to bringing normality back into our lives. 

If there are things we should be thankful for, it’d be friends whom we’ve lost touch with for a long time but who have nonetheless welcomed us here with opened arms. Guess this is what we call true friendship. It’s certainly been a life changing experience for both Alan and I. Him being his first job and mine being a career change. It hasn’t been any easier having to do all these in a totally foreign place and would have been a lot harder if we didn’t have friends who were constantly lending us a helping hand. You will only truly understand when you relocate. You miss the simple pleasures of knowing how to get to the supermarket, or where’s the nearest ATM machines, or shortest cuts to your destinations etc. etc. I wouldn’t dare say we’ve settled in, but I’d have to say we are trying, hard as some of the days may be, we will continue to try. 

Setting up home took forever! With both of us working full-time and crazy hours, unpacking was a real pain. Furniture shopping, cleaning, clearing, throwing….man! *big sigh* Finally, we have a house we can start to call our home. Each of us leaving our own mark in our own unique ways. All in the name of making this place where we rest, be it for 4 hours or 4 days, a place we can call home. Here are some photos I’d like to share with all of you of the place we now call home. 

The second part of my sharing will be broken into 3 separate blog entries – highlighting the 3 different group of friends we’ve had over for dinner as a way of sharing our new life together in Sydney. Our first dinner party was the first week we finally had 90% of our stuff unpacked, and a livable living room. It earmarked my achievement as a girl who not only uses her hands for cooking and baking, but also one who can assemble her DIY furniture all by herself! :) To celebrate my achievement, we had Mei Gee and James over for dinner. It was my first proper home-cooked meal, which was prepared from scratch, in my new kitchen. To mark this special day, I opted for a simple yet classy dinner – a nice, slow cooked roast, some vegetables and a simple dessert. Nothing very fancy, but full of flavours and spices. You should’ve seen the look on my face as I peeled and chopped herbs in the kitchen – pure heaven! :)

Entrée: Antipasto Plate

Ingredients:

  • Turkish pide bread, toasted and rubbed with fresh garlic
  • Grapes
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Cheese (any choice)
  • Pâté (I used smoked salmon and cracked pepper)

Method:

  • Assemble everything onto a platter and serve. 

Mains: Herb Crusted Beef with Confit Cherry Tomatoes (Delicious, Dec 08-Jan 09 edition)

Herb Crusted Beef


Ingredients:

  • Mixed herbs, chopped (I used rosemary, basil, lemon thyme)
  • Premium eye fillet
  • Olive oil
  • Aioli
  • Fresh rocket
  • Baby carrots and potatoes

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180C. 
  • Spread chopped herbs on a sheet of baking paper. Brush beef with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roll beef in herbs till coated well. 
  • Heat a frying pan with some oil. Sear beef on all sides till evenly brown. 
  • Transfer to tray, add carrots and potatoes, and bake till your liking. Mine’s a gas oven and I had to bake for nearly 2 hours to achieve medium. 
  • Arrange fresh rocket on plate. Thickly slice beef and top it on rocket. Top with confit tomatoes and a dollop of aioli. Serve meal with a bottle of red wine. 

Confit Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • Remaining mixed herbs from above
  • 2 x 250g punnets cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves

Method:

  • Cut a small cross at the base of each tomato.
  • Bring a pot of water to boil and set a bowl of ice water on the side. Blanch tomatoes in boiling water for 20-40 seconds, remove and placed in ice water for another 30-40 seconds. Peel immediately and place in a bowl.
  • Warm balsamic, oil, garlic and herbs in a pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Pour over tomatoes and marinade for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. 

Dessert: Lime and Basil Sorbet (from Jamie Oliver)

(Sorry, forgot to take pictures and can’t seem to find my old ones)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 2 handfuls of fresh basil
  • 1 cup water

Method:

  • Bring sugar and water to boil, till sugar dissolves. Add fresh lime zest from 4-5 limes. Remove from heat and allow to cool down.
  • Add freshly squeezed lime juice and adjust taste accordingly – sweeter or slightly more sour – up to you.
  • Rip basil and pound it in a mortar. Bruise it well and add every bit to the lime syrup.
  • Give it a good stir then pour it through a sieve. 
  • Place in container and freeze for an hour.
  • Take it out and give it a good whisk. Freeze again and when the time comes, serve in chilled glasses. 

 


 

 

 

 

 


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