Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake

I have never baked a cheeecake before but this recipe was too temting to ignore I am glad I tried it – I wasnt disappointed. Taken from Good Taste Magazine on the taste.com.au website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 1 x 250g pkt plain sweet biscuits
  • 1 x 100g pkt hazelnut meal
  • 150g butter, melted
  • 3 x 250g pkts cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 140g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 x 180g pkt good-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 150g frozen raspberries
  • Icing sugar, to dust

Method

  1. Brush a 20cm (base measurement) springform pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Place biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add the hazelnut meal and butter, and process until well combined. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Use a straight-sided glass to spread and press mixture firmly over base and side of pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 160°C. Use an electric beater to beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla paste in a bowl until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until well combined. Use a spoon to gently fold in chocolate and raspberries.

 

Pour mixture into the biscuit base. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour until just set in the centre. Turn oven off. Leave cheesecake inthe oven, with the door ajar, for 2 hours or until cooled completely (this will prevent cake from cracking). Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours to chill. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Serves 10

 

 

 

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Nigella’s Meatloaf

As part of our family Sunday dinner inspired by Nigella’s cooking show my mother and I made her meatloaf – a tradtional recipe in our household anyway but my mother uses a lot more herbs and ingredients and bakes it in a tomato based sauce . She hadn’t made it in quite a while so we were both  excited to give Nigella’s dish a try. This was followed by Nigellas Strawberry and Almond Crumble

Ingredients

4 eggs

4 onions

5 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 kg minced steak

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

approx. 20 slices streaky bacon

 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and then boil 3 of the eggs for 7 minutes. Refresh them in cold water.

Peel and chop the onions, and heat the butter in a thick-bottomed frying pan. Cook the onions gently sprinkled with the salt, for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the onions are golden and catching in the fat. Remove to a bowl to cool.

Put the Worcestershire sauce and mince beef into a bowl, and when the onion mixture is not hot to the touch, add to the bowl and work everything together with your hands.

Add the remaining raw egg and mix again before finally adding the breadcrumbs.

Divide the mixture into 2, and in the pan, make the bottom half of the meatloaf by patting half the beef mixture into a flattish ovoid shape approximately 9 inches long. Peel and place the 3 hard-boiled eggs in a row down the middle of the meatloaf.

Shape the remaining mound over the top of the eggs and pat into a solid loaf shape. Compress the meatloaf to get rid of any holes, but don’t overwork it.

Cover the meatloaf with slices of bacon, as if it were a terrine, tucking the bacon ends underneath the meatloaf as best you can to avoid its curling up as it cooks.

Bake for 1 hour, until the juices run clear and once it’s out of the oven let the meatloaf rest for 15 minutes. This should make it easier to slice. When slicing, do it generously, so everyone gets some egg. Pour meat juices over as you serve or do what you will gravy-wise

 

Gravy

50g dark muscovado sugar

125ml beef stock

4tbsp Dijon mustard,

4tbsp soy sauce

4tbsp tomato paste or puree

4tbsp redcurrantjelly

1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar to taste

To a saucepan, add the juices from the cooked meatloaf. Add all other ingredients and heat to combine. Whisk and pour into a jug to serve.

It was served with Nigella’s recommendedation of gravy and we made smashed potatoes roasted in the oven. Nigella suggests a baked potao in the oven or you could make your favourite mash.

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Strawberry and Almond Crumble

A few weeks ago we were watching Nigellas Kitchen on TV and were inspired to make her Strawberry Crumble  the following Sunday for family. It was an impressive dish that tasted as good as it looked

Nigellas Strawberry and Almond Crumble

Ingredients

For the filling

500 g strawberries, hulled

50 g caster sugar

25 g ground almonds

4 tsp vanilla extract

 

For the topping

110 g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

75 g cold butter, diced

100 g flaked almonds

75 g demerara sugar

double cream, to serve

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Put the hulled strawberries into your pie dish (approx 21cm/10in diameter x 4cm/2in deep  or  1.25 litre/ capacity).

Sprinkle over the sugar, almonds and vanilla extract. Give the dish a good shake or two to mix the ingredients.

For the crumble topping:

Put the flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl and rub in the cold, diced butter between thumb and fingers (or food processor). When you’ve finished, it should resemble rough, pale oatmeal.

Stir in the flaked almonds and demerara sugar with a fork.

Tip the topping over the strawberry filling, covering the strawberries in an even layer and pressing the topping in a little at the edges of the dish.

Set the dish on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until crumble topping has darkened to a pale gold and you see some pink-red juices seeping and bubbling out at the edges.

Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving,

Strawberry and Almond Crumble

and serve with chilled double cream

 

 

Yum!!

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Greek Almond Macaroon Biscuits (Amygdalota)

I am not quite sure about the origin of these little treats as I have seen dozens of different versions. I know that they have been around in Greek cake shops ever since I was little and they have always been my favourite Greek sweet. I seem to remember them being quite bigger – however my memory is faded.

When my sons godmother Aleca came to visit she brought a plate of these for us and I was surprised to learn she had baked them herself. Wow!! I had to have a go at making them and I wasn’t disappointed – everyone that tried one loved it

Ingredients:

3 egg whites

11/2 cups sugar

3 cups almond meal

250gms almond flakes

1 tbslspn almond extract

1 tbslpn apricot jam

 

Method:

1. Heat oven to 180°C. Put egg whites in a medium bowl. Beat the whites until soft peaks form, add sugar and continue beating until sugar is well incorporated in the eggwhite.

2. In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, jam and extract.  Fold the egg white mixture into the almond mixture.

3. Roll dough into walnut-size pieces to form a ball. Place on a  parchment-lined baking sheet. You may need two trays as you need a little bit of space around each biscuit – they do spread a little. Roll the dough in flaked almonds

4. Bake until biscuits are golden and set. Approx 20–25 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to a cooling rack and let cool. The cookies will harden as they cool.

Biscuits will keep for 7 days stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

 

Makes about 30

 

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White chocolate mud cupcakes

These have to be the best white chocolate mudcakes ever – simple to prepare and have never failed me

Ingredients

  • 125g butter, chopped
  • 1 x 100g pkt good-quality white cooking chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 3/4cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup)self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla bean scraped
  • sprinkles, to decorate

White chocolate ganache

  • 2 x 180g pkts good-quality white cooking chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • 2-3 drops pink liquid food colouring

Method

Preheat oven to 160°C. Line twelve 80ml (1/3-cup) capacity muffin pans with paper cases.

Combine the butter, chocolate, sugar and milk in a saucepan.

Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Transfer to a medium heatproof bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

Use a balloon whisk to gently whisk in the egg.

Sift the combined flours over the chocolate mixture and gently whisk until just combined.

Stir in the vanilla bean paste. Pour mixture evenly among prepared muffin pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean.

Turn onto a wire rack and set aside for 1 hour to cool completely.

Meanwhile, to make the white chocolate ganache, place the chocolate and cream in a medium heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Use a metal spoon to stir occasionally until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Place in the fridge for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until ganache is spreadable.

Use a round-bladed knife to spread cupcakes evenly with ganache. Decorate with sprinkles of choice.

Makes 12

 

I couldn’t resist adding a raspberry in every cupcake – as a little surprise – they certainly did add an extra bit of oomph!

Source Australian Good Taste –    Recipe by Sarah Hobbs & Michelle Southan

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Black-bottom cupcakes

This recipe is from Belinda Jeffery’s book “Mix and Bake”

I have to say with or without the topping mixture this cake mixture is just yum

 Ingredients

1 1/2 cups plain flour (gluten free white wings)
1 cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup light olive oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Topping:
250g cream cheese
1/3 cup castor sugar
1 egg
1 cup dark chocolate bits

 

Method

Preheat  oven to 180*C. Grease and line a 12-hole muffin tin – you can use paper cupcake cases if you like

For the topping beat together the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix it in thoroughly, then stir in the chocolate bits.

Put flour, sugar, bicarb soda and salt into a bowl. Sift in the cocoa and mix it all together. In another bowl whisk together the warm water, vanilla extract, oil and vinegar. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients and stir them together thoroughly.

Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases so that they’re about two-thirds full. Scoop a heaped dessertspoonful of the cream cheese mixture on top of each one.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the dark chocolate part springs back when pressed or a skewer inserted into the dark chocolate comes out clean.

 

 

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Mississippi mud cake

This cake is from the AWW – it is featured number 4 on their list of 10 bestcakes

Ingredients

  • 250g butter, chopped
  • 150g dark eating chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups (440g) white sugar
  • 1 cup (250ml) hot water
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) whisky
  • 1 tablespoon instant coff ee granules
  • 1½ cups (225g) plain fl our
  • ¼ cup (35g) self-raising fl our
  • ¼ cup (25g) cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten lightly
  • cocoa powder or icing sugar, for serving

 

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced).Grease a 23cm-square slab pan; line base and sides with baking paper.
2. Combine the butter, chocolate, sugar,water, whisky and coffee in a medium saucepan; stir over low heat until mixture is smooth, cool. Stir in sifted flours and cocoa, then eggs.
3. Pour into pan; bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes. Stand for 10 minutes; turn onto wire rack to cool.
4. Serve dusted with cocoa powder or icing sugar, if desired.

 

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Orange, Carrot and Walnut Muffins

these muffins taste as good as they look – recipe was taken from notebook magazine

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cup (155g) brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated carrot
  • 1 cup (100g) coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbs finely grated orange rind
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil

Icing

  • 250g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange rind, extra
  • 1 tbs orange juice
  • 1/2 cup (80g) icing sugar mixture

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line twelve 1/3 cup (80ml) capacity muffin pans with paper cases.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, carrot, walnuts and orange rind in a large bowl. Combine the egg, buttermilk and oil in a jug and whisk to combine. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and gently stir until just combined (do not over-mix).
  3. Spoon mixture evenly among the prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  4. Beat the cream cheese with an electric blender until light and creamy. Add the extra orange rind, juice and icing sugar and beat until well combined. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the muffins to serve.

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Very Special Lemon Tart

This recipe was inspired by  Marco Pierre White  famous  lemon tart – I have changed a few things as I found the quantity of the original recipe was enough for 2 tarts and still some left over.  I found these quantities worked well for me

The original recipe also calls for hand mixing of the pastry however it’s just easier to put it all in the food processor. It’s very delicate and minimal handling is required – or use frozen shortcrust pastry

INGREDIENTS

185g plain flour

80g icing sugar

125g cold unsalted butter, diced

1 egg

grains from 1 vanilla pod

 

 

FOR THE LEMON FILLING:
4eggs
200g caster sugar
3 lemons (zest of 2 and juice of all 3)
125ml double cream

METHOD

To make the flan case:
Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

Process the flour icing sugar and butter in a food processor until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the lemon zest vanilla bean seeds and egg. Process until mixture just comes together – you may need to add a tablespoon of chilled water to help it come together. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour.

 

Roll out the pastry on a lightly-floured surface to a size just large enough to fill the flan tin. Grease a flan tin with a removable base that is 20 cm in diameter and 3.75 cm deep – you can use one of those rectangular flan dishes for a different look.

Fold the dough into a greased flan tin with a removable base. Prick the base and sides with a fork. Gently ease the dough into the corners of the tin, leaving a small overhang

 

Now line the flan with greaseproof paper and fill with enough dry baking beans or rice to ensure the sides as well as the base are weighted. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, remove the beans and greaseproof paper and trim the overhang from the flan. Return the flan to the oven for a further 5minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 150 C

To make the lemon filling:
Whisk the eggs with the sugar and lemon zest. Stir in the lemon juice and then fold in the cream. Remove any froth from the top of the mixture.

To make the flan:
Pour the cold filling into the hot pastry (this seals the case and holds the filling). Bake for 30 minutes in oven.

To serve:  Sieve icing sugar over the tart when it comes out of the oven. Cut into slices

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Chicken Kofta

Great use for chicken  mince and easy to prepare- inspired by Stephanie Alexander on Masterchef , I even made my own flatbreads

 

Chicken Koftas

Ingredients:

500gm chicken mince

1 clove crushed garlic

½ cup packaged breadcrumbs

2 tspn finely chopped thyme

½ tspn dried chilli flakes

1 tspn ground cumin

1 tspn ground coriander

1 tspn sumac

½ onion finely chopped

1 tbspn olive oil (= 1 extra tblspn

Method:

Heat oil in frying pan on medium heat.  Cook onion and garlic for 3 minutes until soft.

Add cumin coriander and sumac. Cook for 30 secs until fragrant.

Transfer mixture to bowl and cool

Add chicken mince, thyme, chilli flakes and breadcrumbs –mix well

Divide mixture and shape each portion around a skewer into 10cm sausage shapes

Brush with oil

Preheat char grill or bbq over medium heat

Working in batches cook kofta turning on 4 sides for 8 minutes or until cooked through

Serve with Greek style yoghurt and flatbread – can also serve a tomato onion and cucumber salad to make it a more complete meal

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