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    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Festive Savoury Cheesecake

    Well The Savoury Cheesecake has got the thumbs up.
    Giada de Laurentiis made a savoury Cheesecake on her programme. I thought it looked great.
    I followed her recipe but the first time I made it, we thought it looked great but was a little bland.
    It’s that bloody Ricotta I think, what can be more bland that that.
    Fresh Mozzarella comes a close second, for my taste buds.
    Too milky for me...BUT both cheeses carry flavours well.

    So I have changed the recipe to suit and it has been given 10/10
    Great for your Boxing Day Lunch.
    Still looks festive. Cut into little squares it would make a great hors d’oeuvres.
    Or serve after the meal as part of the cheese course.

    For the Crust
    150 gms French bread
    Olive oil
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    75 gms unsalted butter
    20 gms finely grated parmesan
    Sea salt and freshly ground black freshly ground black pepper

    Extra butter for greasing the pan

    For the Filling
    60 gms ricotta cheese
    70 gms cream cheese
    150 gms White Castello Cheese
    20 gms Parmesan finely grated
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 egg
    1 roasted red bell pepper cut into thin strips
    10 basil leaves finely shredded

    For the Topping
    1/4 cup Red currant Jelly
    1 tablespoon Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
    1 to 2 teaspoons hot water

    Special equipment: 1x 20cm springform (cheesecake) pan


    Preheat the oven to 165C Fan Bake

    Wrap the outside of the cheesecake pan with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil.

    It is going to be baked in a Bain Marie and you want to keep the water from leaking in.
    Grease with the extra butter

    Cut the bread into slices
    Brush with olive oil
    Season with Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Throw some thyme leaves over the top
    Bake 180C for 10 minutes

    Cool and turn into breadcrumbs in your food processor
    Make extra and freeze for next time

    Melt the butter
    Add to crumbs
    Add Parmesan
    Into tin and push down well to make the crust.

    Leave in fridge for 30 minutes to set
    The Filling
    Place the ricotta, cream cheese, Parmesan and Castello in a food processor.
    Pulse to mix.
    Add the sugar, egg, and salt and pulse a few times until well mixed.
    Stir in the red pepper strips and Basil

    Pour the cheese mixture on top of the crumbs.
    Place the cheesecake pan in a roasting pan.
    Pour enough hot water in the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
    Bake until the cheesecake is golden at the edges and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 45 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold.)

    Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour.
    Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
    Preferably make it at least a day ahead
    Time for those flavours to meld well.

    To serve, combine the jam, chili sauce and the water in a small bowl and stir until the jam is liquefied.

    Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan.
    Place on a serving plate. Drizzle the jam mixture over the top of the cheesecake.
    There ya Go!

    Sunday, December 13, 2009

    Christmas Feast - An Early One - Excellent Day

    Anna and Si have a new house. Yesterday they threw their first major party...A wonderful opportunity to show off their home and get together with the family.
    And what better reason, to also incorporate Christmas Day. Anna, Si, Shannon, Elizabeth  and Jordan will be going south for Christmas. So we won't see them on the actual Day.
    Secret Santa visited, and everyone contributed to a superb feast.
    Of course the hosts seem to be doing most of the work on the day, but I guess you get that, when you are the host! The wine flowed, the food was so so good. What a day.
    Little Jordan exploring Anna's lemons.
    Our Stunning hostess. It was hard to get her out of the kitchen
    Jordan, playing with her cousins and Grandad, just before she was popped into bed, for the afternoon nap
    Jo, Dan and Sophia
    Dave draining his wine, preparing for the next glass do we think?
    Lucy spending time with Joseph
    Katie and Lou, it's been a while.
    Ms Cleo with Helen

    Craig getting the table ready for lunch.

    Anna and Si ahd set up their Tiki Bar Could be permanent . It was very popular

    Si's Shed, every man needs his shed



    Si on the Barbie
    Elizabeth took over.
    There was even help from Dale - A rare sight!
    The food came out

    Foods up Folks

    Here is our feast.
    We started with Lucy's Famous Sandwiches
    I contributed My Favourite Roasted Prawns with a Mary Rose Dip
    Almost a deconstructed Prawn Cocktail.

    These are really the very best way to cook Prawns.
    So simple
    On a baking sheet
    Lay out your prawns
    Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over them
    Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Into a 200C cook for 6 minutes only
    Keep the juice and pour over the prawns.

    They are perfect. I will never do them any other way
    So the Menu Continues
    BBQ lamb marinated in Olive oi,l lemon juice, S and P, garlic and rosemary, by Katie.
    Potato Salad
    Wholemeal freshly Baked Bread, baked by Karen who was absent due to illness.
    We missed you Karen.
    Get well soon.
    The greens were
    Snow peas and beans

    Pesto sauce to add to the lamb. Thank you Shannon
    Down the other end of the table,
    Magnificent Glazed Ham (How can you not love juicy ham? It's divine)
    Anna cooked Asparagus beautiful red and yellow bell peppers
    Louise supplied her fabulous mustard fruits, to have with the meat


    Time for Christmas Crackers
    The Noble family enjoying the jokes. They were pretty corny. (The jokes not The Nobles).

    One of the best part of the crackers, the Paper size fits all

    The kids just adored the crackers.


    Time for Secret Santa. Helper Sophia, handing out the presents.
    I don't care what anyone says, You know the "we are not giving the adults presents this year"...Bugger that.  I would hate not ever getting presents on Christmas Day.
    I want them till I die.
    Secret Santa solves that problem, everyone has to bring a $20 uni-sex present.
    All into the bag and the youngest adult gets first choice and up to the eldest. Great fun.

    What better present for our Cleo. Dora the Explorer. Hola Dora!
    Finally got the hostess sitting down, apron off. Relaxing Whoop, Whoop, Good work Anna!
    Sophia is taking Tennis lessons this looks like fun.

    It is fun. Good Shot Sophia.
    Ms Mia received a diary. She was thrilled.

    The dessert was served.
    Karen baking again. Beautiful Shortbread Stars,
    Helen provided her Fabulous Christmas Mince Pies
    I made jellies for the kids
    and a Savoury Cheesecake

    Hi Ms Jordan awake now.

    Trees to climb. That's great.
    So always a sad sight.
    The remains of the day. And what a great day it was as well.
    Thanks so much Anna and Si, we had a great time.
    In two weeks we will be doing it all again. BRING IT ON!