ANZAC mango cheesecake

In what can only be described as a momentary lapse in judgment, I decided to do our weekly grocery shop with three kids in tow today. You see, I normally do my weekly shop online. Items are ordered from the comfort of home, they arrive the following day and are delivered literally to my kitchen bench. How easy it that!?

I’m not really sure why I decided to ignore my weekly ritual today.  I did tell myself that it might be nice to do a little aisle wander, see what was on special and what new items had arrived on the shelves. How naïve was I!

For what actually ensued was 3 bored kids who argued and moaned the moment we selected a trolley,  and were well and truly over the whole experience before we even got through aisle 1. It also meant that way too many treats snuck their way into the trolley – and the bill at the end was much more than I would ordinarily spend.

One saving grace was the lovely mangoes we picked up – at a price indicative that the warmer months are coming. And they quickly reminded me of this lovely little cheesecake we made a while back for our Father’s Day linner.

With ANZAC biscuits as the base, this no-bake cheesecake was jazzed up with a jelly layer and topped with fresh mango and passionfruit. I followed this recipe , substituting the lime jelly for mango jelly, and foregoing the mint leaves (only because I didn’t have any on hand).

The result was a beautifully tropical dessert that was pretty easy to pull together – and that could be made a day in advance.

But yes, in case there is any doubt, I will be going back to my regular online grocery order from next week…

Dreaming of summer with this Mango Cheesecake

IMG_4288 What a wonderful family weekend we’ve just had. My mum was in town, as were some of Mr BBB’s extended family. We had 12 (!) people around for dinner on Saturday night, where I sang the praises of our slow cooker (it was Irish stew on the menu, with olive sourdough and garlic-lemon beans). And there was cake.  Of course there was cake. A summery ‘completely out of season’ mango cheesecake, to be precise. IMG_4293 For, just a moment, we could pretend that it wasn’t freezing outside, and ignore the piles of jackets, scarves and gloves that inevitably clutter the hooks by the front door whenever Winter strikes. IMG_4294 Nay – we could be taken back to warmer times – when BBQs are favoured over stews, and rekindle memories of being able to dine alfresco . IMG_4295 For thanks to the abundance of tinned fruit, I was able to create this summery dessert – even though a fresh mango was nowhere to be seen. You can find the recipe here noting I substituted tinned mango for fresh, and also added a little mango puree to the cheesecake batter itself. What about you? What is your favourite cheesecake flavour?

Vanilla cheesecake with blood orange curd

IMG_0590 Be prepared, dear readers, for a week filled with blood-orange-inspired recipes. For the lovely people at Red Belly Citrus gifted several Canberra bloggers – including yours truly – with a box of this gorgeous fruit. redbelly And, given the never-ending colds that are floating around our family – I suspect the vitamin C laden delivery could not have come at a better time! IMG_0554 One thing I hadn’t appreciated, before now, is that the iconic crimson-red hue of the blood orange comes from is unique ability to produce Athocynanins (which, according to the Red Belly Citrus website, is “one of the most powerful phyto-chemicals known in the plant kingdom…known for their potent antioxidant capability, being some 150 times more powerful than Vitamin C alone…”). In fact, the reason blood oranges are not available all year is because they require the right environmental conditions to help build Athocynanin- levels (ie. almost freezing night temperatures as well as high day temperatures). IMG_0546 But the real fun part – when gifted an abundant supply of a delightful ingredient such as this – is getting creative in the kitchen. And I’ve certainly been doing just that.   So stay tuned for a few savoury, and a few sweet treats this week. To kick things of….. Vanilla cheesecake with blood orange curd! IMG_0593 Delicious blood orange curd – made using the microwave (!?) – swirled through a chilled vanilla cheesecake mixture – set atop a gluten free biscuit base. IMG_0548 With the added bonus being that I used only a portion of the curd in the final cake, so I have plenty leftover to indulge in over the weeks to come. IMG_0550IMG_0551IMG_0552 And while I normally lean towards baked cheesecakes, this chilled cheesecake was light and creamy – and received positive reviews from the ‘family taste testers’. IMG_0589 Not to mention coming together with relative ease. IMG_0596IMG_0611 The beautiful sweetness of the oranges shone through, and added a lovely hit of citrus to the otherwise creamy cake. Definitely a nice fresh take on the ol’ lemon cheesecake! IMG_0594 Vanilla cheesecake with blood orange curd For curd: makes about 1.5 cups

  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 85g caster sugar
  • grated rind of one blood orange
  • 2 blood oranges – juiced
  • 65g butter, chilled and chopped

For cheesecake:

  • 250g packet plain biscuits (I used GF biscuits)
  • 150g butter, melted
  • 3 tsp powdered gelatine
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 500g cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Grated rind of one blood orange
  • 300ml cream, whipped
  • 1/4 cup blood orange curd
  1. For the curd: Combine eggs, egg yolk, sugar and rind in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Add orange juice, and whisk until well combined. Add the butter. Place the bowl on a plate in the microwave, and cook uncovered on medium for 5-8 minutes – stirring every minute. Remove the curd when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain through a fine sieve, and set aside to cool.
  2. For the cheesecake: Grease a 20cm round spring form pan, and line base and sides with baking paper.
  3. Process biscuits in a food processor until the form fine crumbs. Add the melted butter, and mix to combine. Press into the base of the prepared tin, and chilli in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle gelatine over the boiling water, and whisk with a fork until well combined. Set aside.
  5. Beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and rind until light and fluffy. Add the gelatine mixture, and beat until well combined. Fold in the whipped cream.
  6. Pour onto the biscuit base and smooth surface. Spoon the blood orange curd on top, and use a skewer to create a marbled effect.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  8. Remove from pan, slice and serve.

What about you? Have you ever tried blood oranges? (A big thankyou to Red Belly Citrus for gifting me with these blood oranges, and inviting me to create some recipes!)

Ricotta cheesecake

IMG_7659 Cheesecake has always been one of my favourite desserts. Or lunch – if I am feeling so inclined. And after enjoying a particularly delightful piece at a local cafe a few weeks ago, I was determined to try and make my own at home. A crust-less version that was, by its very nature, gluten free. It started out so well. IMG_7554 Ricotta, cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla and lemon rind. Cooked until firm to the touch, and then sprinkled with icing sugar. IMG_7580 Only a small crack, but beautifully set. IMG_7573 The only problem being that while the flavours were spot on… IMG_7577 The texture was not quite right. IMG_7659 It lacked the lightness / fluffiness of the version my local cafe makes. IMG_7661 Perhaps it was overbeaten? Under-beaten? Over-cooked? Undercooked? I’m really not sure. Oh well, a delicious work in progress nonetheless. And I am sure my tastebuds will have fun trying to perfect the recipe. What about you? Any tips for making a light and fluffy ricotta cheesecake?

Lemon meringue cheesecake

IMG_4502 Mr BBB celebrates a birthday later this week. And, as we will be away on his actual birthday, we decided to hold a birthday dinner with his family a little early. Our favourite local Thai restaurant provided the scrumptious main meal, but we headed home for dessert. For we had birthday cake awaiting us. And not just any old birthday cake…. IMG_4512 But a cake that was inspired by Mr BBB’s favourite sweet treat – lemon meringue pie. Adapted to be gluten free, and made into a cheesecake. ie. a lemon meringue cheesecake! The base was rather easy – owing to these GF biscuits I found at our local grocery store. IMG_4485 IMG_4486 Crushed, and combined with melted butter. IMG_4487 Then pressed into the base of a lined spring-form pan. IMG_4488 Topped with the cheesecake layer – made with cream cheese, eggs, sugar and lemon rind. IMG_4489 Baked for 1 hour, and finished with a thick layer of lemon curd (store bought….I cheated).

IMG_4492 And set in the fridge overnight. On the day of serving, all I had to do was finish the cake with a layer of meringue. IMG_4493 Egg whites and sugar, whisked until firm, then piped on top the cheesecake layer. IMG_4494 Baked for a further 10 minutes until the meringue had browned slightly… IMG_4508 And our lemon meringue birthday cheesecake was complete! IMG_4501 IMG_4500 Between the buttery base… IMG_4504 The creamy cheesecake and tart lemon curd centre… IMG_4505 And not to mention the fluffy sweet meringue…. IMG_4502 This cake ended up being quite the lovely adaptation of an old classic. IMG_4507 Minus the hassle of attempting GF pastry! IMG_4519 The slices we served were certainly well received for dessert, so I am calling this baking experiment a win! IMG_4522 Although, can you really go wrong when lemon and meringue are involved??? IMG_4524 I think not. Lemon meringue cheesecake (GF)

  • 250g GF biscuits
  • 120g butter, melted
  • 500g cream cheese, softened
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup + 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2tbs lemon curd (make sure it is GF)
  • 3 eggs + 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cornflour
  1. Preheat oven to 160C. Lightly grease a round spring-form cake pan, and line base with baking paper.
  2. Process biscuits until they resemble fine crumbs. Add the melted butter, and pulse until combined. Press the biscuit mixture into the prepared tin, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, beat 3 eggs and 3/4 cup caster sugar, until light and creamy.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese and lemon rind until smooth.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the cream cheese mixture, and continue to beat until smooth (do not overbeat!).
  6. Pour atop the biscuit base, and bake for 50 minutes. Turn off the oven, and allow to cool in the oven with the door ajar.
  7. Once cooled, spread the lemon curd over the surface of the cheesecake, and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  8. To make the meringue – beat 4 egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add 1 cup of sugar, a little at a time, whisking until they become stiff peaks and the sugar has incorporated.
  9. Fold through the cornflour, and spoon the meringue into a piping bag. Pipe rounds of the meringue onto the top of the prepared cheesecake, until the surface is mostly covered.
  10. Place in a hot oven (220C) for 10 minutes, or until browned lightly.
  11. Remove and allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before serving.

ANZAC cheesecake with macadamia praline

For our recent NZ-inspired dinner, I wanted to create a dessert that (a) I could make in advance and (b) was not too difficult. I immediately thought of ANZAC biscuits, in all their coconut and golden syrup glory, and I had my inspiration. IMG_3210 ANZAC cheesecake with macadamia praline. cheesecake1 I started by making a batch of these ANZAC biscuits, which were promptly destroyed not long after they had cooled in order to make the buttery biscuit base. IMG_3207 Pressed into a lined spring form pan… IMG_3208 As for the cheesecake itself, I used cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, coconut, golden syrup and eggs…. IMG_3211 Beaten until smooth, then poured on top of the biscuit base, and baked for 50 minutes (allowing the cake to cool in the oven with the door ajar). As for the cheesecake topping, I decided to try and make a macadamia praline. I am completely clueless when it comes to working with caramel and heating sugar, so I suspect I should have cooked the sugar longer in order for it to take on more colour. IMG_3221 In any event, once poured over the macadamia nuts, we had ourselves a crunchy, sugary cheesecake topper.       IMG_3222  I really enjoyed the flavours of this cheesecake…. IMG_3236 IMG_3231 Which was sweet, without being too sweet… IMG_3225 And the coconut added a nice touch.  IMG_3226       It may not have been the most ‘authentic’ of NZ desserts, but it was a tasty tribute nonetheless! IMG_3261  IMG_3263 Delish! ANZAC cheesecake with macadamia praline (serves 8 -12)

  • 250g ANZAC biscuits (either homemade or store bought)
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 500g cream cheese
  • 200g sour cream
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1 tbs golden syrup + extra
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  1. Macadamia praline: Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan over a medium heat, until bubbly and golden in colour (do not stir). When the sugar has reached the desired colour, stir in the macadamia nuts, and spread the entire mixture on a lined baking tray. When cooled, break into pieces.
  2. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line the base of a round spring form pan with baking paper.
  3. Process biscuits until fine crumbs. Add the melted butter, and process until combined. Press into the base of the prepared pan, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Beat cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, coconut and golden syrup until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each one.
  5. Pour on top of biscuit base, and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Turn off oven, and cool in the oven with the door ajar.
  7. Cover, and place in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.
  8. To serve, top with macadamia praline pieces and a drizzle of golden syrup.

A NZ-inspired dinner (and a sad loss to the Aussies)

While our beloved Wallabies were sadly knocked out of the Rugby World Cup by New Zealand last night,  that didn’t stop us indulging in a rugby-inspired meal. New Zealand style. Did you miss our others?

As we were serving dinner at half time, we laid out a number of snacks to enjoy pre-game. IMG_3250 All of these snacks had caught my attention when grocery shopping over the weekend, and are probably a good reminder that shopping when hungry is never a good idea (for the budget or waistline!) IMG_3242 IMG_3246 Dips and rice crackers…. IMG_3244 Wasabi cheese… IMG_3247 And some GF lollies for no other reason than the sugar hit sounded good 😉 IMG_3249 But, let’s get to the star of the show shall we??? I have to admit, I was rather tempted to attempt an awesome New Zealand hangi in our backyard. However, I had no desire to dig any pits, so common sense got the better of me and I opted for a simpler oven baked roast instead. A close friend of mine, whose Mum grew up in New Zealand, suggested "Pohutukawa  lamb”, which she described as being lamb stuffed with apricots, herbs and bacon. I am not sure how ‘traditional’ this dish was (given I could find little reference to it online)  but it sounded delicious so an attempt at Pohutukawa lamb it was. IMG_3213      I got my butcher to do all the hard work, and de-bone and butterfly a leg of lamb for me. Then, all I had to do, was create the stuffing. IMG_3214 Apricots, bacon,  mint, parsley, tahini, GF breadcrumbs, garlic, ground ginger and tahini. IMG_3215 Combined, and spooned onto the lamb. IMG_3216 Then rolled and tied, as best as we could manage. IMG_3218 All bundled up and into the oven for 2.5 hours at a medium heat. The result? IMG_3256 Beautifully tender lamb, packed with delicious juicy fruity stuffing. Served with green beans that I had drizzled in a little garlic-infused olive oil, and sprinkled with fresh parsley.   IMG_3258 Along with our favourite vinegar potato wedges "chups" (Mr BBB’s contribution to dinner lol). IMG_3259  And we had ourselves quite the Kiwi-inspired dinner. IMG_3257 Leaving room, of course, for dessert….. IMG_3223 ANZAC cheesecake with macadamia praline. IMG_3261 Full details and recipe to follow tomorrow! What about you? Ever been to New Zealand? I haven’t, but would love to visit one day!

White Russian cheesecake slice

IMG_2907 Our recent Russian-inspired lunch was a lot of fun. The blini topped with prosciutto and basil crème fraiche were well received as appetisers, and our bellies were well and truly warmed after the beef and vegetarian stroganoffs. But it was dessert that had me the most stumped when it came to planning the menu. For it seems that Russia is not necessarily known for the cakes and slices we are used to. IMG_2913 I kept coming back to the idea of White Russian cocktails – a delicious blend of kahlua, vodka and milk – that also happened to be one of my favourite ‘staff drinks’ enjoyed after a long night shift at the pub I worked at throughout uni. So it was with the cocktail in mind that my Russian-inspired dessert came to be… cheesecake A rich indulgent dessert slice to keep even the greatest of sweet-tooths happy. But is it a brownie? IMG_2901 Or a cheesecake? IMG_2905 Well lovely people… it is both! IMG_2911 A layer of kahlua brownie on the bottom, and a layer of creamy vodka vanilla cheesecake on the top. IMG_2900 A cocktail in edible form if you please 🙂 The brownie layer was certainly rich, but worked well with the creamy cheesecake. The hint of kahlua was also a nice addition. IMG_2898 And, if the lack of leftovers is anything to go by, I think our guests gave the tick of approval! White Russian Cheesecake Slice (serves 14)

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 125g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour (or GF flour to make a GF version), sifted
  • 1/4 cup GF self raising flour, sifted
  • 2tbs kahlua
  • 250g cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs vodka
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 125ml cream
  • cocoa powder
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a square cake tin with baking paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate, kahlua and butter over a low heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Cream 1/2 cup caster sugar and 1 egg until light in colour and creamy. Add chocolate mixture and flours, and stir until just combined. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, 1 egg, vanilla, vodka, 1/3 cup caster sugar until smooth. Beat in cream, then pour mixture on top of the brownie layer.
  5. Bake for a further 15 minutes, turn off the oven, and allow the cheesecake to cool with the oven door ajar.
  6. Once cooled to room temperature, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight). Slice, dust with sifted cocoa powder, and serve.

What about you? What is your favourite cocktail? aside from White Russians, I am quite fond of Caprioskas…..although there is still 4.5 months until I can indulge in one lol.

A Russian-inspired lunch

IMG_2909 On Saturday, we hosted the family’s 4th pre game meal in the Rugby World Cup series. You might recall that we previously hosted a long Italian lunch (cannelloni and caprese salad) when Australia played Italy, my mother in law made Irish Stew when Australia played Ireland, and my sister in law hosted us for homemade burgers and apple crisp when Australia played the USA). As the Wallabies were scheduled to take on Russia (and won yay!), our theme for the pre-game lunch was therefore, obviously, Russian. IMG_2928     I really loved reading all your wonderful suggestions for Russian dishes and food that we could cook. I was really keen to try the Lorraine’s Russian doll cupcakes (as suggested by the Intolerant Chef) , but sadly time did not permit. IMG_2930 So in the end, given we were a little short on food preparation time, we decided on the following… Buckwheat blini to start… IMG_2932 Topped with prosciutto, basil pesto and chives (recipe to follow). IMG_2933 Then it was a battle of the stroagnoff’s for main course! IMG_2943 In the blue corner….. IMG_2942 Mr BBB’s beef stroganoff (prepared with the trusty guidance of Maggie Fulton). And in red corner… IMG_2939 Tofu stroganoff – my attempt at a vegetarian take on the old classic! We served both dishes with a side of brown rice…. IMG_2947 Topped with some fresh parsley. IMG_2944  And we had ourselves a hearty, belly warming lunch. Perfect given how cold it was outside! We did, of course, also save room for dessert… IMG_2907 White Russian cheesecake slice! IMG_2901   Ok. So this was not strictly Russian – but let’s call it a tribute to one of my favourite cocktails 😉 Recipe to follow. But now, its time for me to enjoy the last day of this long weekend.  We have friends coming over for lunch, so I better get grocery shopping. And cooking! What about you? Do you have a favourite Russian dish?