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.

Vegetarian stroganoff

With our appetites ignited by the blini appetiser, it wasn’t long before we were keen to move onto the next course in our recent Russian-inspired lunch. Which just happened to be…..a battle of the stroganoffs! beefvtofu Mr BBB prepared a rich and creamy original version, with the trusty guidance of Maggie Fulton. IMG_2942 And, with the carnivores taken care of, I opted to try and make a vegetarian version. With tofu for protein… IMG_2918 Vegetables for bulk… IMG_2917  The assistance of our wok… IMG_2920 And a mixture of tomato passata, stock and peanut butter… IMG_2922 And I had something that started to almost resemble a stroganoff. IMG_2921 Finished with crème fraiche, and my meat-free take on an old classic was complete! IMG_2939 I was really pleased with how this stroganoff turned out. It was rich in flavour, and wonderfully creamy… IMG_2944 Just how a stroganoff should be really!  IMG_2945 I found it hard to compare the two versions, however, as they were both yummy in their own way. IMG_2947 Served with brown rice, and topped with fresh parsley, I am going to sit on the fence and call this a draw 😉 Although, I must say, I did love how vibrant in colour the vegetarian version turned out – and the tofu and mushrooms really take on the sweet and creamy flavours of the dish. Vegetarian stroganoff (serves 6 to 8) (adapted from here)

  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 600g firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 red capsicum, sliced
  • 400g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup tomato passata
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbs peanut butter
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 200g crème fraiche
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped fresh parsley to serve
  1. Heat oil in a large wok over a medium-high heat. Add tofu and stir fry until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add onion and garlic to the wok, and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add capsicum and mushrooms and cook for a further 4 minutes, stirring.
  4. Return the tofu to the pan. Add the passata, stock and peanut butter, stirring to coat. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the liquids have mostly evaporated.
  5. Transfer to a medium sized saucepan, and place over a low heat.
  6. Mix cornflour with a little water to form a paste. Add to the tofu and vegetables, along with the tomato paste and crème fraiche. Stir to combine and heat over a low heat until warmed through (stirring often). Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Top with fresh parsley to serve.

Gluten free blini with prosciutto & basil creme fraiche

IMG_2934 We started our recent Russian-inspired lunch with a rather easy starter. One that was relatively simple to put together (once the blini themselves were made that is!) blini Blini with prosciutto & basil crème fraiche. And they were gluten free! Originally from Russia, blini are small leavened buckwheat pancakes that are traditionally served with sour cream and caviar. To make the (GF) blini, I made a batter using:

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup GF plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder, sifted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk + 1 tsp lemon juice (combined and left aside for 5 minutes to form a ‘buttermilk’)
  • 30g melted butter

IMG_2887 Then pan-fried small amounts in a little butter like mini pikelets (a few at a time), until golden brown. IMG_2891 My blini were by no means perfect or uniform in shape, although I think that gives them a little character 😉  IMG_2895 Although, next time, I would probably rest the  batter for half an hour or so prior to cooking, to see if my blini come out a little thicker. IMG_2896 The topping for the blini could not have been simpler. Starting with basil pesto, that I stirred through a tub of crème fraiche. IMG_2924 IMG_2936 Followed by some sliced prosciutto…  IMG_2931 And finished with chopped chives.  IMG_2932 Simple yet tasty…  IMG_2933  And served straight from the chopping board for all to enjoy!   IMG_2938 A versatile starter, for which the topping possibilities are endless! What about you? Ever tried blini and have a favourite topping? Another favourite of mine is sour cream, smoked salmon and dill – YUM!

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?