Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Passion-fruit and Lemon Cheesecake

This cheesecake shouts pure summer to me. Currently, the rain and low temperatures outside my window shout pure winter. Strange contrast really, a slight “in your face” to the weather. But the main point is, this is a mighty fine cheesecake.
DSCF5247Why such a mighty fine cheesecake? Lets go through. Crumbly, buttery biscuit base: classic good cheesecake. Thick, rich, creamy middle with very strong lemon “tang”. All topped off with big tropical flavour from juicy fresh passion-fruit. Plus the best bit: So Very Simple To Make!
DSCF5262  The recipe was sent to me from my Mum, and she found it on the Carnation Nestle website. Celebrity chef Phil Vickery has created loads and loads of recipes using all the Nestle products (condensed milk and soft caramel) and not only put all the recipes on the website, but also turned loads of them into “Pudcasts“ (videos of him making the creations): my new favourite thing. Its amazing the variety of dishes he’s thought up using these ingredients: from cookies and truffles to sundaes and mini treats to pies and tarts. And this lovely cheesecake!
The clever thing Phil Vickery discovered is that when condensed milk reacts with lemon juice, the mixture thickens dramatically. That's how this cheesecake is so simple: you don’t need to bake it or add gelatine to thicken it, the reaction has already occurred when you mix the lemon juice into the mascarpone and condensed milk mix. After a few hours in the fridge: voila! Creamy gorgeousness at your service. Then its just a simple matter of spooning over the passion-fruit. However, in the original recipe, Phil fills the cheesecake with a blueberry compote, something I chose to leave out. I thought it might overpower the passion-fruit, so I added the juice and zest of a couple of extra lemons so that there were complimenting bright flavours rather than overpowering ones. Also, the original recipe states to use 4 passion-fruit, but to get a decent covering like I had below I used 6. If anyone tries it with the blueberry, then do tell me how it went! You can find the recipe (and have a happy time browsing all the others) here. I personally have my eye on the Millionaire’s Shortbread….Enjoy!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Aldeburgh Food Festival

Almost a month ago now, at the end of September, I was lucky enough to go with my Mum to the Aldeburgh Food Festival in Suffolk. Whilst called the Aldeburgh festival, the main show is in the lovely Snape Maltings. The Aldeburgh Food Festival is massive, as the whole of the county gets involved in mini events across the weekend festival. The festival celebrates all the fantastic food and foodie businesses in Suffolk so they were all there showing their yummy produce (I love tasters!) There were also big marquees with a few celeb chefs showing off the local produce in some recipes. Here are my pictures from the day I went – enjoy!
general shizzle 010 ^ Food writer and critic Matthew Fort (left) did a great show with celebrity chef Tom Parker-Bowles. They are good friends and were fun to watch – especially as they had not planned what to cook but gone around all the stalls before hand to gather inspiration and ingredients.
general shizzle 012 ^ Ah, the beauty of front row seats! Restaurateur Mark Hix (left) and friend Marcus Verbene, head chef at the Browns Hotel in Mayfair also did a show but it was not as entertaining. They did however make some interesting game dishes, with lots of ingredients I've never used before. general shizzle 017 ^ Winner of the Suffolk Raised Pie competition, judged by Matthew Forte. Beauty!
general shizzle 027 ^ High House Farm apple juice – this stuff is nectar! Wonderfully fresh and sharp tasting – mmm!
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^ I hadn’t heard of this company before but I did buy a bottle of this: it had a strong kick from both piles of ginger and the chilli addition – it was a great combination.
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^ I want this van. Its a mobile chocolate business, Choc Star, and above is their amazing menu. I repeat, I want this van.
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^ Failing that, I would happily LIVE in this above van, the Creperie, perhaps purely for the bunting… :)
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^ This Chilli con carne van was pretty cool too!
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^ Alder Tree is an ice cream company in Suffolk and their ice creams are gorgeous! I have tried the Toffee Apple which has scrumptious pieces of toffee swirled in, and the Tayberry, which is a berry like a cross between loganberries and raspberries, and totally sublime.
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I had a lovely day the festival, and enjoyed seeing all the brilliant business ideas and fun companies the people ran. I was very envious of some of their lives (and vans..)! The festival also proved to me how much I want to do something foodie when I grow up. Hope you enjoyed!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Fruity Bread

Yup, I’ve made rather a lot of loaf cakes on this blog. All different, I hasten to add, but still all loaf cakes. I never really think I like them that much, but with beauties like these I always prove myself wrong! And this little cake was no exception :)

general shizzle 062 The recipe was from the brilliant blog, English Mum In Ireland. This bake is, just like English Mum says, the perfect cake for the afternoon (4pm) lull when something sweet should just hit the spot. A thick slice of this and a big old cup of tea – perfect! Except, I’m 14 and don’t like tea so p’raps just a big slice of this for me :)

general shizzle 069 Look at the top of this marvel! Chock-a-block with sultanas, raisins, cherries, dried pineapple: one beauty of this cake is how you can adapt it to suit what you like or what you have in the cupboards – it doesn’t always have to be the same. Also, after a day or so this cake is one of those fantastic bakes that morphs into a very rich teabread – even better with a slather of butter on a slice. So, for a simple bake to fill up your tummy in the afternoons – head to English Mum and find the recipe here.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Lemon Loveliness

There are a lot of times in winter, like I touched on a while ago, when I crave warm comforting dinners. A bowl of stew or fat “wodge” of crumble is always going to make a chilly night all cosy and delicious! But as you leave autumn and edge towards winter, there are times when I also crave something light, refreshing and zingy: just to wake me out of the dark winter stupor. This little dessert does just that…

general shizzle 104 It is a light lemon mousse with little lemon madeleines! I’ve found that I tend to just make a cookie, or a cake, rather than say a pie with a fancy sauce or something, you know? Such as in restuarants – they do fancy things such as “Textures of Strawberry” where you get a strawberry donut, strawberry milkshake, chocolate strawberry and little strawberry tart all as one dessert. Whilst I’m not about to start bringing out foams and emulsions any time soon – I think it is nice to have two little treats accompanying each other for pudding: its sort of the difference between a pudding and a dessert!

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Ooh, I do like a little bit of lemon! In fact, lemon is the second most popular flavour of things I have baked on this blog, just behind chocolate. Can’t go wrong with a bit of citrus :) Although saying that, this mousse didn’t turn out quite as delicious as hoped. The comments on it were, “a bit too sweet” and “slightly curdled tasting” – not perfect but sadly true! I can’t pinpoint exactly where or why this mousse turned out wrong, but there was just something wrong! It didn’t have the texture of lovely smooth tangy mousse, just very fluffy and eggy. I’ve given the recipe at the bottom anyway as maybe some people like their mousse like that (?) or maybe one clever blogger knows why it wasn’t good. Thankfully, the madeleines were a different story!

general shizzle 109 The madeleines were light, zesty, full of lemon flavour – yum :) My one problem with these was, in the picture they turned a pretty golden brown when they were cooked. Once these were cooked nicely – they still hadn’t changed colour! Still, nothing a pretty coating of icing sugar cannot hide.

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Both the mousse and the madeleines were from the most gorgeous book – Bills Food by Bill Granger. I so recommend this book. The photos are stunning, and most pages in here just make you want to move to sunny Australia! Plus, the recipes aren’t half bad – another one from this book coming up shortly! I’ve given the recipe for both the mousse and madeleines, but I honestly would not give the mousse a go :S !