Don't Chew Want Me Baby. Don't Chew Want Me Ooh?*

It has been five weeks and three days since Hedy Lamarr accidentally chewed my finger, and I am doing very well: in fact the dead part of the fingernail fell of this morning when I was checking my injury. The skin covering my finger has died and is ready to slough off, like a snake skin. I realised this is why I had weird pins and needles feelings. When I touch the tip of my finger I touch the dead skin, then there's a layer of air and then the brand new pink skin. You can see some of the brand new pink skin below the fingernail. It is very strange. The dissolving stitches have dissolved and the remaining growing part of the fingernail should soon be growing. I hope. Because I have a suppressed immune system, it is a longer healing time than normal, but keeping the wound dry and clean has really helped.

Finger at five weeks

I have still not knitted or sewed. I have two almost finished knitted hats from Before The Chewing. The first is just a plain and simple beanie I am making up as I go along, in Felici Worsted in Time Traveller (Doctor Who stripes, but they can't say that) for Uncle Dutch's birthday. The second is the Fisher Cable Hat for MrReno's birthday. Both are covered in dog hair because Lorelai Gilmore has started moulting. She helpfully had a big cuddly pat right next to the hats and I am just not up to removing all the dog hair yet. I plan to make MrsDrWho a Pussy Hat, and MrsReno is making one too, both from some Caron cakes.

Hats

The Labradors went for their Dental check in August. Last year we found out that Gilly had her very own auto-immune disease and so it is marvelous that a year later she is almost better than good. Hedy scored a 10/10 and Gilly a 9/10 and she must have another check in six months. Her auto-immune illness is managed by one tablet every second day and she can't be immunised. This is a worry, but she is well and happy. She leaps over trees in a single bound!!!

Gilly leaping

And such a look of concentration.

Gilly leaping concentrating

Hedy Lamarr has a different look. She has a muddy look!!! The weather is warming up and so when we get back to the gate at the dam she insists on running through and cooling down in the puddle.

Hedy in her puddle

Hedy is also helping around the house, and by that I mean by making a mess all around the house. She has never been interested in toilet rolls, but last week this one just took her fancy. And she just doesn't care. At all.

Hedy and the toilet roll

MrsDrWho, MrsReno and I went to The Quilt Expo. Outside there was a patchwork Mini!!!

Patchwork mini

Inside there were some wonderful quilts. I bought 16 mixed green batik fat quarters for $20. Such a bargain. One of the prize winning quilts was hand pieced (3000) hours and hand quilted (2000 hours).

Quilt fair 3000

And here is the owner of Esme's Patchwork's Splendid Sampler. I started this when Hedy came to live with us and because she came to live with us I stopped!!

Splendid sampler

I have plans to make a quilt-as-you go baby quilt soon for my friend's first grandson. It will be a race between my finger healing and the baby arriving.

In Australia we are participating in a, what I consider to be ridiculously expensive and unnecessary, postal survey about same-sex marriage. We elect politicians to write and enact laws. And it is going to cost $122 million. I am voting yes. I believe that marriage is a civil contract. I am not religious, and feel very cross that some religious people want to tell non-religious people what to do. I think it is right and proper that churches decide which couples they will marry, that right is a binding law. But the world will not end, the sky will not fall if there is fairness and equality. Yes, there is activism on both sides, but without the brave and forward thinking Suffragettes, women would not now have the vote. I know that other people will not agree with me, and that is fine. Australia is a country where I can disagree with you, and you with me, and I can live with that. I will be very sad if the law is not passed in the affirmative. It's Time feels as appropriate now as it did back in 1972, albeit for a different cause. Here's a link to the video. I hope that if anyone disagrees they will do so in a polite and respectful manner. We don't have rudeness or swearing or cruelty on this blog.

It's Time

It’s time for freedom,
It’s time for moving, It’s time to begin,
Yes It’s time

It’s time Australia,
It’s time for moving, It’s time for proving,
Yes It’s time

It’s time for all folk,
It’s time for moving, It’s time to give,
Yes It’s time

It’s time for children,
It’s time to show them, Time to look ahead,
Yes It’s time

Time for freedom,
Time for moving, Time to be clear,
Yes It’s time

Time Australia,
Time for moving, It’s time for proving,
Yes It’s time

Time for better,
Come together, It’s time to move,
Yes It’s time

Time to stand up,
Time to shout it, Time, Time, Time,
Yes It’s time

Time to move on,
Time to stand up, time to say ‘yes’,
Yes It’s time

 

 

The ABC showed the first of thirteen Countdown specials, one for each year it was broadcast, last Sunday. I grew up watching Countdown and on Sunday I turned the sound on the TV up to 60 and did sad, old people dancing in the lounge room. Gilly and Hedy thought I was having a conniption. I knew all the words and all the tunes and all the people, and I am very much looking forward to the next twelve shows.

*Human League


Friday Food: Flaky Pastry Pesto Chicken

Pesto chickenFriday Food on Saturday. I am almost keeping up with Friday Food, so I feel I am managing a bit better. I bought myself Jamie Oliver's 5 Ingredients as it was on super special at The KMart for $24. I do like the way each recipe is set out, with the five ingredients photographed and arrayed to the left of the page and the recipe next to them. And one whole page for the photo. I really like having a picture. This recipe was very easy to make, though I think I tucked the puff pastry strips too far under the chicken and it was a tad under-cooked. So do 'just' tuck them under. It was easy to buy the ingredients, but I had to cut the chicken breasts as ours are much larger then the ones he uses.

I used one sheet of frozen butter puff pastry. I just cut strips in a kind of pattern and hoped for the best!

Other than that, I was very pleased. The flavours went very well together and it was exceedingly tasty. If I was serving this to my family I would add some potatoes, because I don't think it is a proper Australian tea-sized portion. If you don't like pesto, you could use a red pesto, wholegrain mustard, some relish or pate.

 

Flaky Pastry Pesto Chicken      serves 4

  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, I used butter puff
  • about 500g chicken breasts, cut into approx 125g portions
  • 4 heaped teaspoons of green pesto
  • 400g ripe cherry tomatoes, on the vine if you can
  • 400g green beans
  • salt and pepper*
  • olive oil*

 

*These don't count as part of the 5 ingredients. I am OK with that.

 

Chicken flatten

Preheat the oven to 220*C and prepare two oven trays. Flatten the chicken breasts with your hand, or in my case the jar of peanut butter, so the fat end is about the same thickness as the thin end. I sandwiched the chicken breasts between some baking paper to do this. Place on the roasting tray and season with salt and pepper.

Pesto and pastry

Cut the pastry into strips. Spread a teaspoon of pesto over each piece of chicken ( and I somehow missed this photo) Then lay 4 strips overlapping on each breast, 'just' tucking the ends under.

And bake

On another tray, season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and drizzle them with olive oil too. Place the chicken on a top shelf and the tomatoes underneath and bake for 20 minutes. I turned the trays half way through. In retrospect the pastry could have been a little browner, but I was hungry and decided it would do.

Tomatoes and beans

While the food is baking, trim the ends of the beans and boil them in salted water for 7 minutes. I microwaved them for 5 minutes.

To serve, remove the tomatoes from the vine, squash half on a board or platter ( or each plate) and toss in the beans. Slice the chicken on an angle and serve on top of the beans, with the remaining whole tomatoes.

Chicken pesto


Friday Food: Baci Di Dama


Gallery_export_1504958126_1504958162I found this recipe in the September BBC Good Food magazine, through the Zinio for Libraries app. I liked this recipe because it could be made without any electrical mixers. Basically you cream butter and sugar with a spoon, or spatula in my case, and then mix in the rest of the ingredients and bring the dough together with your hands. It is a version of the Italian Baci, or kiss, biscuits. They are usually made with hazelnut meal, but these substitute almond meal and add chocolate. They are called Lady's Kisses.

The recipe made 100 individual biscuits and 50 sandwiched together. I was quite scrupulous and used a measuring teaspoon. The recipe says you can make 40 sandwiched biscuits. I found that 15 minutes was plenty of time to cook these, perhaps because they were smaller as I made 100 instead of 80.

I really like the idea of putting the melted chocolate for the filling in a piping bag, though I used twice as much chocolate as the recipe said. I just snipped the end and it was a snap to swirl on the chocolate. I think these would also be nice with a little ganache and maybe some orange zest for something different.

These biscuits would keep longer un-filled, and I think they could be frozen that way too. Otherwise keep them for up to a week in an airtight container. 

I am posting from my iPad again. The computer is working well, but I seem to need much more rest as I am healing my finger. So blogging from the iPad it is!!

 

Baci di Dama             makes 40-50

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 150g almond meal
  • 20g Dutch processed cocoa
  • 50-100g dark chocolate

Line two trays with baking paper and set aside. You do not need to preheat the oven at the beginning as the biscuits need to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. I turned the oven on when I started rolling the dough to make the biscuits after they chilled.

Gallery_export_1504955538_1504955571

The butter should be soft enough to squish when you poke it with your finger. Beat the caster sugar and butter with a wooden spoon until it is creamed. This should only take a minute as the butter is soft.

Gallery_export_1504955662_1504955683

Add the plain flour, almond meal and cocoa and mix well. It will be quite crumbly, but it is easy to bring together with your hands to make a dough.

Gallery_export_1504955828_1504955886

Flatten the dough and wrap in cling film or place in a ziplock bag. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. At the end of the chilling time preheat the oven to 180*C or 160*C fan forced. Roll teaspoons full of the dough into balls and flatten slightly when they are on the tray. The biscuits don't spread very much. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes. I swapped and rotated the trays half way through. Once the biscuits feel firm they are ready, if you cook them too long the chocolate will catch and taste bitter.

Cool for 5 minutes on the tray and then move to a rack to cool completely. They cool quickly, so melt the chocolate and pour into a piping bag and cut off the tip.

Gallery_export_1504956001_1504956029

Match the biscuits by size and organise them in pairs. Pipe a swirl of chocolate on the flat side of one biscuit and then sandwich with another. I found it was best if the chocolate had cooled a little, otherwise the top biscuits slid off the bottom biscuit!

Gallery_export_1504956282_1504956328

And the Lady's Kisses are ready to serve, perhaps dusted with a little icing sugar. They are a dainty bite, or two.

Gallery_export_1504958052_1504958098


Friday Food: Apple Crumble Cookies

 

Gallery_export_1504268287_1504268301I was reading some comments on a YouTube video where people were cross if they searched for a recipe and the person posting the recipe had things to say before the recipe. This is one of those posts, so skip ahead if you want just the recipe!!! 

My finger, chewed by Hedy, is healing well. I shan't put a photo, because it looks awful, but it is doing extremely well. It still hurts and I can't properly write, brush my hair, use keys in locks, bake, sew or knit. But I am getting there.

My iPad broke. The wifi antenna broke, and it would cost $420 to fix it, or $469-ish to buy a new one. I had to wait a fortnight, but I used my birthday money to buy one. MrsDrWho lent me one of her old iPads that she had taken to use at school. I am very grateful. My new iPad is silver and white and all shiny. I also have a military grade(?!?!?) cover to protect it from Labradors. 

Yesterday my computer went for its yearly service and they found it needs a new hard drive or something or other. I am not exactly sure, they did tell me, but I am still a bit swirly in the head.  I still have some birthday money and whatever happens, I have backed up and they can access all my data. 

So that is three things: finger, iPad and computer. I firmly believe that major appliances, and/or body parts now, know when your tax return is coming and they choose that moment to break down. Thank goodness for birthdays!! So I am blogging using my iPad, so please forgive any strangeness, well any more strangeness than usual. I also had a bit of trouble replying to comments, so please, bear with.

 

Gallery_export_1504268990_1504269016And now to the recipe. I bought the new Jamie Oliver book for Uncle Dutch for his birthday. I couldn't finish his hat (finger) but I made some Butterscotch Schnapps Boozy Fudge. I had a flip through Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredients and chose the Apple Crumble Cookies. I haven't really baked so this was my first foray. The recipe is exceedingly easy, not so easy because I didn't use a food processor, and of course there are only 5 ingredients. I couldn't buy raw caster sugar anywhere, so I made my own by mixing half and half raw sugar and caster sugar.

I baked the first batch of biscuits at 200*C for 10 minutes but the dried apple pieces on top caught. I baked the second batch at 180*C for 8 minutes and also flattened the biscuits a little more. They turned out well, and I didn't bother with the extra dried apple on top.

The biscuits do taste apple crumbly, and are very moreish. They are quick and easy and really did make 24 as promised.

 

Apple Crumble Cookies.       Makes 24

  • 100g dried apples, finely chopped
  • 100g raw caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, cubed and cold
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1 egg
  • and a pinch of salt, which makes 6 ingredients really

This is how I made the biscuits without a food processor, I'll put the food processor method at the end.

Preheat the oven to 200*C or 180*C fan forced and line two trays with baking paper.

Gallery_export_1504268510_1504268594

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you can't buy raw caster sugar, make your own by mixing together 50g of raw sugar and 50g of caster sugar.

Gallery_export_1504268625_1504268687

Add the cubed butter, self raising flour and a pinch of salt, and rub into the sugar until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Finally add the dried apple.

Gallery_export_1504268730_1504268777

Make a well in the centre, add the egg and then mix. I brought it together and kneaded it with my hands. My dough weighed about 480g, so it was easy to divide it into 24 balls, each 20g.

Gallery_export_1504268781_1504268833

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flatten each ball into a 4cm diameter biscuit. Press into some extra chopped dried apple. This is the first tray I baked. The dried apple caught.

Gallery_export_1504268858_1504268897

I recommend really flattening the biscuits and then baking them for 8 minutes at 180*C in a fan forced oven. Cool slightly, and then place on a rack to cool completely.

The biscuits should keep for about a week in an airtight container. I ate mine with a cup of tea  and Gilly and Hedy had one each when I knocked the first tray of biscuits on the floor!!

Gallery_export_1504268340_1504268365

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To make the recipe the recipe using a food processor, whiz the dried apples until finely chopped and then add the cubed butter, flour, sugar and pinch of salt. Process for a minute until a fine crumb is formed. Add the egg and pulse until combined. Scrape down the sides as needed and continue on as in the recipe above, rolling balls of the mixture to make the biscuits.

I accidentally pressed Publish prematurely, so I had to go back and add this part in. 


Don't Chew Worry 'Bout A Thing

Well that was an unexpected turn of events. I had a ride in an ambulance, a couple of days in hospital and some plastic surgery: no new nose or perky breasts though.

IMG_3593

I have left handedly sewn some kitchen cloth over my bandage in an attempt to keep it somewhat clean.

Late Friday afternoon Hedy Lamarr stole a pig's ear from the shopping and was eating it in her little box. I put my hand in her mouth to extract said pig's ear and she chewed down at the same time and accidentally chewed my finger. There was no malice on her part, no pulling or tugging, it was just an accident. I have put my hand in dogs' mouths for twenty-eight years and never been chewed before.

Her tooth went through the centre of my middle fingernail on my right, and dominant, hand. It was like taking a well roasted carrot and pressing your finger into it. There is a hole, and the edges of the carrot split: I did worry I would lose the end of my finger.

Our wonderful health system kicked in. Neighbours rang the ambulance and applied pressure and held my arm up. Dion the paramedic put on a dressing and then took me to the Fast Track Emergency. They cleaned me up and I saw a doctor and a plastic surgeon. I was bumped by a young man who had punched a window and broken a hundred bones in his hand, and by 9pm I was in a bed on a ward.

The worst part of the whole thing was not eating from 2pm Friday until 9-30pm Saturday. I had the best sandwiches in the world, saved from dinner by the nurse. I had talked about sandwiches all day. No liquids either, but I had three bottles of antibiotics and a litre of fluids through my cannula. The nurses, doctors and ward staff were wonderfully caring and made sure I was as comfortable as possible.

The next door neighbours looked after The Labradors. My friends came to visit and I dozed on and off. When they finally took me to the operating theatre, the plastic surgeon decided she could operate using a local, rather than a general, anaesthetic. Apparently I am brave. No one realised I had only have two paracetamol until Saturday morning, I just put up with the throbbing, I thought it was normal. When they gave me some Endone the pain went straight away.

The surgeon didn't need to remove my nail, she just stitched the top half on to protect the nail bed, stitched the nailbed and finger closed and Bob's your uncle, it was over.

MrsDrWho brought me home and The Labradors were more excited to see her than me. My friends brought me so much food the fridge is too full and I had to freeze a quiche and some homemade soup. Hedy was afraid of my hospital smell, but Lorelai Gilmore took it all in her stride.

I am allowed to drive if I forgo the drugs, so we went for a walk this morning and now we are back in bed, full of drugs, and ready for a day of sleep. Oh and a month or so of no knitting or sewing or legible writing. And showers with numerous plastic bags and sticky tape.

An awful thing happened, but in the end it was all sorted out and not so bad. Accidents happen and you can't change that. I am grateful to have wonderful family and friends and live in a country where there is free health care. I don't have to pay a cent for my stay or operation as far as I can tell.

IMG_3521

Gilly and Hedy outside the back door. Hedy has "opened" one of their beds, collected some sticks and chewed her red placemat. Gilly is just a good girl.

 


Friday Food: White Chocolate & Raspberry Scones

SconeThe August Coles magazine has this recipe for scones made with lemonade and cream, but no butter. I made a plain version of these scones in 2010. I followed this recipe faithfully, except for the raspberries: I used frozen boysenberries or Loganberries from MrsReno's garden.

I found the dough to be very sticky and it was difficult to cut out the scones. I placed them close together and they sort of melded into one large segmented tessellated scone. Happily, once the scones cooled a little I was able to cut around each one and so make individual scones. MrsDrWho tasted the scones and declared them delicious. They are very light, but don't keep very well. This is an easy recipe to halve if you only want eight scones. I made 15 scones, and was too lazy to cobble together the leftovers to make scone 16.

The recipe calls for 600ml of cream, 250ml of which is used in the dough and the rest is for brushing on the scones, and whipped for serving.

The Typepad is working as normal today. There are no bullet points or numbered lists on my Compose page and I can't click and drag pictures to make them bigger or smaller. I have asked why, but I have to wait for Help.

 

 

Raspberry & White Chocolate Scones           Makes 16

 

3 cups (450g) self raising flour

1 cup (250ml) lemonade, chilled

1 cup (250ml) thickened cream, plus 350ml more

150g white chocolate, finely chopped

150g raspberries, fresh or frozen.

 

 

Well and liquid

Preheat the oven to 220*C and line a tray with baking paper. Place the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the lemonade and cream.

  Add berries and choc

Here is where you also add the chocolate and berries before you fold the ingredients together. I forgot, and added them when I remembered. Use a butter knife, or flat non-serrated knife, to fold the ingredients gently together. It will be a quite sticky dough.

  Dough

Tip the dough out onto a board and use floured hands to gently bring the dough together. Press out until is is 3cm thick. Use a 5cm floured scone cutter and cut out each scone and carefully place it on the tray. I placed mine close together and I would do the same next time, even though they spread. Brush the tops and sides with some of the remaining cream.

  And bake

Bake for 12-15 minutes. I actually baked mine for 20 minutes. Allow the scones to cool slightly on the tray. I cut around my scones to separate them. Whip the remaining cream and serve with the warm, or hot scones.

  White choc and berry scones

 

 


Once More Unto The Beach, Dear Friends, Once More.

It is very annoying when all your friends are on holiday and/or have relatives visiting. There is so much socialising to do: it wears me out!! It is the best kind of tired. The tired I feel when I am tired from too much laughing, talking, eating, and walking on the beach.

It was a milestone birthday for MissSingapore and we celebrated with a vegetarian picnic at the beach. That was her heart's desire: a picnic at the beach and then a long walk to the other end of the bay.

At the beach

For a Winter's day, it was pretty perfect. The sun shone and there was a light breeze. It was too cold to go in the water, even to paddle, but it was a perfect walking along the beach day.

You can't see the little fish

Little crabs and waves and mountains

Thousands of little crabs must have erupted all at once sometime that morning. The waves were small, but very noisy. It is true that the sea air is very invigorating. I collected lots of cuttlefish for some birds I know.

Cuttlefish

I finished a cotton doily for MissSingapore. The body is knitted on 2.5mm needles and then the edging crocheted with a 2.5mm hook. I blocked it by drawing a circle around a large saucer, dampening and then pinning each crocheted loop, making sure the first double crochet was exactly on the line. It turned out very well, thought in the picture the edging is wonky.

Doily

I also sewed her a bag version of MrsDrWho's Star Wars wall-hanging(#112)

The 18th bag #112

Here is my specially adapted Celery shopping bag (#111) It will hold three bunches of celery comfortably, four sparse bunches at a pinch.

Celery bag #111

I sewed the final Cat bed, #3, for MrsDrWho's birthday. At our house you have quite a difficult time trying to take photos sometimes.

Trying to take a photo at our house

The Cat bed has some super soft polar fleece on top, and then some Star Wars furnishing fabric on the bottom, or vice versa. There are five layers. I have photos of the first two beds as well.

Cat bed 3

Cat bed 2

Cat bed 1

When I look at Gilly in the last picture she looks very worried and sad. It was not long after Peri died, and I think it is when she started to become ill. She missed Peri Pumpkin terribly.

Here are two very happy Labradors on their rainy walk. The camera angle makes Hedy look Giant. Lorelai Gilmore is exceedingly well. She plays rough and rowdy rebel games with Hedy all the time. In fact most of the time I was editing photos, they were playing Tug-of-War with a piece of cloth. Hedy Lamarr has been wicked. She chewed a clock. We shall speak of this no more.......

Hedy and Gilly are happy

This Winter the mornings have been very icy and especially cold. So cold, that there was ice on the inside of the windscreen and tiny drops of ice frozen on the tips of the conifers at the dam.

How cold is it

A few years ago I bought some Supernatural fabric from The Spoonflower for MrsDrWho's sister. I planned to make a dress for her. And today I did. I am not confident at all sewing stretch fabric, so I used a beginner McCalls pattern, 7348. I only had one yard of the Supernatural fabric, so I bought some cotton jersey from The BlackSpot of Doomlight (tm) It sewed beautifully and has a lovely drape. The Spoonflower fabric wasn't as easy to sew. I made View A, and had to add an annoying 10cm to finish each shoulder as the yard was not quite long enough. I did some excellent pattern matching. I still have to finish the hem tomorrow. I stopped sewing before I made a mistake.

Superdupernatural dress

I have been very busy dining out and there will be more dining out tomorrow. I have made chocolate, and boozy gin, fudge and Nutella truffles. It is no wonder I have been tired!! The Labradors and I rested all day on Tuesday after the beach excursion. I think we will rest again tomorrow.


Friday Food: Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bars

The lemon curd cheesecake barsMrsDrWho's sister is on holiday and I passed over my iPad so she could choose a recipe. She saw the Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bars and didn't go any further. In a way, I was quite pleased, because this is such an easy recipe. It is from the August Fast Donna Hay issue. I believe it is the recipes that are fast, and not Donna. 

This week I have been very social and also rather crafty with some sewing and appliqué, and I didn't make my own lemon curd. Again. I am pleased I can buy some decent curd in the supermarket and I don't feel guilty at all. 

The recipe says to use a food processor, but I just mixed the softened cream cheese and melted chocolate with a large spoon. No machines needed at all. The cheesecake mixture is not very thick, but it is a bar and not a cheesecake per se. I used Granita biscuits because they are so easy to crush and ordinary desiccated coconut. You should use full fat cream cheese, I used Philadelphia. 1 cup of the lemon curd is mixed into the cream cheese and the other 1/2 a cup is swirled on top.

There isn't anything else to say: a few easy ingredients and a few easy steps and the cheesecake bars are chilling in the fridge and ready in 2 hours. The cheesecake is a softly set one, and needs to be well refrigerated.

I discovered just tonight that we could lie in bed and I could write my post on the iPad. The Typepad has made the Compose page mobile friendly. Now of course we all have to get up so I can transfer the photos from my camera to the computer and insert them. I am not sure what font or colour this text will be, or if I can save it here and it will appear on my computer. Ah, technology! I hope today it is here to help me!!! Yes it is, the text is green and the correct font, so I count this as a win.

 

 

Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bars          makes 20 pieces

 

  • 300g plain sweet biscuits, crushed to crumbs
  • 1 cup (75g) shredded coconut
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 500g full fat cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups (525g) lemon curd
  • 180g white chocolate, melted

 

Line the base and sides of a 20 x 30cm tin with baking paper. My tin was about 5cm high at the side.

  Making the base

Mix the crushed biscuits, coconut and melted butter together. 

  Chill the base

Press firmly into the base base of the tin. I used my silicone spatula to press it into the corners and then smooth it out. Chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

  Cheesecake

While the base is chilling, mix together the softened cream cheese, melted white chocolate and 1 cup of the lemon curd. Use a food processor, a hand mixer or just a spoon or spatula as I did. 

  Fill and swirl

Once it is smooth, pour the cheesecake mixture over the base and level it out. Dollop the rest of the lemon curd over the top and use a knife or the handle of a spoon to swirl the curd. Refrigerate for at least two hours, then cut into slices and serve. It is that easy. I think it would be nice with some cream, and maybe some candied lemon zest strips, to tizzy it up for a fancier dessert.

Lemon curd cheesecake bars


Friday Food: Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Pie

Lemon meringue cheesecake pieThis month the August Super Food Ideas magazine had a section with mash-up desserts: two desserts, Frankenstein monstered together. I made this Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Pie. I will not lie, it has A Lot of steps and there is a lot of chilling time involved. Nevertheless, I have made it twice and it has been very popular. Reviews have been glowing and people were eagerly eyeing off the leftovers. If you can't face making pastry, I think this would be great with a biscuit base:  250g plain sweet biscuits crushed to a fine crumb and mixed with 100g melted butter. Press into the base of a lined spring-form tin and refrigerate for 30 minutes. My spring-form tin is 23cm in diameter.

I found I needed to add another 4 teaspoons of chilled water to bring my pastry together, I added one at a time until I felt it was correct. MrsDrWho's mum says she always seems to need more water in her pastry too, so I don't feel wanting in that department. After I put the pastry into the tin, I used the scraps to roll a long thin sausage of pastry and I used that to level and even off the edge of the top of the pastry. I did this as an experiment the first time, and the second time because it worked so well

I used my new yellow Americolor food colour to tint the cheesecake filling. It might be just a lot too yellow, but the colour is optional. There is gelatine in the filling. I used the best lemon curd I could buy in the supermarket, in a perfect world I would have made my own. I only used two egg-whites for the meringue topping as it isn't baked. I thought there was just too much uncooked egg-white meringue on top and it would not taste very nice at all. This is the photo from the magazine.

Magazine photo

I used two egg-whites and it baked perfectly under the grill in less than a minute. I checked every 5 or 10 seconds as I was worried it would burn. You can also use a kitchen blowtorch, but I am afraid of them. This would work with a Swiss or Italian meringue though.

I don't believe this cheesecake pie will keep well in the fridge. Maybe a day or two, as the meringue topping could weep and the pastry soften. It really is best eaten as soon as it is topped with meringue.

 

 

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Pie      serves 12

 

For the pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour, plus a little for dusting
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 125g butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-6 teaspoons of chilled water

 

For the filling:

  • 250g Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 140g lemon curd
  • 2 tbspn (40ml) caster sugar
  • 1 tspn lemon zest
  • 2 tspn lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • 1 1/2 tspn powdered gelatine
  • 2 tbspn (40ml) boiling water
  • yellow food colouring, optional

 

For the meringue topping:

  • 2 egg-whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar

 

 

Rub butter in

Begin the pastry by putting the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl and rubbing the butter in until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. You can do this in a food processor.

Add egg and water

Add the egg yolk and 2 teaspoons of the chilled water and bring together, adding more water as needed. It will start to form a ball.

Bring together

Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured bench and knead gently and briefly until it is smooth. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll pastry

When the pastry comes out of the fridge it may be too hard to roll, so leave it for 10 minutes to soften. Roll it out between two pieces of baking paper, that way you don't add too much flour. Roll the pastry out to a circle that is the diameter of your spring-form tin and at least an extra 6 cm for the sides (3 cm each) My tin is 23cm, so I rolled it out to a circle quite larger than 29cm. The pastry should be 5mm thick.

Place pastry in tin

I turn the base of my spring-form tin upside down and then sandwich the baking paper between the sides and the base when I clip it together. It makes it easier to remove the pie from the base at the end. I also greased the sides and lined them with baking paper that was not as high as the sides of the tin.  Roll the pastry over the rolling pin and the roll it out and lower it into the tin. Quickly support it and press it into the sides and base, making sure the "corners" are pressed in too.

Edge pastry

Trim the height of the sides, I made mine about 3-4cm and then I re-rolled the scraps into a long thin sausage and pressed that around the top to make a nice even edge. Refrigerate for another 15 minutes. Turn on the oven and preheat to200*C/180*C.

Refrigerate blind bake

After 15 minutes, press some clean baking paper inside the pastry case and fill with dry rice, or bean or baking beads. Whatever you have that will keep the pastry flat while you blind bake. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the paper and rice/weights and bake for another 1-0-12 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Cool in the tin.

Filling begins

The filling is very easy. Place the cream cheese, lemon curd, lemon zest and sugar in a bowl and beat with a mixer for 2-3 minutes. It should be smooth and creamy.

Add cream and gelatine

Sprinkle the gelatine over the boiling water in a cup or heatproof bowl or jug. Whisk until the gelatine is dissolved and slightly cool. Add the cream, lemon juice and gelatine mixture,  and beat until combined and add the colour if you so desire.

Fill and chill

Spoon the filling into the cooled pastry base and spread out evenly. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 6 hours or until firm. My filling was firm in about 4 hours, so do check.

Make meringue

When you are about to serve the cheesecake pie, make the meringue topping. Whisk the egg-whites with a mixer until stiff peaks form and then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Beat until it is glossy and smooth and you can't feel any gritty sugar when you run a little mixture between your finger and thumb.

Top and grill

Spoon the meringue over the filling, trying to cover it evenly and then use a fork to pull the meringue into little peaks all over. This will give it a very pleasing look when it grills.  I made sure none of the baking paper had the chance to catch fire under the grill: I removed the lining paper from the sides, and tucked or tore away the base lining that was outside the tin. Place under the heated grill and check Very Frequently, every 5-10 seconds until it is browned to your desired brown-ness. Cool for 10 minutes and then cut into slices and serve. 

It is delicious and really doesn't need anything else, but you could add some ice-cream, cream or berries. they would all be marvellous.

Piece of lemon meringue cheesecake pie


Yes, Pie Crust Promises.

Yes,  pie crust promises: easily made, easily broken. Thank you, Mary Poppins. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and really annoying letters. I was being prepared for Friday Food. I made sweet shortcrust pastry, I blind baked the pastry case and let it cool and then I opened my letters.

Pie crust

The jolly Superannuation people sent me a cheery and celebratory letter telling me that in seven and a half years I could think about retirement: retirement party!!! they said. And I could top up my super and look forward to a fabulous retirement. And so it went on, and on...

Obviously the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing at that company. It made me a tad upset. I have been retired for coming up to seventeen years now: a retirement I didn't choose and it has been no 'party'.

I rang up to let them know that their letter was rather thoughtless and cruel. The woman I spoke to was very apologetic, and understanding. She said they would put a flag on my account so I didn't receive any more overly cheerful and depressing letters. I do worry about other people in my situation though, who may be more negatively affected. I am going to go into their office on Monday and ask to speak to someone and find out exactly what is happening.

And then I didn't feel like doing any more baking.

The Labradors have been enjoying the cold weather. Gilly has been investigating the frozen puddles. It has been a very frosty Winter so far and the puddles are, more often than not, frozen. The grass is crunchy and white with ice and it is a cold Labrador playground of fun!! They run and play so much more when it is cold. Tonight as I was on the phone to my mum they were in and out, and round and round the lemon tree, in the freezing cold night-time.

Gilly inspecting the puddle

Gilly is also very interested in the water cracker biscuits in my pocket. She comes up and nuzzles my hand and looks at me with her lovely eyes and I give in, and give her half a biscuit. Lorelai Gilmore is still lovely and thin and she is allowed to have treats, such as they are.

Gilly is treated

Hedy Lamarr is not talking to me. I put ear cleaning drops in her ears and she has sent me to Coventry at home. On our walk it is a different story. It is all Billy Ball, all the time. She is so happy, hyper excited and then doubly so if she catches the Billy Ball: bonus!!

Hedy loves her Billy ball

I have a not terribly good photo of the finished Star Wars Wall hanging. It still has a rogue pencil line and Hedy's muddy paw prints on BB8, but it is complete. MrsDrWho likes it and I found a kind of starry hanger as well.

Star wars wall hanging

I hope to finish the Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Pie tomorrow, and I will post it next Friday. Once it gets to Sunday I always feel the Friday moment has passed. I am OK with Saturday,  but Sunday is beyond the pale.