Previous month:
June 2017
Next month:
August 2017

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.


Wondering Woman

Judy-May has a new house!! How exciting!! She organised a House-warming Afternoon Tea and so I said I couldn't possibly have a catch up with my Sewing friends on Tuesday afternoon because: House-warming Afternoon Tea. In the back of my mind I had a niggling memory of something happening Thursday afternoon. I expect you can see where this is going.....

There I was, sitting at home with a present and a TimTam Brownie and I realised I didn't know where to go to find the new house. I plaintively posted on The Ravelry about said situation and feeling out of the loop. I don't have The Facebook, I am not Modern and the others are Modern. Turns out, the House-warming was today: Thursday afternoon. I took myself off to bed with a cup of tea and had a nice lie down on Tuesday!!! I am surprised we let me out of the house sometimes. My kind Knitting friends had a laugh with me this afternoon. I am wondering what I will forget next.

Here is the Wonder Woman table runner. I used one pink and two red fat quarters and just 20cm of the Wonder Woman fabric. I did a little hand quilting and fussy cut Diana for the centre of the squares.

Wonder woman table runner

MissSingapore is a celebratory age this year and MrsDrWho suggested a cup, saucer and plate. That could be my "thing" and I could buy it for her from now on to make a collection. MissSingapore is vegetarian and I just went to Cocoon by chance and there I found a gorgeous cup and saucer by LyndalT, which is animal bone free. It is Fine New China and perfect, as Miss Singapore can drink from it knowing it is free from animal products. Lyndal is an Australian and I rang to say how pleased I was. She was lovely to chat to. I am borrowing the photo from her website, I will put the clicky link here. The cup and saucer are secure in their box and I am too afraid to remove them.

Tea cup and saucer

I am knitting a doily to accompany the tea cup and saucer. It is Flacon, not a Ravelry pattern, using 4ply cotton and 2.5mm needles. I have four more rounds and then the crocheted edging to finish.

Doily

I am knitting MrsDrWho a cowl using Time Traveller in worsted Felici from The KnitPicks. Which is of course on sale now. I took it to MrsDrWho's house on Sunday to try for size and now I can't find it. More wondering.....

Time traveller wool

Vandals regularly break into The Dam area, after the gate is shut, and drive all over the grass areas.

Vandals and construction

Sandy's Dad thinks the Parks & Wildlife need to use a motion activated camera to catch them. The P&W put some rather large rocks to block the side, but the vandals just pushed them out of the way. Now they have cemented in two upright logs. Up the hill the vandals pushed the logs over and now there is a huge felled tree and more rocks. Their efforts seem to be in vain.

Vandal proofing

The construction in the dam area has not started, but I managed to kick Hedy's Billy Ball under the fence.

Billy ball is lost

She was very upset. She cleverly ran around to the opposite side because it should have rolled out there. It didn't. I had to find a stick and hook the ball and pull it slowly towards us. Thank goodness I succeeded!! Hedy Lamarr has faith in me.

Please help

Lorelai Gilmore is just smelling things. That's what she wants to do. That, and roll in something smelly herself.

Gilly smells something good

Gilly smells more smells

And now some Labradors running. Gilly sees Sandy and his Dad walking down the hill from our car and she keeps and eagle eye out for them. Now Hedy copies and does the same, but she takes her Billy Ball with her. When Sandy appears they run to greet him, and then they all run back through the gate.

 Gilly might stop and smell something and come last, but fast!!

This week I made a mash-up dessert: Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Pie. I didn't take any pictures, but Onyi has requested it for Friday Food tomorrow, and her wish shall be granted!!


Friday Food: Chocolate-Mayo Cupcakes

Choc mayo cupcakeI did not know that today was International Chocolate Day. Indeed for a large part of the day I did not even realise it was Friday. Even though MrsDrWho started school holidays, and sent me an email saying that, I still thought it was Thursday. The SMH had a World Chocolate Day headline, but the clicky link sends you through a wormhole to the 4th November last year. Very timey-wimey.

Luckily I had a chocolate recipe on hand, Martha Stewart's Chocolate-Mayo Cupcakes. Yes, mayonnaise in a cupcake. I was dubious. I secretly worked with friends to have people taste test the cupcakes without knowing they contained mayonnaise. No-one could tell. So there you go. I tasted the icing and I thought I could tell, but apparently we got away with it. I don't have a link to the recipe, but it is in the July/August Martha Magazine.

The recipe requires a lot of Dutch processed cocoa: 1. 1/6 cups. So be prepared. It  is the Dutch cocoa that gives the cupcakes their rich chocolate taste. I bought whole egg mayonnaise, but I used instant coffee because that is all we have at our house. I can't drink coffee. Or eat chocolate.

Other than that, I followed the recipe and used 1/4 cup measure to fill the cupcake papers. I was only able to make 14 cupcakes, and the recipe says it will make 18. This is an easy, all-in-one recipe and I can recommend it highly!!

 

Chocolate-Mayo Cupcakes       makes 14-18

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa
  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt, I used sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of strong hot brewed coffee
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise

For the icing:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbspn milk (40ml)

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C and line two muffin trays with cupcake papers, 14-18 of them.

Mix all ingredients

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl. Then remember the coffee, add that and whisk together some more.

Add coffee and it is done

I wondered why it was so dry, it needed the coffee!! Divide between the cupcake papers, and then bake for 15-17 minutes. The cupcakes will be cooked when the top springs back slightly when pressed. Let the cakes cool completely in the tin.

Bake

Make the icing by whisking all the ingredients together. 

Icing

The icing seemed quite dry and I added a few teaspoons of milk, just to free it up a little. I had icing left over, it is a very generous recipe, which I like.

And ice the cakes

When the cakes are colds, ice them and decorate as desired. I crumbled some Flake over the top.

Chocolate mayo cupcake

Happy International Chocolate Day!!!


I'd Like To Buy A Towel Please.

Labradors eat anything. Literally anything. And The Labradors at our house have eaten pretty much everything they shouldn't. Last week Hedy ate most of a tea-towel. I absent-mindedly hung the tea-towel over the baby gate to the kitchen, instead of on the oven handle. There must have been biscuit on it, because I had used it to take the giant biscuits' tray out of the oven.

More giant biscuits

When I came home, I wondered what on earth was lying in the mud near the fence. Yes, it's the end of the tea-towel as we know it. I kept an eye on Hedy for the next day or so, but it didn't seem to have any ill effects. Thank goodness.

Hedy ate the teatowel

We had such very good news today at The Vet. Dr Gary gave Lorelai Gilmore her blood test and she has a platelet score of 50. Which is excellent. I think it has been 35, then 38 the last twice. She still has to take her Imuran, but we don't have to go back for three months. We are ever so grateful to all the doctors and nurses for taking such wonderful care of Gilly. She has a blue bandage because her leg bled a little, it stayed on for just an hour when we came home. She is very happy.

Gilly is well!!!

I am extra absent-minded because my mum came to stay and we did so much over the three days that I have spent a week in bed recovering. It was so lovely to see her and we spent time shopping, chatting about knitting, doing crosswords and practising her Ipad skills and dining in and out!! Mum came for a walk one frosty morning and Hedy was so excited she almost turned inside out. Gilly was sure Mum had a treat in her hand (she didn't) and spent the first half of the walk trying to inveigle the treat away.

Gilly is serious Hedy is not

One of our neighbours has chickens and we benefit from the eggs every now and then. Last week I looked over the road and at Not-The-Chicken-House, there was a chicken on the front patio!!!

Chicken awl

There has been very little crafting. Poor MrsDrWho is once again waiting for birthday presents because my life has ups and downs. I am making a Star Wars Character wall hanging. It is meant to be paper pieced and quilted. Instead, I used Heat & Bond Lite to stick the pieces in place and then puffy paint to seal the edges. Also, it has some muddy paw appliqué from guess who? Hedy.

Hedy trod on this

Today I sewed finally sewed the pieces together and basted the wadding to the back.  Not much farther to go now.

R2d2

I bought MrsDrWho some Star Wars earrings from BooKittyBootique on The Etsy. All the earrings are lovely, I bought some aqua ones for me and an excellent R2D2 pair for MrsDrWho. As I was wrapping them up I somehow hit the end of the cutting board and one pinged its way across the room into oblivion. I sent a message to BooKitty and not only did she offer to replace the earring, but she sent another pair and they were hand delivered!! I can recommend her Etsy shop.It was so kind of her and I very much appreciate the extra effort and thoughtfulness. MrsDrWho loves her earrings and earring story.

Trainee guide and hearing dogs

I have met some wonderful service and working dogs lately. I went for lunch with Auntie Dutch and we found ourselves next to a Guide Dogs In Training outing. The dogs were all so happy to see each other and they (mostly) waited patiently. The lovely golden Labrador next to me wriggled closer until she was secretly touching my foot. I resisted patting her as she was working. I went to the Council Chambers and met a newly trained Hearing Assistance dog. I've seen him out working as well. His humans were waiting for approval to come through so he would have the same rights as a Guide dog. His humans were happy to be in the photo!!

Alice the recruiting dog

I met Alice the Army Reserve recruiting dog in the Mall. The recruiters hoped that if people stopped to pat her they might be interested in joining the Reserve. MrsDrWho and I assured them we would not be signing up!!

Hedy and Sandy play Rafa's game

Rafa The Border Collie is away and so Hedy has decided she will play with Sandy. Sandy is almost thirteen, but he plays like a puppy. Lorelai Gilmore will only put up with so many shenanigans, and she makes sure everyone is playing sensible.

Gilly sorts out Hedy and Sandy

Hedy loves to play with her Billy Ball. On Monday we accidentally left the ball at home. It was a very traumatic walk for Hedy. I made a special effort to remember Billy Ball on Tuesday and much joy ensued. And when Hedy Lamarr wants to play, she wants to play now.

Hedy wants to play NOW

I have a new Winter coat. It is not new, it is from the posh St Vinnies' shop in town. My next door neighbour was walking past with me and insisted we go in. I protested I could never find anything in there. She proved me wrong. It is a Junior Look green coat, 80% wool, 20% nylon, fully lined, with pockets and it cost the grand total of $18. Of course it won't do up over my upper nether regions. I was experimenting with a kilt pin here, but I just wear it open and if it is deathly cold (as it has been, it was -5*C overnight twice) I wear a scarf.

New coat

When it is -5*C, the water on top of the buckets outside freezes and so do all the puddles at the dam and the grass. It is a Labrador Winter wonderland.

Gilly and Hedy on a frosty morning

Well, not much happening, but we still have lots to tell!! There will be Friday Food, in fact I have two Friday Foods.  I am one ahead now, which is handy.