Blueberry Cheesecake

30 Jan 2016

Today it's my day off and I was busy as ever. I've done a studio shoot; prepared the images from the shoot; visited the travel agent; been to a cycle class; had some blood tests done and prepared the dinner. For my dessert I'm going to have a piece of this blueberry cheesecake.

March is a huge birthday month for me. Today is Farmer Andrew's birthday; last week 3 friends celebrated their birthdays and this week 2 more friends are having birthdays. I made this cheesecake for a workmates birthday 2 weeks ago. It's my usual apple cheesecake recipe but instead of using apples I thought I'd make it with blueberries instead.

I've not tried the cheesecake yet but it was all gone by lunchtime, which is a good sign.

Can you spot my new cups? - my only purchase from my recent trip to Melbourne.

I was quite generous when I cut my slice, so I'm having half the piece for my dessert tonight and I'll have the other half tomorrow night.

I've done a lot of shooting the last 2 weeks so there are many images to prepare. I'll be back on Wednesday with some more photos - maybe the rest of my Dungog photos.

Meanwhile it's time to put the oven on for my dinner so I'll finish here.

See you all on Wednesday,


Edit - oh dear. I've been doing some background work on the blog, tidying up old lay-outs and reattaching broken links. This is a post from 2010 that somehow snuck into 2016. See you all on Monday.

Pannacotta Lamingtons

25 Jan 2016

As it's Australia Day tomorrow, I felt duty bound to make some lamingtons. For those of you new to the blog, it's a bit of a tradition around here. Each year I make a batch of lamingtons for Australia Day but each year I like to try something different. One year I made a large lamington cake. Another year I made lamington cupcakes and this year I made some pannacotta lamingtons.

I did not come up with the idea. The credit must go to Nadine Ingram, baker extraordinare from Flour and Stone bakery in Woolloomooloo in Sydney. Her original recipe can be found here. I've not eaten one of these before so I was flying by the seat of my pants when I made these. 

I pretty much used my regular lamington recipe but jazzed it up with the addition of some yoghurt pannacotta. Yoghurt pannacotta is much thicker than regular pannacotta, so I had a bit of trouble getting it to soak into the cake. I binned the first batch and tried again. This time I poured the pannacotta mixture over the still hot cake and pierced it many time with a fine skewer. This time I was much more successful but I was still left with a thin coating of pannacotta on the top of the cake. I forged ahead.

Nadine makes a double layer lamington and she sandwiches her lamingtons with some home made raspberry jam. I pulled out a pot of my home made summer berry jam but when I tried to sandwich the cakes, the top cake slid right off the jam topped pannacotta layer. I could have persevered and turned the pannacotta layer upside down but I couldn't be bothered and I decided my lamingtons would be single layered ones like the originals.

I took the lamingtons in to work and waited for the feedback. They were judged a roaring success, so here's the recipe so you can make them for yourself. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Pannacotta Lamingtons (Makes 24)

Yoghurt Pannacotta
1 tablespoon cold water
1¼ teaspoons gelatine
½ cup full cream milk
Scant ¼ cup caster sugar
½ vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
1 cup Greek yoghurt

Butter Cake
125 grams (4 oz) unsalted butter
150 grams (¾ cup) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
¾ cup milk

Chocolate icing
10g (2 tsp) butter
60g (2oz) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups sifted icing sugar
¼ cup (25g) cocoa powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup (125 ml) milk

3-4 cups coconut, desiccated, shredded, flakes or a combination of all three.

Yoghurt Pannacotta
Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatine over the water. Set aside until the gelatine has softened, 5 minutes. Place the milk, the sugar and the vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatine. Cool to room temperature, and then remove the vanilla bean from the milk mixture. Gradually whisk the milk into the yoghurt and stir together gently. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a jug and leave to one side while you make the cake.

Preheat oven to moderate (180°C conventional). Line the base and sides of a lamington tin (20 x 30 cm) with baking paper.

To make the cake, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until combined well. Add the flour alternately with the milk to make a soft batter. You may not need to use all the milk. Spread the mixture into the prepared tin; smooth the surface. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden and springs back when lightly touched.

Place onto a cooling rack and prick the surface all over with a skewer. Pour about half of the pannacotta mixture over the still warm cake. As it’s absorbed, add a little more pannacotta. You won’t use all the pannacotta mixture. Let the cake cool before covering and placing in the fridge over night.  

The following day, make the chocolate icing. Take the cake from the fridge and cut into 24 squares. Dip a square into the icing; drain off excess, then toss the cake in coconut. I normally coat 3 or 4 cakes then toss the coconut out as it becomes stained and start again with fresh coconut. Place cakes on wire rack to set, pannacotta side down. I used a combination of desiccated, shredded and flaked or you could use just desiccated or shredded coconut.

Chocolate Icing
Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir sifted icing sugar and cocoa into the chocolate. Add the vanilla extract and enough milk to make an icing of a coating consistency. As the icing thickens you can thin it out with a little more milk or boiling water or you can zap it in the microwave for about 20 seconds on high.

These lamingtons are a labour of love as they take 2 days to make, cool and ice but the end result is worth it. Soaking the cake layer in pannacotta is a genius idea because it makes the lamingtons so moist.

Don't take my word for it, you just have to make these for yourself!

See you all again next week,

Bye for now,


lentil keftedes with dill yoghurt

18 Jan 2016

I've been subscribing to Delicious magazine for a few years. Since Valli Little stepped down as food director, I've not been so keen on the direction the magazine has taken and as I'm running out of space on my shelves I've let my subscription lapse. I still get the magazine delivered to work so as long as I stay employed there (!) I'll be able to check out the magazine.

I looked through the current issue on the train ride home from work and spied these lentil keftedes from the Jamie Oliver magazine. I picked up some spinach, parsley and dill as I already had feta, greek yoghurt and eggs in the fridge. The rest of the ingredients were lurking in the cupboard.

Here's the recipe for you from Delicious Magazine Feb 2016 or Jamie's Magazine Sept/Oct 2015

Lentil Keftedes with Dill Yoghurt - serves 4-6 

Lentil Keftedes
290 ml extra virgin olive oil
200g baby spinach leaves
400g can brown lentils, rinsed and drained
2 eggs
1/2 cup dill leaves, chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
100g feta, crumbled
70g fresh breadcrumbs
Green leaf salad to serve

Heat 2 tbs oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the spinach and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to low and cook 3-4 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Transfer to a colander to drain and cool slightly. Squeeze out the excess liquid, then roughly chop. Set aside.

Whiz the lentils in a food processor to a paste. Add 1 egg and whiz until smooth. Transfer to a bowl with the the dill, parsley, feta, breadcrumbs, drained spinach and the remaining egg. Season to taste.

Heat the remaining oil in a large frypan over a medium heat. In batches, scoops tablespoon portions of the keftedes mixture into the hot oil flattening slightly and cook for 3-4 minutes each side until golden and cooked through. Serve the keftedes with a green leaf salad and the dill yoghurt for dipping.

Dill Yoghurt
1/2 cup dill leaves, finely chopped
1 cup thick Greek style yoghurt
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
Juice 1/2 lemon
1 tbs olive oil

For the dill yoghurt, place all the ingredients in a bowl. Season then stir to combine. Set aside.

The keftedes made for a quick and tasty Sunday lunch so I'll be adding this recipe to my repertoire.

See you all again next week with something for Australia Day.

Bye for now,


apricot and olive oil cake

11 Jan 2016

Hi every-one. I'm back! Did you miss me? I've been back at work for a week now and as I'm not working in my normal area I feel a bit like a fish out of water. I'm also pretty tired as the work is heavy and most nights I'm fast asleep by 8.00 p.m. I wanted to make something to share with you but I knew it had to be quick, simple to make and delicious.

With apricots in season I looked through my cookbooks to find something to bake. Last year I bought the book 'Made in Italy' by Silvia Colloca but until now I've not had time to make anything from the book. I watched the companion tv series and I remember Silvia making an apricot cake that was mixed in a saucepan.

I found the recipe in the book and here it is, Silvia Colloca's recipe for Apricot and olive oil cake - serves 8

170g caster sugar
230ml milk
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
100ml extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons mistrà or sambuca (optional; see note)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1⅓ cups self-raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
7-8 apricots, cut in half
flaked almonds, for sprinkling
fresh ricotta and honey, to serve (optional)

Preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan-forced). Grease and flour a 21cm square or 27 x 21cm rectangular cake tin (or line it with baking paper).

Place the sugar, milk and lemon zest in a medium saucepan over low heat and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly, until the sugar has dissolved. Do not let the milk come to the boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla seeds, olive oil and liqueur (if using), then let the mixture cool for 5-10 minutes.

Add the beaten eggs, flour and bicarbonate of soda and whisk to form a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and arrange the apricot halves on top any way you like. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and bake for 30-35 minutes or until pale golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool at room temperature for 1 hour before cutting. Serve just as it is or with honey-drizzled ricotta.

apricot olive oil cake photo blog-7_zpsvai94us2.jpg

Notes: For an alcohol-free version, replace the liqueur with milk. If using very small apricots, layer quarters on top of each other so that they won't completely sink into the batter as it cooks.

The cake is extremely moist and tastes delicious but I think it could do with a little less liquid. My apricots were small so I made 2 layers of fruit as Silvia suggested, otherwise all the fruit would have sunk to the bottom of the tin. As the apricot season is so short here and the cake is so simple to put together, I'll make it again with either plums or nectarines as and play around with the quantity of liquid.

P. S I just bought a new oven! It means I won't have to use a dining room chair to keep the oven door shut with any longer. I'm also in the process of arranging a trip to Iceland in the middle of the year so I've been busy.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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