Tuesday, May 26, 2009

KJ wants a Kitchen Aid Challenge - Third Quarterly Update

As you may or may not know, on 1 March last year I made a resolution. I would not buy a single new cookbook until I made at least one recipe from every cookbook I already own. All 52 (or thereabouts) of them. If I am good, I can buy myself a new mixer. Namely a Kitchen Aid.

Anyway, I have finally gotten myself to the three-quarter mark. Here is the first quarterly review and here is the second quarterly review. It has been slow going over the last six months due to my poor health. It is still quite difficult for me to spend much time in the kitchen. I can only really manage things that are quick or can be done in a number of short bursts. But I am determined to finish this. I shall plough on and on.

Because I am still really enjoying this challenge. I always try to pick new recipes and have discovered so many wonderful things. But looking back I have realised that I haven't varied the types of things I've cooked as much as I could have. There are lots of cakes, tarts and ice cream in there. So for the rest of the challenge I am going to try and pick out types of dishes that have not yet featured or I never make.

The highlight for this quarter was definitely the chocolate pizza. It was so delicious!! Whenever I think of it, I just think YUM!!! The not so much of a highlight was the lemon mousse. It really was foul, which was all my own fault. Hey, I can't be perfect all the time (as if)!!

Here is a brief overview.

Challenge Book #27 - Strawberry Cream Butterfly Cakes adapted from Marie Claire Kitchen.

Light, airy, tender, delicious and oh so pretty.

Challenge Book #28 - Lemon Mousse adapted from bills Food by Bill Granger.

Absolutely foul. But minus my incompetence probably a really delicious recipe.

Challenge Book #29 - Potato Swirls adapted from Popular Potato Recipes by Family Circle.

Not bad. A bit lacking in flavour, but they certainly looked great.

Challenge Book #30 - Spicy Butter adapted from Coming Home by John Burton Race.

Very luxurious and delicious.

Challenge Book #31 -Greek Yoghurt and Orange Pots adapted from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros.

Quick and easy. Georgeously thick and creamy. Delicious and highly adaptable. There are so many directions you could go with this.

Challenge Book #32 - Lemonade Granita adapted from Family by Silvana Franco.

Lovely and refreshing. Perfect for the long hot days of summer.

Challenge Book #33 - White Chocolate and Raspberry Waffle Pudding adapted from 5 of the Best by Valli Little.

Rich and delicious. One of my favourite flavour combinations with the novel addition of waffles.

Challenge Book #34 - Tiger Tea Cakes adapted from Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan.

Lovely moist and flavourful cakes. Not to mention the silky smooth ganache. Just yum!

Challenge Book #35 - Plum Baklava Tarts adapted from The Best from the BBC.

So good. And so adaptable, the skies the limit.

Challenge Book #36 - Chocolate Pizza adapted from Pizza Modo Mio by John Lanzafame.

Yum, yum, yum!! It's novel, it's fun and it's divine.

Challenge Book #38 - Hazelnut Wafers adapted from Delicious Days by Nicole Stich.

I you like hazelnuts you will love these. Feather light, super crisp and a pure hazelnut flavour.

Challenge Book #38 - Passionfruit Cream Tarts adapted from Christmas Cooking by Women's Weekly.

Passionfruit heaven. I was delighted with how well the pastry turned out.

Challenge Book #39 - Banana and Ginger Cheesecake adapted from Home Cooked from the ABC.

A delightfully light and creamy cheesecake, with a lovely combination of flavours.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Challenge Book #39 - Banana and Ginger Cheesecake

I have been writing this blog for quite a while now and in all that time you may have noticed (but probably not) that I have never posted a cheesecake recipe (well not technically and that I can remember).

A first assumption may be that I do not like cheesecakes. Oh but I do, I do. I like them a bit too much. That's the problem. Fortunately, I made this particular cheesecake for a friend's birthday. Which means there were plenty of other people to do the heavy lifting with all those calories. I am nothing if not strategic.

And really there is just no good time to eat cheesecake. If I eat it in the morning, I don't feel like lunch. If I eat it in the afternoon I don't feel like dinner. And it's way too heavy for dessert after a full dinner.

This cheesecake just about overcomes all those hurdles. It is actually quite light, much less dense than the usual baked cheesecake. And it is almost delicious enough to wipe away all thought of calories.

Oh and it doesn't get much easier to make. No cooking whatsoever. A wee bit of chopping, crushing, beating and assembling. Voila, yummy cheesecake.

And here we are at Challenge Book #39 in the KJ wants a Kitchen Aid Challenge - Homecooked. This is a collection of favourite recipes contributed by listerners of ABC radio. I was really excited when I bought this book. There's nothing better than tried and true family recipes. This cheesecake came from Mrs Wilma Winter in Lawton, Queensland.

However, nothing I have previously tried from this book has really worked out all that well. I almost think that there must be some kind of hoodoo at work. But hopefully, this cheesecake is a sign of better homecooked things ahead.

Banana and Ginger Cheesecake
(adapted from Home Cooked)

250gm plain sweet biscuits
125gm butter, melted
3 tbspn crystallised ginger, finely chopped
2 tspn powdered ginger
2 tspn powdered gelatine
2 tbspn boiling water
375 gm cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 egg yolks
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup cream, whipped
extra whipped cream and bananas

Crush the biscuits and mix in the butter and ginger. Press firmly into the base of a 23cm spring form tin. Chill.

Beat the cream cheese, condensed milk, lemon juice and egg yolks. Dissolve the gelatine in the hot water. Fold into the cream cheese mixture along with the mashed banana and cream. Spoon over the crumb base and refrigerate for several hours until set.

Decorate with more whipped cream and sliced bananas to serve.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Challenge Book #38 - Passionfruit Curd Tartlets

When I was growing up our backyard was a mini orchard. We had a mandarine tree which produced so much sweet juicy fruit that branches used to snap clean off under the weight. We gorged on mandarines and litres of juice for months. Our ladyfinger banana plants regularly produced huge bunches of bananas, followed by weeks of banana on cereal for breakfast, banana sandwiches for lunch and a rotation of banana fritters, banana custard and banana splits for dessert.

In between that we coped with the output from our lemon tree, mango tree, paw paw trees, the neighbours mulberry bush, the strawberry patch and our passionfruit vine. Or rather I should say that I coped with the passionfruit vine. I happen to absolutely love them while the rest of my family verge from hate to they're alright.

And despite my overexposure, I still love their zesty perfumed flavour. I will jump at anything passionfruit flavoured on a menu or bakery shelf.

The problem is that my river of free passionfruit is long gone - passionfruit not being too enthusiastic about cold and frosty winters and all. Now, more often than not, I have to pay something like 50c to $1 just for one. Oh the humanity!!!! So when I got my hot little hands on a large non-contra bag full for nothing, free, zilch, I was over the moon.

After some careful consideration, I decided to make a batch of passionfruit curd and turn half of it into the delectable tartlets you see before you. Making tarts is always quite involved. I am not an enthusiastic pastry maker, but I am always glad I did once the effort is over and done with. Especially when it turns out this well. It was very light and tender with an almost shortbread flavour. YUM!

The filling was just as good. It was delightfully creamy and smooth. Although next time I may cut down a little bit on the cream to up the zesty flavour. The original recipe tops the tarts with fresh bluberries glazed in raspberry jam. No thanks. I wanted my passionfruit pure and unsullied.

This recipe came from Women's Weekly Christmas Cooking which is challenge Book #38 in the KJ wants a Kitchen Aid Challenge (which is by the way where I have to cook something from every cookbook I own before I buy any more). I bought this book about five years ago. The only other thing I have made from it are the stained glass biscuits you see on the cover. The centres are made from melted lollies. I gave them away as little Christmas presents and they were a huge hit. They looked spectacular and tasted good.

Passionfruit Curd Tartlets
(adapted from Women's Weekly Christmas Cooking)

4 egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar
80gm butter
1 cup passionfruit pulp
1 tspn gelatine
2 tbspn boiling water
1/2 cup cream

Pastry Shells
1 2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
140gm cold butter, chopped
1 egg, beaten lightly
2 tspn iced water, approx.

Shells - Process together the flour, sugar and butter until crumbly. Add the egg and enough water to make the ingredients come together. Knead lightly and enclose in plastic wrap. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight if possible.

Divide the dough into 8 portions and roll out to fit greased 10cm round loose base flan tins. Lift the dough into the tins and trim the edges. Prick the base of the pastry, line with greaseproof paper and fill with pastry weights, beans or rice. Place on a baking tray and bake in a 180C oven for about 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully remove paper and weights and leave to cool.

Filling - Combine egg yolks, sugar, butter and 1/3 cup of passionfruit pulp in a double boiler. Simmer and stir until the mix is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain and discard the seeds.

Sprinkle gelatine over the water and stir until it is dissolved. Stir into the still warm curd, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Beat the cream to soft peaks. Fold into the curd mixture and divide amongst the shells. Leave for two or three hours until the filling is set.

Serve with a small dollop of cream or a few fresh berries.


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