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Monday, January 18, 2010

Cappuccino Cheesecake

I promised it, and here it is: Cheesecake.

I took this recipe out of the same cheesecake recipe book as my first Cheesecake post, and I have to say it was just as good as that one. I modified the recipe slightly to use a brewed shot of espresso rather than instant coffee, but I'm a bit of a coffee snob like that.

So without further ado, here it comes.

Cappuccino Cheesecake
(Serves 1, unless anyone else hears that you've made it)



1 1/2C crushed Wine Biscuits
2T Sugar
50g Butter


500g Cream Cheese
1/2C Sugar
1 1/2T Flour
2 Eggs
1/2C Sour Cream
1 Short Black, with a pinch of cinnamon mixed in.

Whipped cream to serve

Pour a strong shot of espresso coffee. Add sugar and drink. This will put a spring in your step, if nothing else. Pour another shot for the cheesecake mixture and place in the freezer or fridge to cool.
Combine all the ingredients for the base in a blender, then press into a 20cm springform tin lined with baking paper. Bake at 160C for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and cool. Increase oven temperature to 230C.
In the blender, combine the cream cheese, sugar and flour, mixing at a medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing each in well. Add the Sour Cream and blend.
Add the cold coffee to the filling and mix well. Pour the filling over the base and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 120C and bake for another 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Test with a knife to determine that the centre of the cheesecake is cooked.
Loosen from the rim of the tin and allow to cool before removing. Chill.
Serve with whipped cream or natural yoghurt, and maybe, just maybe, coffee.

(I'm going to be honest - I ate this for breakfast, just because I could.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Now, Despite What I Said Earlier...

This time a year ago, I made some rather jocular and possibly insulting comments about barbeques, the tools that are used to drive them, and the cleaning habits of most the men who lay claim to them.
However, despite all my protestations to the contrary, I finally decided that we did, indeed, need a bigger barbeque. Here's me, the boy, and Off-Black Sam, who helped me assemble said new barbeque. (Thanks again, Sam & Fish. Hope Charlotte's still getting a kick out of the box!)
And this, as you can see, is a big, three-burner barbeque, complete with oversized barbeque tools and the obligatory cold beer. See how bright and shiny they are when they're new?
This is the first slab of strip loin steak to go on the barbie, a cut worthy of baptising such a fine cooking device.
These are the mushrooms and onions, for flavouring the grill plate.
This is the steak, sizzling and flaring.
Asparagus, because it's in season and absolutely divine with simple seasonings on the hot plate.
And this is the first dinner plate dished up straight off the new barbeque, with soft buttered rolls and steak sauce to round it out.

What can I conclude about barbeques now that I've had a chance to get used to using one that is bigger than a large frying pan?

Well, I'll be honest and say that yes, good long tools are a requirement. I never really doubted it, but until I got this barbie, I never needed them.

As for cleaning, well, that's another story. I make an effort to not only scrape down the grills and to burn off the dead carbon, but I also slice a couple of lemons and smear them over the plate while it's still hot to get it all citrusy clean. My conclusion is that it's well worth the time to take a few minutes to clean the barbeque after I'm done cooking on it than to open it up a couple of weeks later to find it all greasy and smelly and crawling with critters.

On another subject, this post marks my return to the blogosphere after a near silence for the past two-and-a-half months. Thanks for sticking around and for popping back to check in. I had a very focused couple of months working on the new draft of a novel that is my current obsession, and then we had a nice couple of weeks away in the Marlborough Sounds, sailing and rowing and drinking wine, mostly.

I'm back into it now, but I rather suspect that I will be light on the blogging until I've put the complete rewrite of this novel to bed, which might take me a couple more months.

By way of apology, my next post will be cheesecake.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Garden Update Summer 2010

I know it might seem like this blog has ground to a halt.

(Yes, I went there. It's an awful pun, but it was really begging for it.)

However, we are still alive down here, there has just been an awful lot going on and a whole load of reasons why I haven't been blogging, the main one of which, as I've said before, is that I'm spending a lot more time doing what I should be doing, which is writing and submitting that writing to publishers.

However, I thought it was about time to share with you all how our efforts at growing a garden have gone this year. You might remember our little vege patch that we planted back in August. It did pretty well.

We got lots of leafy greens...
... and we're still getting strawberries - as long as a certain 3-year-old doesn't pick them the moment they go from green to pink.

We're also getting little cherry tomatoes coming through one at a time, which is about as well as anyone I know that has tried to grow tomatoes has done this season.

Overall it has been a success. My usual pumpkin and potato patch up the back was left this year to ... er ... lie fallow. Yes, it might look like it went to wrack and ruin on the outside, but there is a method to the madness. Fixing nitrogen to the soil and all that, you know.

Honest. It's not just another excuse for being slack...