Chic & Cheesy

How to make old-fashioned cheesecake

As I have implied before, cheesecake has a special place near my heart and is something that I like to make for those who are close to me. In this week’s post, I make a classic cheesecake for my best friend on her birthday.

Birthday cheesecake

While the cheesecake I am more adept at making is a sweeter and an altogether more gluttonous version (see my post on “Mother’s Day Cheesecake”), as my friend has a much cleaner palate I chose to make this more classic and traditional cheesecake. The recipe in question is another of Nigella’s that I’d had my eye on for a while, which resides in her book Kitchen.

As I was to find out, the filling for this cake was other-worldly light yet creamy, while the base consisted of flour and butter, creating a crumbly biscuit foundation for the cream cheese filling. The overall simplicity and homeliness of the cake’s cracked appearance belied its baked deliciousness. And the most convenient part was using the throwaway BBQ foil trays to bake the cake in, which allowed an easy journey on the train from my home to my friend’s.

I acknowledge that the recipe for this cheesecake does require curd cheese rather than cream cheese, however as I couldn’t find any curd cheese I substituted it for the 725g cream cheese and found that this turned out perfectly fine. Certainly I would love to be able to use curd cheese in the recipe if I were to find in the future, as I admit to taking a  secret pleasure in finding ingredients that are difficult to come by, such as cocoa pasta (if anyone does find this somewhere in NSW, feel free to comment and let me in on the secret!). Continue reading “Chic & Cheesy”

I’ll Share The Chicken

Making chicken fajitas

If I had to choose one meat to eat for the rest of my life, it would be chicken. Aside from being versatile (as I’m able to use it in so many ways), when cooked properly it is the ultimate tender, succulent food of love; among those I care about, for me to share a chicken is to share my love. An example of such a sharing recipe is chicken fajitas.

DIY feast
Filling up a wrap

I came by my most-loved recipe for chicken fajitas through Nigella Lawson’s cookbook, Kitchen. As documented throughout this blog, this was my first real cookbook to own and it’s well-worn and highly appreciated pages have continued to give me inspiration and justify my love of cooking (not to mention my admiration of Nigella!). Nigella’s chicken fajitas are made to be shared and indeed, one of the many times I have made them in the past was a time when a collection of people I love came to dinner.

Recently I made them again with the intention of sharing my chicken love with my guy. When I first asked him if he’d like to have them of a Friday night, his reply was, “What are chicken fajitas?” I explained to him that they were basically like soft tacos. Delicious ones.

Of course, the mark of someone’s seal of approval when eating is requesting second helpings – my guest was not shy about asking for more!

Chicken, capsicum, onion, lettuce, sour cream, cheese, tabasco, lime juice…
… And that’s a wrap!

As you will find from the recipe, the chicken is marinated briefly in lime juice, garlic oil, dried oregano and cumin (along with a bit of sugar and salt), before being fried until cooked on the inside alongside the juicy and soft onion and capsicum.

As for what you can have with it, it is entirely the assemblers choice: grated cheddar, coriander, lettuce, sour cream, spicy tabasco sauce, corn, avocado… or anything else you deem Mexican enough for your own fajitas. For me, I am happy to dispense with the corn and avocado but it is totally up to you.

The rest is chicken history. Good for feeding a family, not bad for leftovers, great for soaking up excess alcohol, art for the true foodie – that is, an appreciative and easily pleased one – what’s not to love?

Continue reading “I’ll Share The Chicken”

My Dalliance With Bananas

Banana Choctella Muffins

Once upon a time, in a time where the rules “No hat, no play” and “Eat your fruit and vegetables” gleaned importance, a small child sat on the silver seats at school day after day with a banana as her snack from home. While this was undoubtedly a healthy item to give a child, this child soon grew sick of bananas and began swapping it for something less healthy come recess…

Of course once my well-meaning mother found out I wasn’t eating my lovely bananas, she ceased giving them to me. So my affair with bananas seemed a short-lived experience. However, I was yet to discover the delicious moistness which bananas could potentially provide in other culinary pursuits.

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Adding eggs to butter and honey

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Whisked together!
This is evidenced by the creation of these banana choctella muffins. I could immediately see (or in this case, taste) that the addition of mashed bananas to muffins and cakes – not to mention the scrumptious nature of fresh banana bread – was something to be celebrated and adored.

Indeed, the smell of these muffins baking in the oven didn’t repulse me. Far from it. I was salivating. The whole place smelt of fresh baking.

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Three ripe bananas

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Adding mashed bananas to batter
I need hardly say that the bananas were the perfect interior to the muffins, as it created a bouncy and light texture which is what muffins are all about. It also didn’t taste overwhelmingly of bananas; it was a more subtle introduction into my once loathed fruit.

However, I do admit that while mashing the banana itself I felt a little like gagging. Ah, childhood memories!

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Sifting flour into batter

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Swirling Nutella into muffin batter!
Of course, the best part was yet to come as I dolloped Nutella onto each muffin in its pink casing. Feeling totally competent, I swirled the Nutella slightly into the batter so as to spread the chocolate hazelnut into the interior of the muffins. Coming out of the oven, I couldn’t resist splodging an extra spoonful of Nutella onto my warm muffin.

The simple charm of the banana choctella muffins belies its true beauty… part of which is that they’re compact enough to bring to school. But since my school days have been made redundant, taking one to work should suffice.

Who says I don’t eat bananas?

Continue reading “My Dalliance With Bananas”