May 27, 2013

Blackforest cheesecake

Last night I had my parents and brothers over for dinner. When entertaining I always like to cook something I have never cooked before, so after a quick search on I found a recipe that I hoped everyone would like, Blackforest cheesecake.

Having made a chocolate cheesecake before I was familar with the crushing of the biscuits for the base, the melting of the chocolate, the combination of the softened cream cheese, followed by the setting in the fridge. It is the perfect dessert to pre prepare!

Cost wise it isn't expensive to make, I probably spent $10-15 on ingredients. The cheesecake is fairly rich so servings don't need to be too large, I was able to serve approx 8-10 serves using the below ingredients.

Melted butter to grease
200g plain chocolate biscuits
125g butter melted
200g dark cooking chocolate
1 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp gelatine
500g cream cheese, room temperature
70g brown sugar
400g tin of cherries
2 tbs caster sugar
1 tbs cornflour

1. Brush a round or fluted tin, with removable base with melted butter.
2. Place biscuits in a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add butter and process until combined. Transfer to prepared pan and press mixture firmly over base. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
3. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted.
4. Place water in a heatproof glass. Sprinkle with gelatine and stir with a fork until it dissolves.
5. Use an electric beater to beat cream cheese and brown sugar in a bowl until smooth. Add chocolate and gelatine, and beat until combined. Spoon into base and use a knife to smooth the surface. Place in fridge for 1 hour to chill.
6. Meanwhile, drain cherries and reserve syrup. Combine sugar and cornflour in a saucepan. Gradually add the syrup. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for 5 minutes or until sauce boils. Remove from heat. Add the cherries. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool.
7. Slice cheesecake. Serve topped with cherries.

May 18, 2013

Jamie's Italian, Sydney

Earlier this week I attended a seminar in the city. I haven't worked in the city for years so any trip  into the city these days is always exciting, especially mid week when I know the wait for a table at Jamie's Italian isn't too long if you arrive early enough.

Arriving around 5:30 pm we only had to wait ten minutes for a table which was an improvement from the mid week one hour wait last year.

The door staff were very friendly. After our short wait we were seated and placed our drinks order. Shortly later we placed our food order. To start we ordered the Crispy stuffed risotto balls to share.

Risotto balls and dipping sauce
The risotto balls were stuffed with mozarella and mushroom and were accompanied with a tomato dipping sauce. We were grateful for the dipping sauce as the risotto balls alone seemed to lack flavour.

For main I ordered Jool's favourite Sicilian tuna fusilli, I was not disappointed it was fantastic! The portion size was perfect. Sitting on top of the pasta was a spoon of crunchy breadcrumbs which worked well with the pasta. The tuna fusilli was full of flavour and crunch, I couldn't stop thinking about it the next day!

Jool's tuna fusilli
I tried a mouthful of the Game meatball with a little polenta, the mouthful was nice however given I tried such a small amount I can't comment on the overall dish.

Game meatball
We ordered the sorbet for dessert, which contained three flavours. I can only remember two of the flavours lemon and passionfruit. The passionfruit sorbet was interesting as it seemed to be infused with chilli.

Overall despite not being overjoyed with the risotto balls I enjoyed my meal and will be back to try other dishes on the menu. If you haven't been to Jamie's I recommend you give it a try, the dishes aren't expensive and the sample of complimentary breads is an added bonus. 

May 11, 2013

High tea at the Hills Lodge, Castle Hill

Today my mum, grandmother and I celebrated Mother's Day (one day early) at the Hills Lodge in Castle Hill.

Being my third high tea for the year I was looking forward to seeing what the Hills lodge had to offer.

We choose the Classic package which included a glass of sparkling wine, tea and high tea stand. We were seated at a round table next to a window with a view of one of the traditional gardens. To my delight various Royal Doulton tea cups, saucers and plates were placed on the table.

A glass of sparkling wine or non alcoholic drink was served almost immediately, shortly followed by a selection of yummy treats.

We started on the bottom and worked our way up. The bottom tier contained two types of quiches and an assortment of sandwiches. Mini scones sat on the middle tier followed by a decadent top layer containing  macaroons, miniature Portuguese tart, lemon meringue, chocolate brownie, apple crumble to name a few.

Overall we had a nice time, my favorite was the vegetarian quiche. The only thing I would fault would be the selection of tea, despite enjoying my cup of English breakfast I would have preferred a more exotic blend of tea which didn't seem to be on the menu.