Sunday, 13 October 2013

New York Cheesecake

Start spreading the news....I'm leaving today...I want to be a part of it... New York New York

Ah New York, a city so good they named it twice and they weren't wrong. It is a truly epic place in all meanings of the word, the buildings, that song, the imagery and of course the food.

I have been lucky enough to visit twice with a third visit planned for next summer and already my list of things to do increases daily...
  • Visit Brooklyn Brewery
  • Attempt to eat a pastrami sandwich at Katz deli
  • Visit Momofuku to sample the Pork Buns
  • Visit a blues bar
  • Eat more cheesecake
Oh yes the cheesecake, if you have a food bucket list then eating a piece of New York Cheesecake in New York must surely be on it. It is the dessert that walks up to all diets and tells them where they can shove it, only a little more rudely. A glorious piece of heaven with creamy, soft cheese, the tang of sour cream and lemon and a rich biscuit base, what more could you ask for...well other than a cardiologist?

It has been on my 'to bake' list for a while but I never got round to it. So with it being the OH's birthday and with the previously mentioned third trip in its early planning/saving stages, I thought why not and got on with making it.

I used a recipe on the Good Food Website but increased the biscuit base ingredients after reading a few of the comments. I advise you also do so if you make it because it would be a very thin base. just simply double the ingredients stated in the recipe.

The end result was a delicious cheesecake that definitely reminded me of the Big Apple and it's dairy delights but it wasn't the same, that key element was missing and that is the beautiful city of New York itself...

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Spiced Apple Tea Loaf - A Random Recipe

 I am a miserable git on a Monday morning, well I'm a miserable git most of the time, depending on who you speak to, but more so on a Monday morning.

Standard cures are to be on holiday or failing that; coffee. However, arriving at work this Monday morning, I had a very pleasant surprise awaiting me in the form of a bushel (always wanted to use that word ) load of apples which cheered me up no end.

Recently I have been formulating a plan for thievery that would make Mr Ocean look like an amateur with my eye being on the rosy red fruit of a glorious apple tree on someones front lawn near my house. However, before I purchased a balaclava and a stepladder, I got wind that a colleague of mine had an apple tree, so I asked for a few with plans to make a pie, I did not expect to end up with half a tree, so I have lots of lovely apple cookery ahead.

As luck would have it, Dom's Random Recipe challenge this month is to use local ingredients and randomly pick a recipe based on that. Heading to the Good Food Website, I typed apple into the search bar and used a random number generator to pick a recipe. Number 5 was selected out of 306 which was... a Spiced Apple Tea Loaf.

Now this here recipe doesn't contain any tea, so how it is a tea loaf is beyond me and saying it goes well with a cup of tea does not make it a tea loaf, but no matter.

The recipe employs no major different cake making methods but the times stated on the recipe are a bit off. The addition of apple into the mix is going to cause havoc and stop this from being a quick bake. My oven took a further 40 minutes to fully cook it and I am not at all convinced that turning the oven down is a necessary step but I will leave you to judge that with your own ovens. do pu the foil on though because the apples on top do start to sizzle if not.

The end result is exactly what it says on the tin, A moist spicy apply cake that will go spot on with a nice cup of Rosy Lee. Lovely stuff

175g light muscavado sugar
175g Butter
3 large eggs
1 eating apple
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g mixed dried fruits
85g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
175g plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
splash of lemon or orange juice
1 tbsp marmalade or apricot jam

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time.
Stir in the dried fruits, vanilla extract and grate in one half of the apple.
Mix the flour, spices, baking powder and a pinch of salt together.
Fold into the batter.
Pour into a lined, 900g loaf tin and level out.
Slice the other half of the apple and dip in the juice, place on top of the cake.
Sprinkle over another tbsp of sugar.
Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes at 180C/160C (fan)
After 45 minutes turn the oven down to 140C/120C (fan) and cover the cake with foil.
Bake for a further 45 minutes.
Leave to cool in the tin.
Serve and Enjoy.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Treacle Tart

I have been a bit quiet on the old blogging front recently. All the usual excuses apply here: lack of funds, lack of inspiration and just simply can't be bothered, I'm sure we all go through similar waves when it comes to food but hopefully we all emerge on the other side relatively unscathed. In an effort to get restarted, I have decided to have a go at a few classic bakes and just enjoy baking/cooking them.

The first one on my 'list' is one I have been wanted to make/try for many a year, to be more precise it was when I was in Year 4 and I was reading a certain book...about a wizard...can't for the life of remember the book's name, think it just faded into a scar over time.

Anyway, this wizard, whose name escapes me, had a Treacle Tart on his first night at his new digs and every since then I've fancied trying one.

It is, in my opinion, a weird tart indeed consisting of just syrup (not treacle, which surprised me) breadcrumbs and lemon, but it relatively simple to make. the recipe is based on a Queen Mary Berry recipe which was used in last years Great British Bake Off as a technical challenge. I decided to omit the lattice pastry over the top from this recipe but feel free to have a go if you like.

Treacle Tart
200g plain flour
100g Butter
2 tbsp water

400g golden syrup
150g fine, white breadcrumbs
Zest and juice of 2 lemons

Add the butter to the flour and rub together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
add the water and stir with a knife to combine, then knead together quickly to combine until a soft dough.
Wrap tightly in clingfilm and leave in fridge for at least half n hour.

Get two sheets of cling film, spread one across the work surface, place each mound of dough in the middle and spread the other sheet over the top.
Roll out gently in between the two sheets of cling film (this method stops any excess flour being added to the pastry and drying it out).
Remove the top layer and using the bottom layer drape the pastry gently into the tin and press gently into all edges.
Prick the base with a fork to stop it from rising in the oven
Return to the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180C and place a baking tray in the oven to heat up.

Melt the syrup in a large pan, do not allow to boil.
Pour in the breadcrumbs and lemon juice/zest and stir to combine.
Add some more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too runny.
Pour into the pastry case and level out.
Stick it in the oven on the tray and bake for about 35 minutes until golden brown and the pastry is golden.

Leave to firm in the tin and serve warm or cold with whipped cream or cream fraiche.

So it turns out that treacle tart is, weird ingredients aside, rather nice. Sweet but slightly sour, chewy but crisp. I highly recommend serving with cream fraiche as it cuts through the sweetness making it much more balanced and tasty.

Give it a go