Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Shannon Bennett's Famous Raspberry Cheesecake

Tim is a huge fan of raspberries and white chocolate, so when the cover of this month's Delicious magazine featured a raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake recipe from Shannon Bennett, I knew that I had found Tim's birthday cake.

This luscious creation had a base of crushed Anzac biscuits. I could only find school lunch box packs of Anzacs, so I opted for ginger nuts instead. I also halved the raspberries because hey, raspberries are expensive! Otherwise I followed the recipe, with lashings of cream cheese and sour cream, combined with melted white chocolate and bejewelled with fresh raspberries.

I made myself a mini cheesecake so I could try it too.  As expected, this cheesecake is scrumptious!

If you are a fan of raspberries and white chocolate or just love cheesecake, then this recipe is definitely worth making.

The mini!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dinner by Heston, Melbourne

For Tim's birthday last week, I took him for lunch at Dinner by Heston.  As you can guess, Dinner by Heston is a restaurant associated with Heston Blumenthal.  It is situated on Level 3 of Crown Towers in Southbank, Melbourne.

The entrance to Dinner by Heston is a long dark passage.  At the end is what looks like a black wall, but just when you think you won't get in, that black wall slides back to reveal the interior of Dinner by Heston.  We were greeted by two friendly staff members, one of whom showed us to our table.
Shortly afterwards, we were greeted at our table by a French sommelier, from whom we ordered two glasses of French pink sparkling wine.
A short time later, a waiter brought over this lovely dark bread with a delightfully chewy crust:

There was a five course tasting menu ($160 per person), but we decided to go with main and dessert from the a la carte menu.  All of the dishes are inspired by a particular historical time.

Tim ordered the roast duck breast with beetroot and chard from the 1600s ($58):

I ordered the roast quail with confit butternut pumpkin, pumpkin puree, spiced crumb and chard ($56) from the 1860s:

These meals looked deceptively small, but were very filling.  The quail was soft and melted off the bones - no need to "chew the bones" to get all of the meat.

For sides ($14 each), we ordered the carrot with caraway, which was beautifully sweet and caramelised, and a favourite of mine:

and the green beans with almonds:

We drank glasses of shiraz from the extensive wine list to accompany the mains.
Next came dessert.  Tim went for the lamington ($32): 

This lamington was not made of cake and coconut - the centre of the lamington was a creamy smooth mousse filled with raspberry jam and resting on a chocolate ganache foundation, and covered with grated milk chocolate:

I went for the signature dessert, the Tipsy Cake:

This was a lovely buttery brioche, swimming in a boozy "tipsy" sauce, with roasted pineapple on the side.

We skipped the coffee as there were no flat whites or cappuccinos =- we didn't understand the coffee menu at all.

The meal finished with a complementary chocolate pot each:

The service at Heston was friendly and efficient.  I loved the "steam punk" atmosphere, the fact that I was seated where I could see the kitchen staff cooking through the viewing window, and that we had a window table with an expansive view of the Yarra River.

Dinner by Heston was a special experience which I enjoyed very much.

Dinner by Heston
Level 3 Crown Towers
Crown Melbourne
8 Whiteman Street
Southbank VIC 3006

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Red Tractor October - Moroccan Couscous Salad

October's Red Tractor calendar recipe is Moroccan Couscous Salad.  It is Moroccan spiced couscous containing lots of vegetables, which is what I think inspired the quote of the month:

This salad was easy to make and quite tasty.  Add a can of tuna and you have a complete meal.

The recipe is as follows (I made half):

2 cups cooked couscous
750g sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon Moroccan seasoning (I used harissa)
420g can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup currants (I forgot these)
1/2 cup lightly toasted pepitas
100g coarsely chopped rocket leaves (I used a spinach and rocket mix)
1 cup chopped parsley (I left this out)
1/2 cup chopped mint (I also left this out)


Juice and zest of 2 large lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (I used orange vinegar)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Line an oven tray with baking paper.  Toss the sweet potato in the olive oil and Moroccan seasoning, place on the baking tray, and bake for 30-40 minutes until soft and caramelised.

Fluff up the couscous with a fork, then toss through the remaining salad ingredients.

Out the dressing ingredients into a screw top glass jar and shake until combined.  Use the dressing to dress the salad.  Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

TWD - Babas au Rhum

This week's Tuesday with Dorie (Baking Chez Moi) recipe is Babas au Rhum.  These are little yeasted cakes that are soaked in rum syrup and filled with whipped cream.

I didn't know what rum baba was until about 10 years ago, when a work friend of mine introduced me to them at Brunettis as her favourite thing.

I made a half recipe to end up with six babas.  They were easy enough to make, but there were a lot of steps and three separate components to make (babas, syrup, filling).

In the syrup, I used Cointreau instead of oranges as I didn't have an orange, so I thought orange liqueur would be the next best thing.

These babas pleasantly surprised me - they were moist and soft and definitely rum-tasting. I have had some hard and dry store-bought babas, so these are infinitely preferable - just a lot more time consuming.

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

TWD - Crumb-Topped Apple Bars

When I was in Grade 5 at school, we started doing lecturettes for assessment in class.  Sometimes, our teacher (whose name really was Wally) would select a theme and hand us each a random topic in keeping with that theme.  For example, when the theme was famous people in history, I drew Houdini and inexplicably swapped him with a classmate for the far less exotic George Stephenson.  Other times, we could choose our own topic.  I was most impressed by a lecturette given by a boy named David, who chose to deliver a lecturette on the Australian apple industry.  He stood there calmly peeling an apple the whole time, and managed to peel it without breaking the chain.  Some might find that distracting, but I thought it was the cleverest device ever, and I wanted to emulate it (but never did get the chance).

David's lecturette on apples came to mind while I was peeling apples for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Crumb-Topped Apple Bars (or in the Australian vernacular, apple crumble slice).

This slice comprised a biscuit base, made easily in the food processor, topped with chopped Granny Smith apples, sultanas and chopped walnuts.  The sultanas and nuts were optional, but being a streudel loving girl, there is no way that I was going to leave them out.  The bars are then topped with a shortbread crumb made from the same dough as the base, and baked until golden brown. 

These bars are not 15 minute wonders - the baking time alone was over an hour.  However, the end result is well worth it for these buttery, fruity, scrumptious bars.  For me, we were back onto a winner this week.

To see what the other Dorie bakers made and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

TWD - Moka Dupont

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Moka Dupont, a type of chocolate biscuit cake.  It is named after a Madame Duponte, who apparently first made this cake, and the "moka" is from "mocha" for the coffee flavoured syrup that the biscuits are dunked in. 

I used Arnott's Milk Coffee Biscuits, as they seemed the closest match to those that Dorie used in the recipe.  The coffee soaked biscuits are coated with a grainy chocolate buttercream that is firmed up with an egg.  It chills for three hours after assembly before serving.

This dessert tasted OK.  I didn't love it, as it was just syrup soaked biscuits glued together with buttercream, but it was OK.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

TWD - French Snacklettes

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is French Snacklettes.  That is the polite term for them - Dorie describes them as "nuggets".   I'll leave it up to you how to describe them, but they are little sandy chocolate cookies containing ground up almonds and chunks of chocolate.

The full recipe makes 60 cookies - I opted to quarter the recipe and got around 18 cookies.

These cookies are OK - not exciting, but very easy to make.  All you need is a food processor and your own two hands to fashion these cookies for baking.

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.