Italian Ricotta Cheesecake

I’m trialling a fabulous recipe in the Thermomix today. Italian Baked Ricotta Cheesecake – with almonds, chocolate and rum in the filling. Mmmmmm.

It was given to me by some Italian friends many years ago. I haven’t made it for a while but decided to give it a go for Easter lunch tomorrow and convert it for the Thermomix at the same time.

It’s a delicious dessert which I don’t find overly sweet, but still decadent all the same. It’s something a little bit out of the ordinary and very simple to make.

Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

100g raw almonds

400g plain flour

100g brown sugar

10g baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

250g chopped, chilled butter

60g dark chocolate

210g sugar

800g ricotta

1 1/2 tablespoons rum

120g slivered almonds

Method

Place raw almonds into TM bowl. Mill 8-10 secs on Speed 7.

Add flour, brown sugar, and baking powder to the almond meal. Mix 5-8 secs on Speed 4.

Add vanilla, egg and butter to the bowl. Mix 5 secs on Speed 8 until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Set aside mixture in a bowl and chill. (the mixture, not yourself!)

Add roughly chopped chocolate to the clean TM bowl. Chop 2 secs on Speed 7. Set aside.

Add sugar to TM Bowl and turn into caster sugar by mixing for 3 secs on Speed 9.

Add ricotta and rum to sugar and mix for 10 secs on Speed 6.

Add chocolate and slivered almonds and mix on Reverse, Speed 4 for 5 secs – or until almonds and chocolate in incorporated.

Press 1/3 – 1/2 the chilled base mixture into a greased and lined round cake tin. Top with the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle a layer of the base mixture on top of the ricotta – like a crumble topping.

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Bake at 180 degrees Celcius for 1 hour. Cool before serving.

I find the recipe makes ample base mixture. I don’t use it all. I find the base is too thick if you use half. It is up to you how thick you make the base and how much crumble mixture you put on top. I’m just wondering as I write whether I could freeze the leftover mixture and use it as a base for something else another time.

I’m looking forward to sharing it with my family tomorrow as we celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection together.

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Date and Lime Cake

I’m busy doing some baking for Easter tonight. I think just knowing that I have four days ahead without any commitments has made me feel like I have all the time in the world for baking. So, after my second batch of Hot Cross Buns – much better than the first batch and very yummy – I have made the Date and Lime Cake from the Thermomix Budget Busters booklet.

In a word…interesting.

The recipe was easy and it baked nicely. But…you sensed there was a but coming… the lime was a bit of a problem.

I must admit I hesitated on reading the recipe, but decided to give it a go according to the method. You have to whizz up the whole lime with dates in the first step. As I predicted, the lime didn’t blitz finely enough. Despite scraping down the sides of the TM bowl and blitzing it further, that zest wasn’t really zest. It was still peel in my eyes.

The cake has a nice texture, but it’s bitter. Left a dreadful aftertaste.  It’s going to see the inside of the bin before the night’s out I’m afraid!

If you are going to try this recipe, I think it could be better if you zest a little lime peel first (maybe with a little raw sugar?) so it becomes really fine. I think the peel of the whole lime would be too much. Then I would mix only the juice of the lime with the dates in the first step of the recipe.

It might be worth a second try! Let me know if you have had more success with it. You win some, you lose some. It’s just about having a go!

Easter Hot Cross Buns

I thought I’d better get a head start on my Hot Cross Buns well before Easter as I haven’t made them before. Leaving time to perfect them before the Easter Weekend is a good thing.

That being said, I think my first attempt was ok. (‘Not bad at all’ she says with her mouth stuffed full of bun)

I used the recipe in the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook. They have always looked a bit tricky to attempt before, with their fancy little cross and lovely shiny glaze. Too many steps for a busy gal like me. But the Thermomix has made life a lot simpler. The recipe was a snack (ha, literally!).

The dough was similar to any basic dough with some milk warmed in the first step. I used buttermilk as I had some saved from making butter this afternoon. As you do…Kylie Homemaker hard at work in the kitchen. Striving for my Easter Domestic Goddess crown!

After adding the basic dough ingredients, you also add in cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Smelt fantastic. After mixing, just add in the fruit. Now, I did leave out the citrus peel and only used currants and sultanas in the last step. Personal preference, and besides I didn’t have any on hand. Lame attempt to get the kids to eat them too.

Leave the dough to rise. And rise it does! That dough grew a lot and I don’t think I left it the full hour and a half as they recipe stated. I made eight rolls out of my dough but next time I am going to make them a lot smaller because they kept growing.

Making the mixture for the crosses was easy. I just put it into a plastic ziplock bag and cut the corner off to make a piping bag. It worked fine but I think my mixture was a bit runny. They looked a bit disastrous while baking but once the buns browned up, the crosses were there!

Making the sugar syrup for the glaze was so simple. Two minutes and it was done. Just brush this onto the buns when they are hot out of the oven. Much better than making sugar syrup in a saucepan. Stirring and making sure it doesn’t burn. Love that Thermie!

The texture of them was quite light and springy. I was impressed considering some homemade bread doughs can be a tad dense. Delicious with my homemade butter!

Next time I’ll make them smaller and maybe add my fruit into the dough by hand. I might even try some choc chip ones. The kids will definitely eat those!

Here’s to my next attempt and I might be a dab hand by Good Friday.

Hope my first attempt and tips will lead to a better first attempt for you. Have a go!

Happy Easter!

Hot Cross Buns

 

Cranberry and Almond Granuesli with Vanilla Yoghurt and Spiced Pears

I think I have a new favourite food. It was love at first bite.

I treated myself to a couple of new cookbooks – ‘For Food’s Sake’ by Tenina Holder and ‘Quick Fix In The Thermomix’ by Alyce Alexandra. They are lovely new additions to my kitchen with gorgeous photos and hard covers. I have been poring over them every day, page by page since they arrived in a parcel on my doorstep. (Don’t you love a parcel in the post? Even if you did order it yourself!)

Last night I made Alyce Alexandra’s Spiced Pears. I belong to a Fruit and Vegetable co-op group. Two out of eight families venture out to the markets every fortnight to buy fruit and vegetables for the whole group. It is a very economical way to shop and it’s lovely to receive an abundance of fresh produce to enjoy, especially when it’s all done for you! I had to change my way of shopping and cooking to accommodate the copious amounts of some items and over time it has become easier. You just need to be creative!

This week I had some pears that needed to be used up so this recipe was perfect. Chop a knob of ginger in the Thermomix. Add in peeled and quartered pears, a cinnamon stick and two star anise. Cook for 30 minutes, 90 degrees, Reverse and Speed Soft. Fantastic to have on their own, on porridge or  with custard.

Then this evening, as I perused through Tenina’s book, I came across her ‘granuesli’, and on having all the ingredients at hand, set about making it straight away. This too was an easy recipe and well worth it! I taste tested it as soon as it was done, with some vanilla yoghurt and spiced pears. YUM! I am sure it will become a firm favourite in our house!

Cranberry and Almond Granuesli

150g unsalted butter, cubed

180g maple syrup or honey

good pinch of sea salt

2 tbsp vanilla bean paste

– Place these ingredients into the TM bowl and melt for 4 minutes/60 Degrees/speed 2.

300g whole raw almonds

60g sunflower seeds

– Spread onto a large flat tray and toast in the oven at 200 degrees C for about 10 mins. Cool

4-5 cups rolled oats

– Spread oats onto a tray and drizzle with butter mixture.

– Mix by hand until evenly distributed

– Bake at 160 degrees C for about 20 mins, mixing occasionally, until crispy.

– Place cooled nuts into TM bowl and chop roughly 3 secs/speed 4

– Place nuts, cooled oat mixture into a large mixing bowl

100g craisins

50g shredded coconut

– Mix in coconut and craisins and store in an airtight container

My Vanilla Yoghurt of choice is Danone Greek Breakfast Yoghurt – Natural and Sweet. I’m sure it’s full fat, in fact, I haven’t even studied the label. All I know is it is delicious and now a staple on my shopping list.

So, I sampled the Granuesli, topped with Yoghurt and Spiced Pears….and that was it. New favourite food. Love it. Do yourself a favour and try it!

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Beef, Vegetable and Barley Soup

I love this meal. It’s delicious and hearty and fabulous in winter. I’m starting early. I can’t wait any longer for the cooler autumn weather, and besides, I needed something quick and easy tonight.

I happened across another foodie blog, foodfilanderer and found the perfect solution to my dinner dilemma.

Barley and Autumn Vegetable Soup

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Now, I have a recipe from The Biggest Loser website called Lamb and Barley Hotpot which I really love and Son 1 loves it with gusto too. He was harping for it tonight so despite having no lamb I set about doing my best. (I always find that I’m just scrounging to make something out of what little is in my fridge or cupboard – the life of a working mum, what can I say!)

I haven’t cooked barley in my Thermomix before so looked for a recipe which involved cooking barley and up came the recipe from the ‘foodfilanderer’ blog.  What an easy one it was!

I made my own tweaks and chopped vegies on speed 5 for a couple of seconds – potato, sweet potato, celery, carrots and 4 cloves of garlic, added 3/4 cup of barley to the bowl, chopped scotch fillet, a tablespoon of Vegetable Stock Concentrate from the EDC cookbook, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and water to the maximum mark on the TM bowl. Cooked it for 45 minutes at 100 degrees on Reverse Speed 1. It was perfect! If using lamb, I would add a few leaves of rosemary too. You could also throw in other chopped vegies like green beans towards the end of the cooking process. It’s one of those recipes that you can use up what you have and it will always turn out tasting great.

I didn’t get around to the fresh bread to go with it. My Supermum cape was in the wash today.

This is the Biggest Loser Lamb and Barley Hotpot

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Porridge

It’s Autumn in Sydney and the weather has certainly gone downhill since 1 March. Rain, rain and more rain. The temperature has dropped, the doona has gone onto the bed and it felt like the perfect morning to make porridge.

I hadn’t made porridge in my Thermomix thus far and after a customer raved about it, I thought I’d give it a try. I have to say I’m impressed!

I am a fan of porridge. It’s so warming and a hearty way to start the day. I love it with brown sugar or golden syrup. I love it with banana on top. I also really love it with stewed apricots and prunes.

I usually make porridge either on the stove or in the microwave. None of those fake flavour packets…I always make it from scratch. Now on the stove top, you need to stir it and the saucepan is a pain to clean afterwards, especially if you don’t get it into water straight away. Microwave porridge turns out well but boy, do you have to keep an eye on it. If you’re not careful, it boils over and then you’ve lost your porridge and you’ve got yourself a cleaning job instead.

Thermomix porridge is beautiful and creamy. There’s no mess and the bowl is easy to clean. I used the recipe from the Every Day Cookbook, but halved it. It made a lot of porridge. Enough for 2-3 people so beware, the original recipe makes enough for an army. I used hot water, instead of cold and I reduced the time to 9 minutes instead of 11 for the halved quantity. I’m on my own this weekend and as I sit here listening to the rain bucketing down at 9 o’clock in the morning I am thinking of the rest of my family who are camping. Yes, I said camping. All weekend. They left yesterday afternoon in the rain and it’s still raining. Maybe my leftover porridge won’t go to waste because they might be home any minute. How miserable. I’m glad my porridge and I are inside, in the warm, dry house.

Anyway, back to porridge. If you haven’t tried it in the Thermomix, give it a go. It’s great!

Here are a few other versions I found on the Recipe Community.

Fruit Porridge

Apple and Sultana Porridge

Gluten Free Low GI Porridge

Power Porridge

Will a Thermomix feed a large family?

The Thermomix is a very versatile appliance. It’s compact size may have you wondering if it will cater for a large family.
Let me tell you, it’s compact size is a real plus in itself, and also deceptive. This little machine can really pump out a lot of food!

When we talk Varoma, we are talking about volume. As long as there is liquid in the bowl, be it water or sauce, you can pop the Varoma on top of the Thermomix bowl, fill it as you please with meat, fish, chicken, vegetables and immediately you have a meal fit for a crowd!

You can also add more vegetables, pasta, potatoes or rice to the basket inside the bowl, giving you a complete meal cooked at the same time in the one appliance. Set the timer and walk away! The stirring is done for you and you can be getting other jobs done around the house, helping your kids, or even taking a load off at ‘wine’ o’clock!

If you’d like some more input on this topic, have a look at this blog post by Quirky Cooking

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