Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Late posted Daring Cheesecake

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I even finished the recipe days before the posting date and then couldn't post as I had no internet access, it just went off Saturday afternoon and even two hours on the phone to my provider got me nowhere.. in fact I am only back on now because I have changed providers!

Well better late than never I suppose, I hate being without internet.. going on holiday is different but losing it when you don't expect it just throws everything out. Yes I know I shouldn't depend on it but I keep so much information on my gmail account or|I check blogs and on line recipe sites rather than printing out lots of paper that when it goes down I suddenly find i don't have the information I needed to hand. It also brought home to me I might be wise to get a few more friends phone numbers not just their emails :)

Anyway on to the challenge recipe. This gave me the chance to make Graham crackers for the first time.. gluten free of course. I could have used a different base but I've been meaning to try making them for ages. I'm told that they are the same as what we call digestives.I used Cake and Commerce's recipe which worked very well you can find it here.
The only changes I made was to sub chestnut flour for the sweet brown rice flour and brown rice flour instead of Rice Bran Flour. We really liked the biscuits though to me they tasted a little too toffee like and were a bit to brittle rather than crumbly to be digestives.. I think if I try them again I might use a little less brown flours and possibly a lighter sugar as I think that is what gave the toffee flavour. All that said they made a fantastic base for the cheese cake and for that, rather than dunking in tea, I'd probably make them just like this lot again.So on to the cheesecake itself everything else is gluten free so I followed the recipe directly apart from the fact that I added crystallised ginger in the base. You can find the recipe just as we were given it for the challenge at the bottom of this post. Abbey is a good friend of Jenny and a well known cheesecake expert. She certainly makes a good cheesecake recipe as this one is really nice. This is the first time I think I've ever had a cooked cheesecake that rivaled the ones my aunt used to make for family get-togethers and that is praise indeed.

The topping I added is a simple rhubarb purée. I LOVE rhubarb and we got some in our organic veg box just as I was making the cheesecake so it was an obvious choice and went well with the creamy cheesecake top and the dark and gingery base.


Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.

Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!


I managed to do the Daring baker challenge with days to spare this time and what happens my internet goes down Saturday and has been down until now.. in fact until I got re-connected by a different provider. As the posting date was Monday I missed it !! I will post when Treestrump allows so bare with me !

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

I love Wagamama

We went to Wagamama in Birmingham for our 'adopted' son/ little brother's birthday as is becoming a tradition and I just had to say how much I like them.

On their website they list which dishes can be made gluten free and indeed do the same for a whole host of other allergens. Once you get to the restaurant you tell them you want the gluten free menu and they bring a book that lists all the allergens, dishes you can have and what had to be removed to make it safe.. then you order say number 26 no seasoning and you get a gluten free version. I do wish more places would do that. Apart from the occasional replacement of wheat noodles with rice ones they don't do any additions to dishes so some of them end up pretty plain but there are still a better selection than most places and if you have more than one allergy you can just cross check several lists.

The second reason I love them is that they bring the kids dishes FIRST as standard. You have no idea how many brownie points they score for that one, it seems standard in this country to bring the kids dishes last which is insane as they want their food colder than adults (and it has to start hot or it isn't cooked!) and they don't find waiting easy when hungry particularly if others have food plus you need to cut it up for them if they are small which means your food goes cold. We are so fed up with this we have started putting in complaints at anywhere that does it and Wagamama's is one of the few we haven't had to !!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Weekly menu 20-25 th April 2009

I know, I know I've been bad about such things. However we have been eating OK just a bit on the fly and then the internet went down for two days... I was so not amused and even less amused about the lack fo access to anyone who could actually tell me what was wrong. Used to be if I was put through to technical support they knew what they were talking about and if they weren't personally fixing it they knew who was.. now the company has been bought by others all I could get to was a call centre on the other side of the world who had no access to any real information.. I am moving companies !!

This week is the second and last of the Easter holidays so I have both kids at home so will be keeping things fairly simple..

Asparagus Thin is hosting the gluten free swap this week and has picked rhubarb. This is one of my favourite 'fruits' and I have a plant growing in the allotment ( and planted a second this weekend) but as yet there isn't enough to pick as it is still settling in. I may however use it as an excuse to buy some if I see it in the greengrocers. My favourite way to have it is stewed with some sugar and strawberries added towards the end. Heaven !!

Monday - Cauliflower cheese, we have far to many cauliflowers to eat up!

Tuesday - Out all day at an amusement park/ zoo and going to wagamamas in the evening.. they list on their website what dishes can be gluten free and this time I will take my own soy sauce.

Wednesday - Pasta with tomato and bacon sauce or lasagne if I have time to make fresh pasta.

Thursday - Either fish pie or home made fish and chips.

Friday - vegetable and chickpea curry, probably heavy on the cauliflower again.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Wot no buns?

Ok you probably need to be a certain age to get that title and I didn't pose him he just did it himself !

Anyway on to the buns or muffins or cakes whatever you would like to call them. I was pointed to this recipe for fruit and veg muffins on by a post on the gluten free recipe group and we have made them twice now with different fruit each time.

The recipe is very simple and easy to make and is based on a cup of pureed fruit and/or veg. We did peach and pear the first time and this batch are mango and banana. I can see them becoming a regular thing any time we have fruit that needs eating up as have a couple of family members who are a bit picky about fruit being unblemised and so perfectly good fruit can sit about for ages and not get eaten unless it's by me!

Do try them they are very good little cakes, not to sweet and nice and light texture wise. Plus a great way to sneak some fruit and veg towards their five a day into people's diets !