New York Baked Cheesecake

Last weekend was Easter, and the family and I were invited to an Easter Sunday dinner at my sister-in-law’s house.  We had been asked to bring a dessert, and I thought I would try making a baked cheesecake in the Thermomix.

I found a recipe that looked quick and easy on the trusty Forum Thermomix, and got to work making it on Saturday night.  For those people who don’t have a Thermomix, don’t despair, this recipe was converted from one originally published at Taste.

The cheesecake turned out great (Mr Foodfilanderer was seriously impressed) and was fun to make, so I thought I would share the recipe here.

New York Baked Cheesecake – Serves 10 – 12

Ingredients

  • 1 x 250g packet of plain sweet biscuits (I used Arnotts Marie biscuits)
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 750g cream cheese (leave out of the fridge for a hour or so to soften)
  • 215g sugar (I used organic raw sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste instead)
  • 2 tsp lemon rind
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 eggs (I recommend free range organic eggs)
  • 300ml sour cream
  • Berries (to serve)

Method

1.  Preheat the oven.  The original recipe says to preheat at 160C, but as I was using a fan-forced oven I decided to cook it slowly at 140C.

2.  Line the base of a 23cm springform pan with baking paper and grease the sides.

3.  Place the biscuits into the Thermomix and mix for 10 seconds on Speed 5, or until finely crushed.

4.  Add butter and mix for a further 10 seconds on Speed 5.

Note: I felt that the biscuit mixture looked a little drier than I’d expected, but it actually worked a treat.

5.  Tip the biscuit mix into the prepared tin, and use a straight edged glass to press mixture firmly into the base of the tin. Try to compact the mixture as much as possible.

Note: The original recipe said to press the biscuit base into the sides of the tin as well, but I didn’t do this step.  This meant that I had a slightly higher base than normal, but I didn’t feel that this detracted from the taste.

6.  Place the tin in the fridge for 30 minutes so the base chills and firms.

7.  Clean and dry the Thermomix bowl.

8.  Add the sugar and lemon rind and mix for 10 seconds on Speed 8.

9.  Add the softened cream cheese and vanilla and mix for 1 minute on Speed 4.

10.  Scape down the edges of the Thermomix bowl with the spatula.

11.  Add flour and mix for another 10 seconds on Speed 4.

12.  Set the Thermomix to 1 minute on Speed 4 and slowly add the eggs, one at a time until fully combined.

13.  Add the sour cream and fold in gently with the spatula until just combined.

14.  Pour the mixture over the biscuit base.

15.  Bake slowly in the preheated oven for around 75 – 90 minutes, or until it starts to go slightly brown on top and is set in the middle.

Note: I read on the packet of cream cheese that cheesecakes bake better in a moist environment, so I placed a small (ovenproof) bowl of water in the bottom of the oven while the cheesecake was cooking.

16.  Once the cheesecake is done, turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in there for 2 hours with the door slightly ajar.

17.  Place the cheesecake into the fridge for at least 4 hours to chill.

Verdict: Although there may appear to be a lot of steps involved, this cheesecake takes very little effort to prepare and is seriously tasty.  When I make it again, I will probably make a bit less base, rather than fiddling around with pushing the crumbs up the sides of the tin.  I don’t think it’s necessary, and the cake looks pretty damn good without it.

Tip: Don’t be afraid of making this a day or two before you intend to use it, as the flavours get better over time!

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Pumpkin and Spinach Risotto

Every second Friday I take delivery of a mystery box of organic fruit and vegies from Victoria Organic Delivery.  My next delivery is arriving tomorrow, so basically all I had left to use tonight was some pumpkin.

I decided to make a risotto using the Thermomix.  I had made a mushroom risotto in it during the first couple of days of receiving it, but I wasn’t entirely happy with the result.  I felt it was a little gluggier than what I’d usually make by hand.

The recipe I’d used came from the default cookbook that comes with the machine, the Every Day Cookbook.  I knew the Thermomix can make fantastic risotto, as my consultant had made a great one at my in house demonstration.  Thus, I decided to hunt around the Internet around for a better recipe.  After a little search, I found this mushroom risotto recipe at Forum Thermomix, and decided to give it a go.  Obviously I substituted the mushroom for pumpkin, and added some spinach at the end.

On to the recipe….

Pumpkin and Spinach Risotto – Serves between 4-6 people

Ingredients

  • 50g parmesan, cut into large cubes
  • 1 medium brown onion, cut in half
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 50g extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g arborio rice
  • 100g dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 250g pumpkin, cut into large cubes
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable stock concentrate (from the Every Day Cookbook)*
  • 1000g water*
  • 150g baby spinach
  • Sea salt and black pepper

* You could substitute 1000g of liquid stock for the water and stock concentrate.

Method

1.  Place the pumpkin on a baking tray with some oil and bake in a 200C oven until soft (around 15-20 minutes). Alternatively, you could add your raw pumpkin into the Thermomix at Step 11.

2.  Weigh the parmesan in the Thermomix.



3.  Pulverise the parmesan for 10 seconds on Speed 9

4.  Remove parmesan from the Thermomix and place in a small bowl.

5.  Add the onion and garlic to the Thermomix.  There is no need to clean out the bowl between steps.

6.  Chop on Speed 5 for a few seconds.  You will know when it’s done as the sound will noticeably change.

7.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula and add the oil.

8.  Saute for 2 minutes at 100C on Speed soft.

9.  Put in the butterfly, and add the rice and wine.

10.  Saute for 2 minutes at 100C on Speed soft/Reverse.

11. Add in the stock and water (or liquid stock).

Note: I put some of my pumpkin in at this stage as well as I was interested to see how it would cook in the Thermomix as compared to the oven.  You can omit this stage if you like, or you could add all the pumpkin at this point instead of baking it.

12.  Cook for 16 minutes at 100C on Speed soft/Reverse. I put the basket on top of the lid to avoid splatter.

When it is done, it will look a bit more watery than you’d expect.  Don’t worry about this, as it will thicken up during the next step.

13.  Place the baby spinach into the Thermoserver and pour the risotto on top.  If you have baked the pumpkin, you can add it to the risotto at this point.

14. Wait around 5-10 minutes, or until the risotto has thickened up.

15.  Add around 2/3 of the parmesan cheese, and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste. Stir.

16. Serve in a bowl with some of the leftover parmesan on top. Enjoy!

Verdict:  The flavours were great, but I still found the rice a little gluggy for my tastes.  I think I will have to keep on experimenting with the amount of liquid in Thermomix risottos.  I should probably ask my consultant what she did, as hers was fab!

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An introduction

The purpose of this blog is to document my journey with food.  This might include the things I cook at home for everyday dinners, what I make to take to parties, or what I eat when I’m dining out.  I must admit to having a total love affair with food, hence the title of this site (oh and yes… I am aware that philanderer is spelt with a ‘ph’ but my desire for alliteration overcame my spelling nazi tendencies).

While I definitely enjoy cooking at home, I seriously love going out to eat.  I am currently experimenting with a no-alcohol, vegaquarian diet (for the uninitiated that means that I’m not eating any red meat, chicken or pork).  This is quite a step for me, as I was a big lover of good wine and couldn’t live without a double daily dose of meaty protein.  I am not sure how long I will continue with this diet, but after 2.5 months, I am still enjoying it.

The other major recent event in my foodie life is that I bought a Thermomix three weeks ago.  For those of you who don’t know what a Thermomix is, it’s basically a kitchen miracle machine created by a German company called Verwerk.  It cooks, chops, grinds, mills, minces, steams, stirs, etc.  And it has totally reignited my passion for cooking! Many of the recipes that I will include on this blog will be made in the trusty Thermomix.

Although I love to cook, I am not the world’s best cook by any stretch of the imagination. I make mistakes a lot of the time, and intend to be fairly transparent about my successes and failures in this blog.  One of my great weaknesses is food presentation, and my photography isn’t that great either, so you’ll have to just bear with me!  Anyway, that’s enough about me. Time for some recipes!

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