Tuesday, 26 August 2008

a caramel-icious surprise!

i love surprises...and never more than when they come in the shape of something delightfully edible like these caramel cinnamon cookies! they were left at the gate of my house yesterday all wrapped up in tin foil by Toby, one of the staff children residing on the campus and his one request was that i might put them on my blog...so how could i possibly disappoint and even more so after i tasted them! they were delicious! buttery and moist, with just enough of a hint of cinnamon but then that sticky caramel on top that was just something i could have eaten on its own (my teeth might not have enjoyed that though!)
so thank you, Toby for ending my day with such a lovely wrapped up surprise and i look forward to sampling many more of your yummy creations!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

oreo cheesecake...still 'no baked'... but still good!

a variation on a theme for you...this is similar to the previous post in that the basic cheesecake recipe is the same. the only difference - substitute the digestive biscuits for the oreos...and add a little more butter as the oreos are very dry and need more butter to keep them together and stop them from crumbling. make the cheesecake itself the same with the cream cheese, ricotta and honey and add chopped oreos to this. spread on top and bob's your uncle (well he probably isn't) and fanny's your aunt (most definitely not) but you get the idea, right?
i sprinkled some cocoa on top and i must say that this was a very rich cheesecake. it was good that i cut it up into bars because a moderate square was ample enough for dessert. the cheesecake seemed to set better this time and i wonder whether the addition of the oreos helped this. it was yummy and really hit the spot...filling a huge chocolate craving. the best part - i invited several teachers over after lunch and shared it all with them...when you're living in the jungle, it's all about the treats...and with the nearest cake shop about 30 minutes away, well you can imagine it went down pretty well!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

no bake strawberry cheesecake

so the 'no-bake' mission continues with gusto...and what's on the menu for today? well who can resist a bit of cheesecake now and again! i do love cheesecake and have tried a few flavours and variations in my time. so i found a no bake cheesecake recipe and thought i'd give it a go. the recipe again was pretty basic...you can't go too wrong. just cream cheese, ricotta, honey and some lemon rind (which i didn't have and so had to replace with lime rind), a biscuit base and strawberries on top. easy-peasy! pop it in the fridge and leave to delicately firm up and it did too! very nicely. the taste of the cheesecake was incredibly light and creamy - so don't go looking for your super firm baked cheesecake texture, this is more on the side of mousse consistency or the cream sheese part of tiramisu. but the whole thing comes together so nicely - the crumbly biscuit base (for which i splurged and bought digestives for...they are SO expensive here!) the light creamy cheese and the sweet strawberries. a perfect afternoon tea delight!

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour’s chilling
10 digestive biscuits, crushed
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
Rind of a lemon, freshly grated
Pinch salt
About 1 1/2 cups strawberries

1. Combine crushed biscuits with melted butter. press into a pan to form a crust about 1/4-inch thick. Put in refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Using a standing or hand mixer, or a whisk, combine cream cheese, ricotta, honey, lemon rind and salt, and blend until smooth.
3. Spread cheese mixture carefully and evenly over crust, using a spatula or butter knife to smooth top. Cover with fresh strawberries and chill for at least an hour, or until set.

Cut into squares or bars and serve.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

no bake fudge biscuits

so what does one do when one cannot bake...one doesn't bake but instead scours the internet for recipes that involve 'no baking' and what a plethora of recipes there are out there! i wanted to start with something simple, but yet that would have the maximum enjoyment factor and seriously taste good! so i went with a no bake fudge biscuit recipe. ok so naturally it was easy...no prizes for getting through this recipe without a hitch but it was just comforting to be able to be in my kitchen and create something.

so what do you do...

No Bake Chocolate Fudge Biscuits

3/4 c. butter

1/2 c. sugar

4 T. cocoa powder

2 T. milk (i used soya milk)

1 large packet of marie biscuits

melt the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and milk in a saucepan until the ingredients are combined. add biscuits and then spoon into a baking tin. pop in the fridge (or freezer depending on how long you're willing to wait!) and then cut into squares. devour shamelessly, of course!

yes, it's that easy! and the taste? very good, seriously more-ish and just a great chocolate pick me up to have in the fridge at those moments when you need...well a pick me up! you could definitely experiment with these by adding raisins, peanuts or chocolate chips. it might also be fun to try and make some healthy granola versions that would be good for breakfast. i could see this happening by using honey instead of the sugar. there's definitely a lot you can do with it! but fear not, i shall not bore you with posts of the next 20 different versions that i try...nope, i shall be moving onto other no bake investigations until the staff village here where i am living in Bali has built the communal oven that we have been promised. it's going to be an amazing project - an adobe oven that will be built by the community and will use wood. i can see there being a few disasters but otherwise it will be exciting to experiment with a truly earthy oven!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

cupcake-shaped brioche!

a new-found friend followed a recommendation for a restaurant in Sanur and as a 'thank you' for a most enjoyable dinner there, brought me back a gift. And you know what's weird, she had no idea i am a cupcake freak, but guess what she brought me? some cupcake-shaped brioche! they are too cute for words and were absolutely deliciously divine. soft and buttery, and to make it all so much more sinful, i toasted them over my newly bought toaster and sliced thick chunks of butter and popped them inside. oh yummy-ness! they made such a perfect breakfast treat!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

more indonesian kue...

the fun and deliciousness continues with more indonesian kue...and again a combination of sweet and savoury for you to inspect. someone asked me today whether i preferred the sweet or savoury kue and to be honest it is a really hard choice. both in my humble opinion, are equally enjoyable and cover a different taste bud...

first up we have kroket. this is a lovely potato cake type of kue that has some pureed vegetables mixed in and a green chilli padi stuck in the top. the outside is coated with breadrcumbs and the whole thing is fried. the taste is fantastic. a lovely little savoury potato cake that is given a real kick with the addition of the chilli on top.

then there is kue pisang, which is banana cake. a lovely moist little cake that even has a slice of banana on top. the cake is speckled with banana bits and is a perfect sized bite of cake!

last but not least we have another type of kue sus...similar to the one in my previous post this has a custard in the middle, but rather than the choux pastry of a profiterole, this one is a kind of puff pastry. it's sprinkled with sugar and shaped like an ice-cream cone. the custard is light and creamy and combines perfectly with the more dry puff pastry.

so what's next...

Monday, 4 August 2008

little cakes - indonesian style

i am fascinated by the whole aspect of indonesian 'kue' here. kue is the word for cake in bahasa indonesia - the language spoken here and it encompasses a vast array of cakes, from your regular kind of birthday-type cake to the weird and wonderful, savoury and sweet, all shapes and sizes! so today i had the opportunity to get my fingers on some and thought i'd share with you how they eat cake on this side of the planet...

kue here in indonesia are often served wrapped up in banana leaves. and this is not purely for the aesthetic aspect but rather the kue are prepared, wrapped up in the banana leaf and then steamed. the first one i tried was called lemper ayam. and although ayam means chicken and thus this is a more savoury delight, it is still called kue. the spiced chicken was surrounded by sticky rice and the overall taste was surprisingly pleasing - the blandness and sticky consistency of the rice was immediately uplifted by the soft, spiced chicken in the centre. very tasty!

next up was kue dadar gulung and this was almost like a spring roll but sweet - it involved a thin black rice pancake with sweet banana inside. again it was interesting the contrast of the rather bland pancake with the sweet banana filling. the consistency of the banana was quite chewy and i believe it is a certain kind of banana they use for this. here in indonesia there is a vast array of bananas available at the market and each one used for a different purpose.

next came the kue sus and this was rather like a cream puff...a soft choux pastry exterior and a creamy custard like filling. it was soft and very melt in your mouth. delicious!

and there you have it...some charmingly delicious local delights for your consideration!