Tag Archives: cheesecake recipe

FRIDAY FEAST with Jennie Jones

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Welcome, my Feasty bunnies, to another magnificent edition of Friday Feast. This week: rural romance, secret oven business and a double giveaway!

But first, the item you eagerly await every week, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Last weekend saw the opening round of the Club Championships. Pressure indeed! But did I crack? Not on the first nine holes. No, no, no! I was blitzing it. And then… sigh. It did not last. But I’m currently still in the hunt, hovering in fourth. Stay tuned!

So after that excitement, here’s even more.

Author Jennie JonesI am absolutely delighted to host rural romance author Jennie Jones on the blog today. Jennie was born and bred in Wales, attended drama school in London and spent a number of years treading the boards of British theatres. She now calls Western Australia home and from her gorgeous Australian stories has found the move very satisfying indeed.

Jennie’s debut novel, the first in the Swallow’s Fall series, The House On Burra Burra Lane, was a runaway success, and is soon to be followed up with 12 Days at Silver Bells House this November, and The House at the Bottom of the Hill in January. As you can see Jennie’s not resting on her laurels!

12 Days at Silver Bells House releases on the 22nd of next month, but you could be enjoying it sooner if you enter our Friday Feast giveaway. Read on…

12 DAYS AT SILVER BELLS HOUSE

12 Days at Silver Bells House by Jennie Jones - CoverFrom the author of the international best-selling The House on Burra Burra Lane comes a Christmas story – country style.

Kate Singleton has twelve days to find herself. With Christmas Day and her thirtieth birthday approaching, the best thing a city-chic fashion designer who no longer has a raison d’être can do is nullify herself in the country. With Chardonnay.

When trouble strikes, the country presents her with Jamie Knight – a gallant but uncommunicative He-Man who drives an excavator and rescues her, her shoes, and her case of Chardonnay from a boggy field.

The adventure should be over – nothing but a good story to tell to her friends in the city – but her saviour turns out to also be an unexpected roommate, the new owner of Silver Bells House, Kate’s holiday home.

Forced together and dragged into the community Christmas spirit of the town, Kate and Jamie flounder their way through mistletoe, kissing games, carolling choirs, and a bone-deep yearning for community and acceptance.

Can the enchanting Silver Bells House and the holidays bind them together? Or will love get lost on Highway B23 back to the city?

The House on Burra Burra Lane by Jennie JonesDoesn’t that sound gorgeous? You can pre-order 12 Days at Silver Bells House right now from Amazon.com, Amazon.com.au, Amazon.co.uk, iBooks or consult Escape Publishing for a full list. Hungry for something to read now? Then why not treat yourself to The House on Burra Burra Lane? It can be yours with just a click. Try Booktopia, Bookworld, Amazon.com, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Nook or JB Hi-Fi.

All loaded up? Excellent. Now you may play with Jennie. She’s lovely!

Me and My Oven

What a thrill to be a Friday Feaster. Thanks for inviting me, Cathryn. I can’t wait to tell you about my oven. There’s a New York City Cheesecake involved too. Plus a giveaway.

Kate, my heroine in 12 Days at Silver Bells House has just flown home from a fashion shoot in New York and is heading to the country for a twelve day Christmas-free sojourn from business and all its problems. There’s very little cheer in her life at the moment. Then she meets Jamie Knight, Master Builder, and the crackers start cracking. Jamie is renovating Silver Bells House and I don’t foresee any oven door fiascos in Kate’s future.

What happened to my oven door? Well…

It’s one of those ovens with a drop-down door that you have to keep hold of when you open, and if you don’t keep your hand on it – wham! – gravity takes it down with a heavy bounce. This loosens something on the hinges which in turn means that the oven door won’t close properly and therefore – you guessed it – the temperature cannot be controlled.

No use for making New York City Cheesecake.

It cost eighty dollars to get the over-door-fixer man around and guess what? It took him thirty seconds to fix my door. He used a little tool (which he wouldn’t show me) to re-tighten the hinges. “Where can I buy one of those?” I asked, pointing at the tool that was now hidden in his fist. He shook his head. “You won’t, love.” I tried a number of tricks: smiling coquettishly, engaging him in oven-talk conversation, but he wouldn’t give. Getting rather annoyed, I advised him that I knew about the secret oven-door-fixers handshake and the monthly meetings at the local Community Centre where they all danced naked around a freestanding hotplate waving their little hinge-fixing tools.

No response.

So for a while I became the Oven-Door-Police. Whizzing into the kitchen with imaginary flashing lights and sirens every time my daughter or my husband went near the oven. “Don’t drop the door!” I’d yell. “Hold onto it!” Or — “You dropped the door! You didn’t hold on to it!”

As you can imagine, everyone got a little fed up with that.Jennie's oven and bucket oven closing system

I also got fed up with dishing out $80 to the oven-fixer guy every couple of months.

So I decided “No more!”.  You see, my daughter has left home and my husband is a whiz with the Webber so there are very few occasions I need to use the oven. For those times I do need to use it, I came up with my own secret-oven-door-fixer fix. A $2 bucket and half a broom handle.

Here’s how: half-fill the bucket (choose a colour that matches your décor) with gravel. Fish tank gravel is very pretty, and clean. (Again, match the colour). The gravel gives stability and weight. Next, slip half a broom handle into the bucket (those retractable plastic ones are fantastic because they come in a range of colours).

Next — Light your oven! Line up the bucket and the handle against the oven door and push firmly until oven door is closed tight. If your oven is higher from the floor than mine, use a longer handle.

And with this handy fixer-of-oven-doors little trick, I managed to produce my New York City Cheesecake for you. I thought it fitting as we’re coming up to the festive season and there’s always cheesecake in the festive season. Plus Kate in 12 Days at Silver Bells House flew in from New York so she’d know all about their cheesecake. I’ve tested a few different recipes over the years, dabbling with quantities et cetera and this one is perfect. Enjoy!

New York City Cheesecake

New York cheesecake straight from the oven

For the Base

¾ cup of crushed gingernut biscuits

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (plus ½ a teaspoon extra for coating cake tin)

For the Filling

1 cup castor sugar

2 tablespoons cornflour

5 x 250g packets of Philadelphia cream cheese (yes – 5! Pointless using ‘light’ version at this stage)

2 x large eggs (size 7)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

½ cup thickened cream

Directions

Heat oven to 180F

Coat 22cm (8 inch) springform cake tin with some of the melted butter

Mix crushed gingernut biscuits and melted butter together.

Press into base of the springform cake tin.

Filling:

  1. Mix castor sugar and cornflour in large bowl.
  2. Add cream cheese and beat with electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla essence until just mixed.
  4. Add thickened cream and blend in slowly
  5. Pour into prepared springform cake tin

Bake for 55 minutes.

Slice of Jennie Jones's New York CheesecakeNOTE: cheesecake will be lightly or perhaps darkly browned and still wobbly in the centre.

Cool in cake tin on a wire cake rack for about 1 ½ hours. The cheesecake will completely ‘set’ in this time. (If not – oops.)

Run a knife around the edge of the cake tin to slightly loosen the sides of the cheesecake.

Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours before removing from cake tin and devouring.

Thanks for having me over, Cathryn! I feel positively famous now that I’m a Friday Feaster.

 

Ha ha! You were famous well before Friday Feast, Jennie!

I have a terrible hankering for cheesecake now. That one sounds so luscious, as it should be with FIVE packets of cream cheese in it. Ah well, no good doing things by halves I say!

Now, because Jennie is totally wonderful and generous and loves you all so much, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

For not just one book, but two!

Yes, my creamy little Feasters, there are TWO ebook copies of 12 Days at Silver Bells House up for grabs. Isn’t that wonderful?

Naturally, you’ll have to work for your chance to enter the giveaway and by work we mean answering an easy-peasy question in the comments.

So… What would be your dream cheesecake topping? Feel free to be as inventive as you like. The fanciest answer will win.

My immediate thought? Melted Mars Bars. Which is weird because I’m not really a fan of Mars Bars. Either that or traditional blueberry.

What about you? What cheesecake topping makes you all dreamy and gooey? Share and you’ll be in the chance to win and ebook copy of 12 Days at Silver Bells House!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 21st October 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Jennie and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @JennieJRomance and Goodreads.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Laura and Melissa who have both scored ebook copies of Jennie’s upcoming release, 12 Days at Silver Bells House. Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun. With so many beautiful (FATTENING!) topping suggestions it was very hard to pick winners. What super creative people you are!

FRIDAY FEAST with Kate Belle

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Hello Feasters! I’m super excited because today we have the author of one of the best reads of the year on the blog.

But before I get into rave-land, let’s have some Sydney Swans news. Oh, my darling boys are really giving it to them now. Last Saturday we shorted out ladder leaders Port Power in a magnificent display of footy wizardry, leaving us still nicely perched at third. Rah! Speaking of nicely perched, in Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news, Jim and I combined well inAuthor Kate Belle the first round of our club’s Foursomes Championships to be sitting as the nett leaders. Can we hang on to win? Stay tuned!

Now on to today’s guest.

Kate Belle took many of us on a trip down memory lane with her debut novel, The Yearning, a read I enjoyed immensely. So when her publicist contacted me with an offer of a review copy of her second novel, Being Jade, I leapt at it. What a story! What writing! From the opening page I was mesmerised. Being Jade was fascinating and heartbreaking and so much more.

Seriously, you have to read it.

BEING JADE

Being Jade by Kate BelleA tragic death. A family divided. One truth can set them free.

Banjo Murphy is killed on the night he finally musters the courage to walk away from his wife Jade after twenty five years of repeated infidelities. In the aftermath, Banjo is bewildered to discover he still exists, but death has placed an invisible wall between him and his beloved family. In despair he watches Jade collapse into deep depression and his daughters, Lissy and Cassandra, struggle with their unexpected loss.

Lissy is tortured by guilt and the mysteries surrounding her father’s death. What compelled Banjo to leave the night he died? Why won’t Jade speak about what happened? In spite of their volatile relationship, Lissy believes her parents’ love to be enduring, but sensible Cassandra sees things differently. When Cassy discovers a sketch book chronicling Jade’s extra-marital affairs, the truth of their parents’ relationship begins to unfold and Lissy’s loyalties are divided.

Searching for answers, Lissy contacts Jade’s ex-lovers, unaware her father’s spirit watches as they visit. Unable to let go of his one true love, he aches to know that Jade loved him above all others. Banjo is taken on a journey of discovery through Jade’s memories as the lovers unveil long hidden secrets about her affairs. But the mystery remains, frustrating Banjo and Lissy, until Lissy’s questioning leads her to an explosive truth. One that will finally set her family free.

Did I mention you should read this book? You should. Like, really. Which means you’ll need to buy it and you can do that right now with a quick trip to your favourite book store or a few clickety-clicks of your mouse.

For the paperback try Booktopia, Bookworld, Dymocks, Angus & Robertson, QBD The Bookshop, Boomerang Books, Fishpond, Collins Booksellers or your local independent. For the ebook, try Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, or JB Hi-Fi.

Still not sure? Read the opening chapter. You’ll be hooked I promise!

Now please give Kate a big Feasty welcome and enjoy!

Instant Human – Just Add Coffee…

Hi Cathryn and readers – thanks for having me back on Friday Feast.

When I visited last year I gave you the Big Effort High Reward Heirloom Recipe – Great Auntiecoffee meme 1 - resized Flo’s Christmas Pudding. This required significant time, a fair bit of alcohol (both in the recipe and cook) and sticky hands. I thought I’d take it a bit easier on you this time around by sharing one of my FAVOURITE combinations in the whole world – caffeine and cake.

I’m a bona fide coffee addict. If I don’t have my coffee by about 11am I find it difficult to speak. I’m dependent on that early morning caffiene shot to function. I also have a penchant for desserts. Cakes, pastries, puddings, tarts – I’m not too fussed as long as it’s full of carbohydrate and sugar. But the very, very best in life is when the two are combined.

coffe meme 2I used to work in Melbourne CBD, at the Paris end, and discovered the Treasury Cafe nestled beneath the treasury building near Parliament. When I first walked in I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. A loooong glass counter laden with every kind of cake, tart, pudding, pastry you could imagine. Glazed apricot and cherry Danishes shone under the light of the counter, clouds of cream topped jam lamingtons the size of a man’s palm, summer yellow custard tarts, glorious wedges of dark chocolate mud cake and butterscotch fudge dripped over fluffy sticky date puddings. My mouth waters at the memory.

More often than not I left empty handed only because I couldn’t choose which sweet morsel to indulge in.coffee meme 3

Inspired by Treasury Cafe’s dessert cabinet, I went through a period of frenzied baking and rediscovered a promotional Nescafe coffee table recipe book I’d won years ago featuring – yep, you guessed it – coffee desserts. I have a few favourites in this book but nothing quite beats the cappuccino cheesecake. The recipe calls for instant coffee but I say Pfft to that! Brewed coffee is the only coffee worthy of a good dessert, so I amended the recipe to make sure the end result had the kick I looked for in this gorgeous cappuccino cheesecake.

Cappuccino Cheesecake

Cappuccino Cheesecake

Before you begin, brew yourself some fresh coffee, pour a cup and leave the rest to cool while you read your copy of Being Jade (like how I slipped that in??). Oh, and leave 500g of cream cheese on the bench to come to room temperature. If you’re able to stop after a couple of chapters you’ll need to head to the kitchen and find ingredients for the cheesecake crust:

•             100g mild-coffee biscuits

•             75g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

•             ¼ cup (70g) packed dark brown sugar

•             A pinch of nutmeg

•             40g hot, melted unsalted butter

To make the crust finely grind the biscuits (I use my mother’s method – chuck them in an empty cereal bag and beat them to death with a rolling pin). Mix in the chopped chocolate, brown sugar and nutmeg then bind it all together with the melted butter until the crumbs stick together. Press the mixture into the base of a 19cm springform pan, flattening it with the bottom of a glass. Put the pan in the fridge for 20 -30 minutes.

Pick up your book and read just a couple more pages…

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees then get to phase 1 of the filling:

•             500g low fat cream cheese (or be brave and go full fat if you want the full flavour!)

•             ½ cup sugar

•             1 tablespoon plain flour

•             ¼ cup strong brewed coffee (for real caffeine addicts you can also add 1 tablespoon of finely ground coffee – YEAH!)

•             1 teaspoon vanilla extract

•             2 large eggs

Blend cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Beat in flour, then add brewed coffee, ground coffee (if you dare), and vanilla until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time, make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture is smooth.

Pour filling over the cooled crust, place the cheesecake on a tray covered with a baking sheet and put in the middle of the oven to cook 45 minutes until the top is browning, puffed and cracking at the edges. Take it out to cool for 15 minutes, but leave the oven on while you make the frothy cappuccino topping.

Topping:Cappuccino Cheesecake

•             ¾ cup light sour cream (I reckon full fat’s better)

•             1 tablespoon sugar

•             1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk the ingredients together in a medium bowl and pour over warm cheesecake, spreading to cover it completely. Bake until the topping is set, about 10 minutes.

You could probably squeeze in a few more pages here.

Cover the baked cheesecake with gladwrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Before serving (with brewed coffee, of course!) shave a little dark chocolate over the top to decorate. Devour as you finish off Being Jade –  or, if you’re feeling more generous, share it with friends over afternoon tea or dinner and watch how animated your guests become after they’ve eaten it!

GIVEAWAY! 

Oh, Kate, that sounds divine! Hard to go past good cheesecake. Hard to go past good coffee too. And this combines them in one. Bliss!

Okay, my Feasty lovelies, for your chance to win a signed copy of Being Jade, what’s your favourite bit of cheesiness? I’m going to get a bit “out there” and suggest this song from the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. Teo from Belarus singing… Cheesecake. Ha!

But perhaps you’ll be more traditional and suggest a slice of brie, the tv show Happy Days or even a spot of dad dancing. Whatever your fancy, cheese away and you could WIN!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, AEST 24th June 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Kate and her fabulous books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using the handle @ecstasyfiles, Goodreads and The Reading Room.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Sue who has won a copy of Kate’s brilliant new novel, Being Jade. Thanks to everyone for getting cheesy with us. Hope to see you again soon!