Category Archives: Nom Noms

We Are… Choc And Cheese

Alright all you sweet-tooth bandits. Anyone who knows me personally can vouch for the fact that I will hurt you if you get in the way of me and my warmed up brownie, served with vanilla ice-cream. That’s no lie.

So imagine my absolute delight when we discovered this taste-bud pleasing cheesecake brownie extravaganza – this is our slightly altered version, but feel free to use the original recipe by Deb at Smitten Kitchen! Not only are these a chocoholic’s crack, they please the cheese lovers too by mixing the best of both worlds. Oh, and they’re so easy to make that my “I don’t bake, I’m a bloke” dad threw them together last week.

The Goods

Brownie Mixture – 220g unsalted butter, 200g dark chocolate, 2 cups brown sugar, 4 large eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 1/3 cups plain flour, Pinch of salt

Cheesecake Mixture – 450g cream cheese, 2/3 cup caster sugar, 2 large egg yolks, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease an 18cm x 28cm rectangular slice pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing the paper to overhang on all sides. To begin the brownie mixture, melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave at 30 second bursts stirring each time, until you have a smooth consistency. Be aware of not overheating and burning. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Set aside.

For the cheesecake mixture, place all ingredients in a bowl and beat together until smooth and creamy.

Spoon the brownie and cheesecake mixtures alternately over the base of the pan. Use a skewer to swirl to create a marble effect.

Bake in oven for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan to cool. Cut into squares to serve.

You will lose your absolute mind when you bite into one of these puppies, I assure you – Derricious is an understatement.

Enjoy… just don’t hate me when your jeans get a lil’ tight haha!

Ness

We Are… Hankering For Summer

Summer in Sydney is an interesting animal. Yes, we have our hurricane-speed winds, driving rain that feels like death itself is attempting to come up under your umbrella and work itself down your back and occasional sub-zero nights where you feel as if you’re going to wake up with frostbite on your nose. Really though, we have such mild winters – last week as I was driving to my local shops to get a coffee I nearly ran up the back of the car in front of me as I desperately peeled off my layers. IT WAS 27 DEGREES!!! In August. Then today, I was rudely awakened by the sun streaming in through the blinds with nary a cloud to hinder it. Skip to lunch time however and it was overcast and dreary – but the baby cheesus be damned, this morning had me hankering for some summer action. I was CRAVING summer but in food form. For me, summer is all about fresh meals, organic produce, beautiful herbs, and meals you can throw together without having to turn on an appliance!

This is my pinnacle of summer eating – a lactose-free version of Insalata Caprese. Don’t fret though – I haven’t lost my mind. I am not attempting to teach you how to make the worlds easiest salad. I just thought I’d share a few pointers on how to achieve optimal deliciousness.

Summer on a Plate

STEP 1 – INGREDIENTS

A typical Insalata Caprese is basically fresh sliced tomato, basil leaves, and sliced buffalo mozzarella – but you already knew that!

All you need

Due to a slightly inconvenient lactose intolerance (only mild), I try to steer clear of cow’s milk as much as possible. Here I used Willowbrae Chevre in place of the mozzarella – its just a soft goats curd, but is deliciously creamy with a tangy finish. I always use fresh vine or truss tomatoes. Use whatever is in season, and organic where possible – you really notice the flavour difference! For optimum flavour, always keep your tomatoes at room temperature. And of course fresh basil leaves. Again, organic is best, but when I hit the local farmers markets I always support local growers. Use the leaves depending on how strong you like your basil – the smaller “baby” leaves will be sweeter and more mild compared to the more bitter and stronger outer leaves. Traditionally an Insalata Caprese is finished with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, and depending on personal tastes perhaps some balsamic vinegar or cracked pepper. I like to use a small drizzle of olive oil, a good helping of fresh cracked pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze – its just a reduction of balsamic vinegar with some sugar to caramelise and thicken the glaze. I generally try to avoid adding extra salt to meals – here I find the cheese adds that element to the salad, but again, its all down to personal taste.

STEP 2 – ASSEMBLE

EASIEST PREPARATION EVER – Slice tomatoes, assemble on plate. Grab basil leaves – TEAR (not cut/slice/snip with scissors) over tomatoes. Scoop cheese onto tomatoes and bail – i got all fancy and made little quenelles, but little dollops of cheese look just as good. Drizzle with desired amount of olive oil/balsamic vinegar/balsamic glaze/cracked pepper/salt. Spend 20 minutes attempting to take a good shot with your iphone camera. ENJOY!

Slice! Tear! Dollop! Season and Enjoy!

Jess