Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nothing like a little cheese to put a smile on my face!

The other day I received a beautiful gift from my gorgeous friend Daniella. She'd gone to visit her parents (Nonno & Nonna) for lunch and on the way she'd stopped off in Haberfeild to pick up her favourite cake and to visit her favourite cheese shop. 
I'm guessing that when she was in Haberfeild she heard a little voice (me) inside her head asking her questions like, 'What did you have for lunch?' 'Where did you go shopping?' and 'What kind of delicious things did you see?' because when I saw her the very next day she handed me the most beautiful cake and some delicious cheese – my favourite kind of gift!
Well, we demolished the mozzarella  and the cake almost instantly, and we're still going on the Stracchino, which I'm enjoying with a splash of Nolan's Rd olive oil and a sprinkle of salt; but today when I looked inside the fridgetheir was a tub of fresh ricotta saying 'Eat me, eat me'! 
I already had the rhubarb left over from Kevin's (Berry Mountain farm) and so I thought I'd make a Rhubard Cheesecake and share it with Daniella. 
The cake didn't really go to plan but it still tasted delicious and, as you can see from my photo's, it wasn't a complete disaster! Daniella, Max, Wilco, Jemima and her friend Imi all had a piece and loved it, and I'm sure I heard Imi saying how delicious it was as she was devouring it, and I thought it wouldn't appeal to kids!
The texture was kind of like a cheese cake with the tangy, fruity, caramely top...mmmmmm

How to cook the rhubarb:
1 bunch of rhubarb

1/2 cup of sugar 
(I used rapdura sugar because that's all I had left at home)

3 tablespoons of lemoncello

Pre-heat your oven at 180c
First I melted the sugar in a saucepan with the Lemoncello
Then I cleaned and cut up my Rhubarb and placed it in a baking dish. 
Being really careful, I poured the bubbling sugar over the rhubarb  and made sure they were all coated with the sugar and then baked in the oven for 15min
Pour most of the sugar - lemoncello syrup into a saucepan and reduce on low heat while the rhubarb cools
I let it cool to room temp

Whilst that was cooling I made the cheese cake....

Ingredients for the cheesecake:
pre-heat your oven to 180c

500g fresh ricotta

4 egg yolks

50g cup self-raising flour

75g cup sugar

1 tablespoon of grated lemon zest

1 vanilla bean — seeds scraped out

I have this cookbook that I absolutely love it's called Mangia, Mangia (which means, eat eat in italian) they have a really simple ricotta cake so I based my measurements on that and added a few touches of my own.

Throw all your ingredients into your kitchen aid or mixer, whizz it up and your ready to go.

Get your 20cm spring form cake tin or smaller one if you want your cake to be a little denser, line it with baking paper

Assemble the rhubarb down the bottom so the base is covered, add a few spoonfuls of the reduced sugar over the rhubarb and then carefully put your cheese cake mixture over the rhubarb, spread it out and pop in the oven on a baking tray (so it doesn't make a mess) for 30 - 40min 

Don't be alarmed if the toffee leaks out of the bottom of the cake tin.

Once cooked it will be golden, leave it for 15min to cool just slightly before turning it out, run a knife around the edges just incase the sugar has stuck. Then simply put a plate on the cake and flip (the rhubarb should be on top)

I sprinkled a little sugar on top and ripped out my cooks torch (which is a blow torch) kindly bought for me by my mother In-law (any excuse to use it) and melted the sugar, which made the top all crunchy

It really was delicious and I'm sure any fruit would have been delicious on top — not the prettiest cake but definitely tasty!

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

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