Over the past week or so I have had a sneaking suspicion about something that today was proven to be irrefutably true, and that is that I have somehow invoked the wrath of the cooking Gods.
It started with the weekend pasta dish for which I made a lovely white wine and cream sauce and invited two of my favourite ingredients, prawns and broccolini (who can resist mini-me vegetables?) to the party. It was looking awfully promising until I overcooked the pasta, resulting in a nice dinner where there should have been a really, really nice dinner.
Then there were my experiments in the realm of low-fructose baking. Now, my forays into unchartered cooking territory don’t always result in applause but I have to say my adventures over the last couple of days well and truly take the cake (pun totally intended) as far as kitchen mishaps go.
Fuelled by my last success with citrus cake, I decided to try my hand at the lemon and poppy seed loaf…… using dextrose instead of sugar. Suffice it to say that I must’ve truly taken my frustrations out on the unsuspecting batter while mixing, as it absolutely refused to rise. It still tasted reasonable and the funny synthetic smell imparted by the dextrose that I dusted it with distracted only slightly from the otherwise enjoyable crumb.
Thus was my first lesson in what NOT to do with dextrose.
Don’t worry citrus and poppy seed lovers, that one remains a work in progress.
The jewel in my crappy cooking week crown was the simple cheesecake recipe I road-tested that turned out to be simply disastrous. With the look, texture and taste of plastic, this creation was not even a face it’s mother could love. Alarm bells did go off when I was able to peel the cheesecake off its base in one piece, but taste it I did and what a waste of taste-bud labour that it was. So peeled, I dumped and I moved on with a determination to make something, something this week that was worth the ingredients it was made of.
Finally, there was a breakthrough. A spark of yum in an otherwise ugh week.
What I have for you today hopefully symbolises the end of the week of colossal disasters. Tiny little savoury cheesecakes (again with the mini things!) with a buttery base that really pack a punch. A simple recipe, but tasty and would work well for a substantial snack or an appetiser for a dinner party. Or in my case, a couple of these for breakfast and I was all set for the morning.
These little savoury cheesecakes are totally adaptable- you could throw in some bacon, spinach, whole walnuts or most anything else that floats your boat. If you have little ones that like to dabble in the kitchen, this would be a great recipe for them to try, as long as you handle the oven side of things.
So enjoy, while I go off to negotiate with whoever up there is in charge of allowing me to cook edible things.
PS: Less than a week left to vote for my post on Cherry Lassi in the SA Writers Centre Food Bloggers Writing Competition! Click here to be redirected to the voting page. There’s a chance to will a $100 voucher through the SAWC as well as my eternal gratitude in it for those who vote!
Goat’s cheese and Ricotta Mini Cheesecakes
Modified from Simply Heaven, a Kraft Philadelphia Cookbook
For the base:
1/4 cup walnuts, ground
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Generous pinch salt
15g butter, melted
For the cheesecake layer:
115g Goats Cheese
100g Ricotta cheese or cream cheese
1 small red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
Small handful fresh herbs, finely chopped- parsely, chives and dill work well
1/4 red capsicum, finely diced to sprinkle on top
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Combine the cheeses, chilli, salt, paprika and herbs in a bowl and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly to a smooth mixture.
For the base, combine ingredients and mix well.
Grease and line 6 cups of a muffin tin with muffin liners or baking paper. If not using liners, just grease the cups. I prefer to use liners as this minimises the mess!
Divide the base mixture between the cups and press down evenly. Divide the cheesecake mixture between the cups and even out a little with a spoon. Sprinkle the diced red capsicum over the top of the cheesecakes.
Bake for 15 mins on the middle shelf. The cheesecakes will be slightly soft in the middle when baked, but will firm up on cooling.