Sunday, 28 August 2016

Salted Chocolate Cheesecake Bites



I just wanted a bit of something decadent and these came to mind. I created a half batch but it can easily be doubled. You can freeze them for a perfect frozen bite when you get a hankering for a little something!...OK maybe you might want 2!

What you need:

Small Batch


  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese - room temperature
  • 1 egg - room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (or pure extract- the paste is worth looking for!)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
Crust
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tbsp melted unsalted butter 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar (or just regular sugar)
  • pinch of salt
*use a loaf pan used for baking a loaf of bread
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Full Batch
  • 2 8 oz packages of cream cheese - room temperature
  • 2 eggs - room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 2 heaping tbsp vanilla sugar
  • pinch of salt
*use a small brownie pan 7 x 11 or 8 x 8 square pan

  • 1 4 oz bar of dark chocolate (or 2 for full batch)
  • 1 tsp of coconut oil (or 2 for the full batch)
  • Maldon sea salt


Heat oven to 325 degrees F 


Step 1: in a stand mixer place softened cream cheese - using the paddle attachment mix for a minute, then scrape the paddle and bowl to mix well and avoid lumps.

Step 2: add sugar and mix again for another minute, then scrape down bowl and paddle to avoid lumps. Add eggs, vanilla paste and cornstarch and mix again for 3 minutes -scraping  once to make sure it is a smooth mixture.


Step 3: in a large bowl add graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and pinch of salt. Mix with a wooden spoon.


Step 4: place parchment paper in the pan so that there is an overhang as you will be lifting the baked cheesecake out and onto a cutting board to slice. Press crust mix into the pan in an even layer.


Step 5: Pour cheesecake mix over crust and bake 30-35 minutes or until the centre is slightly wobbly - the parameter  will puff and get slightly browned. The centre should be only slightly wobbly - no longer liquid.


Step 6: let cool, then slice into small squares, mine were 1 inch approx. If you want to cut off the uneven edges you slices will be perfect. Use a large knife dipped in hot water and then dried on a tea towel -for each smooth cut. Place separated squares on a cookie rack over a sheet pan to scrape up extra chocolate.



Step 7: Melt dark chocolate bar or two (small batch big batch!) and 1 or 2 tsp of coconut oil - you can use a double boiler to melt chocolate or just do it in a microwave in 20 second increments until melted.


Step 8: pour slowly over the squares to coat as much as you like -reusing the excess. Let set for 20 minutes or so and then add a sprinkle of flaked sea salt. You can keep in the fridge or freeze them for a frozen 1 bite treat.


OK, I might just need 1 more!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Filipino Chicken Adobo


 My pal Dan was talking about his favorite foods from the Philippines and Chicken Adobo came up in the conversation! I said "I have never made Chicken Adobo!" His eyes lit up and he described the sweet, sour and rich tastes he remembered growing up. I said "I have to make that!" 

So this one was made with love for Dan! and of course Big Pete! 

This is slow simmered until it thickens and gets all dark and wonderful. It is sweet, sour and tangy. Served piping hot over fragrant Jasmine rice, I promise you will love it!

You will need:
  • 8-10 organic chicken thighs 
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic -chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tsp crushed peppercorns
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes (crushed or pieces)
  • 1 small onion
  • scallions or onion sprouts to serve
  • your favorite rice - I like Jasmine
  • 1 small pork tenderloin chopped in large slices(optional for a Pork & Chicken Adobo version - if you prefer!)


Step 1: I like to clean off some of the big pieces of fat on the thighs and then I cut them in half or quarters. Place in a large bowl.


Step 2: take an onion and lots of garlic and mince finely. This will just disappear in the sauce. Add to chicken. 


Step 3: add your cider (or white) vinegar and soy to the bowl.


Step 4: add the palm sugar or brown sugar if you don't have palm (you can find it in any good grocery store or health food store)


Step 5: you can add canned tomatoes but I had fresh seasonal so I just did a rough chop and threw them in the food processor. Add to the bowl. Add the cracked peppercorns - don't worry you can add lots!


Step 6: marinate for a few hours or overnight.


Step 7: OPTIONAL* you can  also add some pork tenderloin but, I do not add until the last 1/2 hour of cooking. I have chopped into similar sized pieces as the chicken and you can add some of the sauce to it to marinate before adding to the pot.


Step 8: add to a large heavy pot - this is when I bring out the heavy enamelled cast iron Le Crueset.(they are worth every penny by the way!) Turn on medium heat, let come to a boil and then just lower to a steady blip for 3 hours or until the sauce is reduced and the chicken is tender. If you are adding the pork add it in the last 15- 30 minutes because the meat is so tender.


It gets all thick and dark caramelly brown!! My mouth is watering just looking at this picture.


Serve over Jasmine rice and a few onion sprouts or scallions to make it pretty!

The boy could hardly wait to eat a big bowl of it! Big Pete approved!!

I hope Dan liked it too!!