No-Bake Peanut Butter Oreo Cheesecake

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Bake or no-bake?

Peanut butter oreo cookies

I can't believe I survived without having an oven for 9 whole months! And FYI, I'm still ovenless. I was cracking my head thinking of what to bring to a friend's BBQ party when he requested a dessert. I suggested potato salad or marinated meat but he insisted on a dessert. Ice-cream? It won't survive the heat. Jelly? Not my thing. Trifle? Too much cream and too much work. So, I settled for a classic no-bake cheesecake. Boring, I know. But I came across these peanut butter oreos that I just couldn't resist while doing my grocery shopping. So instead of plain old boring classic cheesecake, I came up with this peanut butter oreo cheesecake. I added more peanut butter into crust and it was so yummy!!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oreo Cheesecake

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oreo Cheesecake

Printable recipe
By Pig Pig's Corner

Prep time: 20 mins
Set time: 6 hrs-overnight
Yield: 8-inch cake


Ingredients:
For peanut butter crust:
  • 15 pieces McVitie's Digestives - smashed into fine crumbs
  • 50 g butter
  • 60 g peanut butter
For cheesecake batter:
  • 15 pieces peanut butter oreo cookies - broken into smaller pieces
  • 300 ml heavy cream
  • 250 g Philadelphia cream cheese - softened
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
For peanut butter crust:
  • Place butter and peanut butter into a small bowl, microwave until melted (20s pulse and check).
  • Combine digestives crumbs and melted peanut butter.
  • Press into the bottom as well as the sides of the pan and place into the freezer while you prepare the cheesecake batter.
For cheesecake batter:
  • Beat heavy cream until medium peaks form. Set aside.
  • Beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla exract until smooth.
  • Add cream cheese mixture to heavy cream and beat until incorporated.
  • Gently fold in oreo cookies.
  • Pour creamcheese batter into the prepared pan and leave to chill in the fridge overnight or until set.
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In the (cake) club

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Lemon Rose Cake with Strawberry Gelée 2
Guest blogger Tamsin McCahill of Brighton Hobby Project on the rise and rise of the cake club – a home baking craze that’s sweeping the nation.

Clutching a huge Tupperware box, I crept through a cobbled mews at dusk, searching for a top secret location. My heart was racing. I didn’t know who – or what – I’d find when I got there.

No, I’m not a spy on a secret mission (although I did feel a bit like one). In the box was a banoffee Victoria sponge (my daring twist on the original). I’d lovingly prepared it that afternoon – and I was trying to find the location of a mysterious-sounding cake club, the address of which had appeared in my inbox just the day before.

With the popularity of programmes such as The Great British Bake Off, baking is now enjoying a huge revival. According to the Daily Mail, Lakeland’s sales of cake tins and icing bags rose by a third last year.

But while home baking is fun, it can be a bit of a solitary pastime. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could share the fruits of your labour with other enthusiastic home bakers, swapping recipes, enjoying each other’s company and sampling some buttercream-filled experiments?

That’s where the idea of the cake club was born. With names designed to add a bit of drama and intrigue to proceedings, such as The Secret Tea Room and the Clandestine Cake Club, these gatherings are springing up all round the country and everyone is welcome to join. All you need to bring is a cake – and perhaps some loose fitting trousers.

How it works
You can either go to an existing event like I did, or start your own. For example, do a search on the Clandestine Cake Club website to see if there’s a branch in your area. If not, the organisers will provide you with a template so that your meeting follows the same format. 

The cake club I attended was held in a beautiful gallery, and its leader not only supplied tea, she’d also brought a few bottles of Prosecco, which helped to give the proceedings an air of celebration.

There were about eight of us who’d made cakes (and some cake-loving supporters who were just there to sample) and, although it was made very clear that it wasn’t a competition, I think we all secretly judged. My unofficial winner was a lovely pistachio and rose water sponge. 

My fellow bakers were full of knowledge about recipes and I learned a lot about the latest wrist-saving home baking devices I should buy. But did I learn anything else? Oh yes. It turns out that after consuming eight slices, a phenomenon known among us bakers as ‘the cake sweats’ sets in. And the next day I had what can only be described as a cake hangover.

What you need
Although you can make tasty cakes with just a bowl and wooden spoon, baking can be a bit more enjoyable if you have a few pieces of equipment, such as food mixers and the right kind of tins. One way to help spread the initial cost could be by credit card, especially if you've got a card that offers a 0 per cent period on purchases or offers rewards as you spend. Just remember that if you don’t clear the balance outside the introductory period, you will be charged interest.

This is a sponsored post by Sainsbury's.
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Meatloaf with Roasted Garlic

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Garlic...

garlic

is BEST roasted!

Meatloaf with Roasted Garlic

It loses the spicy sharp taste after roasting and what you get is this caramelised, sweet, buttery and tasty warm mash. Simply spread it on toasted bread and enjoy or add it to anything as flavouring.

Meatloaf with Roasted Garlic

Printable recipe
By Pig Pig's Corner

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 2 hrs


Ingredients:
  • 1 whole bulb garlic
  • 250 g minced beef
  • 250 g minced pork
  • 150 g bacon - coarsely chopped
  • 5 shallots - minced
  • 15 g chives
  • 15 g fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tbs sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp freshly ground peppercorn
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
    Topping:
  • 1 tbs tomato sauce
  • 1 tbs BBQ sauce

Directions:
  • Cut the top part of the garlic. Rub oil all over the garlic and wrap it in foil. Roast in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for 45 mins to 1 hr until soft and golden brown.
  • Fry bacon in a hot pan until browned and crispy. Set aside for later use.
  • Add shallots and fry until softened.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add together all the ingredients except for the egg and panko breadcrumbs. Squeeze out the garlic flesh into the mixture. Mix all ingredients with a fork until just mixed. Try not to overmix the mixture.
  • Add egg and panko, mix again with a fork.
  • Pour and press the mixture into a lightly greased loaf pan. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 30 mins or until browned and cooked through.
  • While meatloaf is baking, mix together the ingredients for topping in a small bowl. Brush this onto the top of the meatloaf after 30 mins and continue baking for a further 15-30 mins until cooked through.
  • Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 mins before serving.
Note:
If you are using 2 small loaf tins, the total cooking time takes only 30 mins, so brush the topping after 15 mins and continue baking for a further 15 mins.
Meatloaf with Roasted Garlic
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Dinner* by Heston Blumenthal

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Heston Blumenthal, of Fat Duck fame, had opened a restaurant in central London, rather oddly named Dinner. This is undoubtedly old news to many, but sadly, we had left the UK before we had a chance to try this out and I had just assumed we missed the boat. Amazingly however, we managed to get a dinner reservation on our trip back to UK for the PigPig’s convocation.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Housed in the ground floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, the interior décor of Dinner is surprisingly chilled and laid-back. A lively hubbub in the air gave a more relaxed atmosphere than other more stuffy Michelin starred establishments.

The bread was unremarkable and not warmed, although the butter was actually very good.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal bread

It’s also worth just briefly mentioning that the menu is quite interesting; behind each page is a short blurb regarding the history of each dish. Likewise, a little “ribbon” that held the menu closed has more foodie trivia on its inside.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal menu

Meat Fruit. Obviously, it doesn't look as if it contains any meat and even upon close scrutiny, looks very much like a mandarin orange. Luckily, we knew someone who has experience as a chef in the Fat Duck and offered a brief insight into this beautiful creation: it has a 60:40 mix of foie gras to chicken liver; a reduction of Marsala wine; mandarin gelee forms the outer shell. Taste wise, it was an incredibly rich liver mousse with a rather sweet background, while the jelly shell helps negate the need for the usual jam/conserve to go with the rich meaty liver. Absolutely exquisite.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal meat fruit

Buttered Crab Loaf. The bread was rather unique (weird and odd being other adjectives in my head), more akin to a savoury sponge cake. The crab mixture was complicated, with pickled lemon, herring roe and cucumber, none of them particularly overpowering and melding together into a crabby little mix.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal crab

Powdered Duck. The duck breast slices were cooked perfectly pink and tender. We were all a bit confused regarding the powder element but a brief chat with a staff revealed that the term powder actually means brine; the duck was brined in a solution including cinnamon, star anise and ginger. Finely sliced fennel provided a nice aromatic crunch. Small pieces of kidney was actually very nice, slightly chewier from the breast, without being too gamey.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal duck

Spiced Pigeon. Slightly on the gamey side, the pigeon had a richer ale-based sauce to go with it. Baby artichokes helped to cut through the richness of the dish. Personally, I thought this dish was very tasty; in fact it is slightly under-seasoned compared to the duck but imperceptible unless you have eaten the duck first, on its own it tastes perfectly fine.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal pigeon

Before desserts were given out, a complimentary pre-dessert was presented; a little cup of chocolate mousse infused with earl grey flavour. It was actually a very nice combination between the rich dense chocolate and the somewhat more delicate tea. The wafer on the other hand wasn't terribly exciting and my attempts to use it to dig out the mousse merely shortened it's length several times.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal chocolate

Tipsy Cake. This signature dish takes 30 minutes to prepare so we actually ordered it with the savouries to help cut down waiting time. The cake in the little pot was light and swimming in a pool of pineapple based jam, which actually was quite light in terms of pineapple flavour. However, on the side were a few pieces of pineapple which had been spit-roasted on a rotisserie.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal tipsy cake

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal pineapple

Quaking Pudding. We had this dish before in Hinds Head and gleefully ordered it again. The dish was deliberately jerked slightly upon presentation to the table to set it wobbling away. It was actually very light on the tongue with a pear and cinnamon aroma, reminding me of a spiced wine. My only complaint is that it should be bigger.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal quaking pudding

Chocolate Bar. I'm sure I'm missing something to this plate, as it seemed far too ordinary to belong to this menu. To me, it was just a slab of rich chocolate with a rather refreshing ginger ice cream to go with it

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal chocolate

Brown Bread Ice Cream. This one tasted rather weird, and not in a good way that one associates with Heston. Perhaps it was the salted butter caramel that threw me off.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal brown bread ice cream

Basically, this was a much more straightforward approach to food by the brains behind the molecular gastronomy at the Fat Duck. Yet, I’m sure it is by no means a simple affair and indubitably, much more technique went into the preparation of each dish than we can appreciate. In terms of the end results, in simple terms, the food was overall absolutely delicious.

Best bit: the meat fruit. Quite simply the best tasting foie gras mousse both of us have ever had.
Worst bit: the knowledge that the best starter I’ve had in the past couple of years is 7 timezones away. Malaysia or Singapore just doesn’t really have anything comparable.


Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
66 Knightsbridge,
London
SW1X 7LA
Tel: +44(020) 7201 3833
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal on Urbanspoon
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Durian Ice-Cream

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Durian is everywhere again!

Durian

I'm guessing it is one of the most fattening fruits you can find since its flesh is so thick and creamy. But I just can't seem enough of it! So instead of double cream, I used cornstarch to thicken the ice-cream mixture. It was Y.U.M. Nuf said.

Durian Ice-Cream

Durian Ice-Cream

Printable recipe
By Pig Pig's Corner

Prep time: 15 mins
Chill time: Overnight
Churn time: 25 mins
Yield: 3 cups


Ingredients:
  • 250 g durian flesh
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs corn starch
Directions:
  • Blend durian flesh and 1/4 cup of milk until a smooth paste is formed.
  • Heat up 1 1/2 cups of milk and sugar in a saucepan.
  • In another small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of milk and corn starch. Add this mixture to heated milk. Let this simmer for about 3 mins. Keep stirring.
  • Remove mixture from heat and stir in durian mixture.
  • Leave mixture to cool then refrigerate overnight.
  • Freeze it in the ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
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