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“There is only baked cheesecake, everything else is pudding”.

Invited out for dinner and asked to bring dessert I decided to reprise the “classic cheesecake” I used to bake in my old café days. This really is a great cheesecake. On receipt of this cake my friend said “ Oh wow is it a baked cheesecake”. To which I replied, “There is only baked cheesecake, everything else is pudding”.

Cheesecake is a staple of the European Jewish repertoire, along with blintzes, nudel kugel, high cholesterol and heart disease. And while the fridge versions may be tasty and certainly quick, they aren’t really cakes, because cakes, as we know, are baked.DSC04923 2

My childhood in Sydney was enhanced by the fact that my one of my father’s customers had a fabulous patisserie in Kings Cross, the Croissant D’Or – and it still exists, though who runs it I don’t know. One or the other of my brothers would deliver orders to him, and it always seemed to be on a Friday afternoon. My dad never charged for this service but Karl Schader always handed over a cheesecake for the Shabbbos (Sabbath) table.

I’m not going to claim that mine is as good as Mr Schader’s – nothing will ever taste as good as such a memory, but this is a recipe for a very fine “classic” cheesecake. I have just popped cheesecake MK 2 (gluten free) in the oven for a special friend and coeliac sufferer. Just substituted gluten free flour and made the base with GF rice cookies.

GF Version
GF Version

So if you want to throw caution to the winds and eat likes it’s 1970, this is for you.

This recipe came without a base – a very basic cheesecake but I make a base with biscuits, Marie or arrowroot:

In a food processor blend ½ packet plain biscuit with 1 T butter.

I use a spring-form baking pan – and just press the mixture down evenly with your knuckles.

Beat:

225 g cream cheese

225g ricotta cheese

2 lg eggs

½ cup white sugar

till very smooth

Add:

2T melted butter

1 ½ T sifted SR flour

1 ½ T cornflour

1t vanilla essence

Best till smooth then fold in

1 cup sour cream

Pour it onto the base – don’t grease the tin – into preheated oven @ 160°

Bake for about an hour till golden.

Then turn the oven off and leave it in there for 2 hours.

Remove it and when cool it goes in the fridge – and don’t worry about any cracks that appear – part of the charm (although the ones from the Croissant D’Or weren’t split.

I recommend eating this as is – whipped cream is always nice but is it too much? I think so. Now all you need is a good cup of coffee to go with it – oh Vienna!!

 

 

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Barley Soup for David

I should be sharing the joys of my week in tropical Darwin, but it’s cold and raining and I’ve just had a great chat with my brother regarding soup. His household in the cold Blue Mountains have feasted on a batch of homemade minestrone for some days. He suddenly realised that soup had been a missing ingredient in his past life.

No, I don’t believe Mothers should be the only providers of nurture, but his ex did have “domestic goddess” aspirations, unfortunately they did not extend to comfort food. So when I told David I’d just made barley soup he requested the recipe. My barley soup tastes somewhat like my mother’s, except that being a lazy baby boomer if I make a pot of barley soup, that’s dinner. Not for my Mum who regularly provided three course dinners, midweek, and yes, she went out to work. Here she is with her grandchildren and one great grandchild – she’s looking pretty good from 90 years of homemade soup, as are her descendants.

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So, some years ago, driven by nostalgia I figured this would work – and it does, though I doubt Mum used lamb shanks, though they were so cheap back in the day, damn our new found cosmopolitanism! Back then my father couldn’t give away the massive tuna he caught. But those were the days, when men were men and squid was bait.

Now be warned I have no accurate measurements for this soup– only estimates and you will add or subtract whatever you do or don’t like, beef bones can be used instead of lamb, but for me the soup should be thick with cabbage. I blame it on my Eastern European ancestry but recognise that not everyone likes cabbage.

In a large pot sauté:

Olive oil as needed (not that my Mum would have used olive oil)

A few bay leaves

2 lamb shanks

1 large chopped onion

2 cloves chopped garlic

*½ large diced capsicum

*2 celery sticks finely sliced

then add

2T ground coriander

2t ground paprika

Then add ¾ cup of barley that has been soaking at least 2 hours

Cover with water or stock of your choice and ½ cup of wine.

Add 2 diced carrots

*2 diced potatoes

Bring to the boil reduce to simmer and cook for approx. 2 hours till barley is tender and lamb is falling from the bone.

At this point I season with salt and pepper.

Finally I add half a coarsely chopped cabbage, I like big hunks and just submerge it in the soup till cooked through, I like to keep the crunch.

You may remove the lamb from the bone if you like or provide a shank in bowl, obviously more shanks can be used.

Enjoy.

*these are optional and to taste, any vegetable can be used really but I try and avoid cauliflower when using cabbage, because sometimes you can have too much roughage!