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Tag Archives: strawberries

Eat Your Strawberry Cheesecake, Fool

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Cheesecake. It’s bloody great isn’t it? As sweet foods go, it’s up there with chocolate, ice cream and brownies. The best of the best. I’ve made it my mission to eat cheesecake as frequently as possible, trying new flavours and textures, selflessly sacrificing those size 10 jeans in order to find the perfect one, one that could go head to head with the – so far- triumphant banana cream cheesecake currently residing at The Cheesecake Factory. Kate Moss once said that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. Clearly she’s never had cheesecake. What a sorry existence.

Loving cheesecake as I do, my excitement levels for our trip to New York is at fever pitch. Sure, sure, New York has super high skyscrapers, a fascinating history, amazing museums, excellent nightlife and the best shopping in the world. Blah blah blah. But it also created the perfection that is the New York Cheesecake. I’m not saying that the biggest draw for this trip is the food I’ll be eating, but lets face it, there’s surely nowhere else in the world where you can eat as well as in New York. Chinatown, salt beef and brisket sandwiches, bagels, Michelin starred restaurants, street food carts, BBQ joints, Italian-American food, endless food cultures, coffee obsessions, innovative bakeries, cupcakes galore and of course, cheesecake. I’m going to get fat and I’m going to freaking love it.

Knowing this about me, you can imagine my delight upon finding a recipe in Smitten Kitchen for Strawberry Cheesecake Fool. A new interpretation on two classics – the New York Cheesecake and the English Fool – with a hint of Eton Mess about it, how could I not give it a whirl? As a fellow cheesecake lover this also got the seal of approval from The Boyfriend, never one to turn down a dessert containing strawberries, cream cheese and a buttery biscuit base. It’s a fairly uncomplicated recipe to follow but has a few stages, one involves cooking the strawberries which appalled me until I got a taste of the super juicy strawberries that emerged from the saucepan. The point of cooking them is that you are left with sticky strawberries and a luscious sauce which you then swirl through half the sweetened vanilla cream cheese mixture so you have a beautiful pink mousse which tastes just like a strawberry cheesecake. A very, very good cheesecake. Layer all the different elements (strawberries, vanilla cream cheese, sugary biscuit crumbs and strawberry cream cheese) in whatever glasses you have lying around, top with a fresh strawberry and voila, you have a stunning dessert which tastes amazing. Like all the best cheesecakes, the cheese was light, fluffy and super smooth and actually tasting of the fruit rather than some synthetic version of a strawberry. The sugary biscuit crumbs gave the dessert some texture and crunch, and the strawberries just tasted delicious. A total success on a variation of cheesecake and a great way to use up all those strawberries on the supermarket shelves. And for an English fool heading to New York to eat cheesecake, it was pretty apt.

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Posted by on August 3, 2013 in American, Cooking, Food, Puddings

 

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Pavlova and Pretentiousness

I completely forgot in my last post to mention the delicious strawberry pavlova I made for a friends BBQ on Bank Holiday Monday. It was so good, the meringue was crunchy on the outside and gooey and chewy in the middle, which in my eyes is perfection for meringue. I would like to point out that I’m definitely not sitting here bigging myself up for such wonderful cooking skills, I literally follow the recipe and the end result is 10% down to me and 90% down to the writer of the recipe. Given free reign in the kitchen I come up with disasters, and while there are several things I can cook by heart, without my beloved cookbooks I would be limited to about 5 dishes! The pavlova recipe came from Supper Club by Kerstin Rodgers, which I believe I’ve already told you is a beautiful book with some great food photography (way better than my poor efforts!). The only criticism, and it’s a small one, is that as advised by the book I made a salted caramel to drizzle over the pavlova which could barely be tasted amongst the cream, strawberries and meringues. Pavlova just doesn’t need any fancy drizzles or garnishes, it’s perfect in its purest form, salted caramel needs to find another dish to play with.

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Now onto the pretentiousness. I’ve been watching Great British Menu on BBC One, and while I love it, I have to say that the BBC really should hire me as a fourth judge to give the show some perspective. Some dishes would make me want to throw my plate at the wall and scream “enough of this pretentious shit, bring me some real food in a decent sized portion”. I’d love to see the look on Oliver, Prue and Matthews faces, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be invited back. I’ve nothing at all against fancy Michelin starred food, some of the dishes look amazing and very very tasty. However, I do have a problem with cooking purely to show off, being groundbreaking at the expense of the food, and pointless spherical shapes. I mean, the other week some guy plated up a dish with globules that were bright green, looked like peas, and according to him tasted just like peas as he really wanted to get the essence of peas in to the dish. Call me old fashioned, but may I suggest using actual peas? Instead of going to a huge amount of effort, using chemicals and fancy equipment, just get the best tasting peas you can find. Sure, there’s not a lot of skill in that, but surely the best meals are ones that reflect simple, good ingredients, cooked with passion? Save the skilled work for cooking meat perfectly or making amazing pastry desserts, not making a fake pea. It’s pretentious. And while I’m on the subject, don’t be so stingy with portion size. If I was an Olympic athlete and the BBC were throwing a banquet for me, I’d want to forget the exercise and diet regimen for one day and eat well and plenty. Just a thought. Saying all this, most of the dishes look awesome, and if any of the chefs on Great British Menu are reading, (very unlikely i know) I am more than happy to try your dishes and judge them accordingly!

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Books, Cooking, Food, Puddings

 

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