baked lemon cheesecake with an almond and hazelnut base

September 28, 2011 § 7 Comments

I think simple is best when it comes to cheesecake. Therefore, not much of an introduction needed, except to say I adapted it from here, avoided all the electrical equipment that makes me dread washing up, filled it with lemon rind and changed the base.

For the base
80 g plain biscuits (plain wafers and arnotts variations work well)
1 1/4 cups mix almonds and hazelnuts
150 g non salted butter

Toast the nuts and crush in a mortar and pestle along with the biscuits. Melt the butter and mix with the nuts and biscuits. Push into a lined and greased 22 cm base springform cake tin. Allow to chill in the fridge for half an hour and in the meantime…

… the filling
500 g cream cheese
300 g sour cream
3/4 cup castor sugar
4 smallish to medium eggs
3 tsp vanilla essence
Rind from 1 1/2 lemons

Note, pull the cream cheese and sour cream out of the fridge a couple of hours early to help it soften.

Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F. Cream together the cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla essence and lemon rind and beat with a hand-mixer until smooth and creamy. Pour onto the base and bake for an hour or until set all the way through. Chill in the fridge et voilà.

Parfaite!! Well except for the little crack. But thats a sure way to tell its homemade.

I can’t help imagining what it might taste like with rosemary, or maybe lavender (not so simple after all)… does that make me strange?

When life hands you lemons: olive oil, lemon and cardamom muffins

May 14, 2011 § 4 Comments

A lemon tree grows outside my bedroom window bushy and tall, almost the height of the house. From my bed I can watch them ripen on the branches too high to reach. And when I can’t contain myself any longer, I head out with a ladder and pull them down. The skin is rich with its lemony oils that fill the house when they are brought inside.

How to make Olive Oil Lemon Cardamom Muffins 

1 1/2 cups castor sugar
1 1/4 cups olive oil
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
3 cups plain flour
1 dessert spoon of baking powder
Zest of 2 lemons
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1 tsp vanilla essence

Pre-heat oven to 170°C. Stir all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until just combined. Cook for 1/2 an hour or until cooked through when tested with a skewer.

zucchini and bacon soup

March 23, 2011 § 5 Comments

Bacon is a treat for me. I rarely purchase it because I worry about how happy those little pigs might have been in their lives. But as much as the well-behaved wholesome environmentalist in me protests, I secretly love bacon. I have tried not to, but the pleasure has remained, pure bacon enjoyment when it is on my plate. So in order to overcome my internal battles, I have justified eating it every now and again, provided its happy bacon.  The bacon I have used in this recipe is biodynamic and free range, which if you are in Melbourne, you can find at Belmore Biodynamic Meats in Thornbury.

Now I also happen to think that a very good place for bacon, possibly even the best, is in soup. In saying that, I  have to admit I have a bit of a soup obsession. It is probably my most favourite food in the whole wide world. If I had to choose just one thing to eat for the rest of my life, it would be soup, no questions asked.

This soup came about because as usual for this time of year there are whale like zucchini’s everywhere. I think the zucchini is balanced nicely with the richness of the bacon and the freshness of the lemon and thyme. You may have begun to notice my love affair with lemon and thyme… if  not, Im sure you soon will, they seem to make their way into a lot of my cooking these days.

Recipe for zucchini and bacon soup
Good splash olive oil
1 large onion diced
4 – 5 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp paprika
zest of 1/2 a lemon
3 – 4 medium-sized potatoes (I used toolangi delights, purple and beautiful)
About 1.2 kg zucchini
1 good tsp good quality vegetable stock
couple of sprigs thyme plus more for garnish
4 free range organic bacon rashers
Juice of half a lemon


In a large saucepan saute the onions and garlic until soft. Add the paprika and lemon zest and stir until fragrant. Add the potatoes, zucchini, stock, salt and pepper. Add enough water to just cover the vegetables. Simmer until the vegetables are nice and soft. Add the thyme, simmer for a tiny bit longer and then blend with a potato masher.  If you have a blender feel free to use that, I don’t have one so i work by hand but I also like the no machine approach of the potato masher because I’m a bit quaint like that.

Slice up the bacon and fry in a pan until browned. Add to the soup along with the fresh lemon juice.

Serve in nice deep bowls and top with a bit more lemon rind and fresh thyme.

Delicious!

Serves 4 big bowls with a bit left over for lunch the next day. Because soup is always better the next day!

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