Tag Archives: Dessert

Oysters with Rosé Wine Granita

How many oyster lovers here?

We love oysters, all the three of us, including our 9 year old who started eating raw oysters when he was about 6. And that’s a fact that gets us a lot of attention when we order fresh raw oysters at any restaurant. From the staff to the people dining at neighbouring tables, we get a lot of smiling, curious faces when they see Adi golfing down raw oysters with the happiest grin on his face.

So oysters make a regular appearance in our home when we are in the entertaining mode. Of course we are mindful of how many he eats and we ensure to get our hands on the freshest oysters too (which is important for everyone).

Even though I started writing about Adi’s love for oysters, today’s recipe is not for children. It’s strictly 18+

The idea for this recipe came about when I was sent a bottle of Rameau D’or Cotes De Provence Rosé 2017 as part of a social media project.

Oysters with Rosé Wine Granita - thespiceadventuress.com

From the Provence region in France, this Rosé was a fabulous wine to discover. It was not too sweet unlike many of the Rosés I have had before. Delicious and smooth with hints of delicate spice and Turkish delight/strawberry sorbet sort of flavours, this Rosé was truly a delightful drop.

I enjoyed the Rameau D’or Cotes De Provence Rosé 2017 but still wanted to create a recipe using the wine. And since it was a drop perfect for spring and summer, I came up with the idea of making a granita.

Granita is an ideal summer dessert; it’s simple to make and there are a zillion flavour combinations to choose from. While I have enjoyed the fruit version before, this is the first time I went ahead with a wine based granite.

Oysters with Rosé Wine Granita - thespiceadventuress.com

Granita is believed to have originated in Sicily and it is basically a semi-frozen dessert that is made from fruit or any other flavourings mixed along with sugar and water. A variation of the granita is the Indian gola which is quite popular during the summer months. The difference is that the gola is basically shaved ice onto which the flavourings are poured but in a granita, the flavouring are mixed initially and then allowed to freeze.

Making a granita involves a bit of technicality; you don’t allow the liquid to freeze completely or it just turns to solid ice instead of ice crystals. The liquid is allowed to freeze for a short period of time and as it begins to freeze around the edges, the frozen bits are scraped from the edge towards the centre using a fork creating the crystals. Repeat for a couple of times to get the perfect granita.

This Rosé wine granita is a dessert on its own, a great refreshment after meal for a hot summer day if you don’t want to have any heavy desserts. Or you could pair it with fresh oysters like I did, a really fun and entertaining idea especially if you have friends over.

Oysters with Rosé Wine Granita - thespiceadventuress.com

Oysters with Rosé Wine Granita - thespiceadventuress.com

The same recipe can be followed for other wine varieties too like a Prosecco, Red Wine, Champagne etc…. but you will have to play around with the quantities of lemon juice (I have used verjuice in this recipe) and sugar, both of which are essential when making a wine granita as wine alone does not freeze well.

So let’s make a batch and chill out this summer with a Rosé Wine granita. Pair it with fresh oysters for a delicious starter or finish off your meal with this stunning dessert cocktail.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups Rosé Wine
  2. ¼ cup verjuice (or lemon juice)
  3. ¼ cup raw sugar
  4. ½ cup cold water

Method:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a non reactive bowl and mix till the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Pour into a clean baking tray and place in the freezer for 1 hour.
  3. Remove after 1 hour and scrape from the edges using a fork to form the crystals. Freeze again.
  4. Repeat this every 30 minutes for the next 2 hours.
  5. Granita ready!

Note – The quantities of sugar and lemon juice/verjuice will need to be adjusted according to the flavour profile of the wine. So taste after mixing all the ingredients and adjust levels of lemon juice and sugar.

Oysters with Rosé Wine Granita - thespiceadventuress.com

 

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Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne)

Located along the St Kilda Esplanade, opposite Luna Park and Palais Theatre, Phamish is a food and wine bar serving modern Australian cuisine.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And with Mother’s Day right around the corner, Phamish has collaborated with Bonne Maman to create two special dishes using some of Bonne Maman’s signature conserves. This special event runs exclusively for a week from Monday 7th May to Sunday 13th May.

As I already mentioned, the menu at Phamish is largely modern Australian with some Middle Eastern and Meditteranean influences. Given its location, the space is divided into two; a café style ambience at the front end and a more formal dining space at the back end. Also slightly on the expensive side, but that’s a given with most places situated on The Esplanade.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

It’s the perfect spot to catch up with a friend for a lazy brunch and that’s exactly what I was doing. But it’s also a great spot to visit with family after some thrilling rides at the Luna Ride or for a more formal dinner before heading over to the Palais theatre.

We began our meal with drinks; while my friend chose the cappuccino, I went for a sparkling (not a surprise for those who know me).

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

For starters, we ordered the Semolina Crusted Calamari, served with orange and chilli aioli, rocket and braised leek. The calamari was cooked to perfection, crispy outside but sweet and tender inside. The aioli had loads of flavour and paired well with the calamari. Perfect start to any meal.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And for mains, we got the Mushroom Risotto. It was not the best risotto I have had but still a good and comforting one. A bit more flavour in the broth would have made it a great one. But still a hearty dish especially when the days are chilly.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Finally for dessert, we chose the Bonne Maman Mother’s Day special. There were two signature desserts to choose from and we had the French Crepes filled with Bonne Maman apricot marmalade infused custard, black forest cream, fresh strawberries and pistachio crumb.

Loved the flavour of the marmalade infused custard; never thought of using the Bonne Maman jams this way. The crepes were slightly thicker at the centre so the texture was not the most perfect which we did inform the staff who said they would rectify it at the earliest. The fresh strawberries and pistachio crumb added a lovely texture and overall made the dish a really good one.

Phamish Food and Wine Bar (St Kilda, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

(Bonne Maman has also collaborated with many other cafes and bakeries across Melbourne, so do check out their website for more details. A great way to spend some time and treat your Mom on her special day)

Phamish Food and Wine Bar
30 The Esplanade
St Kilda
Opposite Palais Theatre & Luna Park)

Phone no: (03) 9534 3800
http://phamish.com.au/

Timings:

Monday: 7am-3pm
Tuesday: 7am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-10pm
Wednesday: 7am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-10pm
Thursday: 7am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-10pm
Friday: 7am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-10pm
Saturday: 7am-10pm
Sunday: 7am-10pm

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of Bonne Maman, but the opinions are entirely mine. 

Phamish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Crème Chantilly, Pistachios

This dessert recipe is dedicated to all my readers who are constantly asking me to post more sweet and baked treats on my blog.

Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Crème Chantilly, Pistachios - thespiceadventuress.com

Honestly guys, you know how much I shy away from desserts here. It’s not my biggest strength nor do I have a sweet tooth. So when I finally decide to make one, it must be simple, easy to comprehend and one of those no-fail recipes. And that’s exactly what we are making today – Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Cream Chantilly, Pistachios. Cannot get easier than this!

Easter is almost here, so I thought there would be so many people out there like me who can’t whip up complicated sweet treats. This recipe is a breeze to follow, one that anyone can put together. Good quality strawberries and a great tasting Sparkling is all that you really need to take care of.

As the name suggests, the dessert is just a happy marriage between all the four ingredients.

I used the Yellowglen Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Prosecco blend Sparkling; it has really refreshing, sweet, fruity flavours that is perfect for a dessert like this. Don’t worry about the alcohol bit if you are serving it to children as the quantity is really less. But if you prefer to keep it alcohol free, then use a great tasting non alcoholic sparkling that is easily available at all supermarkets instead.

Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Crème Chantilly, Pistachios - thespiceadventuress.com

Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Crème Chantilly, Pistachios - thespiceadventuress.com

Pistachios are for the crunch, adds a savoury, nutty texture that is required to complete the dessert. But you can also use wafers, sweet crisps, biscotti etc……anything that adds a crunch.

And before we get to the recipe, here’s another sweet treat that I made last Easter; a fun project if you have kids at home.

Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller

Ingredients:

  1. 500gms strawberries; hulled and thinly sliced
  2. 100ml Sparkling wine
  3. Juice of ½ orange
  4. 3-4 tbsp icing sugar (sieved)
  5. ½ cup pistachios; coarsely crushed
  6. Crème Chantilly
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 35 gms icing sugar (sieved)
  • 1 vanilla bean (or vanilla bean paste)

Method:

  1. In a non reactive bowl, combine the strawberries, sparkling wine and orange juice. Add 2 tbsp icing sugar (sieved), mix well to combine and taste. Add more icing sugar if needed. Refrigerate for atleast 15 minutes to macerate or until required.
  2. To prepare the crème Chantilly, whisk the thickened cream, scraped seeds from the vanilla bean and icing sugar in a bowl till soft peaks form (take care not to over whip). Refrigerate until required.
  3. To assemble the dessert, add the macerated strawberries to 1/4th of the dessert glass/bowl; top with the cream and garnish with crushed pistachios.
  4. Serve immediately.

Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Crème Chantilly, Pistachios - thespiceadventuress.com

Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Crème Chantilly, Pistachios - thespiceadventuress.com

Strawberries, Sparkling Wine, Crème Chantilly, Pistachios - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

Spiced Rum Chocolate Mousse (topped with Buttercrunch Toffee Crumble)

Reading through the past couple of blog posts, I realised that almost every post starts with a description of the weather. How boring is that!

After moving to Melbourne, the weather began to play such an immense role in my mood swings but that does not mean I need to bore you guys all the time. So let’s talk of something different today.

Let’s talk of deliciously wicked silky and smooth Chocolate Mousse laced with spiced rum and then topped generously with buttercrunch toffee crumble. And maybe some strawberries too…..

Spiced Rum Chocolate Mousse (topped with Buttercrunch Toffee Crumble) - thespiceadventuress.com

Chocolate desserts also evoke a sense of luxury, a sinful indulgence for the senses. And this chocolate mousse is no exception. But it is sinfully luscious and one to be enjoyed without any guilt because it is made from coconut cream.

My experience with coconut cream has always been savoury. The beautifully aromatic and creamy fish curry from Kerala is what comes running to my mind when I think of coconut milk or cream. And whenever I have had coconut based desserts, I have not really enjoyed it because it has always felt super sweet for my tastebuds.

This recipe comes from @lady.flamingo, also known as The Boozy Baker (now you get the spiced rum!).

One of the recipes featured in the Bank of Melbourne #socialfeeds cookbook 2016. If you are a long time reader of my blog, then you would have heard about this book before, because I have had the privilege and honour of being featured in both the cookbooks bought out so far.

(The featured recipes can be found here and here. You can also download the e-version of the cookbooks here).

Spiced Rum Chocolate Mousse (topped with Buttercrunch Toffee Crumble) - thespiceadventuress.com

And if you follow me on Instagram, you would also have seen a post featuring the August edition of Foodies Collective – the Decadent Desserts box. I was privileged to receive one box, filled with the most amazing goodies from some of the best Australian artisan food producers. So I decided to use the award winning Charley’s Mount Edna dark chocolate (has a complex, distinct flavour with whisky notes) for making the chocolate sauce and the buttercrunch toffee crumble from Poetry Fine Foods as the topping.

I highly recommend Charley’s if you can get your hands on it, otherwise any good quality dark chocolate would do. Also if you can’t find the crumble, you can use praline, chopped toasted nuts, whipped cream etc….

Foodies Collective Discovery Box - thespiceadventuress.com

(This recipe can be made 100% vegan by using dairy free chocolate and @lady.flamingo also says that it is a good dessert option for those who suffer from Menieres disease as it is low in sodium).

So let’s hop on to the recipe for this silky and luscious Spiced Rum Chocolate Mousse.

Ingredients:

(Serves 6)

Spiced Rum Chocolate Sauce:

  1. 1 can coconut cream (400 ml)
  2. 220gm high quality dark chocolate
  3. 60 gms raw brown sugar (if using white sugar, add half the quantity, taste and add more if necessary)
  4. 1 vanilla pod, split in half and scraped
  5. 2 tbsp spiced rum
  6. 2 clove pods

Mousse:

  1. 2 x 400ml coconut cream cans (chilled)
  2. 120gms cocoa powder (unsweetened)

Method:

To make the chocolate sauce:

  • Melt the chocolate in a microwave or using the double boiler method.
  • Shake the coconut cream can well and pour out the contents into a bowl.
  • Once the chocolate has melted, add a few spoons of the coconut cream into it and mix well to combine. (This is to create a homogenous mixture and prevent the chocolate from seizing which can occur sometimes).
  • Then add the entire chocolate mixture into the remaining coconut cream followed by all the other ingredients listed and mix well to combine. Make sure the sugar gets dissolved completely.
  • Refrigerate for about 10 minutes to thicken the chocolate sauce lightly.

To make the mousse:

  • In a mixer or using a large bowl, whip the coconut cream till you get soft peaks.
  • Remove the cloves from the chocolate sauce and add it slowly to the coconut cream along with the cocoa powder, mixing lightly to combine each time.
  • Whip for a few more seconds till the whole mixture becomes light and fluffy.
  • Spoon into glasses or ramekins; refrigerate for about 3-4 hours till set.
  • Top with the buttercrunch crumble and serve with a side of strawberries.
  • Enjoy!

Spiced Rum Chocolate Mousse (topped with Buttercrunch Toffee Crumble) - thespiceadventuress.com

Spiced Rum Chocolate Mousse (topped with Buttercrunch Toffee Crumble) - thespiceadventuress.com

Good Palm Oil vs. Bad Palm Oil + a Recipe for Tim Tam Vanilla Icecream Cake

Today, we are going to have an important conversation regarding palm oil. And even though the recipe might sound like a more interesting read, I would encourage all of you to spend a few minutes and read through this post.

Do you use palm oil? I bet most of you would answer ‘no’ to that.

The truth is that most of us still remain largely unaware of the fact that palm oil is an integral part of our daily lives. Often labelled as ‘vegetable oil’, it is a main ingredient in almost 50% of our supermarket goods ranging from biscuits, cookies, chocolates, margarine, sauces, condiments etc… The raw materials derived from palm oil are also a main component of more than 70% of the cosmetics and household detergents we use.

Surprised? I sure was but what was even more surprising or rather shocking was the fact that many of the everyday products that I purchase for my household was made from ‘bad palm oil’.

Does your cookies have good or bad palm oil - thespiceadventuress.com

Does your icecream have good or bad palm oil - thespiceadventuress.com

Good vs. Bad Palm Oil is not about health; it is more about sustainability and protecting our forests and ecosystems.

And it is my own lack of awareness that made me want to collaborate with RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) and take part in the #GoodBadPalmOil campaign.

This global campaign which was launched on 23rd Sept in Australia aims to raise awareness around good and bad palm oil and why it is important for each one of us to make an informed choice everytime we reach out for our favourite lipstick or biscuit.

To quote, ‘at RSPO, we believe that achieving 100% certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) is not only a realistic ambition but a vital one too. The production of ‘bad’ palm oil is rapidly destroying virgin rainforests and ecosystems causing air pollution to rise and putting many species at the risk of extinction. If grown sustainably, ‘good’ palm oil can benefit local communities with fair working conditions and help protect valuable species and forests.’

Good vs. Bad Palm Oil - thespiceadventuress.com

I was happy to read that there are a lot of companies, both Australian and global, who have pledged to use sustainable aka good palm oil. They are certified RSPO producers and the products carry the trademark so that ordinary customers like you and me can make the right choice. But these numbers are not enough; more work needs to be done and there has to be higher visibility and transparency. And this can come only through our informed choices. It is the consumer’s voice that eventually leads to change, albeit one small change at a time!

Read more about the #GoodBadPalmOil campaign here and also watch Jessica Dance’s knitted food videos which spread this valuable message.

I did spend a lot of time looking through this list of Australian companies to understand more about who are certified and also to find out if my favourite products are indeed doing their bit. There were a few nasty surprises but there was good news too.

And when it was time to create a recipe for today, I chose Arnott’s; incredibly happy that one of our favourite brands believes in sustainability and also exhibits a strong social responsibility. Arnott’s ANZ is not only a member of RSPO but also works with a third party NGO so that they can trace their supply back to the mill. All the palm oil used in their products are sourced from Peninsular Malaysia, regions that are meant for agricultural cultivation and does not result in deforestation, peat destruction or exploitation of workers. You can read more about the company’s corporate and social responsibility here.

And when we think of Arnott’s, we think of Tim Tams – the Aussie icon! And what a delicious icon it is!

Mango flavoured Tim Tams - thespiceadventuress.com

Tim Tams are much loved in our household (I am sure it’s the same for you). Even a non-biscuit lover like me is extremely fond of this chocolicious delight. And now I am relieved that I do not have to feel too guilty about eating these.

So I decided to create a summer treat using these and packed the hubby off to the nearest Coles to get me a few packets. My mind was torn between the dark chocolate and chewy caramel but imagine the surprise to find the new mango flavoured ones. I am guessing these are limited edition for the season so grab a few packets before they disappear from the shelves.

And a few experiments later…..here we have a delicious frozen treat to beat the sunny days!

Mango flavoured Tim Tams with a no churn Vanilla Icecream Cake!

Tim Tam Vanilla Icecream Cake - a super simple and delicious summer dessert - thespiceadventuress.com

Drawing inspiration from the cheesecakes, I blitzed the Tim tams and used it as the bottom layer. And though icecreams are traditionally made using eggs, I used a simple eggless version so that a lot more people can enjoy making this. The texture of this is somewhere between a traditional icecream and a semifreddo.

This is an extremely versatile recipe and just about any Tim Tam flavour can be used. Can’t find Tim Tams where you live, buy your favourite pack of biscuits (just make sure it is RSPO certified). You could also add other ingredients to the icecream for eg: some fresh berries for a more fruity flavour especially if you are using a chocolate flavour base.

Mango flavoured TIm Tams - thespiceadventuress.com

Tim Tam Vanilla Icecream Cake - a super simple and delicious summer dessert - thespiceadventuress.com

Tim Tam Vanilla Icecream Cake - a super simple and delicious summer dessert - thespiceadventuress.com

Tim Tam Vanilla Icecream Cake - a super simple and delicious summer dessert - thespiceadventuress.com

An easy peasy summer dessert which is a sure hit with children too; you can get them to help you make this infact. Comes together in no time at all especially for this party season. A very light and delicious ending to any kind of meal.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 pack mango flavoured Tim Tams (use any flavour you wish to)
  2. 400ml full cream milk
  3. 400ml condensed milk
  4. A pinch of salt
  5. 250ml double/thick cream (chilled)
  6. ½ tsp good quality vanilla essence

To decorate:

  1. ½ pack mango flavoured Tim Tams
  2. Dark chocolate shavings
  3. Cake Sprinkles

Method:

  • Line the bottom of a round springform cake tin (20cm) with baking paper.
  • Crumble the Tim Tams in a food processor and add this to the cake tin. Press down well using a spoon or ladle to form a tight base. Refrigerate.
  • Add the milk, condensed milk and salt to a pot; bring to boil and then simmer gently till you get the consistency of a thin custard. Make sure you keep a close eye stirring often or else the mixture can bubble over. Remove from heat and allow to cool down completely and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Beat the chilled cream to get soft peaks. Add the vanilla essence and then gently fold in the chilled condensed milk mixture till combined well.
  • Pour this over the Tim Tam mixture in the baking tin and freeze for at least 4 hours or till completely set. Remove from the cake tin onto a serving stand.
  • To decorate, I lined the edges of the icecream cake with chocolate shavings. Added 2 Tim Tams to the top and a handful of sprinkles. Just let your creative juice flowing and decorate it however you wish to.

Tim Tam Vanilla Icecream Cake - a super simple and delicious summer dessert - thespiceadventuress.com

Tim Tam Vanilla Icecream Cake - a super simple and delicious summer dessert - thespiceadventuress.com

Disclaimer – This post has been bought to you in collaboration with RSPO. But all the opinions, recipe, photographs and the decision to use Arnott’s biscuits is entirely mine. 

 

 

Vanilla Cardamom Cheesecake (with Macadamia crumble)

Every recipe has a story and today’s Vanilla Cardamom Cheesecake (with Macadamia crumble) has quite a few.

To start with, I didn’t like cheesecake much till I got to attend this year’s In One Voice Jewish festival and experienced the cheesecake competition. That’s when I realized that I have been eating bad cheesecakes all this while and the real deal is delicious.

Those who follow me on Facebook or Instagram would have seen the pictures from this event, especially the one where I got to have a small chat with Alice Zaslavsky, popularly known as ‘Alice in Frames’ (Masterchef fame). Alice was the judge at the cheesecake competition which saw a delicious array of sweet and savoury cheesecakes. Once the cheesecakes were judged, slices were sold to the public to raise money for Caring Mums, a charity program run by National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (Vic).

Alice Zaslavsky, popularly known as ‘Alice in Frames’ (Masterchef fame) judging the cheesecake competition at In One Voice Jewish Festival, 2016 - thespiceadventuress.com

Alice Zaslavsky, popularly known as ‘Alice in Frames’ (Masterchef fame) with The Spice Adventuress at the In One Voice Jewish Festival, 2016 - thespiceadventuress.com

I decided to try out the winner’s cheesecake and much to my surprise found that it was nothing like the ones I had tasted before that. This one was smooth, creamy with a delicious balance of flavours and that was the moment I decided that I am going to bake one myself.

But that plan didn’t work out for a long time till now which brings us to the second story.

Just like thousands around the globe, I am a huge huge fan of Masterchef Australia. I have not missed a single episode since its inception 8 years ago. For me, this show is not about reality TV, gourmet food, complex recipes, outstanding chefs, creative homecooks or even the amazing hosts. I mean, it’s all of that but for me; it’s all about the basics. It’s all about the Master classes and learning the basics and fundamentals of cooking, be it an ingredient, technique, dish or cuisine. The knowledge that I have acquired from this show over the years has been immense.

And much to my surprise, one of the Masterclasses by Matt Preston turns out to be cheesecake. For me, this was a sign from the culinary God to try my hand at making a cheesecake. As always Matt made it super simple and taught us the secret to a deliciously creamy and simple vanilla cheesecake.

I, ofcourse, had to fiddle with the recipe and make it my own but the recipe is quite similar to his. For that hint of spice, I added crushed green cardamoms to the cream cheese and for the base, I used a mix of macadamias and digestive biscuit crumble for that nutty buttery and toasty flavour.

So, here’s presenting my Vanilla Cardamom Cheesecake with Macadamia crumble.

Vanilla Cardamom Cheesecake with Macadamia crumble base - a creamy delicious cheesecake with the flavours of vanilla and cardamom - thespiceadventuress.com

If it was summer, I would have garnished with some fresh berries but for the chilling weather here, all I could think of was some sort of a caramel sauce. But that would have made it very heavy and I was looking for a light dessert. So I kept it plain and paired it with a glass of sparkling Pinot instead.

Vanilla Cardamom Cheesecake with Macadamia crumble base - a creamy delicious cheesecake with the flavours of vanilla and cardamom - thespiceadventuress.com

Vanilla Cardamom Cheesecake with Macadamia crumble base - a creamy delicious cheesecake with the flavours of vanilla and cardamom - thespiceadventuress.com

If you notice the photographs, you will see a crack on the surface. Well, that’s nothing to do with the recipe but rather my clumsiness while moving the cheesecake to a platter. I had two choices; to photograph the cake with that crack showing or to make another one from scratch just for the photographs. I chose the former, because beautiful and delicious food does not have to look perfect and this is no commercial photography assignment. So enjoy the cake guys, with the imperfections.

Vanilla Cardamom Cheesecake with Macadamia crumble base - a creamy delicious cheesecake with the flavours of vanilla and cardamom - thespiceadventuress.com

(Psst….this has nothing to do with the recipe but this year, I also got to attend the shooting of one of the Masterchef episodes. For those who are following the show, it was the carnival one where I got to meet Nigella Lawson. Yes!)

At the shooting of Masterchef Australia Season 8 with Matt Preston and Nigella Lawson - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

Crumble Base:

  1. 175gms digestive biscuits
  2. 175gms raw macadamias
  3. 60gms caster sugar
  4. 60gms melted unsalted butter

Cream cheese filling:

  1. 750gms cream cheese (room temperature)
  2. ½ tsp powdered green cardamom seeds
  3. 230gms caster sugar
  4. A good pinch of salt
  5. 4 eggs
  6. 2 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  7. 1 tsp vanilla essence
  8. 300ml double cream

Others:

  1. 23cm spring form cake tin
  2. Aluminium foil
  3. Roasting tray (ensure that the cake tin fits in snugly)

Method:

For the crumb base:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C.
  2. Line the cake tin with baking paper (bottom and sides). I first coat the base and sides with a thin layer of butter and then place the baking paper so that it sticks properly. Take 3-4 sheets of aluminium foil and double wrap the outside of the cake tin like a jacket of sorts. (This is to prevent water from getting in and also add to the bain marie effect while baking the cheesecake).
  3. Blitz the biscuits and macadamias in a processor to a fine crumb and then add the caster sugar. Blitz again to combine and then add the melted butter. Blitz for a few more seconds to combine.
  4. Transfer this crumble to the cake tin and spread evenly. Using a spoon, pat down tightly especially evening out at the edges. (If you prefer a thinner base, use lesser quantity of the crumb).
  5. Bake this for 10 minutes; remove and set aside to cool well.

For the cheesecake filling:

  1. Put on the kettle water for hot water to pour in the roasting tray.
  2. To make the cream cheese filling, add the softened cream cheese to a cake mixer and beat for a couple of minutes until smooth and creamy.
  3. Then add the caster sugar and beat well till the sugar has combined and dissolved well.
  4. Add one egg at a time, making sure each has dissolved well before adding the next one.
  5. Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the lemon juice, vanilla essence, cardamom powder and salt. Beat till combined and add the double cream. Beat again just for a few seconds till the cream has combined well.
  6. Pour into the cake tin with the cooled crumb base. Tap to even the surface and place the tin inside the roasting tray.

To bake:

  1. Place the roasting tray inside the oven and carefully pour the hot water into the tray to atleast half the height of the cake tin (around 2 cm).
  2. Bake for 65 minutes or till golden and cooked through at 175°C.
  3. Once baked, turn off the oven and allow the cake to cook down for at least 1 hour inside the oven (with the door closed).
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the cake tin.
  5. Enjoy!

Vanilla Cardamom Cheesecake with Macadamia crumble base - a creamy delicious cheesecake with the flavours of vanilla and cardamom - thespiceadventuress.com

Vanilla Cardamom Cheesecake with Macadamia crumble base - a creamy delicious cheesecake with the flavours of vanilla and cardamom - thespiceadventuress.com

Vanilla Cardamom Cheesecake with Macadamia crumble base - a creamy delicious cheesecake with the flavours of vanilla and cardamom - thespiceadventuress.com

Strawberry Jelly (with Chambord Liqueur) and Vanilla ‘Semifreddo’ Custard

2015 has been an incredible year so far.

The first post of the year was this berrylicious semifreddo and in all likelihood, today’s semifreddo might be the last post for this year. Not at all planned and a big irony that both the dishes turn out to be desserts.

A fellow foodie recently asked me, ‘aren’t you making any cakes or cookies for Christmas? The entire blogging fraternity seems to be doing so.’ I am quite un-Christmassy in that regard! But I still wanted to make a dessert that is reminiscent of the season, something light and refreshing after a heavy meal, especially keeping in mind the soaring temperatures here.

It must have been the crates and crates of strawberries at our local market that sparked off the thoughts of a strawberry jelly.  Also the fact that I wanted to master homemade jelly after years of eating the packet ones.

After much internal debate along the lines of strawberries and cream, here is what I came up with…….Strawberry Jelly (with Chambord liqueur) and Vanilla Semifreddo Custard.

A berrylicious Christmas with this fun Strawberry Jelly (with Chambord Liqueur) and Vanilla ‘Semifreddo’ Custard - thespiceadventuress.com

 

The strawberry jelly is really easy to make, a tad bit time consuming though. But the good part is, it can be made much ahead of time especially if you are making it for a party. I added a dash of Chambord liqueur to the jelly for that hint of raspberry flavour. But it is entirely optional or you can add any liqueur of your choice.

And to accompany the jelly, a delicious and creamy Vanilla ‘Semifreddo’ Custard. Well, who am I kidding! It’s not really custard but a semifreddo which is not completely frozen. We tried both the frozen and semi-frozen semifreddo with the jelly and the unanimous decision was that the latter tasted better.

There’s so much you can do to personalize this recipe. Use any berries in season; raspberries would be great! Can’t bother to make semifreddo? Just get a tub of your favourite vanilla icecream, I bet it will be as delicious. Or add a bowl of chopped summer fruits…..perfect if you are hosting a lunch party!

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I set the jelly in a flat tray to cut out some stars for the kiddos and the rest in shot glasses. After a heavy meal, most of my guests hardly have any room for dessert and these shot glasses are the right size. But you can use any type of mould, glass or bowl to set the jelly in.

A berrylicious Christmas with this fun Strawberry Jelly (with Chambord Liqueur) and Vanilla ‘Semifreddo’ Custard - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

A berrylicious Christmas with this fun Strawberry Jelly (with Chambord Liqueur) and Vanilla ‘Semifreddo’ Custard - thespiceadventuress.com

Strawberry Jelly (with Chambord Liqueur) and Vanilla ‘Semifreddo’ Custard – my kind of Christmas in a plate shot glass!

Merry Christmas folks!

Ingredients:

Strawberry jelly:

(Adapted from delicious.com)

  1. 1 kg strawberries; hulled and halved
  2. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  3. 60ml Chambord liqueur
  4. 70g caster sugar
  5. 15 g gelatin leaves

Vanilla Semifreddo:

  1. 400 ml full cream milk
  2. 400 ml condensed milk
  3. A pinch of salt
  4. 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  5. 250ml heavy cream

Method:

Strawberry Jelly:

  1. Place the strawberries in a large heat proof bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place over a pot of simmering water and allow to cook for 1 ½ hours to extract all the juice from the fruit.
  2. Line a sieve with muslin or cheese cloth and place over a large bowl. Pour the cooked strawberries with all the juice into the cloth and allow to drain for 30-45 minutes. Do not press the fruit as this will make the jelly cloudy. Discard the pulp.
  3. Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water to soften.
  4. Pour the drained juice into a measuring jar and add lemon juice and liqueur. Make up the volume to 600ml with water and transfer to a pan. Place over heat and add the caster sugar, stirring to dissolve. Remove from heat.
  5. Add the gelatin leaves to the warm liquid and stir until completely dissolved.
  6. Pour into moulds and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

Notes:

  • Buy the ripest strawberries you can find; don’t go looking for the perfect, beautiful ones. The lightly mashed up ones are the best.
  • As mentioned, use any liqueur of your choice. If you do not want to use any, make up the extra volume with water itself.
  • Add half the quantity of sugar, taste and keep adding as all strawberries might not have the same sugar content.
  • Rinse the moulds before pouring the jelly, helps it come out easily.

Vanilla Semifreddo:

Method:

  1. Place the milk, condensed milk and salt in a pan and bring to boil; stirring continuously. Reduce heat and add the vanilla paste.
  2. Continue to cook for another 10-12 minutes, stirring often, till it reaches the consistency of a thin custard. Allow to cool and then chill in the fridge.
  3. Whip the cream into soft peaks and then fold into the chilled milk mixture.
  4. Line the tin with baking paper and pour the mixture into the tin. Freeze for at least 3 hours for a semi-frozen texture or 4-5 hours for a frozen one.

Serve the jelly along with the vanilla semifreddo and garnish using a baby basil or mint leaf. Enjoy!

 

A berrylicious Christmas with this fun Strawberry Jelly (with Chambord Liqueur) and Vanilla ‘Semifreddo’ Custard - thespiceadventuress.com

Masala Chai Semifreddo served with Crushed Pistachios and Fresh Figs

Surprised seeing another dessert so soon? Honestly, I am too…..

This masala chai semifreddo is the result of inspiration striking from several different quarters!

First, there has been a lot of ‘semifreddo’ talk on Masterchef this season, and then there was this amazing masala chai ice cream by ‘A Brown Table’. But what really made me take this plunge finally was an event that I attended a couple of weeks ago – Melbourne’s first ever ‘Chai Festival’ hosted by T2 at their headquarters in Richmond.

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I am more of a coffee gal but I still wanted to attend this chai festival; to broaden my knowledge about this beverage and also play a little at the ‘make your own tea blend’ station which was the highlight of the festival. We came home with lots of special tea blends; my son went totally bonkers and I now have all sorts of crazy blends at home…..a Chinese tea blend with plenty of dried rosebuds (the aroma of this one is heavenly) and a spicy Indian chai spiced further by my son with loads of pink peppercorns.

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I tasted crème brulee tea for the first time ever (and here is a badly shaken picture of it!!)

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And how I envied this copper teapot….

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The idea of this Masala chai semifreddo just got stuck in my head and I really wanted to give it a shot. Had a small chat with the gorgeous girls at T2 who after hearing my idea, guided me towards their organic spiced chai blend. One of the girls got me a sample of the tea so that I could experience the taste and aroma before making up my mind. Little did she know that anything with spice gets me hooked!

So I did a fair bit of research on semifreddos and eventually today’s dish happened…..

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Traditionally, a semifreddo is made using eggs but I decided to try out this eggless version. The last time I made this no-churn icecream, there were so many readers who wrote to me asking for an eggless recipe. So this time, considering all those requests, here is my recipe for Masala chai semifreddo served with crushed pistachios and fresh figs.

If you have never made a semifreddo, seriously you need to give it a go. It is creamy, delicious, sweet, cold (yes, of course)…everything that you want from an ice cream but at a quarter of the time or effort. And what’s more, you can go completely bonkers with flavours…..get as creative, experimentative or wild as you like.

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For those who aren’t too familiar with the semifreddo term, it basically is the Italian name for a semi-frozen dessert which can be like an icecream/frozen custard/icecream cake……anything which has a frozen mousse texture comes under this class. Which means that there is plenty of room to play around in terms of flavours…….

Again, there is no particular shape to a semifreddo, though you are most likely to see it in a rectangular tin to scoop out like an ice cream. If you want individual portions, you can set it individual glasses or moulds. I wanted an ice cream cake sort of feel, so went for a circular shape.

So, here’s my humble dedication to India’s much loved beverage….a creamy, tea-licious masala chai semifreddo!

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Ingredients:

Note – This is not a sponsored post of any manner and my use of T2 chai is entirely my own decision. So please feel free to use your own masala chai blend; just make sure you adjust the strength of the flavour accordingly as the T2 organic spiced chai blend is really strong and full on.

(Serves 4-6)

1. 400 ml full cream milk
2. 400 ml condensed milk
3. A pinch of salt
4. 3 tbsp T2 organic spiced chai blend
5. 200 ml water
6. 250ml heavy cream
7. Crushed pistachios; to garnish
8. Fresh figs (optional); to garnish

Method:

1. Add the chai blend to water and bring to boil (adding the chai blend to cold water and slowly bringing the water to boil helps to deepen the flavours). Reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
2. Strain and return the liquid to heat; simmer for another 4-5 minutes to slightly thicken the infusion. Remove and allow to cool.
3. Place the milk, condensed milk and salt in a pan and bring to boil; stirring continuously. Reduce heat and add the tea infusion. I added one tbsp at a time, tasting after each till I was happy with the flavour. Since the strength of your tea infusion might vary, taste and add enough to get that warm chai flavour but not too strong to overpower the dessert. I added approximately 7-8 tsp of the infusion.
4. Continue to cook for another 10-12 minutes till it reaches the consistency of a thin custard. Allow to cool and then chill in the fridge.
5. Whip the cream into soft peaks and then fold into the chilled milk mixture.
6. Line the tin with baking paper and pour the mixture into the tin. Freeze for at least 4 hours or till set.
7. Garnish with crushed pistachios and serve with fresh figs on the side.

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Ice Cream Terrine with Raspberries, White Chocolate and Pistachios

I do not believe in New Year Resolutions!

One of the biggest lessons life has taught me is to stop making plans. I have always been a fairly methodical person, organized, neat and a great maker of carefully planned to-do-lists. I am still all of these; but I have also realized, over the years, that I am very spontaneous when it comes to making decisions.

With a fiery, Arian, hot-headed personality, my decisions and actions are always spontaneous with caution thrown to the winds. All my well-laid plans for life have gone awry, either by personal choice or with destiny playing its hand.

I don’t chart my life anymore into a neat to-do-list anymore. I have learnt to go with the flow, both personally and professionally.

And when every blogger group/forum asked, ‘what is your plan for your blog in 2015?’ – I had no answer. Because I am not making any plans; The Spice Adventuress will evolve as my life unfolds this year.

One thing I would like to do is add a ‘sweet’ touch to this space though being a ‘savoury girl’ is my niche. My family wants me to learn a bit of baking; just enough for our personal needs and I might just take the opportunity or rather, the challenge and extend it to my blog.

And today, I have just done that with this refreshing, summery ice cream terrine with raspberries, white chocolate and pistachios. Again; no resolutions, no plans – but something extra that you might get to see on this space. Might…..

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This ice cream terrine with raspberries, white chocolate and pistachios is just perfect to make for a novice like me. Few and familiar ingredients, simple steps and pretty much a fool-proof recipe; this dessert can be a great confidence-builder if you are starting out like me.

With the Aussie summer scorching its way into our lives, this berrylicious ice cream resplendent with white chocolate and pistachio nuts is a perfect and refreshing cooler. I love the fact that it is less sugary and I also love the flavour and texture combinations from the berries, chocolate and nuts.

The perfect summer treat for your family (and who said, you can’t eat ice cream in winter!) – luscious homemade ice cream terrine with raspberries, white chocolate and pistachios.

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Courtesy – a PURA recipe

Ingredients:

1. 300ml Pura thick cream (use any brand you wish to)
2. 300gm frozen raspberries (if sour, use only 200gm)
3. 100gm white chocolate
4. 2 eggs, separated
5. ½ cup icing sugar (if your berries are sour, then you might need to add more sugar)
6. ¼ cup pistachio nuts, shelled and coarsely chopped

Method:

• Thaw half the raspberries and crush slightly with a fork.
• Shave 1/4th of the white chocolate with a peeler and reserve for garnish. Finely chop the rest.
• Also reserve 1 tbsp of pistachios for garnish.
• Beat the egg whites till stiff peaks form and then gradually add the sugar, beat to mix. Gently mix in the egg yolks and the thick cream.
• Gently mix in the crushed raspberries, chopped white chocolate, pistachios and a handful of whole raspberries into the cream mixture. Do not beat, just mix.
• Spoon into a baking paper lined terrine or loaf tin and freeze overnight or until firm.
• Remove the tin 10 minutes before serving; unmould onto a platter and garnish with reserved raspberries, chocolate shavings and pistachios.

Note – I have noticed that the sugar quantity needs to be adjusted based on the sourness of the berries. So taste and add more sugar if you find it necessary.

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Coconut Milk Pudding with Roasted Peanut Praline

Every once in a while, I go through a distressing and disappointing ‘blog comparison phase’. I am sure many other just-getting-there bloggers also suffer from the same disease (yes, it is a disease!)

It always starts off as reading and skimming through other well-known and top-notch blogs, simply as a way of getting inspired and motivated. But a few minutes into it makes me feel so disappointed and my head gets filled with what I have not achieved or will I ever get there. Instead of getting inspired and proud of my accomplishments, I get severely depressed wondering if I am doing anything right at all. I start finding faults by the dozen, even when there really aren’t any.

And quite ironically, in this past one year of blogging, every time this seed of self-doubt enters my being, I receive some kind of a blog/food related boost to reassure that ‘all is well’.

Last week was one of those self-questioning phases. Call it cosmic or divine intervention, I got a massive boost to my blogging ego when I was featured as one of the top 10 bloggers to look out for in 2015 as part of a cover story for SALT, a premium food, wine and hospitality ezine. Read the story here.

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It is an immense boost to your confidence when someone else places trust in your abilities. And though I have already mentioned my gratitude, I take a moment again to thank all at FBAI and SALT, especially Mr. Elson Sequeira, the editor-in-chief for this wonderful opportunity.

And what more, Elson even pushed this ‘savoury’ girl to publish her first ‘sweet’ recipe for the ezine, which is also our recipe for the day.

Today’s recipe is a coconut milk pudding with roasted peanut praline. This is one of those no-brainer dessert recipes which can be made in a jiffy. This one’s from my mom, who passes along simple dessert recipes especially when I am hosting a party.

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This coconut milk pudding is extremely light and just mildly sweet; the perfect finish to a big meal. It is a delicious dessert on its own but top it with a peanut praline and you have a winner on your hands. And if you don’t prefer peanuts, use any type of nuts that you would like or maybe some chopped mangoes….the options are endless!

So here’s a light yet indulgent Christmas dessert with creamy coconut milk pudding topped off with a crunchy sweet and caramelly roasted peanut praline.

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Ingredients:

For the pudding:

1. 1 medium sized coconut (around 600gm), grated
2. 600 ml plain milk
3. 2 tbsp gelatin powder
4. 2 cups raw sugar

For the praline:

5. ½ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
6. 1 cup caster sugar
7. 1 cup cold water

Method:

1. Blend the grated coconut with milk. Strain through a muslin or cheesecloth to extract all the milk. This would yield approximately 1 litre of milk.
2. Add the sugar and mix well to dissolve. I have used 2 cups of raw sugar but the quantities might vary if you are using ordinary white sugar. So add 1 cup of sugar, dissolve, taste and add more as required. The milk should taste very sweet at this stage as the sweetness will decrease once the pudding sets.
3. Dissolve the gelatin powder in ¼ cup water using the double boiling technique. Cool slightly and add to the milk mixture.
4. Pour into glasses or any container you wish and refrigerate to set the pudding.
5. Roast the peanuts in a pan, cool and chop roughly. Spread on a baking sheet and keep aside.
6. To make the praline, add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup cold water to a pan and place over medium heat. Stir till the sugar dissolves and bring to boil. Stop stirring and boil till the sugar takes on a nice, golden colour. Remove from heat at this stage. (Sometimes, the sugar crystallizes around the edge of the mixture while boiling, use a pastry brush dipped in cold water and brush around the edges of the mixture to prevent the caramel going grainy).
7. Pour the mixture carefully over the chopped peanuts. Set aside to cool for at least 15-20 minutes. Chop roughly and store in an airtight container.
8. Spoon the peanut praline over the pudding just before serving.

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