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Tag Archives: cheesecake

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

23 Oct

It was Thanksgiving a couple weeks ago, a holiday I normally celebrate by eating pizza and watching a movie. This year though, a friend decided she was going to do the whole Thanksgiving thing and she invited me over. My contribution to the meal was dessert because let’s face it, it is the only thing I can reliably make lol

I was going to make a traditional pumpkin pie but decided to switch it up a bit and made a pumpkin swirl cheesecake – it sounds fancier than it is lol

Basically it is a cheesecake that had the batter separated so half is normal cheesecake batter and the other half has pumpkin puree and a bit more sugar mixed in, then you layer it and swirl it with a knife. It was dead easy to make and people liked it, so a win in my books!

IMG_0019

The cheesecake cracked along the swirl lines I made with my knife when cooling, which is annoying. I tried the hack of turning the oven off, cracking the door open, and letting the cheesecake cool that way, theoretically making the cooling off process less traumatic and therefore stopping the cheesecake from cracking…you can see how well that turned out. *rolls eyes* I know there are ways to repair the cracks but it would have ruined the marble look so I just left it.

The crust was made by putting ginger snap cookies in my mini food processor and pulsing until the cookies were crumbs, then doing the same with walnuts, pour the crumbs of both in to a bowl, add melted butter, mix it all up then put it in to the bottom of a springform pan and press it down so it is even. As a crust it turned out perfect, firm enough to maintain structural integrity when a slice was cut, but not so hard it wasn’t an easy thing to eat. I liked it but didn’t love it…could be because I’m not a huge ginger cookie fan. It was a complimentary flavour for the pumpkin though, which was why it was chosen.

As for the cheesecake it is like I mentioned above, you make a standard plain cheesecake batter, take out a cup and leave it alone, to the rest you add pumpkin puree, seasonings,Β  and some sugar, mix it in well. Then you pour approximately half the pumpkin batter in to the pan (on top of the ginger-walnut crust you’ve already put in there), make sure it spreads evenly. Put about half of the white cheesecake batter on top, sort of in blobs, then use a knife to spread it a bit. Then repeat! Once you’ve got the second layers of the pumpkin batter and the plain batter in the pan use a knife and swirl it all around. Make sure your knife goes all the way down to the crust without actually cutting through or messing up the crust.

Bake, let it cool, pray to the baking gods you don’t get huge cracks during the cooling process, curse the baking gods when the cracks come anyways, transfer to your serving platter or in my case the cake holder I was using to transport the cheesecake, and all that is left is to enjoy. πŸ™‚

In my opinion it turned out not flavourful enough, but others seemed happy with it so that could just be me. I wish I’d put more seasonings in it (it uses the same as a pumpkin pie) but hey, live an learn! I am toying with making it again but instead of pumpkin I’d make a raspberry puree and use that, I think it would be pretty with a pink swirl in it.

Here are some other pictures from Thanksgiving…my friend hosted a great evening, her meal was delicious, and it was fun to spend the evening with her and her family. πŸ™‚

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Baking! Baking! Baking!

30 Sep

The only problem with being someone who likes to bake and doesn’t get to do it often is that when an occasion comes up that gives you an excuse to bake you maaaay go a tad overboard and want to bake every single recent baking recipe you have been hoarding.

In the span of three days I baked:

  • one batch of chocolate fudge cheesecake brownies…think chocolate brownies with a top layer of cheesecake, Mmm!
  • a three layer cake with the middle hollowed out and filled with M&M’s
  • a pull apart cake using cream cheese and chocolate

My entire apartment smelled delicious for daaaaaays! πŸ™‚

Why was I all of a sudden baking?

My dragon boat team was having our season wrap party, it was a pot-luck and the only food group I can consistently make is dessert so I said I would take a dessert. Thing is, how do you pick just one recipe? And why should you pick just one? I mean, there are a lot of people on the team, you can’t share one cake with over 20 people and it wouldn’t be fair to not take enough for everybody so the only logical decision is to make two different desserts. However, I had three recipes I really wanted to try…

It seemed like some sort of overkill to take three desserts but lucky for me a friend was coming over Thursday so I made the cheesecake brownies Thursday, we each ate one, then I took the rest of them to work the next day. Then the other two desserts were made over the span of Friday and Saturday and well, sadly, I now have no reason to bake anything so my apartment no longer smells yummy. sigh.

Although I’m thinking of making banana bread tomorrow and that smells good! πŸ™‚

chocolate fudge cheesecake brownies

chocolate fudge cheesecake brownies

Pull Apart Cake - each dough ball is filled with cream cheese and chocolate chips then coated in sugar and cinnamon. Then the dough balls are topped with walnuts and a brown sugar glaze.

Pull Apart Cake – each dough ball is filled with cream cheese and chocolate chips then coated in sugar and cinnamon. Then the dough balls are topped with walnuts and a brown sugar glaze.

Three layer cake decorated with M&M's and Cadbury's Chocolate Fingers

Three layer cake decorated with M&M’s and Cadbury’s Chocolate Fingers

The inside of the three layer cake, it is filled with M&M's.

The inside of the three layer cake, it is filled with M&M’s.

Haydn, Bartok and Beethoven

19 Feb

Monday is my Friday, weird right? Well that’s what happens when you work weekends. I work Fridays through Mondays and generally by Monday evening I am stupid tired. I usually don’t do anything more active than going home, making something to eat, watching tv and zoning out until bedtime on Mondays but every now and then my social life intervenes with my laziness and I end up out there in the world, being social.

This past Monday I met up with a friend for dinner and an outing to the Orpheum Theatre to enjoy the musical talents of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Fyi, they are awesome! πŸ™‚

My friend KL had a gift card for The Keg so that’s where we went for dinner. I had a first experience on Monday, I ordered a steak for dinner and omg why have I not been eating steak all this time? Oh so good!

I know nothing about steak so the poor waiter had to educate me on what exactly I was choosing, lucky for me he was patient. πŸ™‚ Basically all I took away from it was that a sirloin is full of flavour but not as tender and a fillet will have less flavour but be more tender. I wanted tender more than I wanted flavour so I ordered a Manhattan cut New York steak with shrimp, scallops, asparagus and Bearnaise sauce. Technically I combined two different steaks. The Manhattan cut New York usually comes with caramelized mushrooms, onions and peppers and is served with a demi-glace but I liked the sound of the toppings that came with the Sirloin Oscar so I swapped out the toppings that I was supposed to get with yummier sounding ones. Gotta love tailoring your meal to what you prefer! πŸ˜€

Manhattan cut New York with shrimp, scallops, asparagus and bearnaise sauce

Manhattan cut New York with shrimp, scallops, asparagus and bearnaise sauce

As you can see I chose the baked potato as my side and the restaurant automatically puts the sauce on the side, which I appreciate. It may not be proper etiquette to dip food but I’d rather dip the cut pieces of steak in to the sauce than pour the sauce on to my dinner. My friend poured the sauce she got with her dinner and used the whole thing, by dipping I used about half of what I was served and while it may be ridiculous to be trying to save some calories when eating a meal like this it’s habit by now to dip rather than pour, shrug.

I was impressed by how many shrimp and scallops were on the plate, I envisioned getting fewer and feeling slightly ripped off lol

I asked for help from the waiter with deciding how the meat should be cooked, I knew I didn’t want lots of blood, ick, but I wanted it to be tender, definitely not chewy! The waiter suggested the steak be cooked to medium, he thought medium rare might be a little too red for me and well done would be too chewy. So medium it was!

what the inside of a medium steak looks like

what the inside of a medium steak looks like

Because we were splurging we split an appetizer and a dessert, so much food! Mmm!

The appetizer was Baked Brie with basil pesto and red pepper jelly, served with crostini. That dish alone is worth going to The Keg, so so so yummy!

baked brie with basil pesto and red pepper jelly, served with crostini

baked brie with basil pesto and red pepper jelly, served with crostini

The above picture isn’t mine, I forgot to take a picture when the appetizer came and once we started eating it no way was I going to pause so I could photograph it lol

Then dessert, my favourite food group! I left it up to KL to choose what to order, we were torn between the cheesecake and the fudge brownie. She chose the cheesecake which made me a happy camper because that was what I wanted lol It was a generous size, extremely creamy and thankfully not overwhelmedΒ in sauce, they let the flavour of the cheesecake stand out, Mmm!

cheesecake, super delish cheesecake

cheesecake, super delish cheesecake

I got more than my fair share of the cheesecake because KL wasn’t feeling very well and she only wanted a couple of bites. I felt badly about eating more than my half but no way could I stand leaving any on the plate. I know it makes me a glutton but it was so good, to leave any of it uneaten would have been a crime against taste buds everywhere!

After the most scrumptious meal we walked to the Orpheum Theatre, a beautiful place. I only got a couple of pictures from inside when waiting for the show to start, and they aren’t great pictures…

2015-02-16 19.58.10

2015-02-16 19.58.34

The performance consisted of:

Haydn Symphony No. 99 in E-flat Major

I. Adagio – Vivace assai

II. Adagio

III. Menuetto e Trio: Allegretto

IV: Finale: Vivace

Bartok Violin Concerto No. 1

I. Andante sostenuto

II. Allegro giocoso

Beethoven Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36

I. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio

II. Larghetto

III. Scherzo: Allegro

IV. Allegro molto

Now Beethoven I am familiar with, I listen to his work often but I was unfamiliar with Haydn and Bartok. There was a violin piece by Bartok that has quickly become a favourite piece, it is beautiful. The emotion felt when listening to the music, the story the notes tell, I don’t have the words to properly describe it, I only know it resonates within me, which I feel is what music is meant to do.

Here is the Andante sostenuto…

I could listen to violin music all day, if ever there was an instrument I wish I could play it is the violin, sadly, I have no musical ability, so instead I just listen and appreciate the talent others have. πŸ™‚

All in all, an awesome Monday evening. I wish KL had been feeling better, she enjoyed the music but got sicker as the night continued and by the end felt horrible. Hopefully we can go again and she’ll be better able to enjoy the experience.

My Foodie Weekend

16 Jun

Mmm! Such amazing food at work this weekend. Made it hard to follow the new rules I was attempting to implement to fix the damage I learned about from my weigh-in on Friday but I don’t think I did too badly…course I could be deluding myself! Who knows? lol

Friday and Saturday were normal, I took food Saturday so that day was healthy, I forgot my food on the Friday so I ate at work but I was careful. Dinner was a fish dish with veggies and potatoes. I had about 3 bites of the fish (I didn’t really like it), I did however eat all the veggies (I love veggies, Mmm!) and I ignored the potatoes (unnecessary carbs). Oh and for dessert I had an apple instead of a cookie, I was kinda proud of that swap out, I love those cookies, swapping out for an apple was harsh lol πŸ˜›

Sunday, oh Sunday! It was Father’s Day so we had a bbq at work for lunch. We had to move everything indoors due to rain, lame! And one of the poor cooks got drenched cause he was the one who had to brave the elements to dash to the bbq, cook the steak, then dash back in to the building, all while keeping the steaks dry cause obviously the food is more important than a mere person πŸ˜‰

one just makes the chef stay outside while everyone else is inside

one just makes the chef stay outside while everyone else is inside

Lunch was steak, prime rib if I remember correctly, corn on the cob and baked potatoes that were double baked with cheese an stuff on top. That would be the second time I have had steak and I’m still not sure what I think about it. Because I am staff and not a resident I didn’t get a prime piece of steak I got a less than prime piece I guess you could say, shrug. It was kind of fatty and I didn’t like that. The last steak I had wasn’t like that so I’m not sure which way is normal, the fat or the not fat…anybody? It was red inside when I cut in to it, I checked with one of the other staff to make sure that was ok, I’m used to chicken where that would be all kinds of bad, she said it was all good and for her would be perfect so I decided to ignore the red colour of the meat and give it a go. It was tender, tasty, there was a green drizzled sauce on top, not drenching it or anything, it was artistically placed on top and that was where the flavour seemed to be coming from. Otherwise all it would have tasted like was meat and what’s with that? That’s not good, ugh. See? This is why I never order steak (that and the cost lol), I prefer to not have meat be the overwhelming flavour, shrug. I don’t remember what dessert was but that is because I skipped it, I figured I’d just eaten steak, and half a baked potato and corn on the cob, that should be enough to keep the tummy happy for a while lol

Today (Monday) was our company’s two year anniversary so we celebrated! πŸ™‚ There was a fancy lunch and oh man, waaaay better than the steak lunch! There was a butternut squash soup, easily one of my favourite kinds of soup, cedar wood planked salmon and cheesecake with a raspberry sauce. The fish, oh the fish! My taste buds were so happy! I’ve never had salmon cooked like that, who knew that putting salmon on to a piece of wood and cooking it that way would make it so much better? The flavour had a depth to it that I had never experienced and will miss the next time I eat salmon. The sides were halved baby tomatoes and spinach cooked in a pan with some sort of sauce drizzled in there…they really like to artistically drizzle sauce at my work lol and some baby potatoes, also halved, cooked in some way I have no knowledge of and seasoned with, um, something? lol There were herbs of some sort on the potatoes but I am not sure what they were. Since I never plan on attempting to recreate the dish I didn’t feel the need to find out what they did with the potatoes, shrug. As for the cheesecake, it has been a ridiculously long time since I have had cheesecake and as I savoured every bite I was reminded of the knowledge that a person could definitely survive on cheesecake exclusively and be super happy about it. Yum! Yum! Yummmm!

cheesecake!cheesecake!cheesecake!

cheesecake!cheesecake!cheesecake!

So there we have it, my foodie weekend. πŸ™‚ I wish I’d taken pictures of the various dishes so I could show you but I didn’t, I know I know, I suck πŸ˜› Next time, promise! πŸ™‚

Oh! I forgot the champagne! We had champagne today and hey, you can never go wrong with being allowed to drink alcohol while at work -especially when it’s the big boss who hands you a glass of it lol

champagne-toast

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