If you have reached this stage , you must’ve realised by now that you want to be here and cooking good stuff .Now for that to happen you need good cutting implements like knives ,and these need to be sharpened.
Most folk don’t or go the expensive route of using a knife shop which could be ok if they are nice guys like Shannon at house of knives .
These guys have been around for many many years and ive only known Shannon since 2010, but hes a top guy and will give you good advise regarding knives and sharpening. For the high end sharpening i dont bother about it and just take them to his workshop, which sits behind and below their shop around the back.
They are located at 24, Mt Eden road, Auckland .New Zealand.
We used to make this cheesecake which was like manna from heaven, created by our pastry chef Noel . He was a master craftsman and I wish I had worked more with him, but usually I would be getting hammered with 900 odd people for breakfast day in day out ..followed by 400-500 in our beachside restaurant which was meant to test our staying power .. literally..but that’s a story for another time we need to get moving on the cheesecake which is a 24 hr process in itself,
You mix and make the cheesecake today and then keep it overnight to set slowly. Do NOT BE TEMPTED TO DEMOLD ON DAY you make it..it will be ruined beyond your wildest imagination..I know because I’ve tried it.
Cream cheese , Philadelphia is the best , but a good alternative can work too- 2.2 kg( I know it’s a lot so it’s a good idea to make a quarter of the recipe to give you one medium sized cake tin( springform please or else gets difficult to demold)
egg whole-6 ea
egg yolk-12 ea
sugar-690 g( what-this makes about 36 -portions)
corn flour/ custard powder-80 g
vanilla essence- to your liking don’t put too little because then will smell eggy- 10-15 ml depending on strength
blueberries frozen to put inside.( Makes it look like a blue veined cheese but tastes a 100 times better and doesn’t smell at all..win win for all–150 g
mixed berries to make into sauce to serve on the side—i ill put on a separate post this bit
biscuit crumbs- use your favourite ones – about 150 g per tin
butter – makes it better helps to bind the biscuit crumbs– 50 g per tin
First thing s take ut the cream cheese about an hou before you start, makes it nice and soft and easy to mix.
then preheat your oven to 125 C., thats very low heat , becaue what are making is really delicate thing.
then line the spring form mold base with baking paper, and mix the biscuit crumbs and butter and cover the base of the mold.press down on the base to make it a bit more compcat and pop in the fridge to set
cream the cheese, with sugar and corn starch and slowly incorporate those eggs..one at a time..
Add vanilla and sour cream and mix one last time to get it all well blended but smooth not grainy.
pour over your prepared 1 tin or 4 depending on how much qty you made.
Bake at that very low heat , in a water bath, remember i said this is a delicate, this baby needs TLC
we need to go for 80 minutes of baking and midway through check if the top is getting too brown then cover it with piecef foil.
once its done the top might look a bit cracked and so on, thats fine its an artisan product not factor made with lots of stablisers and starches to make it shiny.
cool down and keep overnight to set.
Step 5 3/4- is to add your blueberries if you fancy them, if not make plain. I also at times spike this with baileys irish cream or amarula to make it even more divine.
Typically baba ghanouj in the western world is the wrong kind or rather wrongly named..what the world calls Baba ghanouj is actually called Muttabel in the levantine region .I know this because I was taught by the master Jedi of Lebanese food when I worked in Dubai. While that is great in itself , it is not Baba ghanouj..which we will try to make today .
so this forms part of Mezze which are different kinds of appetizers/dips/fritters /baked stuff and so on .
Eggplant 🍆- look for a plump one not too large mind U as those sometimes contain lots of seeds , let’s say -1 medium sized one about 300-400 g it’s not an exact science like bread making more like alchemy..add a drib of this or that. You need to stab this several times with a small paring knife ..think evil thoughts and let it out. The reason to puncture the skin is to make the cooking easier and let the steam escape. Then you roast this over an open flame, gas or charcoal, U could roast in the oven but doesn’t get the smoky aroma then. You need to turn it during the cooking process so the skin gets completely black and burnt, but don’t fear have some faith. Once this is done put it in a steel bowl and cool down.then you peel all the black burnt bits off and discard the stalk as well. wash and drain so we don’t get bits of carbonized eggplant skin in out diet.The burnt bits are great for your worm farm or in your garden.Then you take your favourite knife and again with the evil thoughts chop it up for 1 min and 28 seconds ( not really, but it’s good to put random times to see if the people are really reading). We need it roughly chopped and in a mixing bowl
Capsicum red is nice-1/4 /50 g chopped evenly please this time .. everything can’t be rustic
spring onion green and white -2 / 40-50 g washed well and chopped
Parsley flat leaf/ Italian the curly stuff has no flavour- 1-2 sprigs chopped doesn’t have to be very fine but not very chunky ..
lemon juice – to give a hint of tartness ..U figure out how much you like
Extra virgin olive oil which has a good taste and aroma -2 T roughly
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic cloves -2 peeled and crushed really fine this time – this is good to do with the salt and the flat of your knife .
Cumin powder – 1 g / large pinch
Mix everything in a bowl , taste to see if you like it..arrange it neatly in a nice ceramic bowl and garnish / drizzle with some pomegranate molasses just a little because this can be quite acidic/ tart and some more Ev olive oil. No irritating foams and gels here , this is food which is heart warming not just fancy pants impress the Jones kind.
eat with bread of some kind, pita bread triangles to scoop it up ,or foccacia or khubz Afghani / which is like pide bread topped with sesame seeds.You can find bread recipes here or make one which you have used before..
All of mine do work .They might not be the prettiest buttons in the box but they certainly work .No filters, no Dramas or pretty faces in the background.
Dal makhani means lentils with butter literally, what it is really is these black lentils traditionally cooked overnight slowly on a tandoor oven.
i know at this stage some of you are going to walk away because it’s not everyone who has a tandoori oven tucked away in their garden or worse Kitchen..So I’ve come with a sort of compromise which will work for most homes sans monster clay oven. We will require however a thick bottomed pot or the quintessential staple of an Indian kitchen ,the pressure cooker, which should be used the world over really. Saves time and gas /power which means a cleaner earth for future generations.
We also will make modified recipe because the traditional one would be cooked with lentil 1 kg+ butter 1 kg+cream 1 kg. Since we don’t want to kill you so quickly..and lose on potential ad revenue from Google, we make a lighter version ,which is just as tasty but lighter .Having said that this is still a rich winter food and you should stop at one bowl.
time to take a break and go do more important stuff.
ok back after a bit so what we need is
Black urad dal whole- 250 g( that’s plenty for about 10 people, but the time spent on making it makes it easier to make a large batch and then freeze. Wash really well and soak overnight , do actually is a 48 hr process.dont worry we have a short cut.so 24 hrs later bring it to a boil and skim the scum till no black / brown stuff is floating on top. From here on gets interesting , U could slow cook if you have a tandoor or wood burner in your house. Otherwise put the lentil/ dal in a pressure cooker with adequate water about 20 ml oil/ 1T .Add 2 T /30 g ginger and garlic paste ,1/2 T coriander pdr, pinch cumin powder and 1/2 t of bright red chilli powder,not very hot one. Then cook till it gets really mushy/4-5 whistles on low heat.
Then in a separate pot , take 1 T oil heat ,add 1/4 t cumin seeds and then about 2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced.Add also about half an onion very finely chopped and saute till lightly translucent.then add about 1T of good tomato paste or about 3T of tomato puree. Add the cooked lentil/dal and slowly simmer .
Add a largeish pinch of kasoori methi( these are fenugreek leaves dried ,which I toast and grind to a powder, makes them easier to blend). It’s not exact but you put too much it gets too bitter but gives a nice flavour for want of better words( no smoky peaty , chalky undertones here , most of that takes years to understand and comprehend quite a bit is just pretentious BS)
I also add some Julienne of ginger ( gives a bit of texture and also healthy).
Now important part , when this thing is simmering U cannot do too much multi tasking , otherwise it’s going to stick and burn. Pop in about 25 g if butter and cream about 100 ml.
Eat in miniscule quantities( have a heart ) because it’s quite rich remember though we have put in only a 1/3 Rd of the butter and half the cream of what can go in.
stories of foods from the world over, laced with a hint of sarcasm and some black humour, its not for everyone, but then never was meant to be..