Basic Vanilla Cheesecake

This is a great basic baked cheesecake which uses ricotta cheese to create a light texture. A perfect dessert when topped with fresh berries

ingredients

1 1/2 Tbsp cornflour

1 1/2 Tbsp water

330g cream cheese

500g ricotta cheese

4 eggs

1 cup caster sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

to make base

1/3 cup desiccated coconut

3/4 cup plain flour

1/4 cup white sugar

90 g butter

Method

Preheat oven to 150 C

Make base- combine coconut, sugar flour and butter in a bowl. Rub with finger tips until a rough dough forms. Press in a lightly greased springform pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes

To make filling- combine cornflour and water to a make a paste. Place cheeses , eggs, sugar, cornflour paste and vanilla in a food processor and mix till smooth. Spoon into base tin and bake for 1 hour. Once the timer goes off , leave cake in closed oven for 1 hour to cool. Chill- best left overnight

Top with berries and a dusting of icing sugar

Gingerbread

Ingredients

1 cup Golden Syrup

125 g butter

2 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 nutmeg

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup warm milk

2 eggs lightly beaten

Method

Preheat oven to 180C

Grease a loaf tin

Melt butter and golden syrup in a saucepan

Put baking soda in warm milk, set aside

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl- then add beaten eggs, cooled melted golden syrup and milk mixture. Beat well until smooth batter. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour or until skewer comes out clean.

Yummy served warm with butter

White Bread

This is a old family recipe which is our version of brioche. It is a lovely sweet bread which can be shaped into loaves, cinnamon bread or rolls.

Ingredients

1 cup of milk

3 Tbsp of butter

1 yeast package

1/2 cup warm water

2 eggs

3 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

3-4 cups of flour

Method

  • Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water with 1 tsp sugar. Set aside to proof
  • Scald milk by gently heating it then add butter until melted
  • Beat 2 eggs in a bowl with sugar and salt. Add this to cool milk then add yeast.
  • Add flour in small portions and knead either by hand or mixer. The exact amount of flour will vary slightly but the aim is a smooth elastic dough, like a baby’s bottom. If using a mixer, a sign the dough is ready when it comes away from the side. Kneading bread is something that takes practice so don’t worry if it doesn’t come easily. No one is perfect at first!
  • Once kneaded, set the dough aside in a warm area to let it rise. It’s ready when the dough size has doubled, then punch it down and shape it a loaf or rolls. Let rise a second time until loaf size.

Cook in 180 C oven for 30-35 mins. To be honest, I hate setting a time because cooking will depend on the size of loaf or shape. Just watch it and when it is golden and springs back it’s ready.

Wicked Apple and Almond Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust :

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup flour

Filling :

250 grams of Cream Cheese

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg beaten

1 tsp vanilla

Topping :

3-4 large apples

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup of almond slivers/slices

To make – preheat oven to 180 C

  1. First make the crust – cream butter and sugar together. Add flour and mix well. Press into bottom and up 3 cm up the side of a springform pan.
  2. Make the Filling – cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla then blend well. Spoon on to the top of the crust.
  3. To make the topping- peel and core the apples. Slice the apple into thin slices. Mix with brown sugar, cinnamon and almonds then shake apple slices with the sugar combo to coat the apple well. Arrange the apple slices in a pinwheel pattern
  4. To cook- bake in preheated oven until cooked. Generally takes 35 -45 mins, the cheesecake should be firm. Make sure to cool and chill for 3-4 hours, cheesecakes are always best the second day!

Pita Bread

Pita bread

  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 pkg of yeast
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 4-5 cups of flour
  • extra oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Method

  1. In a bowl, combine the sugar and lukewarm water then sprinkle yeast over the water. Once the yeast has started to froth add the oil.
  2. Place the oil water mixture in a mixing bowl and gradually add flour. Knead to create a smooth elastic dough. This can be done by hand or kitchen mixer.
  3. If using a kitchen mixer, start with the standard mixer attachment initially and when the dough gets stiffer after about 3 cups of flour switch to dough attachment. Continue to add flour until you see the dough pull away from the sides. Generally to achieve this it takes a little practice and alternating between adding flour and oil to get the right consistency. To get the best dough, it takes practice to get a feel of what the dough should look and feel like. It should feel a smooth soft elastic dough that bounces back slightly when touched.
  4. Place the dough ball in an oiled bowl then drizzle a little oil on the surface of the dough. Cover with a clean tea towel and let stand in a warm place until doubled. This generally takes a couple hours.
  5. When the dough has doubled, punch it down sprinkle with salt and gently knead. Cut the dough into small portions and roll out in pita sized circles on baking paper to about 2-3 mm thick. Leave it stand for for 10 mins.
  6. In the meanwhile heat the oven to 200 C with a baking sheet inside. This is a key step, you need a very hot oven and baking sheet to get the dough to puff up.
  7. When the dough has risen slightly, gently peel the dough off the baking paper and place on hot baking sheet. Bake for 2-3 minutes or until slightly golden. Watch them, they can burn quickly.
  8. The dough should puff up in the oven, though I never have 100% success! By puffing up the pocket is created in the pita bread. To remove air, poke with a sharp knife to let steam out and remove from the oven. Stack the cooked pita on top of each other to cool.

Enjoy! Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t always puff up, just keep trying. Seeing one work makes it all worth it and practice makes perfect or in this case a pita bread!

Retro Knitting

New Zealand Picture Knitting from the 80’s

Click here for KiwiKnit PDF

Skyline garage to “Studio”in 3 weeks!

It seems every Christmas holidays we have a project, this year’s project was to convert our 1960’s skyline garage into a studio to showcase products from our website and allow people to come visit and buy. It’s always fun to share our finds and tales of the treasure hunt

As you can imagine, the original skyline garage was packed to the roof with everything sheds have – bikes, camping gear, garden stuff etc. So the first step was to empty everything out , so to accompany these still important life essentials we took a weekend and build a kitset shed. Not hard but nothing is ever simple. The kit set was missing a roof panel so we currently have a half built shed covered with a tarp. Fingers crossed it doesn’t rain! The disadvantage to doing things at Christmas is nothing happens fast. 6 weeks later and we are still waiting for a replacement.

That’s ok, we carried on. First by doing the basics, weatherproofing. The concrete floor was sealed and painted, the roof was inspected and repaired where needed. That seemed to take forever with no noticeable change.

Next came the paint. Starting with painting the roof beams in a soft cream of Resene’s half Dutch White Zylone. Then colour on the walls. Yay! We had gibbed the walls a few years earlier so luckily we just had to paint with a Karen Walker Resene’s colour of Beryl Green. Karen Walker’s colour are great, they have depth other colours don’t seem to have. We have used them couple of times in the past half Beryl green and I am very tempted to use her version of orange to add a pop of colour. Orange is such a great retro colour. What do you think?

cof

The next step was design with the shed/studio needed to be multifunctional – storage and display. The shed is really not big and only had 1 functional wall – that’s the challenge!

Storage was achieved by making cupboards along one wall with the specific purpose being to fit as many banana boxes as possible! We managed to fit 36 – mainly Crown Lynn.

dav

The cupboard shelves were basic but we added a plywood bench top, embracing the grain of the ply. There is something nice about keeping things basic and the grain was beautiful when polyurethraned. A bit of a Scandinavian vibe.

cof
cof

The display space was dedicated to the area above the cupboard shelves. Not that easy as nothing in this 60’s building was square and it had the classic angled roof.

cof
sdr

To maximize light , mirrors were placed on the wall first. They reflect the light from the opposite window and are always great for enhancing display spaces. The cheapest way to do this was to buy 3 identical mirrors- each was 120 cm x 90 cm. Large mirrors are too expensive so the challenges was how best to fit the shelves and mirrors together. Luckily it worked, the key was having the spacing between mirrors fit a designed shelf and extend the mirror down to the bench to act like a splashback.

Next came the fun, adding furniture and styling the space!

This was a very organic process with the key being trying different versions and combos to see what looked best.

After 3 long weeks of building, hopefully we achieved some which is functional and can now be called a studio. Thank goodness it was Christmas as the only thing we ate was the Holiday ham.

sdr

To give you context, everything was done by my partner and I . We are not builders or interior designers, we are just plain folk who make it happen mainly because we don’t have the financial resources to pay someone. If we can do it, you can too!