easy baked lemon & berry cheesecakes

I've always loved baked cheesecake but often don't make it as I feel it takes soooo long to make.

However I've now found a quick and easy way to make this delicious treat........with the help of your trusty food processor and a muffin pan you too can create these.

Being little individual cakes they're the perfect size for a work morning tea, to take to a friends place, for a picnic or even pop in the kids lunchbox....though for me it's the perfect sneaky afternoon treat....the only hard part is stopping at one!

easy baked lemon & berry cheesecakes
Makes 12
12 butternut snap cookie biscuits*
125g sour cream
½ cup (110g) caster sugar
2 ½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 eggs
375g cream cheese, softened, cut into cubes

Fresh blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries, to garnish
Icing sugar, to garnish

1.    Preheat oven to 160°C or 140°C fan-forced. Line each hole of a 12-hole ½ cup (125ml) muffin pan with paper cases. Place a biscuit into the base of each paper case, pressing down slightly.
2. Place sour cream, sugar, lemon rind, lemon juice and eggs into blender jug and secure lid.  Process for 10 - 15 seconds until just combined.    
3. Add cream cheese to food processor bowl and secure lid. Process for 30 seconds until mixture is smooth and combined.
5. Pour cream cheese mixture into cases. Bake for 20 minutes or until just set. Turn off the oven. Leave the cheesecakes in the oven with the door ajar for about 1 hour to cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until well chilled. Remove and discard the paper cases. Transfer the cheesecakes to a serving plate. Top with berries and dust with icing sugar. Serve.

*for my non-Australian readers you can use any plain round sweet biscuit  just make sure it fits into the base of your muffin pan. 

A few delicious twists:

lime & passionfruit : Use lime rind in place of lemon and passionfruit pulp instead of lemon juice.

choc orange: Use choc ripple biscuits instead of butternut snap. Use orange rind and juice instead of lemon. Before baking place 2 teaspoons choc chips on top of the biscuits then pour over cheesecake mixture.

cherry & vanilla: Omit lemon zest and juice, add 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste with the eggs. Before baking top the cream cheese mixture with a few pitted fresh or frozen cherries.


lamb, dukkah, kale and fetta scrolls....alfresco treats for Lets Lunch July 2014

Alfresco or 'picnic' food needs to be portable, delicious warm, or at room temperature, and suitable to eat with your hands or on paper plates.Something that fits the bill is a pastry....but there are so many combinations....where to start???

Looking around the kitchen for inspiration I found my 'muses'.... that jar of my pistachio and hazelnut dukkah, a box of filo pastry and the lamb shoulder mum brought back from our farm. With a little more hunting and some Middle Eastern insights I created this flavourful filo scroll.

Now all I need is the perfect outdoor spot to sit and enjoy the delights!

Ukrainian Vegetarian Borscht.... a pot full of vegetables! Let’s Lunch August 2013

When the Let's Lunch team posted their topic for this month 'Eat your Vegetables' in celebration of the launch of Joe Yonan's new book I was not sure where to start then Sydney's winter weather suddenly turned cold and wet....so what better than create a soup close to my heart.

When I was a young girl winter always meant a big pot of borscht would be cooking....be it at home or my Baba's place... and it still instills a comfort that no other soup can replace.

Borscht may be a staple national dish in Ukraine every region and every home has their own 'special' recipe. Some are full of beetroot, others more carrots and cabbage, some have lots of tomatoes and only a little beetroot, some add pork, beef brisket, smoked pork sausage or speck, some add beans and others add barley.....though my Baba would always keep beetroot the hero.

A few little tips my Baba taught me were to initially cook the beets separately, then chop them and toss them in vinegar to keep their colour and add a little more vinegar just at the end which gives the soup a little tart zing that lifts the soup to a whole new level.

My baba would make her everyday borscht with her homemade pork rib stock that had been simmering for hours....however in keeping with the Let's Lunch theme, and in the name of speed, this creation is 'purely' vegetarian.

Baba....I hope I did your recipe proud xx

sticky ginger beer chicken wings....a TV food favourite.

I have to admit I am not a TV sports junkie, but Mr G is and  January and February are big months with the mountains of cricket, the Australian Open, the English and European football and the NFL  Super Bowl enjoying many meals at the coffee table.

Though one thing I do know is when your sitting down in front of the TV cheering on your sports heroes it's a knife and fork free zone....finger food only.

There are a number of things I cook  it was hard to know what to choose
be it one of my delectable handmade dips; chorizo, red onion and chilli pizza; homemade fennel and pork sausage rolls, Four cheese pastry bites..... but then I realized the one thing I always do is chicken wings.

I love chicken wings they are so culinarily flexible.... you can pan fry them, bbq them, deep fry them, roast them, stir fry them, smoke them,  coat them in a spice rub, marinate them for hours, make them Chinese style, Southwest style, Thai style, Moroccan spiced, take them to Rio, eat them hot, warm or even cold.

One of my favourite chicken wing creations is slow cooking them in a sweet sauce until their sticky and unctuous and one my most requested, and loved, is Sticky Ginger Beer Chicken.