Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

CheeseCakeBrownies-8Have you noticed the amazing array of cakes, biscuits, brownies and slices that are available all over Brisbane? There was a time when everything was sourced from the same commercial bakery, but not anymore. I find it inspiring to see what creativity there is in kitchens all over Australia.

One morning I was out at Milk Bar Cafe in Ashgrove enjoying my coffee, when I peered into the cabinet and saw these amazing delights. Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies! What more could you want than the combination of two decadent treats! I ordered one on the premise I needed to try some for research reasons! Mmmmmm so delicious. When I returned home with what I guessed would be the right ingredients, I did a bit of research and started baking. I changed the recipe so that the top and bottom should work out to be of equal proportions now. This one I photographed was a bit thin on top.

CheeseCakeBrownies-6So here is the recipe… enjoy!

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies


(as high percent cocoa as possible)

500g castor sugar

(free range)


Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 25 x 25cm tin.

Place the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

Cream the butter and 350g of the caster sugar until pale, then add 3 of the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the melted chocolate, then fold in the flour. Spread all of the mixture into the lined pan. Bash down on the counter top a few times to make it as flat as possible.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, remaining sugar and eggs and the vanilla extract until smooth, then spread over the chocolate base.

Poke the raspberries into the top and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.


Place in fridge overnight and cut into squares in the morning.


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Dinner for Six

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I have heard my friends say to me that having people over for dinner is daunting and I’m going to try and convince you that it isn’t. I’m in Sydney and when I’m here I love to catch up with old friends and it’s easier to have them over for dinner than to try and organise a date at a restaurant. This is especially the case if you have friends with young children.

Firstly my advise is not to cook anything new. Cook something you have made many times before and you’re confident with. It doesn’t have to be a meal that belongs in a top restaurant, people want to be able to relax and talk and that’s much easier if the host is relaxed.

I made a special roast chicken that is easy and succulent. This was served with hasselback potatoes and freshly cooked zucchini and carrots. Have you heard of hasselback potatoes before? They are so simple and so delicious. You cut the potatoes into thin slices and then roll in olive oil and salt. Place in an oven at 180 degrees celsius and watch them become crunchy and delicious. You can add rosemary or any herb or spice that you think enhances your meal.

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Another hint is to make a few special garnishes like roasted pistachios and slivered almonds. If you sprinkle these through the salad or on top of the roast chicken it will make your guests feel like it’s a special meal.

Roast Chicken marinated in Avjar


1 Free range chicken (a size that you think is right for your dinner party)

4 tablespoons of virgin olive oil

freshly ground salt and pepper

three cloves of garlic diced

A jar of Avjar

1/2 cup of pistachios (toasted in the oven)

1/2 cup of almonds slivers (toasted in the oven)

1 onion sliced

Grated lemon zest


Heat oven to 200 degrees celcius.

Line a baking tray with alfoil to save on cleaning up later.

Unwrap your chicken and tuck the wings under the body.

Mix together the Avjar, olive oil, salt and pepper and diced garlic cloves.

Massage this into the bird, all over the skin and around the legs and wings. Make sure there is plenty of the sauce on the bird.

Place the chicken on the tray and place half the sliced onion into the chicken and sprinkle the other half on top.

Leave in the oven until the top of the chicken looks roasted and crunchy (see photo). Take out occasionally and spoon juices over the bird.

Then turn the oven to 150 degrees and keep roasting until very succulent, around an hour and a half.

Before taking to the table grate some fresh lemon zest on the top of the bird.

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Oh what a wonderful thing Christmas is. Not because of what is under the tree but for what it does for people. Children travel kilometres to be with parents and siblings.  Partners struggle to find a way to see both sides of their families while not spending the day apart. People put grievances behind them and come together and make it a special day. Nothing has the power on an annual basis to bring people together Like Christmas. I am one of the lucky ones who had all my immediate family sitting around the table with me as well as both my parents and my children’s partners.  This is reason to celebrate by preparing a special meal.

This year I served Cured Ocean Trout with Salad as an entree followed by Turkey and Ham, Roast Potatoes and Beans then for dessert Cherry Tart and Almond Ice-cream. My mother was kind enough to help me by bringing in a Terrine and a Mango Cheesecake. I was also lucky enough to have a friend bring me a whole cooked and basted Ham. Christmas catering is so much easier when you have magic helpers.

It was a wonderful meal and we all enjoyed ourselves.

Cherry Clafoutis Tartlets with candied almond ice-cream


70 gm (2/3 cup) almond meal
100 gm caster sugar
10 gm plain flour
250 ml (1 cup) pouring cream
120 gm eggs (about 2)
60 gm egg yolks (about 3)
300 gm cherries, pitted
2 tbsp kirsch (optional)
Candied almond ice-cream
200 gm flaked almonds
1 litre (4 cups) milk
250 ml (1 cup) pouring cream
200 gm egg yolks (about 11)
330 gm (1½ cups) caster sugar
200 gm blanched almonds
For greasing: oil
Sweet pastry
180 gm softened butter
75 gm icing sugar, sieved
2 egg yolks
250 gm (1 2/3 cups) plain flour

For candied almond ice-cream, preheat oven to 180C. Scatter flaked almonds over an oven tray and roast, shaking occasionally, until golden (4-5 minutes). Meanwhile, bring milk to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add flaked almonds, remove from heat, set aside to infuse (1 hour), then blend in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve lined with muslin, squeezing to extract as much liquid as possible and yield 750ml (discard solids). Add cream to yield 1 litre, adding more if necessary. Whisk yolks and 180gm sugar in a bowl until pale. Bring almond milk to the simmer then pour onto yolks, whisking continuously to combine, transfer to a clean saucepan and stir over low-medium heat until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly (6-8 minutes). Cool in a large bowl placed over ice then freeze in an ice-cream machine. Freeze until firm. Meanwhile, scatter blanched almonds on an oven tray and roast, shaking occasionally, until golden (5-6 minutes). Keep warm. Combine remaining sugar and 100ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir to dissolve sugar then simmer until mixture reaches 121C on a sugar thermometer. Stir through warm almonds until sugar crystallises (3-4 minutes), pour onto a lightly oiled oven tray and cool, then break into coarse pieces. Process in a food processor until coarsely ground, stir through ice-cream (reserve 2 tbsp for serving). Freeze until firm.
For sweet pastry, beat butter in an electric mixer until smooth, add sugar, beat to combine. Beat in yolks one at a time, then beat in 25ml iced water. Sift flour onto a work surface, make a well in the centre. Add butter mixture, rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Bring pastry together with the heel of your hand, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (3 hours). Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick, line six 7cm-diameter tart tins, trim edges and refrigerate to rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Scatter almond meal on an oven tray and roast, shaking occasionally, until golden (2-3 minutes), set aside to cool. Combine sugar, flour and almond meal in a bowl. Whisk cream, eggs and yolks until smooth in a separate bowl, add sugar mixture, stir to combine. Set aside to rest (30 minutes).
Combine cherries in a bowl with kirsch, gently fold though batter, pour into tart cases and bake until golden and just set (20-25 minutes). Cool slightly, remove from tins and serve with candied almond ice-cream, scattered with reserved candied almond.
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