Tag Archives: Lemon

Rosemary Balsamic Roasted Figs

Figs aren’t big in Vietnamese cuisine. In fact, before last night, I was the only one in the household to have ever actually tasted them. I used to talk to a friend about how growing up in an Asian family (he’s 3/4 Chinese and I’m Vietnamese), we were almost made to feel bad whenever we did not like something. It was even worse when we did not want to try something. As was common practice, the elderly at dinner parties would comment on how mature they thought your palate was. This cultural phenomenon is so deeply rooted it can be found embedded in the language (at least in Vietnamese). When I used to express my discontent for stomach or intestines my family friends would exclaim in Vietnamese that “I didn’t know how to eat it.” Of course, cultural differences account for the fact that this sounds extremely rude in English. Hilariously enough, I found it a bit hypocritical how the same people exclusively ate Chinese and Vietnamese food, refusing to ever try foods originating from other parts of the world. Luckily for me, my family is always up for new flavours.

Roasted Figs

 

For the figs, I just stabbed them with the stems of rosemary and popped them in a pan with a balsamic reduction. The balsamic reduction can be made by simply adding icing sugar to simmering balsamic vinegar. I basted the figs until they became a bit darker in colour by absorbing some of the balsamic vinegar. After taking them out of the oven the balsamic vinegar thickened a bit and became much sweeter. To balance this out I finished the dish with some basil ricotta cheese, lemon zest, and some pine nuts for texture.

The figs were a hit which I hope will reinforce the “try anything once” mindset my family currently holds.

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No Bake Cheese Cake

Seeing as how classic new york cheese cake is in my top 5 favourite desserts of all time, it comes as a bit of a surprise that I actually like Gordon Ramsay’s no bake cheese cake even more. The original recipe can be found here: http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes/chefs/gordon-ramsay/vanilla-cheesecake-recipe however, I had some left over Captain Morgan from the weekend among other things:

Ingredients:

For the topping:

  • 6 – Mr. Christie’s Arrowroot Cookies
  • 6tbsp – Sugar
  • 75g – Unsalted Butter

For the cake:

  • 400g – cream cheese
  • 6tbsp – icing sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 600ml – double cream
  • icing sugar to dust
  • fresh mint to garnish

For the berries:

  • 200g – blueberries
  • 100g – pomegranate
  • splash of rum

Cheesecake

 

Method:

For the topping:

  • crush arrowroot cookies into tiny pieces
  • melt the sugar into a light caramel
  • to prevent the caramel from becoming too dark, take it off the heat as soon as the colour is right and add in cold butter to cool down the caramel
  • add the crushed biscuits and coat them in the caramel

For the cake:

  • Combine all of the ingredients except for the icing sugar and the mint in a large bowl
  • Keep cool in fridge to make it easier to shape

For sauce:

  • Combine berries and pomegranate in a pot and bring to a boil
  • After some of the berries burst deglaze the pan with a splash of rum and turn down the heat to a simmer
  • take off the heat when the sauce reaches desired thickness

I finish the cheesecake with the crushed arrowroot cookies on top and some fresh mint. This lighter take on a cheesecake works well when you don’t want to go into an everlasting food coma.

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