Wednesday 29 August 2012

When brûlée goes bad: Lemon Coconut Cheesecake Bars

Amélie Poulain cultive un goût particulier pour les tous petits plaisirs. Elle aime plonger sa main au plus profond d’un sac de grain... briser la croûte des crèmes brûlées avec la pointe de la petite cuillère... et faire des ricochets sur le Canal Saint-Martin. ~ Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain.
Amelie cultivates a taste for small pleasures. She likes dipping her hand into sacks of grain, cracking crème brûlée with a teaspoon and skipping stones at St. Martin's Canal ~ Amelie

These were meant to be brûlée bars.  I wanted them so much to be brûlée bars.

Like Amélie (my fav movie of all time!) that first crack through the caramel sugar layer on a crème brûlée never fails to give me tingles down my spine.  It's magical.   Truly one of life's little pleasures.

But despite what people tell you, you just can't brûlée properly in the oven.   Instead of getting that perfectly golden brown, snap crackle caramel coating on the top, you end up with burned edges, melted sugar, and gooey melted cheesecake.  Boo.  One does not simply brûlée without a blow torch.

{is it kinda pyro asking for a blow torch for christmas?}

So I just topped the rest of the Lemon Cheesecake Slices I made for our Baking for Hospice Fifty Shades of Yellow round with crunchy toasted coconut making them Lemon Coconut Cheesecake Slices.  But don't get me wrong, the dud first brûlée attempts may not have looked that flash, they tasted amazing.  That caramel crunchy top was perfect with the creamy tangy cheesecake filling.  Mark my words, once I get my hands on a sweet blow torch, I'm definitely gonna go brûlée crazy with these puppies.  Watch this space. 

Thursday 16 August 2012

Wellington, Wellingtons, and Masterchef Melting Moments

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain ~ Dolly Parton

What a wet and windy but wickedly wonderful week!  Have had it all: the good, the bad, and the delicious.

The bad: It has been absolutely bucketing down for ages.  Really gave me new appreciation of just how great owning a pair of gumboots is.   One should not underestimate the utter miserableness that is cold wet socks and the corresponding amazingness that is getting to splash in puddles and retain warm dry toes.

{i heart my hunters}

The good:  I've just found out that I got my clinical placement in Wellington!! Woooohoooo!!  For our final three years of med school, the class is getting scattered to the four winds.  Well, three winds to be precise: Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin and based on the numbers you may not get to go to the place you nominate.  So it's been hanging over us all for two years now but finally, this week it's all confirmed...whew!  So very excited about living in the Capital City.  Wellywood here we come!!  

And finally, the delicious: I recently made these Much-hyped Masterchef Melting Moments.  They are from pastry queen of Masterchef Australia, Julia Taylor, and were raved about by the judges.  While I don't want to rain on her parade, I wasn't terribly impressed.  Having said that they did go down a treat at my Mum's work!

Sunday 5 August 2012

Olympic Obsession and Sweet Cherry Pie

Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain ~ 2012 Mens Double Sculls Olympic Gold Medalist Eric Murray quoting Richard M. Nixon.

How good are the Olympics?!

I've stayed up late and got up early just to catch a glimpse of the rowing, swimming, athletics, you name it.  I've found myself playing the armchair 3rd umpire, tsk-tsking at the officials making rubbish calls on sports I'd never even watched before in my life.  Who knew weightlifting, synchronized diving, gymnastic trampolining and canoe slalom made such great television?

The tears, the controversy, the drama.  Gah. Cannot. Stop. Watching.

And in amongst the sporting juggernauts of China, USA and GB, little old New Zealand has had a golden run.  Three golds and four bronzes.  We are even beating the Aussies. It has been magical to watch these amazing athletes who have dedicated more than a decade of their lives, finally achieving their dreams.

Eric Murray, aged 30, half of the golden double sculls pair with Hamish Bond, spoke about all the set backs and knock downs they had had along the way.  He quoted Richard Nixon's "Deepest Valley" quote as giving him inspiration in races.  It is truly inspirational the sacrifice these athletes have made.  Years of dedication, of unwavering support from their families, of grueling hard work and disappointments, financial setbacks and pressure to deliver.

And it gives me courage.  At the ripe old age of 27 and only halfway into a medical degree, having walked away from a career in law, lived apart from my husband for almost two years, fended disbelief and disapproval and struggled with a gargantuan student loan, I've often questioned my sanity and whether I've made the right choice.  But these incredibly brave and talented athletes have shown me that sacrifice and belief in oneself does pay off and dreams really do come true.

You could say they are oar-inspiring.

The greatness comes not when things go always good for you.  But the greatness comes when you're really tested when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes. ~ Richard M. Nixon.

This Sweet Cherry Pie, whilst gorgeous and delicious, really has nothing to do with the Olympics.  Unless you count the golden pastry crust or that it's a winner of a recipe.


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