Cushy post

When I started this blog I intended for it to be a celebration of all things homey and not just food. I have always thought I would love to be an interior designer but as my Mum told me in my youth, I can't draw, so perhaps its for the best that I chose soul-destroying corporate law instead. As a child, I spent many happy evenings dragging the furniture around my bedroom to create a new look and in my teens I painted, re-carpeted and accessorised my room while my Mum was on holiday. I'm not sure why I've never posted about the various homey projects I've undertaken, the paper crafts I've made and the things I have sewn (badly), but it's time to change.

I think the problem is that I hate tagging along with the "trendy" and what with all the recession and credit crunch malarkey it seems that every Tom, Dick and Harry is extolling the virtues of 'Make Do and Mend' and asking us all to make the most of our houses as homes rather than investment vehicles. I know that this makes sense, but am I the only one who gets a little piddled off when every newspaper supplement is preaching the things you have practised for years?!

I made these cushions a few weeks ago after having the cushion fillers languishing in my craft cupboard for the last few months. Embarrassingly after the rant above, I was finally inspired to make the covers after watching Kirsty Allsop's 'Homemade Home' but never mind. In true economy chic, all the fabric was leftover from various other projects and the ribbon on the two solid coloured cushions was cut off a blouse that I no longer wore. Gosh I am so on trend.

Check out some of my favourite creative blogs here, here and here.


She who dares bakes... Cheesecake

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I do like a good cheesecake. The crunchy base, the creamy body and the the ability to carry a million and one flavours. Yum. That said, making 5 cheesecakes in the space of a week is still a little perverse. I blame a rare moment of disorganisation. Instead of checking the DB challenge at the start of the month, I only looked at it after I'd already made 3 citrus versions for a party earlier in the week. Ah well, one girl's disorganisation is the same girl's cheesecake overdose.

This month's challenge was particularly exciting as we were encouraged to get creative with the flavours. Having already eaten my body weight in digestive based cheesecake this week, I decided to use crushed amaretti biscuits for the base.

Miss AB, in the kitchen with a rolling pin...

I do like a nice amaretti biscuit, especially when covered in melted plain chocolate.

I often think that many a good cheesecake fails by having an insufficient crust to cheese ratio. Not for me this basic error:

I packed the chocolatey, almondy base into the tin and ended up with half the cheese mixture leftover (hello cheesecake number 5).

Rather than flavouring the cheese mixture with lemon, I used a couple of tablespoons of a liqueur that I'd bought on my trip to French Guyane.

Similar to Baileys, but richer, creamier and definitely more alcoholic, it added the perfect kick. I also swirled some left over melted chocolate through the mixture. Yum.

Using a water bath to cook cheesecake gives it the ideal 'cheesecake of your dreams' texture. Sadly I have often suffered from a soggy bottom when using this method. Jenny suggested using a disposable container rather than wrapping your loose bottomed tin in foil, but I decided to use a fixed bottom tin lined with cling film inside. The film doesn't melt, you can lift your cake easily and no wet bottoms. Yay!

This recipe was very successful. The filling was velvety, soft and rich and the almondy amaretti base changed the dynamic of the desert. It would be an ideal base for a coffee flavoured cheesecake. However, I think the recipe I'd used earlier in the week (based on a Nigel Slater recipe) produced a slightly better flavour and a lighter result so I think I'll keep it as my "go-to" recipe for now.

For the original cheesecake recipe go here. I replaced the Graham crackers with amaretti biscuits and added 150g melted plain chocolate to the base. I used my creamy liqueur instead of lemon juice and I swirled 50g melted chocolate through the cream mixture.
Check out the other dazzling daring bakers here.

PS A very, very big congratulations to everyone who took part in the London Marathon yesterday (including Mr AB). I hope everyone is replenishing their depleted energy stores with 5 cheesecakes today!