31 August 2009

The birds and the bees...

Well actually, its just about the bees today. I love that my fuzzy, buzzy friends have returned in force. Of course they are still around during the winter but not in such large numbers. And they absolutely love the lavender at the moment... as do I.

Its definitely shoe time though, bees and bare feet arent such a good combination for little people.

I cant wait until my other garden friends start to return. My roses are definitely going to need some ladybug assistance soon, the aphids are happily sucking away already.

12 August 2009

He says it cheating....

Apparently if you buy a fruit tree at the nursery and it already has two pieces of fruit on it (albeit green pieces of fruit), then its cheating to call those fruit your own. Never mind that those two pieces of fruit have been tenderly watched and care for as they gradually turned from lime green to sunny yellow. Never mind that the tree is being nurtured with the utmost care by yours truly. The fruit growing moral squad has declared that you cant claim that you grew the fruit when it was already there.

Fine, I'm not going to argue, I guess the only thing you can do with cheating lemons is make a cheating cheesecake...

You'll need:

A packet of plain biscuits, granitas are always our weapon of choice but we aren't pedantic around here. You only need around 200g so I generally give a few to the vultures that inevitably hang around
Around 80g of butter or margarine, melted
A handful of nuts, but this is totally optional
about 3 really ripe lemons. This isn't going to work if your lemons are even slightly tinged with green. You'll need about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of lemon juice. You can also use the bottled lemon juice if you don't have fresh lemons but it doesn't have quite the same tang.
1 packet of Philly Cheese take it out of the fridge and let it soften for a while
1 tin of condensed milk, try not to cut your tongue when you lick the lid

Smash the biscuits into bread crumb size pieces. Mum used to do this by hand with a rolling pin and plastic bag. Why I dont know but anyway. I whack them in the food processor with a handful of nuts (I used hazelnuts in this one but pecans are nice too or dont use nuts at all, its totally up to you). Once its all nice and fine, add the melted butter...

Mix it in thoroughly then pop it all into a pie dish lined with foil (trust me, forgetting the foil makes for difficult removal of cheesecake, dont ask me how I know this)...

That's it, crust is done, pop it in the fridge and lets move onto the yummiest bit.

Juice your lemons (or squeeze a bottle if thats what you are using). Now my two lemons were actually pretty small but they were unbelievably juicy and hardly any pith. I got half a cup of juice out of these guys. I also used one store bought lemon which was twice the size of these babies and it gave me less than a 1/4 of a cup. When it comes to lemons, its not the size that counts!!

Now I said between 1/2 and 3/4 of a cup of juice. I always use 3/4, mum always uses 1/2. You might find that 2/3 gives the perfect tang for you. But suffice to say anything between 1/2 and 3/4 will set your cheesecake.

Pop your (now soft) Philly cheese and condensed milk in a bowl and get out your electric beaters. Beat until smooth, no one likes a lumpy cheesecake!! Smooth yet?? If not, keep beating. Once it is smooth, add the lemon juice and beat a little bit more. As long as your lemons are nice and ripe they will start reacting with the milk and cheese causing it to thicken and set. My too little babies must have been perfect cheesecake lemons because this mix was firm in less than a minute. I mean literally hold-the-bowl-upside-down-nothings-moving firm.

Once you are happy that everything's mixed, smooth, tangy etc etc, grab your crust from the fridge, pour the cheese-y bit in and bung it back in the fridge to set completely. Thats it, no cooking, just lick the beaters and the bowl!!! I decided to zest my little lemons to sprinkle over the top and honestly the zest was sooooooo yummy, really sweet with a definite citrus tang. Little sprinkles of heaven...

So there we have it, super quick, super easy cheesecake which is smooth, silky and oh so tangy. And if you look in the background of this picture, you can see where it all began, out the back in the blue pot sits my little lemon tree. Here's to many more delicious cheesecakes next year.

This cheesecake recipe was taken off the back of a Philly cheese wrapper lord know how long ago by my mum. Lemons were generously provided by my lemon tree - a Lot o' Lemons dwarf variety which is suitable for pots and gives full sized fruit.