Friday, December 24, 2010

Oh Hark! Cheesey Goodness!

I love to eat.  Possibly as much, if not more than I love to cook.  I discovered my Holy Grail of cheesey goodness the other night at a Christmas Party - Baked Cheese Cobb.  Wow!  This dish blew my mind.  I have never been so happy to be invited to a party!  I could not stop myself eating it!

So let me give you the background.  I was at a friends Christmas Street Party and my their  Nanna made a baked cheese cobb.  I watched in awe as it was presented (in my mind ceremoniously) and placed upon the table, all bubbly and golden with a lovely cheesey crust that was just begging to be broken into with a crisp crouton.  I think the last time I saw a cobb dip was when I was flicking through Mum's old dog-eared copy of the Women's Weekly cookbook, which I am sure was from the 70's. 

Upon tasting, I had no words, I could not speak!  It was ooey, it was gooey, it was stringy and reminiscent of fondue.  Wow!  (again!)  I wanted to abscond with it immediately to a quiet corner with a spoon and gorge myself stupid on it! 

At first I was very encouraging of those who would dip crackers into the cobb and how they shared my sentiment of how wonderful it tasted.  However as it quickly began to disappear I would shoot flinty glares at whoever approached...  I wanted it all to myself - and I had to get the recipe.

Nanna Galwey was very delighted to share the recipe - something I thought was going to be a close guarded family secret, handed down through the generations, but a friend told me she saw it featured in a recent women's magazine, which doesn't sound as nostalgic, but you can't have everything!

I am more than happy to share this wonderful recipe with you here, just as Nanna Galwey was happy to share it with me.  Bear in mind it was given to me in cook's shorthand, but it is so simple it virtually makes itself.  I made it for the first time myself yesterday for our own Christmas Street Party, and I am sure if you make it you will get the kudos I enjoyed as well.

Nanna Galwey's Cheese Cobb

2 cups of grated tasty cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 pk Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature
3-4 rashers bacon, chopped
1 can creamed corn
1 cobb loaf, centre hollowed out (reserve for croutons)

Be sure to select a nice crusty loaf that will hold up to being filled. 

Cut around the top of the cobb and scoop out the middle of the loaf, being careful not to cut away at the sides.  Reserve this bread to make croutons.  Take all remaining ingredients and mix together.


Spoon mixture into your hollowed out cobb.  (Inquisitive dog optional).  Bake in oven at 170c (160c fan forced) for 45 mins.  Serve with crackers or croutons.

To make the croutons, simply slice reserved bread into bite sized chunks or slices.  Arrange on an oven tray, spray lightly with oil and place in oven to dry out for approx 15-20 mins.  You can easily do this while you have your cobb cooking, just be sure not to forget about them!  (You can toss the bread in olive oil, garlic and herbs if you wish, but it is nice to let the cobb do the talking).

I am sure with a little experimentation the possibilities are endless with this recipe.  I am sure it would be nice with a mixture of Gruyere and Emmenthal, some spinach and artichoke, even used as a sauce over cauliflower and broccoli... I am feeling a kitsch 70's fondue vibe here...

Until next time...

Kitty xx

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm excited!

I just want to share my own little 'self-important' buzz/affirmation here.  I am about to make my Christmas Day batch of fruit mince pies and I need to check my own website for the recipe for the pastry!

Even if this is just my own little ego booster, I do love my web page!

Until next time...

Kitty xx

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


8pm on a Tuesday night and I am feeling homesick for my beloved New York.  I knocked up a small batch of Pumpkin Scones with Caramel Glaze so my kitchen would fill with the sweet aromas of my favourite tea spot - Alice's Tea Cup.

My kitchen is always where I go to find my happy place.

Until next time...

Kitty xx

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fruit Mince Pies

It's Holiday Season and I love it!  I have my Christmas Tree up, my house is decorated inside and out and I am really getting into the Christmas spirit by baking.

I made my Christmas cake 4 weeks ago and it is cuddled up in brown paper in the tin maturing beautifully.  With the dried fruit left over from making my cake, I made fruit mince.  

Fruit mince is a mixture of dried fruits, such as sultanas, raisins, currants - basically the fruit that is used for a fruit cake or plum pudding.  You can be flexible with the ingredients, adding whatever dried fruits you like or have on hand.  I really like the addition of dried dates as they go kind of creamy when they cook down.  I have my fruit soaking again in rum to make it plump and juicy.  I am really getting my money's worth out of this duty free rum, even if I am only baking with it!

The recipe is simple.  Remember that you can alter ingredients for the fruit mince to suit your own taste.  For instance, if you don't like mixed peel, leave it out.  Also, if you are avoiding alcohol you don't have to add rum or brandy, I like it because it adds depth of flavour to the fruit.  Just experiment!  I hope you love making them as much as I enjoy eating them!

Fruit Mince Pies (Makes about 1 dozen)

Fruit Mince
1/3 cup sultanas
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup dried pineapple, finely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1-2 tbs mixed dried peel (you may want less according to taste)
Zest of 1 orange
1 large green apple, grated
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbs dark brown sugar
1-2 tbs rum or brandy

Mix all ingredients together and leave in the fridge for 1-7 days to macerate. 

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (Recipe from
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/3 cup icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, chilled
1 egg yolk

Mix flour, almond meal and icing sugar together.  Cube butter and add to flour mixing with fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add egg yolk and mix until combined.  Roll into a ball and flatten slightly, wrap with cling film and rest in refrigerator for 30 mins.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Roll out dough to a thickness of about 3mm.  Using a round pastry cutter (or a glass), cut circles out of the dough (about 3 inches round) and line the bottoms of a muffin pan by gently pressing the dough into the pan to about 3/4 up the sides of each cup.  (Be sure to save the scraps as you will roll out this leftover pastry to make your pie tops). 

Spoon in your fruit mince mixture (about 1 tbs should be enough to fill each tart shell).  

Roll out remaining pastry and either cut slightly smaller circles to make lids for you pies, or alteratively, use a cookie cutter to cut pastry shapes for the top of your pies.  (I find this easier as you don't have to fuss about with sealing the lids and it looks cute). 

Bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 mins or until pastry is golden.  Remove from oven and let cool in the muffin pans for 5 mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool.  A butter knife helps to ease them out of the muffin pans easily.

Dust with icing sugar before serving if desired.

I think these pies are just as good if not better than store bought.  Plus it is always nice to be able to show off and say 'I made these myself'.

Until next time...

Kitty xx