The second part of Cam’s Birthday meal request was a cheese cake. This is the third annual cheese cake I have baked him for his Birthday (which is the only times I ever make cheese cakes). Cheese cakes can be a little tricky (to have set, but not over brown or heaven forbid crack!) and I think it can take practice, a good recipe, and to know the oven well. It also helps to have seen someone make one before. I was very lucky to watch and learn and then make cheese cakes for my friend and chef Colette Nelson of Ludvigs in Sitka Alaska. This is not Colette’s recipe, you will have to go to Alaska for that, but this is a good traditional baked cheese cake recipe. It makes for a lovely grown-up Birthday cake. I like to top Cam’s cheesecake cake off with a chocolate ganche. The Girls helped lick the spoons and put the candles on….Maya took special note of the quantity of candles on Cam’s cake having just blown out four candles of her own and said “Daddy, look how old you are!”
Recipe to follow….
We celebrated Cam’s Birthday yesterday with an evening picnic in the back yard. Cam chose what he wanted to eat which was a Soba noodle salad, or as he calls it, “Yummy Noodles”. This is a delicious and healthy salad, that is filling and tasty, so very satisfying. Soba noodles are a Japanese buckwheat and wheat noodle. You can buy them dried, in a packet like spaghetti from the supermarket and if you are lucky can also find them fresh. There are wheat free/gluten free versions of soba too. I will follow with a recipe, but as it is something I just make, the quantities are just a guess, so feel free to be flexible with ingredients and measurements!
Soba Noodle Salad
1 packet of Soda Noodles
1 large sweet potato
3 spring onions
1 ripe avocado
a few sprigs fresh coriander
1 inch of fresh ginger (we love ginger so we use a lot)
2 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp white sesame seeds
3 tbsp peanut oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
Peel and cut sweet potato into small cubes. Place in baking tin with the peanut oil and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Bake 15-20 minutes on 400˚ until sweet potato is cooked. While the sweet potato is cooking, prepare other ingredients to make the dressing. In a large bowl add chopped spring onion, grated fresh ginger, sesame oil, honey and soy sauce. Next Cook the soba noodles as packet directions suggest. Once cooked, drain and run under cold water and set aside. Meanwhile in another small bowl, cube avocado and squeeze the fresh lime over it to coat it completely. This is for flavor, but also to keep avocado from turning brown. Once sweet potato is cooked, add it to the dressing and sprinkle with finely chopped fresh coriander. The dressing will act like a marinade and soak into the hot sweet potato. Now add the soba noodles. Stir until the sweet potato and noodles are well coated with the dressing. Add the lime avocado pieces last and combine gently. And there you have Soba noodle salad! A delicious salad that is good a day old too. We enjoyed ours with Reeds Ginger Brew. Yummy Noodles!
What a joy it was to discover when we moved in, that our garden grows glorious summer fruits! Right here in the middle of Brooklyn we have Figs, plums, Blackberries and Raspberries growing. Watching fruit ripen on a tree is a slow rewarding pleasure….and then the day finally comes that you get to eat it!
While we celebrated Summer Solstice, on the other side of the world it is Winter Solstice. Had I happened to be on the other side of the world I would have gone to the Lismore Lantern Parade. Lismore is the town I was born in, and lived in until I was about 18 years old. It is 30 minutes drive inland from Byron Bay. Since I was a small child, Lismore has had a Winter Solstice lantern parade. This parade has grown in popularity and extravagance. It started with a a small bunch of adults and children carrying hand made lanterns and has grown to a community event funded by government grants for the arts as well as many local businesses. These photos were yesterday by my friend Christopher Dean. The amazing Lismore Lantern Parade of 2010.
Everyone knows how mischievous Squirrel Nutkin is, and so we can only guess that it was he who ate our sun flowers heads. Would you believe it? I woke to a scuffling noise the other night and when I looked out the window I did not see anything, but then in the morning when I went out to water the garden, there were our sunflowers, be-headed! On the grass nearby was the seemingly scrumptious debris! Poor sunflowers…..which are now reduced to a chomped flowerless stem!