I need cheese – Passion fruit cheese cake

Its beautiful time here in my city, thought it is freezing cold (will be reaching – 30 C this week), no complaints,  i’m enjoying the scenic beauty with thin layer of ice on trees, which makes the place look gorgeous, just like star studded trees when few rays of sunlight falls on them. Wish I could take few pictures, but I don’t dare to do it, after one experience of burning my fingers. Anyways, as always winter time is always high calorie food for me. Bowl of soup I’m never happy, there should always be something to bite or cheesy that could make me feel warm.
We had a wonderful Asian fusion dinner party during weekend, yet again I was doing the dessert my fav! Sometime back I was in Porvoo a beautiful old city in Helsinki, my friend had passion fruit cheese cake, the cake looked extremely gorgeous that I some wanted to redo it at some point, couldn’t find any better day. Though that cake was baked version, I went for unbaked version. I didn’t intend this recipe for blog post, unexpectedly it turned out be fantastic that I dare to post with a bad picture. Passion fruit gives beautiful freshness and flavor I’m falling in love with it!  One year old baby couldn’t stop eating she was jumping on the table to eat more. Please ignore the pic and go head with it, butter, biscuit, cheese, cream, crunchy passion fruit seeds and winter…. with some margarita may be? …perfectly cozy!

Ingredients

180 gram digestive biscuit
50 gram butter
200 ml fresh cream (full fat)
400 gram cream cheese ( philadelphia cream cheese full fat)
100 gram sugar
4 passion fruit.
1 tspn of vanilla essence

For jelly glaze
100 ml water
1 tbspn sugar
Pulp of 1 passion fruit
1 1/2 tspn gelatin powder soaked in 1 tbpn of cold water

Method
Pulp 4 passion fruit and strain the juice out (give more pressure to strain all the juice).
Grind biscuit and butter together. Line the bottom of 18 cm cake pan  with butter biscuit crumbs, gently press them uniformly so that they are firm. Refrigerate it for about 30 mins.
In the mean time combine, sugar fresh cream and vanilla essence and beat them until stiff single peaks are formed. Next soften cream cheese in a separate bowl, very gently, better use hard mixer. If you over do them the cream cheese will become runny.
Now gently fold in fresh cream, cream cheese and passion fruit juice together until they are uniformly mixed.
Spoon the cream cheese mixture and spread evenly on the cake crust.
let the cake rest in the refrigerator

For gelatin glaze
In a heavy bottom pan, add water and sugar let them simmer on medium heat. Occasionally stir them till sugar dissolves, next add in passion fruit pulp and gelatin soaked in water. Bring it to simmer till the gelatin dissolves.
Let the glaze to cool in ice water bath till it becomes syrupy, them immediately pour it on top of the cake. Cover with fresh wrappers and refrigerate it. Serve the cake cold with warm tea or a cock tail!

Wish list – Kashmiri pulao

Hola gente! I had tank list of dreams to chase soon after PhD, like very student have, to do this to do that, my list is still growing. One on the priority is to travel to Spain, Iceland, Athens and once again to Rome to eat all over again and again! let me see how far i can go. When mum was here we planned but couldn’t get them working, winter was too rough on her. But we had gala time with heavy baking and shopping. She flew to India and i’m back to work as post doctorate researcher for short term, not doing much of research work i seriously mean it! You know dissertation hang over, i need full solid holiday to get out of it, which i hardly see any near! There are more than 15 recipes, many trip photos to edit and post, which should be one among the  wish list….so better get active and stop ranting (note to self).   
Lets go to Kashmiri pulao which mum made last year, for my Finnish God parents they thoroughly enjoyed it. Since combination of fruits, nuts and salty rice is something special. Not many may like and i can’t handle pineapple there. The very tiny tinky pineapple in photo was used just for the photoshoot. The use of fruit can be according to ones own choice, make sure to mix the fruit with lukewarm rice just before you serve, to prevent cooking of fruit, if done well in advance pulao may become slushy.

Ingredients 

150 gram basmathi rice
1 tbspn ghee
1 tbspn oil
1 large onion sliced
2-3 green chilies slit 
3 bay leaves 
1 star anies 
2 mace of nutmeg
good pinch of black cumin seeds/shajeera
5 cloves
2 inch cinnamon 
1/4 tspn ginger garlic paste
Salt to taste
Water required according to rice variety ( I used 1 and half glass of water)
Cut fruits 100 gram or more depending on your taste (we used apple, orange, grapes, mango, pomegranate and pear)
Almonds 10 numbers  skinned and fried to golden brown  (to skin soak almonds in water and peal the skin)
Cashews 10 numbers  fried to golden brown 
1 tbspn of finely chopped coriander 
Method
Soak basmathi rice for 30 minutes. In a big pot (heat medium high), add oil and ghee. When oil warms up, add in cinnamon, cloves, star anies wait for 30 seconds for them to warm, then quickly add in bay leaves, mace of nutmeg, green chilies. Next onion goes in soon after the spices starts to splutter, fry the onions till they turn transparent or pale pink, don’t fry for too long or colour of rice will change (manage heat accordingly). Followed by quick frying of  ginger garlic paste till raw flavor subsides. Drain the rice and and add in and fry for about 2 minutes. Add required amount of water, salt and cook for 2 minutes on high heat, then turn it to medium heat for about 12 – 15 minutes. Check after 10 minutes if the rice is 75 % cooked and turn the heat to low. (If you are using hot plate turn off the heat) and let them rest for another 10 minutes. After which give it a very gentle stir. Mix cut fruit, chopped coriander and fried nuts with lukwarm rice and serve immediately!

To prevent oxidation of fruits squeeze few drops of lemon juice. 

Santa is on his way – Rum fruit cake

All set and ready? enjoying the bling bling and the redness?. Oh I’m loving it. City has completely turned white and with minimum day light (no complaints) it is glowing with numerous lights and huge decorated Christmas trees. It’s fantastic to see many merry people around, shopping, exchanging gifts, excited about their vacation, pretty much the list goes endless. Am sure it’s the same with you guys too! I already received three Christmas gifts :)), so during the weekend was wrapping mine, all to be give this week, excited! I love exchanging gifts and may be I sound like school kid, but I’m very impatient until the gift boxes are opened ;p
What have you all been baking as Christmas home made gifts?…I made rum  fruit cake, one of my fav cakes, have made it already 6 times still feels fresh whenever I bake them. Have made them as individual muffins, easy and fancy to pack as gifts….This cake has longer life time (well packed and stored-one month). The taste and flavor enhances as it ages, personally I prefer to have them after couple of days. As always I can’t resist warm cakes out of the oven but have noticed the difference as the days goes by.
Ah is anyone missing in the pictures below? Yes Santa!…He is all set and ready, reindeer is waiting for him… very soon he will visit ur house with loads of gifts and happiness. Stay tuned :)

Laid back evenings – Orange cake

Laid back? not that I come home shrugging and crash on the couch and later do nothing but… This whole week am staying with Somjai, 8 months going to be mama, as her her husband is off for a conference. Having great time with her, I start from office “early” thinking that someone is waiting for me and we have plans to cook together and have dinner, loving it. Then we start to talk, which we did while working together, about work, colleagues in and around department, lots to update….you know :p Giggle, laugh and best is am completely away from laptop and internet, so my dear blog mates, shall get back to all your blog post this weekend :)