In less than a month I am off to attend the unnerving, the exciting, the butterfly-in-the-tummy-filling cook off to find the next Blogger Come Chef at the Brisbane food and wine show. Holy Macaroly, how did I end up there? I am still asking myself. I have never done anything like this before, and I find my heart in my throat at the thought of cooking in front of a crowd of starring eyes and judges...and actually being in competition with another creative foodie mind. Yes Brisbane bloggers. I have been scoping you out, and hoping I am not up against one of you super mums who just seems to have it all figured out! My mind wanders thinking of what I'd put prize money towards...trying not to get too far ahead of myself. With the dream of publishing a cookbook in the forefront of my mind. I. Must. Win.
Having said that, I am not cooking anything sweet.
What ARE you thinking?
Well I cant disclose what I'm making in case I have Brisbane foodie stalkers, hoping they're up against me with their wizz-bang recipes that they have been practicing and preparing for months in order to beat me to the prize. You will not know until I'm standing there with my plated creation.
By the way, if anyone is interested in coming and watching me sweating like a pig over the stove in the middle of summer, you're welcome. I am slowly but surely gathering a very gorgeous cheer squad and you can get your pom poms out too. Okay. Rehearsals are every Friday night at my house, cheese and wine provided. Just kidding.
Bring your own wine.
I've had the last of it to steady my nerves.
In all seriousness, you're most welcome to come. Not to my house, to the event. I believe there are lots of exciting things to be seen at these food and wine festivals besides wannabe cooks like me, battling against other wannabe cooks.
I'll be there on Saturday the 10th of November at the Chopping Block stage 7, from 2pm until 2.45.
Phew. That sounds so official.
In the meantime, I'm calming my nerves by cooking everything but what I am meant to be practicing for the cook off. Smart, I know.
Anyway, I've come up with a new recipe, incorporating one of my all time favourites, Monte Carlos. Is there anything quite as delicious as that red line of jam tucking away a filling of vanilla cream? Only a Monte Carlo cheesecake could be that touch more delicious than that.
This is a real treat for the tastebuds. Two gorgeous, vanilla-y, coconut-y, jam-y Monte Carlo biscuits sandwiching a creamy strawberry cheesecake filling. Oh my. Yes it's as good as it sounds.
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp gelatin
150g cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup cream
20 monte carlo biscuits
10 8cmx25cm strips of acetate plastic/ projector film
Hull the strawberries and place in a food blender. Process until pureed. Place the puree and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a saucepan. Turn the heat on low and cook until it just begins to boil. While heating, place water and gelatin in a small bowl and let soften. When the puree begins to boil, add the gelatin mixture and stir, until the gelatin dissolves into the puree mixture. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile,
beat the cream cheese and the remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar together in a bowl until well combined. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream until firm peaks form. Add the cream cheese mixture to the cream and briefly beat to combine.
When the puree mixture has cooled to room temperature, gently fold it through the creamy mixture until combined.
Place half the monte carlo biscuits on a plate or tray. Firmly wrap one acetate plastic strip around each monte carlo, and fix with a piece of sticky tape to hold together. Spoon the cheesecake filling into each until all the mixture is used up. Top each cheesecake with another monte carlo. Refrigerate until set, for 3 or more hours.
Before serving, remove from the refrigerator and gently peel away the acetate from the sides of the cheesecake. Serve with strawberry puree and cream, if desired.
NOTES: The pictures show the monte carlo cheesecakes served with strained strawberry puree and rolled fondant roses. To make your own fondant roses, click here. Also, acetate plastic sheets (or projection sheets) can be found at your local copy shop or Officeworks. If you cant find any, you can cheat like I did, and cut up a few plastic folders like this one. You could possibly also use baking paper.