Friday, 11 January 2019

The Annual Cake Challenge


The Annual Cake Challenge began, simply enough, with the birth of my daughter. Until now I have not shown pictures of her nor included her name in any of my public work. She is now more savvy than I will ever be when it comes to internet safety. Besides, while  I find her the most wonderful creature on this planet, I assumed “child stories” bored others. 
I cannot seem to find pictures for each of the cakes, but when I do, and master scanning they will be uploaded to complete this post.

It started quite simply at the first birthday- a cake without sugar or heavy in fats that might tax her liver and kidneys as she was prohibited, by doctor’s orders, from such things until she was 3. It was a challenge I was willing to accept (but she did have her first taste of ice cream, raspberry, when she was about 1 and 1/2).

 Challenge 1: No processed sugars, heavy fats, but tasting good. 
Solution: Carrot cake with an unsweetened cream cheese frosting which she smushed into her father’s face as it was more fun than eating.
Method: substitute defrosted apple juice concentrate for the sugars, use the sweetest carrots available, substitute canola and walnut oil for butter. Mix agave syrup into the cream cheese and make spreadable by adding low-fat milk.
Result: It looked very good on her father’s face.

Challenge 2: This cake was hardly a cake at all as I had been released from hospital for the night to celebrate her birthday. Luckily she was still uninterested in cake. Her iaia came to the rescue.

Challenge 3: This cake was not memorable.  Here in Japan, children attend preschool starting age 3 through to age 6. At age six they can enter primary school. Parties are not given for birthdays; they are not celebrated outlandishly for the most part. This was a small event as my daughter was not yet attending preschool. She still did not live for cake or sweets as ice cream was the sweet of choice.

Challenge 4 The lemon cake with Tinkerbell. The least said about this the better.The lemon cake was devoured, though tinkerbell did not survive.

Challenge 5 The cupcake decorating cake party.
24 cupcakes were made in three different flavours. Bowls of sweets, nuts, and icing were placed on the table . The children decorated and then devoured their own creations.
Result: My daughter suggested we never have a birthday party with others again,please.... so much for that idea of cultural exchange but who could blame her after the shouting and fighting she watched.

Challenge 6 The Stitch sheet cake. 
Stitch was made by decorating with gels and chocolate gla├žage piping onto rice paper and transferred onto the cake.
Result: Successful if not amateur  but she was happy and it did taste nice.

Then she started to up the ante. 
Challenge 7: Ice cream Cake. Three flavours of homemade ice cream sandwiched between layers of genoise cake, covered in whipped cream frosting made with marscapone and decorated with chocolates.
Result: not a crumb was left.

Challenge 8: Strawberry shortcake These were the times when strawberry shortcake would be her favourite.
The one problem is there are no strawberries in subtropical Japan until December. Solution: frozen inside, compote syrup to enhance the strawberry flavor.

Challenge 8: Triple chocolate cheesecake.
A New York style cheesecake made with couverture, a dark cocoa cookie base, and finished with a dark chocolate ganache glaze.
Recipe available upon request; it became a best seller at the cafe where I was working.

Challenge 9: Chocolate sponge, with chocolate ganache, and chocolate whipped cream icing. Result: Death by chocolate.

Challenge 10: Cat Cake

Challenge 11: Roll Cake. Filled with whipped cream and fruits. 

Challenge 12: Big Hero six made with low gluten flour genoise, low sugar, fresh white peaches, marscapone whipped cream frosting, raspberry cookies and a chocolate plastique girl .
Result: Reminder to buy new mini freezer to store so next it’s okay to go to sleep before finishing.

Challenge 13 Basketball cake for the weight conscious teenager. Soybean flour chiffon layers, decorated with soy milk whipped frosting and fruits, decorated with tempered chocolate glaze.
Result: May this never be repeated.

Challenge 14 Two cakes please: one a traditional shortcake, Japanese style. One, 
The other, Flurry, the fluffy unicorn. I really should have bought that freezer

Challenge 15: Unicorn mania: A “unicorn poop” cheesecake. Who would have ever known that unicorns expel rainbows for flatulence? 
And, one unicorn cake: all the colors of the rainbow(Victoria Sponge ala Mary Berry) cookies and cream between the layers, Oreo truffles, dripped chocolate ganaches, sprinkles in the colors of the rainbow mixed into the outer layer cake covering and a molded marzipan unicorn. 

And just when I thought it might becom easier, after spending some time overseas, she has come to tell me- Mummy, next year I’m 16!!!! 

Sunday, 6 May 2018

MorningTime Bran Muffins

Muffins for a busy Life

She no longer wakes you up before you are ready to rise. The four adopted cats do that now, in turns of urgency for food. She no longer wants you to wait at the corner for her; rather if you could pick her up when her train arrives so she doesnt have to lug her school bags, that is enough. She no longer looks forward to you both straightening her clothes and putting her new clothes in pride of place. Rather there is no more space on the shelves and piles of teenage life appear and grow each morning.

And food changes, from eating whatever childworthy delight is placed in front of hungry eyes, through the body shaming self conscious latest diet and finally to the healthy muscle building for freeski training food consumption. Thank goodness our taste buds supposedly change altering our food choices every 7 years... and in a teen’s case, every growth spurt.

So Bran muffins, eminently portable, brazenly healthy but moist and pleasant and best of all, The batter for this type may be stored in the refrigerator for 6(!) weeks and baked at leisure or need.
This recipe is loosely based on the 1985 version by Elizabeth Alston.

Bran Muffins on a Whim

2 large eggs ( Substituting three egg whites makes it drier, which is fine with some flour choices)
3/4 cup sugar; I use natural, unrefined, maple or coconut usually but regular white works fine.
113 g butter, very soft, even melted if you prefer (that’s 1/2 cup in measure/125mark on a metric cup(that’s one stick American usually). I use fermented butter with salt.
1 cup water or strong tea
2 cups buttermilk (here in Japan I have to use natural dehydrated powder and reconstitute it so it is thinner) or  kefir.
2 1/2cups flour (mine was half soybean and half wholewheat fine grind so required 3 cups total.)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups all bran cereal ( I used All-bran,as it’s hardy and easily obtainable.
Dash of vanilla (In my case it was close to a heavy handed pour)
1. Put in one bowl and whisk to mix: eggs, sugar, and butter.
2. Whisk in liquids;it will look curdled,no fear.
3. Add flour and baking soda; whisk until just mixed.
4. Stir in the bran. If you want to bake soon,leave to sit about 15 or 20 minutes to allow bran cereal to soften before baking.

To bake: preheat standard over to 190 C./375 F. Convection: 180C./360F.Or use a toaster oven on ‘bake’.
Scoop about 1/4 cup into muffin cases or a greased muffin/cupcake tin. Foil cups work well or silicon, paper if waxed is great. Be careful though not to use bento cups. 
Bake about 20 minutes or until springy when you touch the center. And they look cooked.

Cool for a few minutes and serve with butter and jam.Or not.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Daring baker February 2014 challenge: beautiful bread

I was on a bread making binge for three months. I was making so much bread I was running out of people to give the newest batch. I even managed to complete a Daring Bakers challenge after following the blog for years, and I mean years. I was invincible .
And then it hit. So here I am, fighting pnemococcus yet again ,slipping behind on two challenges. It is not as if I were out of the kitchen. In fact I was in two, first at work, then at home. All of that work with sugar,chocolate and cheese, macarons, and eclairs for the new cafe, the desserts and wedding cakes for the upstairs restaurant, miscommunication and cultural insensitivities meant I lost the energy needed to come home and work. I was on pastry overload. We all get there some days, sometimes, and mine hit big when my partner left for Paris on a much earned research trip.
 My best creation and I enjoyed japanese home style cooking , Gyoza ,soba, ebi lettuce maki, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Oh let me turn that into japanese- yaki cheese sandoichi, better yet, hotto sando. See family, my language skills have improved since you last visited ...more than a decade ago.
So today on a required leave day, I made the first part of millers bread, and the ferment for the croissant( thanks to a compensation purchase of the Bourke  street bakery cookbook. My partner might be in Paris but we have the oven,hehe.
The last thing I did before prepping the vegetables for tonight's dinner of couscous and veggies and sewing the cat-shredded curtain, was to make- drumroll please - the brioche base for the beautiful bread challenge , using my leftover  mixture. However, the oven was too hot and did not cool down fast enough ( I was using my japanese hitachi five in one, miniscule by foreign standards, large by japanese, oven because I was waiting for the new heating and baking stone for my gaggenau oven.
None of this information is probably interesting or necessary, but it gives you a sense of the frantic pace I am trying to maintain without becoming completely absent minded. So the people for the oven came, naturally, at the crucial time I am meant to cut and fold the dough but it is not in my lexicon to say, please wait and let me finish this or I will ruin my project, in polite, read formal, japanese. So I watched  the beautiful layers turned into pufferfish rounds.
It is baked. It is not beautiful. It is tasty, and thank goodness, though it looks rather over cooked it does not taste it. It tastes lovely but no, even I would struggle to say it were close to beautiful... So I will do what I have learned to do best, avoid saying anything and hope no one asks me my opinion directly.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Holiday madness

Every December at the restaurant, it seems things go a bit crazy. this is my third Christmas working there and it seems to rev up for the three days that a special dinner is offered. In this part of Japan, Christmas dinner is somewhat akin to my memories of going out for a New Year's Eve meal. It is not a religious , nor is it a cultural event, rather it is a romantic opportunity. Just as I remember being taken out to the Top of the World restaurant in New York City ,knowing that this meant the guy was "serious" about me, so it is for women and men in Miyazaki, when taken to a fancy restaurant with a special menu costing from 7000  to 10000 yen a person . In a part of Japan where the typical hourly wage is from 650 to 950 yen an hour, that price tag shouts, "serious".  And that is not a very high price tag as it goes, when you consider the strawberries shoot up in price from 398 yen a pack to 980,or even 1280, and if you are lucky, 780 for the less astounding packages. 
One might think it was for Christmas but in fact, it is simply the start of the Oshogatsu, or New Years season,which for most Japanese is the most important holiday, or at least as important as the summer Obon holiday, and quite a serious event lasting from the 31st  of December through January 3. Now the food, the  special meal that might to the untrained, uncouth eye look like a glorified, cold bento, is in fact an elaborate set of dishes called Oseichi ryori, presented optimally in a three tier lacquer box filled with morsals one does not have to heat up, The reason? So the woman of the house does not have to work too hard during the holiday after cleaning and slaving to get everything sparkling clean for the arrival of the New year, which is a Horse this year. From supermarkets to top flight restaurants, advertisements and notices appear reminding families to order their Oseichi before they lose the opportunity, for as low as 15 000 yen but usually closer to 35000-50000 yen. Any way you look at it, that is quite a hefty ticket and chefs work tirelessly to prepare the many dishes that are required to impress the buyer. At the restaurant where I work, the chef closes for business from the 27th or 28 th until people arrive to pick up their boxes on the  morning of the 31st. It is a French restaurant so it is not a traditional selection, rather he includes the same concept but fills the tiers with vegetable terrine, fois gras terrine, he includes sous vide packets to heat the beef burgundy. He includes a baguette,a. Bottle of champagne and, a gateau chocolat du nancy? That's where I come in, 24 chocolate cakes later...
So after making 78 Christmas desserts of eggless chocolate  mandarins orange mousse, slightly altering the recipe by Vahlrhona to mix three types of choclate, lessen the gelatin, and increase the cream, making 100 roasted hand dipped hazelnut pearls, and 80 thrice dipped chocolate shells made with white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark, adding tangerine oil,  all made in a 9 mould madeline tray brushed with cocoa butter and a lot of 'praying', a crushed popping candy sugar dusting and a blood orange sorbet, I was not feeling up to 24 gateau chocolat du nancy done according to the restaurant' age old recipe but I did. After, that is I did my customary take on a few 'Santas ' and made them into bears . I also decide to add a 'beach' of flourless florentine, adapting Christophe Felder's recipe, and adding hyuganatsu peel candied earlier in the week.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Pan de Cristal/Pa de Vidre/Glass Bread

Pan de Cristal/Pa de Vidre/Glass Bread

I have been handed a challenge; perfect a recipe and produce a bread I have never eaten nor held. The bread is all the rage in Catalunya and is used  to make pa amb tomaquet. I have translated two recipes, had my friend check them and looked at two examples on Youtube. In one video,  the bread looks unlike any bread I have ever seen; almost like broken lace, the other looks like a very large holey, light ciabbata style loaf. The chef who presented me with the challenge had said they themselves were not yet able to produce the bread, but that it practically disappeared in your mouth, after toasting. As it is a 90 % hydration, no knead bread, I revisited the videos of Lahey,Bertinet, and a few other experts just to examine their crumbs and consider what I might want to incorporate.
I have just completed my third attempt, taking photos of all the trials. The struggles are numerous, not to mention where I live in Japan and my communication skills but a local baker was kind enough to sell me some fresh yeast after my less than happy results my first time round.  ( Today, after discussing flour types available here, he has decided he would like to take on the challenge as well.)
Never having actually done more than view two samples on the internet, I can say, reservedly, I am very close to one example and very far from the other bizarre example.I have watched and read almost every no-knead advocate and expert's video, fascinatedly examining the crumb to see if the technique might be adapted. The recipe by Casero uses a Thermomix. Not having one and no vision of one arriving as a gift any day soon, I am following the old tried and true method: my hands, a wooden spoon, a kitchen aid mixer. ( During the first attempt I utilized three bowls, a cuisinart and a magic bullet.)
The other recipe is by Roca, the flour company, because they 'developed' a flour especially for Pan Cristal. The proportions are industrial so I broke it down to 1/10th the original recipe. The recipes are significantly different.
The facts: This bread is 90% hydration, made with harina commun 000 (AP flour but protein percentage is unknown), using a poolish made with fresh yeast, no kneading. The all-purpose flour attempt was not as close as when I used Lysdor flour, often used here in Japan for French bread,or baguettes perhaps because the all purpose flour here is 10% protein per 100 grams while the Lysdor is between 10 and 11.
The casero recipe is:
1.Mix 150g all purpose flour with 200 cc of tepid water and 10 grammes of salt. 2.Mix it well, then heat it on the stove to thicken it a bit. 3.Take it off the stove and add 100 cc of ice water, and when the temperature of the mixture has dropped to 50 degrees celcius, add 1 tablespoon of plain yoghurt. Mix well.4. When the temperature has dropped to about 37 degress, add 12.5 grammes of fresh baker's yeast and  let it rest for 45 minutes until very foamy , bubbly, and risen.
5. Add and mix in another 150 grammes of all purpose flour. rest for 30 minutes.
6. Add another 50 grammes of all purpose flour and mix. Rest another 30 minutes until  bubbly and foamy.

7. "punch down' air wth a spoon.
8. Put about 3-4 tablesspoons into a baguette form or silicon paper formed into a baguette form. stretch and flatten dough to spread it.

9. rest it until it is doubled.
10. bake in a 250 degree c. oven until deep golden.

The first attempt I tried to duplicate the thermomix actions by hand but found the heating on the stove as shown in the video was too much. So, the second time ,I used a water bath and this improved the results where by the mixture thickened without become too stiff too quickly. (Perhaps this method which mimics choux pastry was to make the same type of airy centre ?)
The second attempt was improved because I beat the mixture more but in each case I found the resting period for the initial autolyse much longer, more than double, to achieve the required results.
The third attempt has been the most successful to date. I incorporated some of the points of the Harina Roca recipe. The full recipe is
5000g harina de pan de cristal (but nothing is specified clearly what makes this flour unique). 4.500 g/cc? water but using only 3250 for the initial mixing, adding the remainder slowly afterwards. 0.250 lard. 0.115 salt. 0.060 fresh yeast.
The technique, assuming one uses industrial equipment, states: put all the ingredients into the mixer except the reserved water. Mix on low speed for 5 minutes and then on fast, adding the additional water little by little, making sure the dough is smooth. When the dough is completely smooth, allow the dough to rest until doubled in volume.

De-gas the mixture and spoon into molds/forms and stretch to fit as you please. Preheat an oven, without steam, to 250. When the breads rise /spring, lower the oven temperature to 200 and bake until browned. If using a convection oven set to 240 and then lower to 190.
The dough temperature should be between 24 and 26 degrees c.
I utilized the technique of mixing the dough in the mixer with the paddle at slow for 5 minutes and then fast until silky and smooth. I also lowered the temperature after the bread sprung in the oven at 200 degrees. I did not use the lard nor did I change the ratio of flour to water, but I used Lysdor flour ,which incorporates flours from canada, australia and america. The temperature of the dough after proofing was around 35 degrees which was higher than Roca but lower than Casero's recipe.
Here are the two sites which show examples of Pan de Cristal:
I have found another all purpose flour which has only 8.8 grams of flour  and will try again to compare them. I am wondering if I leave the poolish/biga overnight if more gluten strands and greater lace will develop, although the flavour ,following Casero's recipe, is lovely if a bit too salty for my tastes.  The second and third times I lowered the salt to 8 grammes. Remembering it is used with olive oil and tomato, that might justify the  higher salt content.
My next step is to try again and my friend will ask her son, a chef in Catalunya, for any input he can garner. I have until August to crack this mystery.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The journey of sweet potato cheesecake

The journey of sweet potato cheesecake

November 8, 2011 at 12:49am

     It is after 1 in the morning and I am hoping for sleep. But my sweet potato cheesecakes have more than 1 hour to go before I can put them to bed, and then myself. We grew the sweet potatoes, an no imo, a special variety from Kumamoto, and one that is especially orange and sweet. How can it go wrong when they are grown with love? rain. more rain. and rain some more. Should I also mention the abject neglect after the first few weddings, when I returned to the patch after the rains to find the vines over growing, over flowing and even starting to encroach on the property of a house behind our allotment? I was positive the fearsome bugs of this subtropical climate would have exploded from gouging by this time, rationalizing that our allotment is the highest level of 'organic'. But these were fine. Even so. I cannot just let them rot,simply because no-one I know particularly cares for sweet potatoes.

     So I did what I do best; I turned them first into soup, then I used some as a thickening agent for a curry,  I made panallets, put them into bread dough, used them to make pasta, roasted them in the toaster oven and ate one with butter as a tribute to my mother, and started to baulk at the idea of sweet potato pie. Finally I turned them into a cheesecake. I mean, how can it be bad when one adds 600 gr of cream cheese, 100 grams of sour cream, 100 grams of sweet cream, natural brown sugar, to mention just a few ingredients? This is a long story, regarding cheesecakes and sweet potatoes/yams that goes back to my childhood and a mother who like to make cheesecake and liked to eat sweet potatoes as a snack or a meal. They were a cold weather comfort food for her.

     My only strong recollection of yams in our house were those awful canned ones, floating in syrup, awaiting a layer of marshmallows to seal the job on inducing diabetes. At that time we did not know anyone who simply roasted them? No wonder we all cringed as they were brought from the oven .  Oddly, my mother would roast sweet potatoes in their skins just as she did with jacket potatoes but not yams. She would not listen to me when I pleaded that they too could be roasted in their skin and did not need to be smothered in something gooey at Thanksgiving. So when she came to Japan to visit us the first time and I told her the forlorn melody outside our street was the truck which sells hot sweet potatoes freshly roasted on stones, she practically ran to the street to try one.  She was very careful in her choice and enjoyed walking back munching the warm sweet potato wrapped in brown paper. We discussed the pleasures of a snack truck selling  hot corn on the cob and sweet potatoes as snacks as compared to ice cream trucks. But that was only one part of the debate.

     She made cheesecake. Good cheesecake. Great cheesecake. She mailed cheesecakes to my sister when she wanted to let her know she cared. She baked them right in the Danish butter cookie tins. They survived the journey better than her journey at times. She would get the ingredients out and bring them to room temperature, lug the heavy stand mixer to the counter, or later the food processor, add her ingredients mixing one into the other, saving the addition of eggs til last. She would use the same pans each time, she would always bake them for 55 minutes at 350 f., and she would turn off the heat and leave them in the oven to cool. They would go into the refrigerator for 24 hours. And most of the time they looked as good as any I had seem at some famous eateries.  But she would become frustrated that they cracked sometimes, rose and fell too much other times, were too brown on top, which she would hide with wonderful concoctions of maple syrup, butter and nuts cooked into a caramel sauce occasionally.

     And here I am all those years later, still testing, inventing, and bathing, still lowering the temperature so much I end up awake double the normal time, and still hand mixing, even though I am surrounded by my own entourage of old faithful processors, blenders, and mixers. And while there is agreement in the culinary world about what type of heat to use, whether to mix by hand or machine, and what  the temperature should be, the debate continues on the water bath. And I will continue to invent flavours, and textures, and hope that this one persuades a special person that she really does like roasted sweet potatoes; or perhaps she wont even notice them, a shame considering they were roasted for an hour, hand mashed and pressed through a sieve to get a fine texture free of fiber and that gummy quality processors give. But if this cheesecake does not meet the grade, I can always fall back on my mother's tried and true recipes I managed to record . And just perhaps I might be lucky enough one day to bake one in a butter cookie tin and mail it to someone I want to know I care.

(I am sure she is laughing right now; my cheesecake has a hairline crack from the oven temperature being too high and though it is barely visibile- I can hear her saying,"See I told you that water bath is just extra work"...)

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Blue cheese cheesecake

Blue cheese cheesecake

November 27, 2011 at 12:11am

I am sifting through mounds of cheesecake recipe notes I seem to have scribbled on every form of paper imaginable, ingenuous or foolish enough to believe I would be able to decipher my notes so many hours, weeks, even years later. I am looking for inspiration to recreate, or should I say develop, a cheesecake recipe I have never sampled; Blue cheese cheesecake. Someone special would like to eat this cheesecake again.
She was a child when a French pastry chef , working in a shop in Yokohama made this not too sweet  specialty; not too sweet, not too blue, very creamy, not too high, and laden with memories which could ,most likely, make reality  fall short of remembrance. I am forewarned by her tale that the chef said those 50 percent of the customers disliked it while 50 percent loved it; a case of if you like it, you love it and if you don't, you really, really don't like it.

I have notes on pecan, pumpkin, earl gray tea, matcha, chocolate, coffee, lemon, raspberry, Bailey's, even banana cheesecakes but not one note on blue cheese. I have a description I saved of my first experience of fosse with acacia honey eaten right near the cave where the cheese was stored, but no recipe for a fossa cheesecake. So I start to think of my father as I grapple with the concept of this cheesecake and whether to use the french style and roguefort, or fourme, cambozola or cabrales, or whether it is  best to go with the creamy gorgonzola dolce, or even the danish blue. I can almost see my father shrug his shoulders and  mock roll his eyes with an impish smile as he tries to fathom why I would bother to try and make a sweet dessert from a savoury cheese.

I think of my father now for mostly because cheesecake was what he always ordered when we went out to eat. He did not ask whether it was New Style or Chicago, baked or refrigerated, he never even asked what flavor it was. He simply asked if they had cheesecake. He never varied in all the times he and I ate out together. I never saw him eating it at his home. There were no cartons in the freezer of the ubiquitous Sara Lee, though once I did spy an Entenmann's cheese pastry ,most probably long forgotten. Once I asked why he didn't try anything else on a dessert menu. He plucked his beautifully manicured fingernails (he had beautiful hands ; he was a metro man long before the term was in use) as he struggled to answer what for him was a silly question. "Why should I? I like cheesecake." In answer to my concern that it might not be good cheesecake, he looked a bit shocked, as if an unsatisfactory cheesecake might be offered up. After all, after a certain age, and number of years back living in Florida, with so many 'early bird specials' under his belt, he knew they would have cheesecake, and most likely baked cheesecake. I never did see him push a plate away, even when it was clear he did not think it was the best example of his beloved dessert.

I often think he had the gift of not dwelling on the past. He would not wax gloriously over past meals ; he rarely spoke of old exploits; there were no long monologues of  a remembrance of cheesecakes past. It was here, it was now, fork in hand. If it were not a shining example of the art of the cheesecake, there was always tomorrow. He did once share with me that my mother introduced him to cheesecake and it was hers that triggered his love of it. It was nice to know he had at least  one fond memory of his years of marriage to her and it would be oddly romantic if his commitment to cheesecake as the dessert of choice were an  tribute to a memory of that early love. Somehow, I doubt it though.
He was a creature of habit, as we all are in some fashion and to some extent; he always woke early, got dressed, shaved, and did the crossword puzzles in the newspapers. He drank a rather weak cup of coffee and while he concentrated on the puzzle, he listened with one ear and answered in sounds rather than words; mm, aha, um. And he went out to lunch. He went out for dinner very often. and he always tried to share a taste of his meal which was equivalent to a full order. He went dancing. and did a great marenge. He told corny jokes, often during these meals before, during and after his cheesecake. His favourite was plain.

Whether he thought blue cheese cheesecake were a good, odd, or weird idea, he would try it. And he would finish the entire slice, most likely reserving judgement. He would not say anything most likely,  except for that shrug of the shoulders and tilt of the head, with that impish smile I miss so very very much right now, as I try to recreate a fond memory for someone else.

This space below will have the recipe as soon as I am done testing my recipes. And then maybe I will make a foie gras cheesecake. Rather  I  might simply make an old fashioned plain cheesecake in memory of dad.