Each Wednesday night, at exactly 6:30 pm, I perform a ritual. Dinner is timed down to the last second to be cooked by 7:00 pm, not a minute earlier. The phone is turned off, the doors locked to visitors, and I'm propped in front of the TV watching my favourite cooking program, The Cook and the Chef on ABC TV.
Maggie Beer, a renowned chef in her own right is "the cook", and resides in the beautiful Barossa Valley near Adelaide, South Australia. Alongside her is the "chef", Simon Bryant, who is Executive Chef at the Hilton in Adelaide. Together they chose similar, often local ingredients and compare their own unique techniques of cooking. As Simon quotes " a recipe is nothing; technique is everything, and when things go wrong you have to be able to wing it." Hey, I do that all of the time!
One particular episode showed Maggie making a Baked Savoury Cheesecake, and, as with nearly all of the recipes shown on the program, I thought "Yep, I could eat that right now", as my boring old veges are steaming away on the stove.
This recipe is so simple, with only the addition of green olives to enhance it's flavour. I made it last night to have with drinks, but I'll definitely make it again for when guests are allowed in (not on Wednesday at 6:30 pm though), or even to take to a party/BBQ as finger food or an elegant appetiser.
200g biscuits, 2/3 savoury, 1/3 sweet.
2 tablespoons preserved lemon/ rinsed or 1 tbls orange peel (if you use the orange, add a pinch of salt) - I opted for the orange, as my preserved lemons are still "preserving" in the cupboard
3 tablespoons green olives chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
125ml sour cream
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
Pre-heat the oven to 160º C. Pulse the biscuits in a food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Melt the butter and mix into the breadcrumbs. Spray a 20cm springform pan with baking spray and then press the crumbs into the pan to create a crust. Bake for 10 minutes. Mix the ricotta, mascarpone, peel, olives and eggs together but don’t overwork the mixture. Pour this mixture onto the crust and bake for about 40 minutes – or until the mixture springs back when touched lightly.
Mix the sour cream and flour together using a whisk. Spread this evenly over the cake and bake for a further 10 minutes.
NOTE: Let the cheese cake settle so that it’s easy to cut, but it must be served fresh from the oven.