White Chocolate Cheesecake

I have made this cheesecake quite a few times. I had never made a baked cheesecake before and was a little daunted by the idea. Unbaked cheesecake is hard enough (I hate working with gelatin).

The base on the cheesecake is really quite lovely.  It is a mixture of digestive biscuits, coconut and butter. I find if you prepare the base in the Thermomix you don’t need to melt the butter. I just process it all together and it comes out beautifully.

I use the Thermomix to mix the filling and find that by doing this I can melt the chocolate in the bowl, add the cream gradually to cool the chocolate and then add the cream cheese, sugar and eggs. Ordering the ingredients like this reduces the amount of washing up.

Berries are spread over the biscuit base before the filling. I have always used frozen berries and they work well. The last time I made this I used black currants that I had ordered from a farm Tasmania. Delicious!

The cheesecake is cooked in the oven for 1.5 hours. The first time I made this I wasn’t sure how to tell if a cheesecake was cooked so I had to Google it. Apparently the secret is that the cheesecake should jiggle slightly at the end of baking time. When the baking time is complete the oven should be turned off and the cheesecake should be left in the oven with the door ajar until the cheesecake is cool enough to put into the fridge overnight.

White Chocolate Cheesecake ratings:
Zombie Daddy – 10/10
Zombie Son 1.0 – 10/10
Zombie Son 2.0 – 10/10
Zombie Son 3.0 – He ate it
Zombie Mummy – 10/10

The Zombie Daddy requested this cheesecake as his birthday cake a few weeks ago and Zombie son 2.0 requested a chocolate cheesecake. So I made this cheesecake for my husband and then a few weeks later I made an unbaked triple chocolate cheesecake. The unbaked cheesecake was fiddly. The gelatin went lumpy. The texture wasn’t as smooth and creamy as the baked cheesecake and it felt heavy in the stomach. It was so much effort and such a let down in comparison to this baked recipe that I will probably only make the White Chocolate Cheesecake from now on.

This cheesecake is very delicious. I have served it at a dinner party where the quests commented that after hearing of the proposed dinner menu, one was wishing for baked and the other for unbaked as their preference. The both remarked that they were both surprised and extremely satisfied with this cheesecake. It was creamy enough to suit the person that preferred the unbaked cheesecake but still had the required texture to satisfy the other.

The cheesecake is large enough to share with the neighbours and still have enough left for the next day. The neighbours have always enjoyed this cheesecake and request the recipe. The last time I made this cheesecake I offered some to the lady across the road. Her husband had gone into hospital suddenly. I appeared at her door and when she answered I exclaimed “You need this!” It was lovely to see her smile while under obvious distress.

Make this cheesecake and give some of it to someone that needs to smile. :D

The White Chocolate Cheesecake recipe can be found on page 317 of  “All Consuming Passions” by Ian Parmenter and can be viewed via the ABC website.


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Pistou Resistance

One of my zombie hoard suggested that I should cook from page 32 next. Page 32 contains the recipe for Pistou Resistance, a soup! Ian describes this soup as “one of the world’s great dishes!” That is a bold statement.

I started this recipe like most, with a trip to the supermarket. I wrote my list and made my way to the “local” with Zombie Son 3.0. The list was very simple, mainly consisting of a variety of vegetables and herbs. While at the supermarket I passed the stock. A little voice in my head said “you should get some stock just in case you don’t have enough at home.” I didn’t listen to the voice. I told it that I had good quality stock from the local deli in the pantry at home. The supermarket did not have the cheese called for by the recipe. I googled the cheese and decided I would use some good quality Parmesan.

I was curious about this dish. The recipe calls for a sauce that is placed into the bowl before the soup. I wondered what would happen to the sauce when the soup was placed into the bowl.

I estimated the dish would take about an hour to prepare so I started cooking at about 5pm. Chopping the veggies took a little longer than expected as I also had to chase children to do homework, chores and showers (whilst refereeing their fights).

All the veggies and things went into the pot and cooked for about 5 minutes. Then I was to add the stock…

The little voice I heard earlier was laughing at me.

I only had one packet of stock. I needed three. I added water and some stock cubes. This is not MKR, this will do for my little Zombie family.

I let the soup simmer for 45 minutes while I cooked the macaroni and the sauce.

The sauce consisted of basil, garlic, egg yolk and olive oil. The recipe said to create the sauce using a mortar and pestle. I made it in the Thermomix, using the butterfly attachment when I added the olive oil like I would when making a mayonnaise. The sauce smelled wonderful.

Zombie Daddy came in from work at about 6:30pm and I placed the macaroni, kidney beans and green beans into the pot and brought them to heat. I added the grated cheese and sauce to heated bowls whilst screaming for the table to be set. I have never heated bowls before serving a meal before. Zombie Daddy does it all the time when he makes us breakfast. I never bother. The dinner is usually too hot for the Zombie children to eat straight away anyway. But the recipe called for it, so I did it.

I served the soup into the bowls and it covered the sauce. They didn’t mix together. The soup covered the sauce leaving it as a fresh surprise at the bottom of the bowl. The soup was not very wet. I may have put in a little too much macaroni but in the end it was easier for the kids to eat.

Pistou Resistance ratings:
Zombie Daddy – 8.5/10
Zombie Son 1.0 – 7/10
Zombie Son 2.0 – 5/10
Zombie Son 3.0 – He didn’t eat much of it.
Zombie Mummy – 8/10

The recipe contained eating instructions too. It said to “wait a full 2 minutes, savouring the wonderful aroma, before stirring the mixture up well and eating with tremendous enthusiasm.” Zombie Son 1.0 got stuck in to the soup straight away. There is no stopping the boy. I stuck my nose right up to the soup and could smell nothing. Zombie Daddy started mixing his soup and sauce so I copied. There it was…the wonderful smell of warm basil drifting up out of the soup! Oh…divine!

Zombie Daddy and I followed the rest of the instructions and ate with ‘”tremendous enthusiasm.” We would ohhh and ahhh at intervals and exclaim “this is soo good!”. The basil sauce made the soup really refreshing. It wasn’t unlike a minestrone but it lacked the heaviness.

Zombie Daddy had a second helping.

Zombie Son 2.0 and Zombie Son 3.0 were not fans. Zombie Son 3.0 picked out the macaroni and the carrot and left the rest. There were comments of “yucky” and disgusting” while pieces of onion and leek were peeled off his spoon and flicked back into his bowl. Zombie Son 2.0 said the sauce was too spicy. It was only basil (not chilli or pepper) so we made him finish it.

If the soup was this good with stock cubes and water imagine how good it would be with homemade chicken stock or even some good quality store bought stock.

The Pistou Resistance recipe can be found on page 32 of  “All Consuming Passions” by Ian Parmenter and can be viewed via the ABC website.


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Sticky Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce

The Great Australian Bake Off has inspired me to bake. I love to bake. Love, love, love it!! And I am loving The Great Australian Bake Off.

I searched my “All Consuming Passions” cookbook for a baking recipe and decided to make a Sticky Date Pudding. YUM!!

The first thing I noticed about the recipe was the simplicity of it. There were minimal ingredients and simple instructions.

The recipe was different to the one I usually use and love (I said love again).  Ian’s recipe for the pudding did not contain ANY sugar unlike my usual recipe which also contains ginger and mixed spice. The sauce of my usual recipe contains golden syrup, Ian’s does not.

The first step in making a Sticky Date Pudding is to break down the dates in bicarb of soda. Ian’s recipe says to boil the dates in water and bicarb of soda for 5 minutes. My usual recipe says to bring the dates and water to the boil, remove from heat and then add the bicarb. I followed Ian’s recipe and was enjoying the science experiment occurring on my stove top. I took the photo below to show you (I should have also taken a photo of the massive smile on my face) just before it overflowed all over the stove and burnt on my hotplate. I removed the pan from the heat and let it cool while I cleaned up the sticky burnt mess. I wasn’t smiling anymore. My usual method of bringing the dates and water to the boil first does not result in such a dramatic reaction but does the trick and does not result in such a horrific mess. I probably had the heat up too high but I hate the stove in the new zombie kitchen (the zombie family moved house). It is far too hard to regulate the heat.

Chemical reaction

Once the mixture was coolish I started adding the remaining ingredients to the pan. I decided mixing them together by hand was far to hard so I threw it all in the Thermomix.

The pudding baked in the oven for an hour and looked wonderful when it emerged.

I made the sauce and when it had become honey brown and poured it over single servings of the pudding. I added some lovely Jonesy’s cream and served it to the eagerly awaiting Zombie Family.


Sticky Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce ratings:
Zombie Daddy – 8/10
Zombie Son 1.0 – 9/10
Zombie Son 2.0 – 9/10
Zombie Son 3.0 – He didn’t eat it.
Zombie Mummy – 8/10

The pudding was nice. The Zombie Daddy and I felt the pudding component was a bit cakey and lacked flavour. The zombie children did not say much, it was pudding, they ate two serves, they are barbarians.

I made my usual recipe a few days later so that I could honestly compare the two dishes. The Zombie Daddy and I both agreed that my usual recipe was the best and I will be sticking to this. The Zombie sons 1.0 and 2.0 ate it and noticed no difference, they are barbarians. Zombie son 3.0 would not eat this version either. I think something is wrong with him!

I recall now, as I write, that a friend once said that my Sticky Date Pudding was the best she had ever had and you know what???? It is the best that I have ever had too.

The Sticky Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce recipe can be found on page 292 of  “All Consuming Passions” by Ian Parmenter and can be viewed via the Google Books preview.

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Burgundy Beef Casserole

My apologies for not writing for so long. It turns out while I am quite capable of cooking while zombified, writing is a different matter entirely. The Zombie Family have been sick with colds and flu so it has been a trying time.

Burgundy Beef Casserole is a dish I had heard of many times but had never cooked. I actually had no idea what it was, to tell you the truth.

Before cooking this dish I went shopping for the ingredients. I went to the deli to find the salt pork. I had looked up what salt pork was before I left so I thought the deli was my best bet. Salt pork is the same cut of pork as bacon however the meat is not smoked (as in bacon), it is salted. The deli did not have salt pork but she knew what it was and told me that she didn’t think it would be something I would be able to get in Australia. She said I would be able to get it fresh at the butcher and I could then salt it myself. She said that in her country of origin they were able to buy salt pork at the deli but she wouldn’t be able to sell it here due to strict Australian regulations. I wasn’t sure if all that was true or not but she seemed to know what she was talking about and I didn’t really feel like driving around the state looking for salt pork or making it myself. The lady at the deli asked what I was making and then recommended a good substitute, a very lightly smoked bacon. She cut it into thick slices for me so that I could slice it at home.

This dish was very easy to put together. Basically, I had to brown the meat then add the rest (except the mushrooms) to cook in the oven for 3 hours.

After three hours I was meant to take the dish out of the oven and remove the meat. Yes, that is right, the recipe wanted me to fish all of the bits of meat out of the casserole, strain the sauce then add the meat back. I took the casserole out of the oven and looked at it. Is this a joke? This is impossible. I googled other Beef Burgundy recipes and none of the others separated the meat from the vegetable matter. I called my mum, what should I do? Mum said that I should just leave it all together. Mums are always right, right? So I left the casserole complete with the exception of the leek which was only cut long ways and not at all appealing. I skimmed some of the fat from the top of the pan, added the mushrooms and simmered for another 20 minutes.

The Burgundy Beef Casserole smelled AMAZING while it was cooking. I couldn’t wait to try it.

I served the dish with rice and we all ate it eagerly and enjoyed it immensely.

Beef Burgundy ratings:
Zombie Daddy – 9/10
Zombie Son 1.0 – 9/10
Zombie Son 2.0 – 9/10
Zombie Son 3.0 – He ate it.
Zombie Mummy – 8.5/10

I will use the basis of the recipe again when I make other casserole type dishes because the flavours were amazing. I have made another dish similar that was made with lamb and had potato and polenta dumplings on the top. I predict that I will make up my own merged version of these two recipes in the future.

The Burgundy Beef Casserole recipe can be found on page 164 of  “All Consuming Passions” by Ian Parmenter and is not available online.

Bon appetit!

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Rhubarb and Mixed Nut Crumble

The Zombie family love rhubarb. We grow it in the backyard and have quite an abundance of it at the moment. Somebody forgot to tell my plants that they are not supposed to thrive in winter. Our plants are fed the remnants of our tea pot and fish tank water and they seem to love that. A LOT!

The Rhubarb and Mixed Nut Crumble recipe suggests to cook the rhubarb pretty much the same way I always do it but I don’t always put in lemon zest. It uses only 1 tablespoon of sugar. There are other recipes I have seen that will use quite a lot of sugar and it took a fair amount of trial and error in the Zombie Kitchen to work out the right amount of sugar needed. Sugar is needed when you cook rhubarb as it breaks down the stalks but you don’t need a bucket of it. I like to cook rhubarb in the Thermomix as I find the stirring action helps break down the stalks into a lovely gooey mass.

The crumble contains 2 apples which I peeled, cored and sliced using my apple peeler/corer. If you don’t have one of these gadgets, do yourself a favour and get one. They make preparing apples a breeze whether it is for cooking or for your children to eat. I also use mine on potatoes then roast them with butter and Parmesan cheese.

Once the rhubarb and apple mixture was ready, I prepared the crumble.  The crumble topping consisted of flour, sugar, rolled oats, almonds, pistachio nuts, macadamia nuts and butter. The nuts are roughly chopped, combined with the flour and oats and the butter is then rubbed in to the mixture.

The crumble topping is pressed down onto the rhubarb and apple and placed into the oven for about 40 minutes.

Ian suggests serving the crumble with natural yoghurt but I prefer good quality vanilla ice cream.

Rhubarb and Mixed Nut Crumble

Rhubarb and Mixed Nut Crumble

I served the dessert to the zombie family and they eagerly tucked into it. After one mouthful Zombie Son 2.0 says quietly avoiding eye contact, “I have something to say”. My heart sinks, this seems very serious. What has happened to him at school? Who has hurt my baby? It is amazing the things that can go through your head in 5 seconds. “Yes?”, I reply. He looks up, smiles, throws his hands in the air and shouts “this is the best dessert EVER!” We all laugh and agree with him. The crumble is mighty fine!

Rhubarb and Mixed Nut Crumble ratings:
Zombie Daddy – 9/10
Zombie Son 1.0 – 10/10
Zombie Son 2.0 – 10/10
Zombie Son 3.0 – He only ate a small amount because of the nut/choking hazard issue.
Zombie Mummy – 10/10

I predict this dessert will become a dish I am known for. It is relatively easy to prepare, very wholesome, satisfying and tastes AMAZING! If you usually make a crumble I would suggest trying this topping on your usual filling. The combination of flavours and textures is remarkable. Let me know how you go!

The Rhubarb and Mixed Nut Crumble recipe can be found at The Consuming Passions Website or page 309 of  “All Consuming Passions” by Ian Parmenter.

Bon appetit!

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Lighter Lasagna

The Lighter Lasagne recipe calls for “light” cheese and “light” milk. We don’t do “light” in the zombie kitchen. I won’t go into it but if you are interested in why please visit http://changinghabits.com.au/. However, someone did purchase light mozzarella so I used that up in the recipe. I did not use light milk but instead used full fat un-homogenised milk.

Apart from the milk, I made the recipe as per the instructions. I hadn’t made a lasagna with bechamel sauce before but Mum does so I am sure I have consumed one. The lasagna I usually make is from my Mum’s Lego’s recipe book which is a million years old but brilliant! The Lego’s lasagna has layers of meat sauce, pasta sheets and mozzarella cheese.

I made up the meat sauce well in advance and let it sit for a while. I wanted to make sure I didn’t run out of time. The meat sauce consisted of beef, onions,  celery, carrot, thyme, wine, stock and tomato pulp. It was a lot more meaty than the sauce from my usual recipe.

I made up the bechamel sauce in the Thermomix as it can maintain a constant temperature and I don’t have to stir it constantly. I noticed that the bechamel sauce wasn’t as thick as the sauce I usually make for fish or corned beef but I couldn’t get it any thicker.

I put the lasagna together and cooked it. It looked wonderful when it came out of the oven, Parmesan cheese top bubbling and the smell…oh my!Lighter Lasagne

The secret to serving up the lasagna without it looking like a plate of mush is to let the lasagna sit before serving. I didn’t serve it with anything except a glass of Merlot for the Zombie Daddy and I and raspberry cordial for the zombie children.

The lasagna was nice. It came together well. It was certainly not as rich as the one I usually make but for the effort involved I would prefer my usual recipe. We all preferred the mozzarella to the bechamel sauce.

Lighter Lasagna ratings:
Zombie Daddy – 7/10
Zombie Son 1.0 – 7/10
Zombie Son 2.0 – 8/10
Zombie Son 3.0 – He ate at it, quite happily.
Zombie Mummy – 7/10

We all agreed that I should stick to old trusty when I next make lasagna. My Mum will want me to add that if you don’t want the fuss of a bechamel sauce but want something creamier than plain mozzarella, spread some cream on your mozzarella layer as you are putting your lasagna together.

The Lighter Lasagne recipe can be found on page 110 of “All Consuming Passions” by Ian Parmenter and is not available online.

Bon appetit!

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Stuffed Zucchini boats

Ian says that he finds children love this recipe, so let’s put that to the test!

Removing the pulp from the zucchini’s wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. These babies are born to be gutted.

I made the stuffing in the Thermomix and made chicken mince myself from chicken thighs I had the zucchini’s gutted and the mince mixture cooked now to stir some rice…through…the…mince….sigh, I forgot to put the rice on.

In the Zombie Kitchen, it is the Zombie Daddy’s job to remind me to put the rice on. We have never discussed this role but seeing I always forget to put the rice on, reminding me is something that he seems to always do now. But this is not his fault, he didn’t know what I was cooking and that I needed rice. It was just at that moment I realised how much I had come to rely on him reminding me.

I put the rice on and notified the Zombie Family of the delay in tonights dinner.

When the rice was ready, I stirred it though the mince with some mint and parsley then put the mix into the gutted zucchinis. I sprinkled some cheese on the mix, popped the zucchini lids on, covered with foil and put them in the oven.

While they were cooking, I made the dressing which was quite tasty indeed.

After 25 minutes I took them out and they didn’t seem cooked enough. I put them back in for 5 minutes or so.

The zombie family were starving so I had to serve the meal. They still didn’t seem cooked enough for me but that would have to do.

I handed Zombie Son 1.0 a plate with a lone zucchini on it and on his face was a look that said “you have to be joking”. The Zombie children have been taught to be grateful for what they have so he quickly wiped the look off his face, looked up at me and smiled, “looks yummy mummy”. Perhaps as well as teaching the children to be grateful we should also teach them not to lie. White lies are ok, aren’t they?

We all sat down to eat and were pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t that bad. It could have done with some extra cooking, the zucchini was al dente. However, I must say, THE KIDS LOVED IT! Ian was right.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats ratings:
Zombie Daddy – 6.5/10
Zombie Son 1.0 – 5/10
Zombie Son 2.0 – 10/10
Zombie Son 3.0 – He ate at it, quite happily.
Zombie Mummy – 6/10

The recipe made enough stuffing for another lot of zucchini boats, I froze the remainder so will make this again. Next time I will cook them longer.

The Stuffed Zucchini Boats recipe can be found at The Consuming Passions Website or page 250 of “All Consuming Passions” by Ian Parmenter.

Bon appetit!

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Baked Chicken Wings

I don’t think I have ever cooked chicken wings before. I usual opt for the easier to eat variety of chicken finger food, like chicken ribs or chicken drumettes.

However, with my shopping list in hand, I ventured to the shopping centre to purchase the ingredients for Baked Chicken Wings. I didn’t go to my usual shopping centre and decided I would support the local butcher rather than buying the chicken wings at the supermarket. I did the supermarket shop first and then visited the butcher. The butcher had sold out of chicken wings. So I had to cart all of my shopping, including a box of nappies back into the supermarket, wondering why nobody looked twice at the woman with the armful of groceries only paying for a tray of chicken wings at the self checkout. Stressed, hungry, commence zombification!

The recipe was relatively easy. All I had to do was mix up the marinate, put it over the chicken, leave them to sit for 30 minutes, put them in a tray and pop them in the oven, EASY!

Interestingly, Ian’s recipe instructed me to keep the residual marinate to make a sauce. Alarm bells went off in my head! I was always told (I am not sure who by, perhaps mum) not to use leftover marinade as it can make you sick. I ummmed and ahhhhhhed then decided to do what Ian said. I was going to boil it so surely it would be OK. If not, it would make for an interesting blog post!

While the chicken is cooking, I place the left over marinade in a saucepan. There is barely any left over. It doesn’t even cover the bottom. I decide to add half the marinade ingredients to the saucepan and make some sauce. I should have thrown out the left over marinade!

The chicken wings are served on a bed of rice noodles and I added broccoli and carrots as a vegetable component.

The dish looked lovely on the plate and was quickly set upon by the Zombie Family. We were all very hungry. Everybody thought the dish was very tasty. The marinade was beautiful! Zombie Son 1.0 thought that the sauce was a bit spicy and I am not sure what aspect of the sauce didn’t agree with him, perhaps the ginger.

We decided during this meal that the Zombie Family are not big fans of having to work for our food, apart from Zombie Son 2.0 who gnawed at his chicken wings like the undead at a kindergarten. We enjoyed the meal but it was too hard to eat.

Zombie Son 3.0 enjoying rice noodles

Baked Chicken Wings ratings:
Zombie Daddy – 7/10
Zombie Son 1.0 – 7/10
Zombie Son 2.0 – 10/10
Zombie Son 3.0 – He ate it but reluctantly.
Zombie Mummy – 7/10

I will make this marinade again but use it on chicken ribs or drumettes, something that I don’t have to work so hard to eat.

The Baked Chicken Wings recipe can be found at The Consuming Passions Website or page 136 of “All Consuming Passions” by Ian Parmenter.

Bon appetit!


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Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse

My first mistake was trying to do too many things at once. I had an hour to kill before I could start the work task for the day so I decided to make the  dessert for that night’s dinner. We were having friends for dinner and not in a Hannibal Lecter kind of way.

The friends had requested chocolate mousse for dessert. I had made mousse for them before and it was always enjoyable. My best was when I used Whittaker’s chocolate but my local supermarkets do not stock it anymore so I opted for an alternative. I ditched my usual recipe and decided that I would use the recipe in “All Consuming Passions”. Again, I decided to use the Thermomix as the egg whites are always a work of art when I use the machine. Besides, I would have to get the beaters out anyway!

When using the Thermomix to make a mousse always do the egg whites first. Egg whites must be beaten in a clean bowl, free from grease and water residue. If you melt your chocolate first you need to clean the bowl really, really well before beating the egg whites. A tip I read in Julia Child’s “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom” states to wipe down your bowl with vinegar to remove any residue before beating your whites. So before I started, I wiped down the bowl, blades and the butterfly with vinegar. You should also warm your bowl slightly, which I did.

The whites were beautiful, they looked like fluffy clouds. I put them aside and attempted to melt the chocolate in the Thermomix. The other reason for doing the whites first is that you don’t have to wash the bowl after you have removed the whites. Egg white residue is not going to affect the melted chocolate. The phone rang!

After I had finished the phone call I had to leave for an appointment. I covered the bowls, went to my appointment and when I came back…flat egg whites. I learned something that day, you cannot re-beat egg whites. Mistake number 2.

So I dumped the egg whites into another bowl and started again. I finished melting the chocolate, added the egg yolks and placed it into a bowl. I thoroughly cleaned and wiped the bowl, blade and butterfly with vinegar and beat the egg whites. Perfection!

I placed the egg whites into a bowl and noticed that the chocolate mix had started to harden. I put the bowl of chocolate mix into a sink of hot water and stirred it for a bit to re-soften it, then I folded it into the egg whites. I said lots of naughty words. The chocolate was still too stiff and it was killing the egg whites. Mistake number 3. I threw it all in the Thermomix, whizzed it up, swore at it and walked away! I had work to do.

I was determined not to let the recipe beat me. I can make chocolate mousse, I have made it A LOT! I can do this!

After work, I added flour, butter and sugar in to the Thermomix and made my previous failed attempt into a cake. There is no wastage in the Zombie Kitchen.

So I made it again and this time it worked. It looked wonderful, light and fluffy with little bits of hazelnut in it. There didn’t seem to be a lot of it though. The recipe said it served 8. Obviously Ian doesn’t cook for our friend the Zombie Master (one of our friends requested that I refer to him as the Zombie Master in my blog). I put it in the fridge.

Dinner was marvelous. I made a slow cooked lamb casserole with potato and polenta dumplings on top. It was delicious! The recipe was not from Ian’s cookbook so not part of this project. I served the dessert, the Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse. It had set hard. It wasn’t like mousse at all. I served it anyway.

Our friends ate their dessert and said it was nice. It was, really, it was. But it wasn’t mousse. It was really quite rich and I couldn’t eat much of it. Our guests discussed how the chocolate mass could be used. They said it would be a great topping for biscuits soaked in some sort of liquor. But it still wasn’t mousse. The recipe said mousse and this was far from mousse. It was more like chocolate spread but harder. The chopped hazelnuts were also a bit weird but I think I chopped them up too fine.

I was so disappointed in this dessert that I didn’t even ask our guests to rate it. I didn’t want to talk about it any more. I could hardly bring myself to write this blog.

The Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse recipe can be found at Consuming Passions website or page 273 of “All Consuming Passions” by Ian Parmenter.

Bon appetit!

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Mushroom Risotto

I started this dish thinking “huh, no zombifiation tonight!”. I chose to make this dish on my busiest night of the week. Zombie Sons 1.0 and 2.0 have swimming class in the late afternoon and the Zombie Daddy has pilates class in the evening. Somewhere in between those two activities I have to prepare and feed the Zombie Family. There is a window of an hour and a half. I didn’t feel stressed tonight. I was happy and in control, things were good!

I will often make risotto on a night that lacks time because I have a Thermomix and risotto is very easy to make in it. I decided to make the Ian Parmenter Mushroom Risotto in the Thermomix. Obviously the recipe was not written for a Thermomix and Ian specifically produces recipes that are “low tech”. In his book he states that “during 10 years of making Consuming Passions for ABC Television – some 450 episodes – I never once used an electrical appliance”. However, you may be interested to know that Ian has and loves his Thermomix. He calls it Tim. So, I guessed Ian would approve of me using my Thermomix to make his recipe.

Ian’s recipe was slightly different to the recipe in the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook that I usually use. First of all it has 1.5 times the amount of white wine in it and the mushrooms are cooked before the risotto and added back at the end. Ian suggests using a mixture of portobello and shiitake mushrooms in the risotto. I usually use portobello and button or field mushrooms.

I cooked the risotto as per his recipe but because I was using the Thermomix I did not gradually add the ladles of stock and I did let the risotto to sit for 5 minutes after cooking. Even with the amendments I could make to the recipe I still found it to be much fiddlier and time consuming.

Half way through the recipe it became apparent that the Zombie Son 2.0 had not completed his homework before swimming as he was asked so I attempted to assist, encourage and cook at the same time. Zombification commenced, I spoke too soon!

The meal was not finished before the Zombie Daddy had to leave for his class but the beauty of risotto is that it will keep well until he comes back home.

I served the meal to the Zombie Sons and they weren’t quite sure. The risotto had quite a strong earthy flavour which I assume was from the shiitake mushrooms. Zombie Son 3.0 loved it. Zombie son 1.0 and 2.0 ate it but had to be prompted  to continue eating.

Zombie Kitchen Mushroom Risotto ratings:
Zombie Daddy – 7/10
Zombie Son 1.0 – 6/10
Zombie Son 2.0 – 5/10
Zombie Son 3.0 – He ate it
Zombie Mummy – 6/10

Although the dish was tasty, the earthy flavours were not a hit with the children (the older two at least). My usual risotto recipe makes a risotto of equal quality but with much less fuss. The extra wine was not apparent and not worth the expense. I won’t be making this recipe again. I’ll be sticking to “old trusty”!

The Mushroom Risotto recipe can be found at The ABC Perth website or page 252 of “All Consuming Passions” by Ian Parmenter.

Bon appetit!

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