Imagine …. you have friends coming over for Sunday lunch, which was planned over a week in advance, and they’ve requested Chinese. U are excited and want to impress, so you go all out and plan a really fancy menu… duck, grouper, crabs , prawns , beef , man tau , dumplings , udon noodles, tofu … , …. 3 desserts … the works ! Start a day ahead and go to the other side of town on a blazing hot day to get the ingredients while u are sick and your head is spinning and u have runny tummy ( gross i know … sorry ). Not to mention the aching wisdom tooth which is digging into your cheek and making your whole left side sore. And you have to run frm one place to gather all the things, which are available in all different directions n specially to find a special ingredient – Mascarpone cheese which apparently is not available anywhere. Finally get back home in the evening and start off immediately, cutting, marinating n preparing getting everything ready for the next day. By the time you are finished its almost 11 and the last thing you do is whack a cheesecake in the oven which requires 1 hr 20 mins to bake. With an oven like mine which takes 45 mins to bake a 25 min recipe its definately going to take longer. So u are up till 2:30 a.m watching n waiting till the damn thing is done( which is another story altogether ). Finally u hit the bed with an alarm set for 7:30 as you have to go to the fish market at the port to buy some fresh seafood. U do wake up on time, brush and run. Manage to get some fresh crabs, prawns, and a beautiful Grouper. Back home, making the dough for Man Tau … steamed bread as it needs 2 hrs 20 mins to rise …. n still running around trying to organize which plates to serve what in, getting the place tidied up as you are expecting them at around 1 p.m …. and back to the kitchen , preparing the cold starters and dipping sauces. And then your mobile gets a “TEXT MESSAGE” saying sorry cant make it ..bla bla bla …. and you go like hmmm why couldn’t they have called instead … or more over why didn’t they inform a day ahead … but never mind u say alrite at least the others are comming … still gotta finish a few things. At around 12 u call the others as u want to make sure they have the directions to your house ( we moved recently ) and they go like … oh but didn’t u know we’re not comming, didn’t someone call u yesterday ( no ! no one did !!!) !!! At that point what do you do ???? What would your reaction be ??? Obviously try n coax them to come … after all you’ve slogged your sick butt out for them. But nothing … all you end up with is 2 fridges full of food and a very very very foul mood !
Can you believe that … your own friends … ! I think i’m just being too touchy about the whole issue and over reacting, anyone else and i wouldn’t have minded … would’ve just invited someone else over the next day and recycled the food, but this time i was just too pissed off. But now that i’ve shared it i feel better. Phew. So now that thats done … let me tell you about my cheesecake.
Amarula Chocolate and Mascarpone cheesecake with a Hazelnut and flapjack crust.
You may want to know what Amarula is. It is a South African cream liqueur made with the fruit of the African Marula tree. To me its Africa’s version of Irish Cream. Its a little sweeter and less alcoholic compared to Baileys Irish cream , and its obviously the preferred drink here. I thought it would be perfect for my cheesecake, which was a Delia Smith recipe but i had to change it drastically as i believe they never give the perfect recipe and u never get the results they claim to get. Also i did make a BIG mistake of using Creme Fraiche instead of the Fromage frais ( cuz thats what i found… not easy getting European products in Ghana). So well i had to re do it. Imagine my disappointment, when after baking it for almost 2 hrs i touch the cake and it still wobbles like a water bed. Eek ! i poured out the whole thing again and added some eggs and some more mascarpone whisked it all together and re baked it. And voila – it worked ! So here’s the full proof recipe …
200gms dark chocolate
2 x tub mascarpone
2 x 200g fromage frais 8% fat
2-3 shots of Amarula
6 large eggs
80 gms caster sugar
100 gms chopped hazelnuts
270 gms Lyons country snapjacks – crushed by hand
50 gms melted butter
chocolate curls to decorate
Start with the base of the cheesecake. I used a 26 cm loose bottom tin. Mix the butter, hazelnuts and biscuits and press it in the tin all over the bottom and raise it a little on the sides. Bake it for 20mins at 150 degrees C , and let it cool.
For the cheesecake, start with melting the chocolate in a double boiler and melt till smooth. In another big bowl mix the mascarpone and fromage frais with an electric hand whisk and when blended to a smooth consistency add the eggs and sugar. Mix it well again and fold in the melted chocolate and Amarula. U can use Irish cream instead . Pour it into the tin and bake for 1 hr 20 mins or till u think the cheesecake is set and very slightly wobbly at the center.May take longer depending on your oven. Then remove it gently and leave it on the counter and let it cool and then chill it overnight. To serve decorate with chocolate curls.