Posts filed under "delicious dish"

The Lovely Drawer: Spiced Pear Cheesecakes

So the holidays are over.

Womp. Womp.

Unless you are planning (re: neglecting) your Christmas tree
until it's a dry skeleton of what it once was
and hanging Valentines Day cards from it
like we run a high risk of doing...

January is a bit of dry spell of celebrating.

here's a little party you can throw for yourself:

these cheesecakes.

We went to dinner at Teri & Nick's the other week
and she made these for us as "pudding" (re: dessert).

With it's pretty figs setting on top for decoration,
I jokingly referred to is as a Figgy Pudding...
and I, of course, also flipped out
because it was delicious.

* * *

Any cheesecakes is usually a winner but I have to say I spend a lot more time making baked cheesecakes than set ones. In my head I'd somehow resolved that they were far superior. But then again the appeal of a dessert that doesn't actually even need cooking is quite tempting, especially when it involves mascarpone! 

I adapted this cheesecake recipe to form a spiced, winter version which would almost be warming...if it was so...chilled. I used a 3x1.75 inch mini cheesecake pan with removable bases. You could even smaller versions and make more or use 9 inch springform/ loose-bottomed tin for a standard cheesecake. My tin equated to 7 mini cheesecakes. Mini desserts are my fave! 


1 C crumbled spiced biscuits, like Lotus (read: Speculoos) biscuits or similar.
1 oz walnuts 5 tablespoons unsalted butter2 pearsfigs for decoration2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmegtbsp firmly packed brown sugar14 oz full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature11 oz mascarpone, at room temperature3/4 C icing sugar, sifted1 tsp vanilla extract2 1/4 C water

1. Put the biscuits and walnuts in a bag and crush with a rolling pin until fine or blend in a food processor. Add 1 tsp of the cinnamon.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and then take off the heat stir in the biscuit and nut mix.

3. Press the mixture into each mini cheesecake tin. Compact well with your fingers or the bottom of a spoon and leave in the fridge while you prepare the rest. 

4. Peel and cut the pears into small chunks. Heat the water in a saucepan and add the sugar and the other tsp of cinnamon. Stir in and allow to dissolve. Add the pears and cook covered for about 15 mins. Allow to cool.

5. Combine the cream cheese and mascarpone in a mixing bowl and use handheld electric mixer to blend the cheeses together until light and fluffy.

6. Add the icing sugar a little at a time to incorporate and then add the vanilla to the mixture.

7. Make sure the pear mixture is cool and then squeeze the excess liquid out, gently through a sieve. Stir into the cheese mixture.

8. Spread this over your biscuit bases. Fill each mini tin and smooth over the top with a knife or spatula. 

9.Chill in the fridge for at least a few hours, ideally over night. The cheesecake firms up best when you remover them from their tins a few hours before serving and leave them in the fridge until you are ready to eat. Cut your figs into quarters and place on the top of each cheesecake.

Caramel sauce1 1/4 C powdered sugar
5 ounces double cream (or heavy whipping cream)
3.5 tablespoons butter

1. Transfer the sugar into a heavy based frying pan, stir in 4tbsp water and then place over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Turn up the heat and bubble for 4-5 mins until it forms caramel.
3. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream and butter. Leave the sauce to cool and then transfer into a squeezy bottle.
4. Drizzle over your cheesecakes.

* * *

So, there you have it.

2014 just got a lot more awesome.

Check out more of Teri's cool creations
on her prettier-than-mine blog, The Lovely Drawer.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy
Posted on January 6, 2014 and filed under "delicious dish", "dessert", "the lovely drawer".

The Lovely Drawer: Maple Carrot, Apple & Bacon Soup

In the spirit of holiday fun,
I ate at least half of a pie over the weekend.

Maybe more, if I think about it,
but I don't really want to.

It's not like I regret it,
but... okay, fine,
I kinda do.


I'm trying to do some meal planning 
for the week ahead
and making it a bit.... lighter.

I'm envisioning making a slew of salads
and meals involving ingredients 
that would make my Southern mom say, "Ew."

(Hey, Quinoa & Flax!)

And also, this:
Maple Carrot, Apple & Bacon Soup.


Doesn't that sound
perfectly cozy and perfect
for a December night in.

Plus, soups are typically pretty economical
which means a few more greenbacks can go 
towards the Christmas shopping.

On to Teri for the recipe...
best read in a British accent.

*    *    *

I don't deal too well with the cold. 

Winter is in many ways lovely 
but I pretty much cart a hot water bottle around with me 
and gravitate towards radiators where possible...

Oh yes and I will probably have soup on the brain! 

If you share this feeling then here's a winter warmer 
to melt away the chills in your boots. 

It was a little bit of an experiment but it worked out well. 

I really enjoyed the sweetness of the maple syrup and apple 
against the saltiness of the bacon. 

It's like a hug in a bowl and is very straightforward. 
That's the great thing about soup! 

You'll need:

1.2kg/2.5lb carrots
3 apples (Braeburn, if available)
2 small sweet potatoes
1 large onion
Handful of rosemary
90ml/3.5oz maple syrup
drizzle olive oil
250g/9oz smoked bacon
3 large garlic cloves
vegetable stock
1 tbsp mixed herbs
1 tbsp paprika
drizzle of balsamic vinegar

Makes 6-8 portions

How to:
1) Preheat the oven to 200 C

2) Peel and chop the carrots,apples and sweet potatoes. Cut and chop the onion.

3) Line a baking tray. Spread the veg out over the tray. Crush the two of the garlic on top, season and sprinkle a bit of the rosemary over the top. Drizzle the syrup and the olive oil over the top and rub it in with your fingers, mixing the garlic in too. 

4) Cook for about an hour or until everything is well roasted, stirring every now and again to cook evenly.

5) Then transfer to a large saucepan and then pour in vegetable stock, season and add the rest of the rosemary. Add the vegetable stock until all the veg is well covered and bring to the boil. Then put a lid on the saucepan simmer for about 20 mins. Add extra stock or water if you want a thinner consistency.

6) Meanwhile heat a drizzle of oil in a pan and fry the bacon, along with the remaining garlic clove (crushed). Drizzle balsamic over the bacon halfway through frying. Once cooked add to the soup, saving a little for garnish.

7) Then blend the whole lot with a hand blender until smooth. Once again if it looks too thick you can always add some water. 

8) Serve hot with a sprinkling of bacon, a sprig of rosemary and your favourite winter blanket.

*     *    *

You can get a full helping
of Teri's cuteness & unstoppable creativity
over on her blog, The Lovely Drawer.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on December 2, 2013 and filed under "delicious dish", "the lovely drawer".

The Lovely Drawer: Pumpkin, Pancetta & Sage Lasagna.

Pumpkin, Pancetta & Sage Lasagna?

I'm just going to stop talking now
and let Teri do her thing 
as she is obviously on a hot streak
with this amazing recipe.

Now she can do the talking (yes, in her fab-o British accent),
and I'll let you do the pinning/planning/reservation canceling
so that you can get this recipe 
added to tonight's dinner plans.


One more thing: 
I think it's cute how Brits say "lasagne" instead of "lasagna."
Lasagne actually the correct way, oops!

Okay, I really am done talking now.

*  *  *

Pumpkin, Pancetta & Sage Lasagne

It's come to that time of year when I'm compulsively pinning pumpkin recipes as though my life depends on it and daydreaming about the smell of roasting squash wafting through my flat. All things considered, it seemed fitting to dig out this tasty dish. 

It's a healthier version of the creamy, oozy lasagne we are all so familiar with. Now let me clarify, this isn't going to win you lots of diet points but it is 'better' for you than most. Seeing as my tummy can't handle lots of creaminess and I'm no fan of mince (read: ground beef), I've ended up with this hodge podge of ingredients which I would say is actually (in my humble opinion) more flavoursome than the old classic. 

Plus my husband liked it so much he had the leftovers for breakfast and lunch the next day. I'm not advocating that, but it is impressive! 

To make:

1. Chop up your onion and dice your pancetta (depending on how you've bought it) and start to fry them in a pan along with the crushed garlic. Add the sundried tomatoes, most of your sage (chopped), paprika and mixed herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Once cooked stir in the passata sauce and simmer for 5 mins. Set aside.

3. In another pan wilt your spinach and season lightly. When cooked drain the tin of spinach and add to the pan to bulk up the greens.

4. In a bowl, mix the pumpkin with the nutmeg until combined and set aside.

5. Crack and whisk the egg and then in another bowl, beat the egg and ricotta together.

6. Lightly grease your baking dish and then start layering up the lasagne, making sure each layer is spread right to the edge. Place two pasta sheets on the bottom (side by side, overlapping if they don't fit), followed by a layer of spinach, followed by a layer of pumpkin, followed by another two pasta sheets (side by side), followed by the tomato and pancetta mixture, followed by another two pasta sheets (side by side) followed by the ricotta mixture on top. Make sure the pasta is covered right to the edges. Finish by sprinkling the chedder cheese over the whole thing and scatter the remaining sage. 

8) Cook on 190ºC for 25 mins and then place a sheet of baking paper or foil over the top and cook for a further 15 mins and then serve. It tastes really good with a balsamic and rocket (read: arugula) salad.

*   *  *

Isn't she the cutest?
I know you'd love hanging out with her.

She's pretty awesome.

Check out more of Teri's creative side
on her pretty blog, The Lovely Drawer.

Posted on October 30, 2013 and filed under "delicious dish", "the log".

Dallas: Oddfellows

In the midst of the usual emails
that people send me
asking for advice 
on European hotspots
such as London, Paris & Florence...
I've been receiving a few 
for a place that I know just as well:

Dallas, Texas.

I'm a born & bred Texan, mes amis.

I get to go back a handful of times
each year in between semesters.

I was there over the weekend 
for a quick work trip...
and got to add a new place 
to my "go" list for the Big D.

Don't miss a breakfast/brunch
at Oddfellows the next time
life brings you through the Big D.

It would be so sad.

In fact, don't skip out on the Bishop Arts area in general.

It's got so many amazing places tucked in it.

And with how popular it is becoming, 
you may feel like the odd man out 
if you did.

{Sorry, couldn't help myself.}

Obviously, we weren't planning on getting our pictures taken when we rolled out of bed. Oh well. In living color.

a few other "musts" for your required visit:

Start with an order of the Beignets,
don't ask questions.

Just trust me.

I personally will recommend the Huevos Rancheros
for many reasons, but mainly because
that bottom layer of corn tortilla is a crispy wonderland.

Go ahead and follow your instinct with the gingerbread pancake-
though skip the red velvet, it's a disappointment.

Lattes are great there.
Fresh squeezed orange juice is a treat.

Oh my, 
I really think 
you're going to love it there.

*    *   *

Go getcha some:

316 West 7th Street
Dallas, Texas 75208

Local Tip: Get there before 9 on the weekend
or be prepared to WAIT (like 30-45min) for a table.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on October 24, 2013 and filed under "dallas", "delicious dish", "travel".

The Lovely Drawer: Peach & Lavender Cobbler

Before moving to Oxford,
my job in Dallas was selling paper.

Really nice, fancy letterpress paper.

We had pretty books of invitations 
to lavish weddings & bar mitzvahs 
that stores could use to show their customers
what our work looked like
and what options they had to customize these 
to make them perfect for this event.

In the back of the book,
clients could sift through envelope liner options,
row after row of different typefaces,
and of course- ink colors!

We had all of our ink colors 
lined up and, there, where the soft purple sat,
was a small swatch labeled "lavendar."

"Lavendar," in case you aren't familiar,
is a mispelling of the gorgeous provencal flower, "lavender."

I still cringe thinking about that typo...
and the return address that was from "Greenwitch, Connecticut."

My spelling & grammar needs had to eventually deal with it
and wait for the book to be corrected at the next reprinting...

but fortunately,
I can eat one of these YUMMY peach & lavender cobblers immediately.

Welcome back, Teri of The Lovely Drawer
(and my in-real-life friend)
for her monthly recipe of British goodness. 

We are always glad to have you here at AK!

*    *   *

Hello again and here is something sweet and yummy to get your taste buds excited. 

I always use this cobbler topping recipe as it's definitely my favourite. 
Perhaps it's the buttermilk that makes it taste so delicious and cakey! 

You may notice in this recipe the topping serves 6. 
Call me greedy but I like a generous hat on my fruit and so I've used it for 4. 

I decided to try making a peach version but adding a twist to the flavour.

 Enter lavender.

 I wasn't entirely sure these two flavours would go together
 but it was definitely worth the risk.

 You can use tinned or fresh peaches.
 I'm of the opinion that peaches are one of the few foods
 that are totally acceptable from a tin so go for it!

Peach & Lavender Cobbler

Here's what you'll need:
For the topping...
140g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
25g butter
25g caster sugar
150ml buttermilk
1 tbsp demerara sugar
A sprinkling of cinnamon 

For the filling:
2 410g cans of tinned peaches (sieved) or 800g fresh (stoned and cut into slices if fresh)
25g caster sugar
1 tbsp of honey
1 tsp dried lavender (de-stemmed)

Serves 4. 
Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. 

1) Firstly simmer the peaches in a pan with 25g of the caster sugar, the honey and the lavender for about 5 mins, until all the ingredients combine. Set aside to cool.

2) Then sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a mixing bowl.

3) Then rub in the butter with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs and stir in the caster sugar.

4) Mix in the buttermilk to give a soft, sticky mixture.

5) Spoon the cooled peaches into the 4 ramekins, distributing evenly and then spoon on the cobbler. 

6) Sprinkle with demerara sugar and cinnamon and cook for 25 mins or until golden brown.

7) Serve warm with a scoop of  ice-cream and a sprinkle of icing sugar on each.

 *   *   *

So... who's having me over tonight
so that I can eat some of this gorgeous, yummy goodness?

Any takers? :)

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy
Posted on September 30, 2013 and filed under "delicious dish", "dessert", "the lovely drawer".