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New York Cheesecake

A cake steeped in New York history.  The introduction of cream cheese in the late 1800s and the resulting wave of immigrants – Jewish and Greek – saw the first New York Cheesecake being sold on the Lower East Side in the 1920s. 

This amazingly rich cheesecake is easy to make, although requires a couple of hours to cook and overnight refrigeration. Perfect for a crowd as can make the day before. Serves 8-10 generously

For the crust
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 and a ¼ cups granita biscuits crumbed (about 10 crackers)
2 tablespoons sugar

For the filling
1.25kg cream cheese at warm room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup plain flour
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
1 cup double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence 

To make the crust, preheat oven to 165oC. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 23cm springform pan (cake tin). In a bowl, combine the melted butter, biscuit crumbs and sugar and stir until the crumbs are evenly moistened. If too moist, add a further crumbed biscuit.
Press the crumb mixture into the springform pan – evenly across the bottom and 4cm up the sides. Bake until the crust dries out slightly, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely in the tin on a wire rack.
To make the filling, put cream cheese in large mixing bowl and beat on high speed until smooth, about 5 minutes. Mix the flour and sugar together then add to the cream cheese mix and beat until well blended.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with spatula to ensure mixture is evenly beaten.
Add eggs and egg yolk, one at a time beating after each addition. Add cream and vanilla and beat until combined.
Pour mixture into the spring form pan over the prepared crust.
Bake until the cheesecake is set and the centre jiggles slightly, usually about 80-90 minutes. Do not overbake.
Cool in pan on wire rack. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Before serving, unclasp the sides of the springform pan and remove. Cut the cake into wedges, served chilled with fresh berries or a coulis.

Oat Biscuits

1 cup rolled Australian oats
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup sugar 
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
125g Australian butter
2 tbsp local honey

Pre-heat oven to 160oC.
Add a twist: a handful of choc chips and dried cranberries – reduce coconut.
Melt butter and honey together (can zap in microwave for 20 seconds).
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and pour over melted butter mixture. Stir together.
Press into a lined square brownie baking pan flatten with fork and cook for 8-10 minutes at 160oC, until lightly golden. Cool in baking pan and cut into squares. Store in airtight container.

Perfect for morning tea.

Ancient Grain Salad

A delicious nutty, grainy salad great with Sunday roasts and perfect the next day as leftovers. Feel free to substitute grains and pulses such as whole wheat, cracked wheat and quinoa. Replace seeds and nuts with your favourites.
1 bunch coriander, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 cup freekah (or cracked wheat or quinoa)
1/2 cup lentils
2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp toasted slivered almonds
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp baby capers
1/2 cup currants
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp Australian olive oil
Sea salt to taste
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup thick Greek yoghurt
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tbsp honey
Blanch freekah and lentils separately in boiling water until both just cooked. Drain well and allow to cool. 
Mix the yoghurt, ground cumin and honey until combined. 
In a medium bowl, place the coriander, parsley, red onion, freekah, lentils, toasted nuts, capers, currants, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well and season to taste. 
Place into serving dish and top with cumin yoghurt and pomegranate seeds. If looking a little dry, mix in a little more olive oil. 
Serve with Sunday roasts.
Original recipe from Hellenic Republic.

Rogan Lamb Shanks 

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 2-3 hours
Serves 4


2 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg
4 lamb shanks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
300 ml Greek-style yoghurt
450 ml hot lamb or chicken stock 
4 cardamom pods, cracked
1 pinch saffron strands
4 small tomatoes cut into wedges

Mix together the flour, chilli powder, coriander, ginger, salt and nutmeg. Dust the lamb shanks in the flour, reserving any excess.

Pre-heat oven to 180oC. Pour the oil into a large roasting tin and place over a high heat. Cook the lamb shanks for 10 minutes turning until well browned. Transfer to a large plate and set aside.

Add the onion to the pan and cook for 10 minutes until golden brown. Add the reserved spiced flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Stir in the yoghurt and stock.

Return the lamb to the pan. Add the cardamom and saffron and bring to a boil. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 1.5 hours. Add the tomato wedges and cook for a further 40-60 minutes until the lamb is almost falling away from the bone. Serve hot.

Notes: The spices can be intermixed with any spices you have to hand; its a robust dish that works well with a range of spices. Keep the foil tight over the dish during cooking which can be up to 3 hours. Serve with steamed winter vegetables or in summer an iceberg lettuce salad is the perfect side. Leftovers the next day can be lighted with couscous or mixed grains. Still hungry afterwards? Use the remaining yoghurt, topped with fresh fruit.

Original recipe by Ansley Harriot.