One of the fun things about my job is developing new recipes.
Well, really, there's no such thing. Unless you work at Noma, El Bulli or Fat Duck or in one of the magical molecular kitchens,that is. When I'm looking for something new, I have a bit of an idea in mind,then start delving deep into my resources - cookbooks, magazines, favorite food blogs and Google. I brainstorm and scribble little notes to myself in notebooks and even sketch out stick figure type drawings of how I want it to look and be plated. I take elements of many recipes and slowly piece them together a bit like Frankenstein's Monster cobbled together from many sources, until it resembles most the idea rattling around in my head.
This month we wanted to revamp the Cheese Platter dessert option. Well, really, there's not much you can do with chunks of cheese on a plate. No matter how delicious they are. We want the integrity of the cheese to remain, so it's all about 'Accessorising'
Anyone can do crackers; fresh crispy type fruit is a given; so we decided to go for a fruit and nut loaf. I based the idea on the good old Stained Glass Window Cake. This is made up of different types of glace fruits and nuts held together with a very minimal amount of batter to cement it.
The original recipe of glace fruits would be way to sweet and overpower the delicateness of the cheese, so I chose different types of dried fruits to compliment them instead. There were a couple of types of nuts and just a little orange zest for that special little something extra.
175g plump style dried figs
175g naked ginger- crystallised but not rolled in sugar
175g of mixed nuts- I used Brazil and walnut, but will change to almond and macadamia
1/3 cup gluten free plain flour
1/4 tsp gluten free baking powder
2 tablespoons castor sugar
2 tsp grated orange rind
40g of melted butter
Roughly chop the figs and dates
Mix the eggs, sugar, rind and butter
Add in the flour and baking powder
Mix in the fruit and nuts
Tip into a lined loaf tin and press down hard to compress
Bake at 150* for 90 minutes
Let the cake cool in the tin and preferably leave overnight before cutting, to avoid it breaking into pieces. When you do cut it, use a sharp serrated knife and saw through carefully as the fruit may be a bit sticky.
Serve this as part of a cheese platter, or enjoy it with a cup of Earl Grey tea.
If you want to make this as an alternative Christmas Cake, just use a selection of glace fruits instead, and maybe a dash of rum or brandy. While the cake is still fresh and ht from the oven, brush it generously with the rum or brandy so it sucks up even more festive cheer!
Now an update on BigJ... the good news is that the surgeon was able to reattach the severed finger and we expect a full recovery with free range of feeling and movement! The bad news is that this, of course, takes time. It will be at least 3 months before things are even remotely back to normal. He will have keep it dressed and splinted for most of that time, and really be careful. He is managing to get back to work and even do a modified style of typing.
This is littlej's solution to the problem.
Isn't she a subtle, sensitive soul?
So Readers, what do you like on a Cheese Platter?