Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way …
Oh it is that time of year again. Time flies I suppose when you are having fun, or in my case just busy with nothing but work. At some stage the days kinda just blended in together and I hardly noticed the weeks fly by.
I must say it has been one heck of a year. We lost our beloved Bernese to cancer and he had to be put down in March; seven months on and our hearts are still broken. We miss him everyday.
Then we moved house once our lease on that place was up. Now we live in an apartment in a very nice side of town. Happier living here than the place we were at even though the old place was much closer to work. Shops and amenities are all within walking distance now and we get nice views.
After the move I worked my butt off for a solid three months until September where we took our first holiday of the year. Took a month off and travelled America + Canada; had a total blast and got to meet so many wonderful people for the first time. Got to see and experience so many American firsts : Lady Liberty, Grand Central station, walking the streets of New York, catching a ball game at Yankee Stadium, eating North Carolina BBQ, seeing black bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and experiencing the most spectacular colours of fall in Canada and New England. If I could do it all again I would.
Now it has been two months since the trip and we are both settling down to enjoy the Christmas season, our second since moving here in 2015. The lights are all up in the city centre and up and down the village street. Winter is well and truly here as the thermostat drops to about 0°C on most nights. Incidentally there is a malfunction in the boiler and we have had no heat or hot water for about 2 weeks now. The letting agents vow to do something about it but we have yet to hear back from them, sigh.
In the realm of upcoming holidays, we have one kinda booked and pretty much confirmed for April and another tentative one in July. In April we are heading back to Iceland for our second EVE Fanfest, this time hoping to be there with a few more of the team Pizza members we have met in person during our visit to America. So far we have convinced three of them to come along: SM Cool, Zarvia, Sgt Sack Smash have all said they were going to be there. We know how things go and so we have already booked our accommodation well in advance. Tickets to the convention can be bought on a later date along with flight tickets. I love Iceland and cannot wait to be back.
In July we may head to Indonesia for an Asian-flavoured holiday which will coincide with the wedding of my cousin Laura. Her wedding bash is to take place in the capitol Jakarta and it is going to be a big fancy family affair. After the wedding, time and leave applications pending, we hope to squeeze in a few days in Bali. Looking forward to spending all my waking hours getting massages and drinking tropical fruit cocktails.
In the meantime, here is a wonderful festive Christmas treat for the holiday table. It is a delectable citrus cheesecake packed with creamy orangey flavours that cuts through the richness of the cheese and buttery base. I made this for a dear friend who absolutely loves cheesecakes and chose to serve this in lieu of the traditional Christmas cake.
Clementine Baked Cheesecake.
- 400 g soft cream cheese
- 100 mls cream – 35% fat
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 heaped tbsp plain Greek yoghurt
- zest of one whole clementine
- zest of one lemon
- juice of one whole clementine
- 3 whole eggs
- 3 tbsp plain flour
The biscuit base I use is pretty standard — crushed digestive biscuits (or Graham crackers if you prefer), about a teaspoon of light brown sugar and melted butter. Press everything into a lined spring form tin and chill in the fridge for about 20 mins. Now for the important part … since this is going to be a baked cheesecake it is going to be cooked in a bain marie. Therefore, the cake tin has to be ‘waterproofed’ by wrapping the base and the sides with heavy-duty tin foil. ONE SINGLE SHEET OF FOIL, no seams. Feel free to use a double layer, but so long as you are careful about it and don’t get any nicks in the foil you should be good to go.
Place a clean tea towel in the bottom of a deep tray or roasting pan. Place the wrapped up cake tin on the towel.
As for the filling, mix everything with hand whisk. Pour over biscuit base.
Carefully fill the roasting pan with hot water until about half-way up the sides of the tin. Bake in the bain marie for 60 mins on a low rack at 160 – 170 degrees. Turn off the heat and allow the cheesecake to cool inside the oven with the door slightly ajar. This will allow the cheesecake to cool gradually thus preventing cracks from happening on the surface.
Once it is completely cool you can chill it in the fridge until you are ready to decorate and serve.
Enjoy this delectable treat this Christmas if you are one of those who can’t tolerate the traditional fruity mince pies, the Christmas cake and the plum puddings. This still has a very Christmassy feel to it since it uses sweet Mandarins. Either serve it whole and slice wedges out of it or you can make individual portions for a more elegant presentation at your next dinner party. Whichever you decide to go for, you won’t regret making this cake. I would strongly suggest making this cake a day in advance to let the flavours fully settle and develop. Adding some shavings from a chocolate-orange bar would not be such a bad idea either.
~ Enjoy ~
Other Mandarin orange recipes you may like: