Exercise 33 - Something's Cooking!

Have been grabbling at ideas for this exercise.... just got a flash back to Summer 2012. I remember well the trip to Supervalu....Mel wanting rhubarb....Niall wanting cheesecake.

I got up to a quiet house next morning and feeling a LOT more creative than usual in the kitchen set about making a rhubarb cheesecake!

I stewed the rhubarb....using the rhubarb juices to dissolve a jelly (mimicking the methodology for a lemon or pineapple cheesecake.)...with my “Mammy Pastry Chef” hat on I decided the base needed a “TWIST”!!! So as the jelly was cooling I ran across to the shop...and got my Grandad’s favourite ginger snap biscuits!

Back in the kitchen I soon started doubting my ginger twist....there is a GOOD reason why people dunk them....they were nigh impossible to break....and I was doing it quietly by hand ....no rolling pins banging off the kitchen table...as my beauties still lay sleeping! Eventually the biscuits were broken...sugar and butter added...and I proudly placed my “base” in the oven to cook.

Meanwhile I had added the philadelphia cheese to my jelly....and now returned to inspect my topping...oh dear....this was not setting properly.....not to worry... I just added a container of cream......as I watched the beaters I could see the mixture was thickening...somewhat....but not enough to stay put on top of a cheesecake! Chill in the fridge....fingers crossed!

Distracted....things normally run like clockwork when I bake...I left the base in the oven too long...I was dismayed to put it mildly.... at the beautifully consistent....BLACKENED edges. This was SO not going to plan.

Reaching quickly for a mug of coffee...what’s a girl to do when she needs to clear her head(!)....I sat and came up with a plan...genius...I’d carefully removed the blackened edges with a knife...and no one would know! That’s when I learned my first lesson....heated ginger snaps....crumble...so I easily removed the edges....with a teaspoon.

With a solution sorted for the base ...coffee cup drained...I checked on the topping. From years of experience making desserts (I am a Bourke after all!) I knew one more container of cream would yield the required topping consistency. So back to the shop...!

With “perfectly saved” and very yummy topping now in the fridge again...I started to have serious doubts about the base. Quickest solution...I could just set the Rhubarb mixture in a glass bowl...but as a matter of principle THIS cheesecake was going to have a base. Mel has been slagging me the previous evening that her brother was my FAV because I always made his favourite pineapple cheesecake...in a bowl for dessert ...as he didn’t like the base. I had to make a “statement” with this dessert!

Unfortunately at the rate I was going the only statement I’d be making was that mother shouldn’t be let in the kitchen without a tried and tested cook book!

In the end I decided to chuck the base ...and start again. I only had half a pack of ginger snaps left....couldn’t go to the shop again (too embarrassing!!)...so I combined them with the remains of the old reliable digestives. The relief I felt as I took the perfect new base from the oven was ENORMOUS! This was way bigger than making dessert....I had finally learned a VERY BIG lesson....

Yes I learned....the acid in rhubarb stops jelly from setting normally...so use less rhubarb juice and/or extra jelly...unless you want to buy a lot of extra cream!

And...if you want to crumb ginger snaps heat them in the oven first.

MOST IMPORTANTLY....if the foundation of anything you are doing is not right....it will not “become right” EVER by adding lavish “toppings”....!

So your challenge....be more mindful....in everything you do that all aspects need to be RIGHT. If the foundation is wrong....START again. Don’t waste good elements...by combining them with mediocre ones....the results will never be what you really want. This goes for projects...relationships...career choices....EVERYTHING!

It’s OK to say...THIS is NOT good enough...and start again!

I suppose at the end of the day we’re back to my maxim...You CANNOT FAKE excellence...and the cheesecake SHOWED me ...excellence is the sum of excellent parts working perfectly together!

Till next time.... don’t feel you have to settle for what you know is NEVER going to be right.

PS The cheesecake....was a GREAT success! The topping was zingy...and the “combo” base cut perfectly. Simply Delicious!!!!