Gleaming Maple Cheesecake & Glazed Ham

Christmas has well and truly passed now but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice glazed ham or a festive cheesecake anytime you want. I spent my Christmas at home surrounded by my loving family and lots of delicious food. Two items on our Christmas menu included a glazed ham from Donna Hay and a gleaming maple cheesecake from Nigella Lawson. To see what other food was on offer that day, check out this post!

My cheesecake was well received, although being my fiercest critic I knew it was overbaked and not as light and creamy as it should be. I’m not sure whether to blame my oven or not but I checked it after half the supposed baking time and it already looked done. I took it out about 10 minutes after that and I knew that it had been in the oven for too long since it was missing the wobbly centre.

Despite my mistakes in making this cheesecake, I would definitely make it again. The maple syrup smells fantastic and permeates through the whole cake. And of course, the gleaming layer of maple syrup on top of the cheesecake is a definite crowd-pleaser.

I’ve also included in this post (just for you, Trissa!) the orange glazed ham that my Mum made. The glaze was delicious except there simply wasn’t enough of it, both when it was being glazed and in taste. The recipe below is straight out of the book but I would suggest perhaps making double quantities of the glaze since most of the glaze was already used up the first time the ham came out of the oven. Glazing it a few more times would also help impart more of the flavour onto the ham.

Gleaming Maple Cheesecake

from Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson

For the base
8 digestive biscuits
75g pecans
85g butter, softened

For the filling
600g cream cheese, at room temperature (take it out of the fridge about 30 mins – 1 hour before using)
50g sugar
2 tsp cornflour
125ml maple syrup, plus more for drizzling

4 eggs
1/2 tsp cider vinegar or lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Blitz biscuits in a food processor, add pecans and blitz again until the mixture is crumbled finely. Add butter and blitz until it all comes together. Press into the bottom of a lined 20cm springform tin and place in the fridge to chill.

2. Put a kettleful of water on the boil. In the cleaned food processor, add cream cheese, sugar, maple syrup and corn flour, and process until smooth. With the motor still running, add the eggs one at a time. Add vinegar/lemon juice and mix until you have a smooth batter.

3. Remove the tin from the fridge and line the outside of the tin with a double layer of foil to prevent water getting in. Pour the filling into the tin and place in a large roasting tray. Pour the boiling water in the roasting tray around the cheesecake until it comes halfway up the side of the tin. Bake in the oven for 1 1/4 hours until the cheesecake is set on the outside but wobbles a bit in the middle. I suggest to check every so often so you don’t end up with a dry, hard cheesecake like mine!

4. Remove the foil layers and cool on a wire rack. When the cheesecake has cooled down, chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. To serve, unmould the cheesecake from the springform tin and place on a serving platter. Drizzle extra maple syrup on the top.

Glazed Ham

from Modern Classics Book 1 by Donna Hay

8kg leg ham
cloves for studding

For the glaze
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup honey

1. Preheat oven to 190ºC. Remove the skin from the ham and score the fat in a diamond pattern. Stud a clove in the middle of each diamond the place the ham in a baking dish lined with several layers of non-stick baking paper.

2. To make the glaze, place the orange juice, sugar, mustard and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes or until thickened.

3. Brush the ham with the glaze and bake for 10 minutes. Glaze again and bake for another 10 minutes. Repeat and bake for a final 10 minutes. Allow the ham to stand for 5 minutes before carving.

Ramen Kan, Haymarket

Ramen Kan is a little Japanese restaurant tucked away upstairs, accessed by a dodgy looking lift on Hay Street next to Cold Rock. Yes, the lift is a bit dirty-looking and extremely slow and probably needs replacing but don’t be put off! Once those lift doors open you will be rewarded with a dining area complete with decorative touches like bamboo and pebbles, and of course fantastic Japanese food.

Soft shell crab salad – $8.90

Ramen Kan offers lunch specials so we opted to have both of those as well as two entrees to share. The first dish to arrive was the soft shell crab salad which had four soft shell crab halves (2 whole crabs) sitting on top of a bountiful cabbage salad with a tangy dressing. The freshly fried crabs had a light batter with a resounding crunch when bitten into.

Salmon salad – $6.90

We also ordered a salmon salad which was similar to the soft shell crab salad except the crab was replaced by slices of raw salmon covered in lashings of Japanese mayonnaise. I felt like they were a little stingey on the salmon since there were only 4 thin slices and the majority of the bowl was full of cabbage so I’m not sure if I would order this again.

Ramen (part of ramen and donburi set)

The parentals shared the ramen and donburi set ($14.90) which includes a bowl of ramen noodles and your choice of 4 small rice bowls (eel, raw tuna and salmon, chicken karaage and teriyaki chicken). The ramen noodles retained their chewiness and the soup base (which I think was miso) was flavoursome.

Kaisen don (part of ramen and donburi set)

The kaisen don which came with the set had chunks of raw tuna and salmon marinated in a sweet soy sauce accompanied by more mayonnaise, sitting on a bed of rice. The serving of fish in this was much more generous than on the salmon salad. Although with some rice bowls you end up with a lot of leftover rice because there isn’t enough topping to go with the rice, this wasn’t the case here and there was plenty of tuna and salmon to accompany the rice underneath.

Special lunch box (L-R, T-B: potato croquette, gyoza, agedashi tofu, chicken karaage, rice; miso soup not pictured) – $13.50

Charm and I went with the second lunch special which was the special lunch box, including a choice of a main (chicken nanban, chicken karaage, teriyaki chicken or teriyaki salmon) which came in a bento box that also had more cabbage salad, potato croquette, gyoza, agedashi tofu, rice and miso soup. We went with the chicken karaage which came with mayonnaise and a chilli-looking sauce which wasn’t spicy at all. The chicken was superbly moist with a thin batter around it.

The potato croquette and gyoza were both very fresh. Inside the crunchy potato croquette was a filling similar to the pink Japanese potato salad which was lovely and creamy. The pork and vegetable gyoza was crispy with a nicely browned bottom – if only there was more than one!

Despite the dodgy exterior, Ramen Kan is definitely a great place to go for good quality and good value Japanese food. But be warned, the place fills up quickly during peak lunch and dinner times so make sure you get there early or be prepared to wait!

Now on a completely different note, I recently received the Over The Top from the lovely mademoiselle délicieuse at spoon, fork and chopsticks – thank you so much! If you haven’t already checked out her blog, click on the link above to read some awesome restaurant reviews and recipes.

According to the rules of this award, I must provide readers with the answers to the thirty-five questions below in one word. I also must thank my award-giver for this fun award and grant six of my favourite bloggers this award, then give them the heads-up that they have been nominated.

Here are my nominated 6 bloggers in no particular order:
1. chocolatesuze
2. pigged-out
3. The Ninja Review
4. Here Comes The Food
5. Beansprout’s Cafe
6. one bite more

And now to answer my 35 questions

1. Where is your cell phone? desk
2. Your hair? uncontrollable
3. Your mother? caring
4. Your father? hilarious
5. Your favourite food? japanese
6. Your dream last night? none
7. Your favourite drink? milkshakes
8. Your dream/goal? happiness
9. What room are you in? bedroom
10. Your hobby? baking
11. Your fear? spiders
12. Where do you want to be in six years? employed
13. Where were you last night? boyfriend’s
14. Something that you aren’t? male
15. Muffins? choc-chip!
16. Wish list item? kitchenaid
17. Where did you grow up? sydney
18. Last thing you did? blog
19. What are you wearing? pjs
20. Your TV? new
21. Your pets? none
22. Friends? overseas :(
23. Your life? great!
24. Your mood? lazy
25. Missing someone? sister
26. Vehicle? astra
27. Something you’re not wearing? shoes
28. Your favourite store? ikea
29. Your favourite colour? purple
30. When was the last time you laughed? 1min
31. Last time you cried? awhile
32. Your best friend? SirD
33. One place that I go to over and over? blogs
34. One person who emails me regularly? mum
35. Favourite place to eat? everywhere!

Ramen Kan

Level 1, 90 Hay Street
Haymarket NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 9211 6677
Open 11.30am – 11pm daily

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