22 Aug // wellington whanau

It's funny when you get older and can choose where you make your home. I've had a tumultuous year which has involved 3 house moves and it's only now that I feel settled. Throughout the turmoil I wondered if Wellington was still the place for me. I moved here for university, and just a change from my hometown. I've made some of my dearest friends and I've many fond memories of my six and a half years here. At the moment, and at least for another year, Wellington is my home. Auckland will always be home, but right now I'm happy and I love this city. I've had many a nightmare the last wee while what with good friends leaving and relationships ending and changing, but through it all I have made new friends and am lucky enough to now have very good old friends which I have made in my chosen city.

I am also extremely lucky in the fact that I now have a Wellington family. Despite the fact they're the fisherman's aunt and uncle, they've taken me in and still very much feel like mine, regardless of everything that's happened. Tonight they had me over for a classic Sunday night family dinner in honour of my birthday. We began with freshly smoked Swordfish - fresh frozen off the fisherman's boat, and delivered to them. It was absolutely delicious. Main was 'hidden lamb' - lamb steaks cooked with sundried tomato, feta and olives wrapped in filo. I've talked about my affection for pastry before, and this meal was no exception. With greek salad and broccoli done with olive oil and lemon, it was a boomer of a meal. Since tamarillos are in season we ended with a tamarillo and orange-zest baked cheesecake. I love cheesecake.

The family are all very keen foodies (except one daughter who thinks marrying a chef will solve all her problems) and every meal is made with care and thought, often infused by their international travels. I get pangs of missing he-who-shall-not -be-named when I'm there, but at the same time I feel completely comfortable and welcome in their home, which was my home for a while when I was otherwise homeless. They are wonderful, and to finish my friend-filled sunny weekend with an evening like that, I am reminded of yet another reason I love this city.

Tamarillo Cheesecake

(from here)

The maker of this one doubled the filling recipe and said if she was to make it again, she would treble it so as to get that luscious filling-to-base ratio just right. It's not too rich and the ginger and zest really give it that extra something. She also recommends letting the filling cool completely before putting on the topping and I think you would be wise to heed her advice.

Base

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup wholemeal flour
  • 100g butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp ground ginger

Filling

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 1 cup greek-style yoghurt
  • grated rind of one orange
  • 2 eggs

Topping

  • Seeds and juice of 6 ripe tamarillos
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1 cinnamon quill

Preparation

Melt the butter and mix thoroughly with the other base ingredients. Line the bottom of a greased spring-form cake tin with baking paper and press in the mixture into a pie shell shape, with a depth of about 3cm. Place in the fridge to chill.

Using a food processor, electric or hand-held beater mix the filling ingredients well. 

Pour the filling into the shell and bake at 180°C for 45mins to 1 hour, until the filling is just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. 

In a small saucepan, heat the seeds and juice of 6 ripe tamarillos (leaving the harder centre pieces) with 3 tbs of sugar and a cinnamon quill. Simmer rapidly for around 5mins until the mixture has reduced. Stir constantly apparently! 

Pour the tamarillo topping over the cheesecake and serve when cool.