26 July 2012

Dreams, cheesecake filled strawberries and ricotta zucchini rolls

When a dream becomes reality, these tasty finger delights are a must to help you celebrate.

Cheesecake filled strawberries

We've all had dreams, and I'm sure many of you have even had some of them come true. Often the bigger the dream the harder we have to work to see them grace the light of day.

Recently I was very proud to witness a dream become a reality for my dear friend Sonia and her husband Ian. And it was fantastic!

First, let's turn the clock back to 2003. Sonia and Ian purchased an old (and I mean old) Queensland cottage in Paddington, Brisbane, to turn it into their dream home. Now I remember this 'old' house. I would happily liken it to a block of swiss cheese; especially when I had the pleasure of sleeping in it one winter thinking I was going to wake up in the morning with hypothermia. You think I'm being dramatic...but I tell you the truth.

Over the years I have watched Sonia and Ian slowly, patiently - and sometimes not so patiently -renovate this house into a beautiful, cosy, blissfully warm home.

All those that have renovated, or those that have had the pleasure of hiring trades people, will understand the stress, frustration and expense you are confronted with when dealing with people you do not know, about a subject matter that you do not know, and about things, that frankly, you also do not know. Or is that just me?

Here enters reviewatradie.com.au. This brain child has been 12 months in the making and will benefit all of us in Australia to provide us access to reviews about tradies and also allow us to write those reviews ourselves.

Looking for a plumber? Check out reviewatradie.com.au

Looking for a carpenter? Check out reviewatradie.com.au

Now please remember this is in early stages so Sonia and Ian need your help. If you have a tradie that you think is fantastic and would like everyone in your area to know about them then jump on to the site and write a review. The more people who do this, the more we give those good people some work.

So where's the food in all of this? Well, I got to make a couple of tasty treats for Sonia and Ian's big launch afternoon tea that I have just had to share with you. They are simple, delightful and positively scrump-diddly-umptious. I made cheesecake filled strawberries and ricotta zucchini rolls. Both were thanks to my new found addiction to pinterest.

Ricotta zucchini rolls
Adapted from Apple pie, patis and pates blog

makes approximately 24 zucchini rolls

Ricotta zucchini rolls

4 small zucchinis
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil

For the ricotta filling:
ricotta cheese, about a cup
juice from about half a lemon
mint leaves, about a handful (the original recipe uses basil)
roasted slivered almonds, about a handful

This is one of those recipes where exact measurements do not matter. Add more or less of anything that is to your liking.

Cut off the stem end of the zucchini. Using a mandolin or a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin strips.

Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. The zucchini strips will be more translucent and pliable after resting.

Zucchini strips marinating in extra virgin olive oil.

Mix the ricotta cheese with the lemon juice. Season with salt and mix vigorously until thoroughly incorporated.

Finely chop the mint leaves. Add the mint and almonds to the ricotta mixture and mix until evenly distributed.

Fresh ricotta mixture

Place about 1 tablespoon of the ricotta filling on the cut end of the zucchini strips.

Roll the zucchini strip over the filling and plate.

So easy and healthy: Ricotta zucchini rolls.

Cheesecake filled strawberries
Adapted from The Sweets Life blog

Tasty little morsels of cheesecake filled strawberries
4 punnets of strawberries, washed and top cut
125g cream cheese, softened (or spreadable)
1 tbsp caster sugar (to taste. Add more if you want a sweeter mixture)
½ tsp vanilla extract
zest of one small lemon
about 5 crushed biscuits of any sort. I just used a honey oat biscuit.

Prep all strawberries and set aside.

In a food processor, blend cream cheese, caster sugar, vanilla and lemon zest until creamy. Add a little cream or milk, as I had to, to get a smooth enough consistency to get through a piping bag.

Cheesecake mixture piped on to strawberries

 Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag or a freezer bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe mixture onto strawberries. Dip the top in your biscuit crumbs. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until serving.

Dipping the cheesecake filled strawberries into the cookie crumbs

Cheesecake filled strawberries - they look good enough to eat!

Wishing you all happy cooking adventures!


  1. Both look strawberrylish!!!

  2. If I was going to have a launch party for anything I'd hire you as my caterer! Oh YUM!

  3. Oh wow! The strawberries look Ah-May-ZING!