Delicious,  Janice's baked cheesecake.
Delicious, Janice's baked cheesecake.

For the love of food: Explore your taste buds

GROWING up in Melbourne the 60's I was very lucky to have parent's that were wonderfully innovative when it came to food.

My father was well before his time as he loved cooking and entertaining. His BBQs were legendary amongst family and friends - sometimes we would have up to 100 people at these shindigs; much to my mum's horror.

Lamb on the spit was for special occasions, we used a manual spit which meant I spent many hours of my childhood turning the spit by hand taking turns with my friend Beagle. No memories of burns so it mustn't have been too bad just great memories. Mum would make the salads and her special cheesecake, which she still cooks today.

We waited with our mouths watering as the dishes came out.

Dad liked to try new flavours and decided to try Indian cooking in early 80's. He would spend days preparing the Indian feast making butter chicken, vindaloo curry and naan bread plus many more dishes from scratch. It was very exciting to try new foods and I was always grateful that my parents opened my taste buds to different cuisines and cultures.

Have a go of Janice's cheesecake recipe or John's Butter Chicken you'll be glad you did.

More recipes go to



250g packet plain sweet biscuits

125g butter, melted

3 x 250g packets cream cheese, softened

1 cup Caster Sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup of brandy

Cinnamon Sugar

4 eggs

Fresh berries to serve


Preheat oven to 160°C/140°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 22cm round (base) spring-form cake pan.

Process biscuits until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add butter. Process until combined. Press mixture over base and sides of pan leaving a 2cm gap from top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Process cream cheese, sugar, brandy and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, processing until just combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until just set and centre wobbles slightly. Allow to cool in oven for 2 hours, with door ajar. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with raspberries.



The easier way to make Butter Chicken to buy a jar of sauce and tweak it for flavour or you can follow this recipe.


1/2 cup Greek Style Yoghurt

2 garlic cloves, crushed

3cm piece ginger, peeled, finely grated

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/4 teaspoon chilli powder

600g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

20g butter

1 brown onion, halved, thickly sliced

410g can tomato puree

1/2 cup chicken liquid stock

1/2 cup thickened cream

Basmati rice, to serve

Coriander leaves, to serve

Pappadams to serve


Place yoghurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, garam masala and chilli powder in a glass or ceramic dish. Add chicken. Stir to coat. Cover. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Heat oil and butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until softened. Add chicken mixture to pan. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until chicken just starts to change colour. Add tomato puree and stock. Cover. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until chicken is tender and mixture has thickened slightly.

Stir in cream. Simmer for a further 5 minutes or until heated through.

Serve with steamed rice and coriander leaves and pappadams.

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