Jacque's French toast with brie, pear and ginger
Jacque's French toast with brie, pear and ginger
Samantha's mascarpone and peach layered dessert
Samantha's mascarpone and peach layered dessert
Arina's ricotta and cinnamon cake
Arina's ricotta and cinnamon cake

Chefs, bloggers and cheesemakers will demonstrate just how innovative cooking with cheese can be during the 2012 Cheese Festival, held at Sandringham outside Cape Town from April 27 to 30.

Tickets cost R110, while children 13 and under enter for free. As tickets will not be sold at the gate, it’s essential that you buy yours either through Computicket or at Checkers stores. Visit www. cheesefestival.co.za for more information or phone Agri-Expo on 021 975 4440.

The recipes below have been developed especially for the 2012 Festival. Landbouweekblad food editor Arina du Plessis offers delectable sweet and savoury cheesecakes, while Samantha Linselle, food blogger and food stylist for Masterchef SA, contributes a seasonal savoury bake and easy dessert. Jacques Erasmus finishes with a trendy finale or great brunch dish that he developed for festival partner Simonsberg Cheese.

Samantha’s cheese-topped brinjal and courgette bake

It’s not necessary to salt and drain the brinjals before using. Canned tomatoes can replace the homemade tomato sauce, but add seasoning to taste. This is a good side dish to accompany a chicken or vegetarian main course.

1½ cups of brinjal chopped into medium or smallish cubes

1½ cups courgettes sliced into rings

olive oil

1 cup of homemade tomato sauce or good quality pasta sauce or tinned tomatoes

4 tbs crème fraîche or cream

2 garlic cloves – crushed

small handful of fresh thyme leaves – stalks removed

small handful of fresh basil leaves – roughly chopped

1½ cups breadcrumbs

¼ cup grated parmesan (pecorino or gruyère also work well)

salt and pepper

dried chilli (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and lightly fry first the brinjal and then the courgette in batches (about five minutes each) then transfer the half-cooked vegetables to an ovenproof dish.

Mix in the tomato sauce, crème fraiche, half each of the garlic, basil, thyme and chilli, if using, into the vegetables.

In a separate bowl mix the breadcrumbs with the cheese, remaining garlic, basil and thyme, stir in olive oil to moisten and sprinkle this over the vegetable mix

Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes until bubbling and nicely browned.

Samantha’s mascarpone and peach layered dessert

8 peach halves

½ cup of Amaretto liqueur

80ml water

1 cup cream

250g (1 tub) mascarpone

2 tbs icing sugar

2 tbs Amaretto, liqueur, additional

100-150g Amaretti biscuits

toasted sliced almonds

Poach the peaches in the Amaretto and water with a lid on for about 10 minutes until they have soft-ened.

Leave to cool in the sauce.

Beat the cream until it is thick. Using the same beater, lightly whip the mascarpone to loosen it.

Fold the whipped cream into the whipped mascarpone, adding the icing sugar and second measure of Amaretto.

Lightly crumb about 100g of the Amaretti biscuits and layer the dessert as follows in four to six tall sundae glasses: start with a cream/cheese layer, top with crumbs, follow with peach slices and a drizzle of sauce.

Repeat, ending with a cream layer.

Drizzle over the last of the sauce and sprinkle over a few toasted almond slices.

Serves 4 to 6, depending on the size of glass used.

Jacque’s French toast with brie, pear and ginger

Camembert can replace the Brie if preferred. Dip the pear slices in lemon juice to prevent discolouration.

6 eggs

1 cup milk

butter for frying

6 slices of brioche or white bread

2 ripe pears, cored and sliced

125g Simonsberg brie or Camembert, thickly sliced

6 tbs preserved ginger pieces with syrup

Whisk the eggs and milk together in a large bowl. Dip the bread slices, one by one, in the egg mixture. Heat a little butter in a frying pan and fry slices until golden on both sides. Do not overcrowd in the pan. Serve the warm French toast with sliced pear, Brie and preserved ginger. Serves 6.

Arina’s ricotta and cinnamon cake

Serve with fresh fruit or simmer fruit in a sugar syrup with spices such as cinnamon, star aniseed and vanilla until it is syrupy and serve lukewarm over the cheese cake.

500g ricotta

500g thick natural yogurt

230ml castor sugar

15ml powdered cinnamon

2 extra large eggs

250ml cake flour

125ml cornflour

15ml vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 24cm diameter springform cake tin. Beat all the ingredients well and transfer to the prepared cake pan. Spread evenly and bake for 50-60 minutes to firm. Leave to cool to room temperature. Serves 12-14. - Cape Argus