You see, there is genuine love in desserts that resists all attempts to tamp it down. These are not the foods you need to eat; they are the foods you want to eat. They are not sustenance, but a gift of affection.
Fast Ed says…
I’m something of an accidental chef. Unlike so many of my colleagues and heroes, I wasn’t one of those kids who grew up fascinated by cookery or surrounded by culinary excellence. No, my journey began because I was what might charitably be described as an “unsettled kid”.
While I did well at school, I was easily distracted, constantly inattentive and spent more time in detention than I did in maths class. Once I had moved schools for the second time (and no, not by choice), my dad had quite reasonably had enough and sent me out to get a part-time job, hoping that the rigour and structure of a workplace might be the tonic to soothe my waywardness.
By pure chance, I got a job as a kitchenhand in a quite good restaurant. Within months I had started cooking and, to be honest, I never looked back.
While I did go to uni to start a law degree, feeling considerable pressure to make use of good HSC marks, I walked away after a few years and threw myself into the one thing I had ever loved, and the one place I had ever really felt at home – the kitchen. This was my tribe.
I was in love with pastry cookery and baking, regardless of the anti-social hours or constant burns. You see, there is genuine love in desserts that resists all attempts to tamp it down. These are not the foods you need to eat; they are the foods you want to eat. They are not sustenance, but a gift of affection. There is so much heartfelt hospitality in pastry cookery, an authentic desire to take care of others. That love, that kindness, is the thing that has maintained my passion over the last 30 years.
These days I try to share that passion through TV, radio and online, as well as running my own photography business that has an obvious bent towards food.
I guess I have come to learn that what binds these together – the food, the TV, the writing, the imagery – is storytelling. That’s what I am – a storyteller.
It only took me half my life to work it out, but hey, it’s a pretty cool thing to finally know who I really am.
YOU CAN WATCH FAST ED COOK UP A STORM ON CHANNEL 7’S BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS.
Raspberry Coconut Cheesecake Slice
250g Granita biscuits
75g unsalted butter, melted
500g cream cheese*
125g caster sugar
1½ tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 cup coconut cream
1½ cups frozen raspberries
Toasted coconut flakes, fresh raspberries and whipped cream, to serve
* Be sure to use full-cream block cream cheese, not light or spreadable. Only the original cream cheese will set properly.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Mix with the melted butter and 2 egg whites, then press into the bottom of a lined 17cm x 27cm slice pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, place the cream cheese, caster sugar, cornflour, vanilla, lemon zest, remaining eggs and yolks in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Fold in the coconut cream, then pour over the biscuit base. Scatter the raspberries on top.
Reduce heat to 160°C, then bake for 30 minutes, until just set. Refrigerate until firm, then slice and serve with toasted coconut flakes, fresh raspberries and whipped cream.
First published in Ed#613.