Monday, December 19, 2011


2011 is sliding off the edge of the globe! I don’t like willing time away, but I’m happy to see the rear end of this year as it nears the horizon. Actually, I feel like giving it a boot in the butt to boost it on its way!

In 1992 Queen Elizabeth surprised everyone when she restored life to the Latin phrase “annus horribilis”. Liz had us diving for our dictionaries. Google had not yet arrived on our desktops. Kofi Annan, the then UN Secretary-General, resurrected the phrase in 2004; not one to miss the boat, Juan Carlos of Spain threw a spanner into the works by dragging it to the surface again in 2007.

Now it’s my turn!

It’s all Greek, Double Dutch and Latin to me - so in plain old, sometimes uncomplicated English, this year has been, minus embellishment or exaggeration, a horrible year; one filled with never-ending tragedies; devastating disasters and anxieties; one awash with tears. 2011 has been a year scarred by natural and unnatural disasters; blotted by man’s unconscionable inhumanity to man; pointless violence; senseless cruelty to animals; hate and prejudice.

I have one all-encompassing Christmas wish - for everyone to have a safe, happy, peaceful, stress and strife-free time; whether you’re with family, friends or alone.

Please ensure whatever you’re doing isn’t detrimental to the safety of yourself or others. Borrow the Hippie-Flower Child ideals - they won’t mind; they probably won't even know - spread love, goodwill, peace and happiness. Don’t cease when the Christmas season ends; continue through 2012 and forever thereafter. Everyone, including you, will reap the benefits!

After all the devastating, terrifying, horrific, heartbreaking events of 2011; the unending sadness, loss and despair suffered by far too many in our own country and elsewhere in the world, smooth waters upon which to sail are due; tranquil, serene conditions through which to glide are in arrears. Grief became an uninvited, unwelcome visitor far too often in 2011.

Enough already!

Once again I’ll be joining the Griswold family for their “Christmas Vacation”. Not a Christmas goes by without my doing so. What’s Christmas without Chevy Chase aka Clark Griswold and his crazy, dysfunctional family? They make me feel at home. I’ll enjoy their company as I always do!

And, as always, I refuse to be politically-correct! MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! Happy New Year, as well!

May 2012 overflow with kindness and love. Stay safe; chill out; stay cool; be grateful for all that is good in your life!

Cheesy-Christmas Chick: Combine 150g garlic and herb creamy cheese, 1 crushed garlic clove, 25g chopped, unsalted pistachios, 1tsp chopped sage, grated rind and juice of ½ lemon, salt and cracked pepper. Carefully ease your fingers, then hand under skin of large chicken at neck end, freeing it from breast meat; smear mixture under skin; tuck in skin flap. Arrange 8 bacon rashers over breast; drizzle with olive oil; season. Place in roasting tin on top of some fresh rosemary springs; cover with foil. Calculate cooking time 16mins per 450g; remove foil last 45mins. When cooked, transfer to warm platter; cover; rest 20mins. Skim fat from pan; place on low heat; blend 4tbs dry sherry with 400ml chicken stock; bring to boil; season.

Christmas Left-Overs’ Macaroni & Cheese: To 1/4c butter; add ½ onion, chopped, minced sage leaves, 2 minced garlic cloves; sauté 5mins; add 1/4c flour; stir; cook 5mins; add 1.4lts milk; whisk until it boils and thickens. Whisk in 1c mascarpone, 1c grated cheddar and 1c grated gruyere. When melted and sauce smooth, fold in 450g shredded left-over turkey meat, 3c diced, cooked kumara, 1c cooked peas and 450g cooked macaroni; season; transfer to oven dish; sprinkle 2c grated cheddar on top; bake at 176C, 20-25mins; place 1tbs cranberry sauce in centre; serve.

Cream Cheese Christmas Biscuits: Cream 1c butter and 240g cream cheese; add 1c white sugar and 1/2tsp vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. Combine 2-1/2c plain flour and 1/2tsp salt; gradually add to creamed mix, beating until well-blended; add 1/2c chopped pecans; cover; chill 15mins. On 4 sheets foil, shape dough into 4x6-inch rolls, 1-1/2-inches in diameter; tightly wrap each in foil; chill over night. Line baking trays with foil; remove rolls from fridge one at a time; coat each roll with red or green sugar crystals (food colouring added to sugar); cut dough into ¼-inch slices; place on trays; top each biscuit with pecan half; bake 15-18mins in preheated 165C oven.


Monday, December 12, 2011


The title is uttered in my impeccable “Travis Bickle” aka Robert De Niro voice!

I'm sure you, like me, have had those moments - you know the ones - trying to hold your tongue when listening to another person drone on and on endlessly. We’ve all been caught in that situation at one time or the other; and no doubt will continue being trapped in the future.

It made me stop and think for a bit! Uh-oh! I’m an offender! I’ve committed this sin, too. I plead guilty! Shame on me! I doubt one amongst us can claim innocence; no matter how much one protests! If they do, it harks of: “the lady protests too much, methinks” - (it applies to the “man” as well – let’s not be sexist here)!

Staying on this train of thought, there have been times when chatting with someone or another it’s become very obvious I’ve lost his/her attention and interest. The clue - his/her eyes glaze over! Have you ever noticed this intriguing phenomenon? Perhaps your eyes are already starting to glaze over as you read this! Have I lost you already?

It’s off-putting when glazing happens during discourse. It doesn’t always happen, but it does occur; and when it does, I find it very disconcerting! The odd thing is it normally happens when the other person is the one who instigated the conversation!

Lured into a feeling of wellbeing, I’m invited in; the impression having been given that he/she wants my participation; their body language urging me to contribute my tuppence or thruppence, or perhaps a shillings’ worth. Soon after I’ve begun expending that worth (it’s akin to putting coins into a sideshow alley slot machine - it snaffles them up and giving little or nothing in return) I notice my co-conversationalist has lost interest. I’ve become invisible. He or she has drifted off into his/her own world, or reverted to doing whatever he/she was doing before instigating the conversation! What a quandary! I’m then left feeling uneasy; feeling like an intruder or an idiot; or worse, both!

Consumed by embarrassment, my voice dwindles to a whisper (or croak). Shuffling my feet in an almost indiscernible reverse motion, eventually I manage to blend back into the landscape once again! I don’t want to appear rude when trying to make my escape, even though the other person has already displayed his/her ignorance by glazing!

Glazing has been around a long time; long before planking became the craze of the day; and it’ll be around long after planking has been plonked!

So there I find myself; caught like a deer in the headlights, trying to escape a situation I didn’t want to be in, in the first place! An uncomfortable position made evident by the “glazing-over” of others!

It’s there, all right! I’ve seen it! I don’t need the assistance of a CSI team! There is no need to waste forensic experts’ time! Of course, I could stroke the “glazer’s” ego. He or she would soon bounce back to life; but I can’t be bothered! By that stage, I’ve lost interest!

Spicy Orange Glaze for Chicken/Duck: Put in saucepan, 3 crushed garlic cloves, 1tbs finely-grated ginger, 1/4tsp cayenne, 2tbs chilli paste, 1c marmalade, 1/3c rice vinegar, 1/4c hoisin sauce and 1tbs soy sauce; bring to boil over med-heat; cook, stirring, 3mins; cool. Marinate whole or butterflied chicken or chicken pieces a couple of hours; drain; roast or grill on barbecue.

Pork Roast with Spicy Maple Glaze: Preheat oven, 175C. Oil-spray bottom of shallow roasting pan. In bowl, combine 1c Maple syrup, 4tbs Dijon mustard, 2-1/2tbs each cider vinegar and light soy sauce, salt and pepper. Place pork roast in roasting pan; evenly spread with glaze; bake according to pork size; rest 10mins before serving.

Salmon Glaze: Combine 3tbs honey, 1tbs soy sauce and 1tbs sesame oil; spread over 2 salmon fillets; cook in 204C oven, 10mins.

Balsamic-Glazed Salmon: Combine; 3tbs balsamic, 1/4c vegetable oil, 2tbs brown sugar, 1tbs honey and 2-1/2tb soy in glass dish; add fresh salmon fillets, skin-on; marinate 1-3hrs; no longer. Grill salmon, skin-side down, covered, on oiled, preheated med-low grill, 7-9mins; cooking time varies with thickness of salmon and heat of grill.

Apricot-Glazed Ham: Combine 2c diced, dried apricots, zest of 1 orange, 2c sugar, 1/2c orange juice, 1-1/2c water and 2tbs honey; boil; lower heat; simmer 5mins. Add 12tsp each vanilla bean paste and cardamom, 14tsps each allspice and coriander and 1tsp minced fresh sage. Glaze ham with half mix; bake at 175C, about 45mins. Meanwhile, in saucepan, add 2c dried cranberries to remaining apricot mix; add 1c red wine. Simmer until thick. Serve this “chutney” with the ham.

Thursday, December 08, 2011


Nowadays I’m a tortoise or perhaps a snail, even, when it comes to embracing the Christmas spirit! In retrospect, I think the decline in my not becoming overly excited set seed after Christmas 1990.

I was living on Newry Island at the time; alone with my two cats, and various other creatures of nature. For examples, koalas, echidnas, white-tailed bush rats amongst others; plus turtles, dolphins, coral rays and fish of many varieties. Visiting boats, trawlers, yachts and guests naturally were also part of my scenery and life. However, I savoured and loved the times I had the island to myself and my two furry, house-trained mates. I was very protected of my "alone" time...and I guess that hasn't changed over the years.

Newry Island is off the coast from Seaforth. Seaforth is approx 37kms north of Mackay. I managed all and sundry that was necessary in the running of the island's accommodation, bar, dining, boat transfers, generators, etc., etc., et al...and then some!

Life was going along smoothly leading up to Christmas/New Year, except that the island dam level was pretty low. No rain had visited my island paradise for quite some time and rain was needed. Be careful of what you wish for....

My island cabins were all booked out by families eager to enjoy the Christmas/New Year break. Two boatloads of day-visitors had booked wishing to partake in the island’s Christmas celebrations on the special day. It would necessitate my making two boat runs to the mainland early Christmas morning, and two return trips in the afternoon, but that was fine with me. My 21-foot Trojan de Havilland with its 175hp Johnson outboard motor was fueled and ready to do the deeds.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I'd planned my menu and festivities to the "nth" degree. I was readying everything for my guests to ensure a good time was had by all. No stone, including those of plums, peaches, cherries and apricots was left unturned! My pantry was stocked to the point of its groaning from major overload! Decorating the bar and dining area heightened my anticipation. I was like a child awaiting Santa.

High, sombre clouds obscured the sun at the dawning of Christmas Day. The swarthy heavens reflected lethargically upon an unruffled ocean. At that early stage in the morning the ocean was like a mirror. By 8 am I’d already made two trips to the mainland to collect my exuberant day-visitors. The bleak, yet windless morning wasn’t going to destroy our joyous mood! As soon as I'd deposited the day-trippers ashore, I disappeared back into the kitchen to do my final preparation for the planned buffet Christmas lunch. All was well in my island world!

Grudgingly, I thank Robbie Burns for the quote – “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley" - translation: The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry! Well, Bob, they go awry for women, too!

Just before noon I discovered an uninvited, unwelcome visitor had raced swiftly towards my island home; keen to cause havoc amongst my merry revellers. All hell was breaking loose outside caused by its abrupt,angry arrival. It was obvious it wanted to vent its spleen. Why this was so, I had no idea! I was perplexed because I'd done nothing to raise its hackles as far as I knew!

Throughout the preceding 10 days, Cyclone Joy had teased the Cairns area, which was way north of Newry Island' around 570kms. Tiring of the Far North, Cyclone Joy did a rapid turnaround! Getting herself into a spin, she gathered speed and headed south to where I was innocently minding my own business.

Obviously she’d gotten wind of the feast I’d prepared, and of the fun my guests and I were having! There is an unintended pun there...

Over-confident, with blustering bad manners and garrulous gusto, Joy landed on my doorstep without an invitation. She turned the outside world into turmoil! Low, metallic-hued, threatening clouds hung heavily in the sky. The ocean had transformed into an angry, swirling, unforgiving monster. Without further ado, the clouds began depositing their load - relentlessly. Torrential rain pounded the island with no signs of ceasing

Inside the bar and dining area I had 30 stranded guests, but food in abundance - fortunately! "Fortunately" because "stranded" became the operative word. No one was going anywhere! I made it very clear that I would not be taking my island boat anywhere until after the mayhem had diminished...completely!

I gathered everyone together and calmly informed them of the situation and for them to prepare themselves for a hectic few days. I laid down rules to ensure that everyone remained safe, and told them to gather just what was necessary from their respective cabins because until the big "blow" was over, everyone was to stick together in the main building that housed the bar, restaurant, kitchen etc. I didn't want anyone wandering about outside alone. The threat of injury etc. was far too high. The cyclone raged outside; inside my guests mingled together, playing cards, darts, reading; they kept themselves entertained and I was left free to keep a keen eye on everything else and the exterior perimeters; making sure that everything was battened down so not to become dangerous missiles. I'd not had time to safely anchor my boat away from the raging seas. All I could do was hope and pray that it remained safe on its mooring. Breathlessly, with fingers crossed, I watched it buck like a wild, unbroken horse, straining at its mooring ropes, but I was helpless to do anything, but hope!

I didn't sleep for three nights. The whole time Cyclone Joy pounded the island I was clad in my bathing suit. It was the most sensible attire because I was in and out of the rain all the time - continually soaked! The pumps feeding water to the cabins and main building weren't doing their job, so I handed my guests cakes of soap; and, much to their delight, they showered under the drainpipes at the outside corner of the building...clad in their bathers, of course!

Also, I had to conserve my diesel usage for the generator because I had no idea when all the madness would be over, or when I'd be able to organise for fuel to be ferried across to my holding tank! I ran the generator for a couple of hours a day only; just long enough to make sure the status quo of the fridges and freezers remained. Candles and flashlights were used at night. My stranded guests understood the seriousness of the situation; and all, but one, settled in and made the most of the predicament; a predicament over which I, or they had no control.

There's always one amongst a crowd who doesn't want to conform, but that's another story; one I will relate another day!

Three days after Christmas I transferred my first boatload of relieved, bedraggled guests to the mainland. Around the same time, a tornado hit Mackay, whipping up the ocean again just as I was about a quarter of the way back to the mainland! Pursuant to the abrupt change in weather conditions, upon depositing my first boatload of folk, I became marooned in Seaforth. I had no other choice!

I was unable to return for my remaining guests until the next day. Eventually, and NOT without drama, I managed to get everyone safely ashore!

Torrential rain continued through to late January. Until the weather abated, there was little I could do other than snuggle up with my two furry rascals and my books! Mould grew on everything, including on me!

This, of course, is the abridged version! One day I will write a book about the experience - I have enough data to fill a novel!

Christmas Aspic: Sprinkle 1-3/4 envelopes gelatine over 1-1/4c tomato juice; on low heat stir until gelatine dissolves; chill until consistency of egg whites; add 1/4c seeded, chopped tomato, 3tbls each finely-chopped seeded cucumber, finely-chopped celery, finely-chopped capsicum, 1/2c chopped cooked prawns; gently combine. Spoon into mould (pre-coat with cooking spray); cover; chill until firm; unmould onto lettuce; top with Avocado Dressing: Process until smooth; ½ avocado, 2tbls sour cream, 2tbls yoghurt, 2tsps lime juice, and 1 small garlic clove; season.

Beetroot-Feta Mould: Place 2 trimmed bunches beetroot in saucepan with 1-litre each dry white wine and water, 65g sugar, cloves, mace, juniper berries and salt; bring to boil slowly; cover, simmer 1hr. Cool beets in liquid; strain; reserve 1-litre liquid. Peel beets and cube; process until smooth half the cubes with 500ml reserved liquid. Soak 30ml gelatine in 170ml reserved liquid until soft; dissolve over boiling water. Combine puréed beetroot with remaining reserved liquid and gelatine. Pour half into a wet loaf tin; set aside until almost set; add 125g cubed feta and cubed beetroot; pour remaining mixture over this; chill 8hrs; serve with vinaigrette.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Mould: Add 3 gelatine envelopes to 1c cold water; dissolve. Boil 2c water, zest of 1 orange and 3/4c sugar; add 1/4c lemon juice and 455g ½-inch rhubarb pieces; simmer 4mins; remove from heat; add gelatine; stir gently; pour into mould/s; add 3c sliced strawberries; cover; chill; unmould

Monday, December 05, 2011


Life is awash with contradictions! Constantly we’re force-fed contradictions.

On the one hand we’re told not to laugh at our own jokes; and on the other, we’re told to laugh at ourselves! We’re advised to keep a stiff upper lip; then we’re told to release our emotions!

It’s written: “the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing”; but then our lives are spent studying, learning, observing, researching and absorbing in an effort to gain wisdom in all things! If, at the end of a life spent expending such effort nothing is achieved, why bother?

Napoleon Bonaparte advised: “The best way to keep your word is not give it”! Was he trying to confuse his enemies - as well as the men of his own forces?

Mark Twain told us to never put off until tomorrow what we can do the day after tomorrow! That would make the day after tomorrow very busy!

Who was the confused idiot who came up with this thought: “Sometimes you have to let go of the one you love to find out if there is really something there”?

It’s understandable why Confucius was named “Confucius”. He composed confused sayings! For example; “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart”. One thing of which I’m certain; my whole heart always goes with me wherever I venture! I never leave any part of it behind! Where would I leave said piece – in the fridge; under my pillow; on the table?

Here’s another one of Confucius’ ditties (or maybe in a world of confusion he has to tote the burden for its creation): “Man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth, must wait very, very long time”! Should that be “velly, velly wong time?

Confuse-Us also said: “A cannibal is person who likes to see other people stewed”!

Some academics have far too much time on their hands! The other day I read this report: “After much research academics found that switching to organic produce could help us live longer as well as keeping us healthier and slimmer – fruit and vegetables grown without artificial fertilizers etc., can extend one’s lifespan - by 25 days for men and 17 days for women!” My! Oh! My! That’s worth consideration!

When shopping at my local supermarket, it’s my wont to start at the greengrocery section. I’m never confused, nor am I deceived when I step into the store because, at volume, I’m greeted with: “How are you today you old bag?” I reply to that amicable, hearty salutation with; "I'm great, thanks! How're you, you old tart?" There's no confusion!

Voltaire wasn’t confused 300 or so years ago when he vehemently declared: “I hate women because they always know where everything is!”

How right he was! You’ll get no contradiction from me!

Confused Mashed “Spuds”: Cut 1 cauliflower into pieces; cook to well done; drain well; quickly pat dry; puree hot cauliflower with 1tbl softened cream cheese, 1/4c grated Parmesan, ½tsp minced garlic, pinch of salt or powdered chicken stock and pepper until almost smooth; garnish with chopped chives and butter pats.

Mediterranean Lamb Stew: Chop 500g lamb, 1 onion, 1 large red capsicum and 2 small hot chillies (or crushed chillies to taste). Heat 3tbl x-virgin olive oil in casserole; add lamb; seal; remove to bowl to keep the juices. Add more oil; fry onion 2-3mins; add capsicum and chilli; cook 4mins; season. Return lamb and juices; add 2 bay leaves and a splash of Worcestershire; add 1/3-1/2 bottle dry white wine; keep heat high; reduce wine; add 1 can chopped tomatoes; cook 6mins; reduce heat; cover, simmer 1hr. Add 1 can drained chickpeas; cook 30-45mins. Sprinkle chopped mint and crumbled feta cheese over top just before serving.

Beef Stew & Dumplings: Pat 1kg beef, cut into 1-inch pieces, dry; heat pan; add oil; brown beef in batches; set aside in bowl. Fry 3 large sliced onions and 150g sliced bacon; cook 6mins. Add 3tbls flour; cook 3mins, scraping bottom of pan; add 2c beef stock, 345ml beer, bay leaves, 1tbl brown sugar, 1 can crushed tomatoes,1/4c tomato paste, 300g button mushrooms and 1tbl Worcestershire; bring to boil; cover; cook on low heat, 1-1/2hrs. Dumplings: Combine 50g melted butter, 1 egg and 50g grated cheese; add to 100g S.R. flour, 1tsp baking powder; add a little water if needed; add some chopped parsley, or other herbs of choice, if desired; roll into 8 balls; place on top of stew 15mins before end of cooking; cover; cook 15mins or so!

Saturday, December 03, 2011


I've just realised I've not written a word in here since August! I'll have to do some "pre-empting" of my own towards myself with harsh reprimands for my slackness! I do apologise...but I'm probably apologising to an invisible, absent audience because I guess I've lost all my readers! I've just rapped myself across the knuckles in punishment! And I leave you with this promise...I will attend to my blogging more frequently in the future! I've missed it, and I've missed you!

My mind often works in mysteriously weird ways! By “often” I mean it probably goes into odd mode every second second. A thought is triggered without warning or choice; usually by something obscure, inconspicuous (it doesn’t discriminate). Something grabs my attention and sets my faculties, senses, consciousness, brain, noddle, grey matter (I’ve lots of that stuff now that my hair has changed colour to match my “organ of thought”) into overdrive. My brain snaffles the fodder tossed its way. Without a backward glance, it scampers off into sometimes previously unexplored territory. Mindful that not always will a sensible outcome ensue, the potential is ever present. With that probability in mind, curiosity becomes a powerful motivator.

The word “pre-empt” instigated this current train of activity. Out of the blue, arriving without an invitation, let alone a knock on the door, the word appropriated my thoughts. I consulted my trusty, ever-present Oxford Dictionary. My Oxford wordsmith has been a trustworthy, ever-present presence in my life since my high school shenanigans. These days it’s well-worn, battered, bruised and slightly torn, showing as much wear and tear as its owner. The description of my love for it maybe concise, but my adoration has never waned. It shares desk space with my equally-loved and utilised Roget’s Thesaurus. “Thessie” (please excuse my lisp) is of similar age and appearance. Actually, “Thessie” is slightly more tattered and torn, but she still does her job admirably.

After my lengthy patter, the point I’m trying to make is how can one “pre-empt” something or someone (although many do try and frequently succeed, which is unfortunate and very annoying) when there is no such word as “empt”?

Stop! Hold the horses; shut the gates; lock the doors – don’t even dare attempt to pre-empt what I’m going to say next! “Emption” is a word, but - horror upon horror - it doesn’t appear in the Oxford Dictionary; not in my edition, anyway! It is in the Thesaurus, however.

“Emption” means – purchase; buying; purchasing; shopping; procuring; investing etc., etc., et al. All of which appear to have little to do with “pre-empt”. It does proves, though, that my Oxford Dictionary and my Roget’s Thesaurus are akin to that old song written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, made popular by Frank Sinatra; “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage – you can’t have one without the other”.

If I’m being pre-emptive, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it! Maybe I’m being presumptuous! It’s possible to have one without the other – love and marriage that is; not my dictionary and “Thessie”!

I’m being cheesy…I know!

Tim Tam Cheesecake: Process 250g Tim Tams to fine crumbs; add 80g melted butter; blend to combine; press into spring-form pan; chill 30mins. Dissolve 3tsp gelatine in 1/4c boiling water; cool. Beat 375g cream cheese, 1/2c caster sugar and 1tsp vanilla until smooth; beat in 1c thickened cream. Stir gelatine and 200g grated white chocolate into cream cheese. Chop 100g Tim Tams; stir into mixture; pour over base; cover; chill to set.

Ricotta Cheesecake: Preheat oven 190C; place rack in centre. Spray 9-inch spring-form pan; sprinkle with flour to lightly coat sides and base. On med-speed, combine 454g ricotta, 1tsp salt, 3tbs sugar, 1tbs plain flour and 3 room-temp egg yolks for 2mins; don’t over-beat. In another bowl, at high speed whisk egg whites, approx 1-1/2mins until stiff peaks form; using spatula, gently fold through cheese mixture until blended; pour into pan; give a good tap on bench to level. Place in centre of oven rack; bake 35-40mins or until just set and doesn’t jiggle; midway into baking, turn pan to browns evenly; remove from oven; cool completely before refrigerating. Top with fresh fruit of choice.

Ginger Cheesecake: Process 250g gingernuts until fine; add 75g melted butter; mix well; press into 20x30cm slice pan; chill. Beat 500g cream cheese, 1/2c honey and 2tbs caster sugar until fluffy; beat in juice and zest of small lemon; add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating between additions; fold in 1/4c finely-chopped crystallized ginger; fold in 125ml whipped cream. Spread over base; bake in preheated 170C oven, 25mins or until just set; turn off oven; leave cheesecake in oven with door ajar; cool; chill at least 4 hours. Decorate with chopped crystallized ginger and whipped cream if the mood suits!