Meaning: Take advantage of an opportunity when favorable circumstances arise, before they quickly change.
Origins: References an agricultural past when farmers had to take advantage of a limited period of good weather to harvest and dry hay for the winter. The earliest record of this proverb appears in John Heywood's 'A dialogue conteinying the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue' (1546): "When the sunne shineth, make hay".
I've spent a good deal of time kvetching about how hard this food-blogging business can be, with its inspiration-free periods, bouts of writer's block and occasional cooking failures. With such a gloomy outlook, it's a wonder I'm still in the game! But even the stormiest clouds eventually part, giving way to sunny days and a brighter perspective - like this week, when clearing skies revealed the perfect conditions for two post topics. Thanks to a pair of lovely blogger friends and the opportunity to join their food and drink challenges, my blog's forecast in the coming days is sweet and refreshing.
A fine day for some Donna Hay-making!
The first ray of sunshine came courtesy of Mardi of Eat.Live.Travel.Write, who is hosting this month's Hay Hay It's Donna Day, a marvelous food blogging event moderated by Denise and Lenny of ChezUs, in which participants make a designated Donna Hay recipe. For those unfamiliar with the personage (as I was), Ms. Hay is one of Australia's most celebrated cookbook authors and editor of her own top-selling, eponymously-titled magazine; she also writes a popular weekly newspaper column, has appeared on television and oversees her own line of house- and kitchenwares. Though she may remind you of a certain Stateside multimedia maven with similar credentials, all it takes is a quick peek at what Donna is serving to see why she is an equally bestselling and beloved international food star.
Now, as the winner of April's HHDD challenge, Mardi had the honor of choosing a dish for the May Hay-Making Day and, bless her heart, she chose a dessert: Blackberry Cheesecake Pots. Needing just five ingredients and a few minutes of preparation, this chilled creamy concoction is the definition of simplicity. But of course, you're in the Noodle house now, where simple is as Tangled does . . .
Black [Rasp]berry Cheesecake Pots
(from a recipe by Donna Hay, with a few tweaks)
In my last post, I mentioned informational cascades, by which people look for guidance for their own actions in the experiences of their peers and role models. The cascade was in full effect when I saw Mardi's announcement of the May HHDD event and this recipe. She had prepared the dessert exactly as given in the original, but noted that the pots took a while to set firmly and suggested using a heavier cream as a remedy. Her experience was a boon to me as I implemented her tip, which did indeed result in a velvety, rich consistency after only a few hours in the 'fridge.
Finally, I meant to purchase the requisite blackberries at the grocery but was waylaid at the neighborhood farmers' market by an irresistible jar of homemade Black Raspberry Jam. Resistance was futile . . .
250g cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (55g) caster or superfine sugar
2 Tbsps heavy whipping cream + 1/2 cup whipped cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsps black raspberry jam (or any favorite fruit jam)
1. In a food processor, blend cream cheese, sugar, 2 Tbsps heavy cream and vanilla extract until it achieves a smooth, creamy consistency;
2. Transfer cream cheese mixture to a bowl, then gently fold in whipped cream until incorporated;
3. Take 1/3 of the cheesecake blend and add the jam - stir to mix well;
4. Spoon or pipe cheesecake in layers, alternating between the plain and jammy mixtures, into small 1/2-cup dishes. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
5. Serve with fresh berries, jam on the side or biscotti. Enjoy!
Thank you, Mardi, Denise and Lenny, for putting together such an enjoyable and delicious event!
Now that you've seen the 'sweet' part of this week's blog forecast, please be sure to return in a few days when I offer up the 'refreshing' portion, thanks to The Diva on a Diet at Beach Eats and her Thirsty Thursday Challenge.