White Chocolate and Blueberry Baked Cheesecake

White Chocolate and Blueberry Baked Cheesecake

One simple pleasure in life has to be a giant slice of fresh homemade cheesecake. Whatever the flavour, baked or chilled, it is a scrumptious treat that a lot of us find very difficult to resist. It is different from any other sweet dessert, and what I personally love is how it can be made in so many different ways. If you want something a little lighter and fresh you can make a quick lemon chilled edition, but if you want something rich and indulgent, a chocolate based baked cheesecake is the perfect way forward. Any cheesecake can be enjoyed with tea or coffee, or if you want to push the boat out even more, a glass of wine! This pairing is one of my grandmothers’ favourite! In this recipe I am bringing you one of my favourite baked cheesecakes, flavoured with white chocolate and blueberries, which I add by making a fresh blueberry jam. White chocolate for me is my favourite in a cheesecake, as naturally these cakes are less sweet than a sponge, so they really can take the hit from the white chocolate.

Another great thing about cheesecakes, well baking in general, is that it is very easy to make it the right way for you. I personally love the balance or blueberries and white chocolate; however, you can very easily change up the fruit or chocolate to something you prefer.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 45-60 minutes

Skill: Medium

Ingredients

250g digestive biscuits

75g butter

500g soft cheese

300ml double cream

200g caster sugar & 100g caster sugar

300g white chocolate

3tbsp plain flour

3 eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

200g blueberries

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees, 180 fan.

Start by prepping the base. In a food processor blend the digestives until they have started to crumble. Then add the butter and blend until you have a smooth base. Into a prepared tin, place the base and blend out with your hands until even. Pop this in the fridge for an hour or so (30 minutes minimum).

Whilst the base sets you can prepare the jam and the white chocolate. To make the jam, on a low heat place the blueberries and 100g caster sugar in a medium sized saucepan. Also add a couple of tablespoons of water. Mix this and let it bubble away until a thick sauce has formed. To melt the white chocolate, place it in a heatproof bowl over a little boiling water. Once melted, remove and set aside to cool. By this time the jam should be starting to get to the right texture. It usually only takes about half an hour. Once it is looking a little thicker, set it aside and let that cool too.

Now you can make the mixture. Start by beating the eggs in a small bowl until completely runny. Leave this to the side. In a large mixing bowl gently whisk the cream cheese until it is a little lighter. Then add the sugar and beat until completely together. Then add the double cream and whisk until it is all a little thicker. Don’t whisk it too much though. To finish add the eggs, flour and vanilla extract, as well as the white chocolate. Gently whisk this all together until smooth.

Remove the base from the fridge and cover with ¾ of the blueberry jam. Spread it out evenly ready for the cream cheese filling. Now add the cream cheese and again, spread it out evenly. Place this in the oven for around 45-60 minutes. The top should be brown, with the edges firm and the middle still a little wobbly. Leave the cake on the side at room temperature for around an hour until it sinks. I then leave it in the fridge overnight before eating.

To serve, use the remaining jam and add it to the top of your cheesecake, whether you choose to cut it like I do or leave it as a whole cake. I also add a lovely sprinkling of crushed pistachios.

Keep the cheesecake in the fridge at all times and use within around 5-6 days. It can also be frozen, and even better in the Summer, can be eaten frozen!

 

This recipe is

my own.

Spicy Chilli Chicken

Spicy Chilli Chicken

So, back today with another recipe. Two in one month, wow I am impressing myself! Today I wanted to share a recipe that is very much a throw everything together and hope for the best kind of thing. I started making this a few times when I had chicken left over after a Sunday, and as I live on my own I often have a lot. Chilli con carne has always been one of my favourite dishes and I am always look for new ways that I can change up the original recipe. In terms of meat, I eat mainly chicken and fish, so I couldn’t believe that it has taken me this long to put the two together – chicken, not fish! However, chicken is a much lighter meat than beef or even pork, so I found that I really had to power more flavour into this one pot dish, making it a little spicier and a lot fresher.

This dish is great as not only do you get to use up leftovers, but it is much lighter and I am assuming a lot healthier than a Beef option. I always serve this with rice, nachos and a big dollop of yoghurt, which is an ingredient that I definitely think it needs.

Prep Time – 15 minutes

Cooking Time – 2 to 3 hours

Skill – Easy

Ingredients:

1 Onion, finely chopped

4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped

2 Peppers, sliced

3 Celery Sticks, finely chopped

2 Cans Chopped Tomatoes

3 Fresh Tomatoes, chopped into chunks

1 Fresh Chilli, finely chopped

2 Cans Kidney Beans

1tbsp Worcester Sauce

1tbsp Paprika

1tbsp Ground Chilli

Handful Fresh Coriander, chopped

1tbsp Ground Cumin

Method:

Start by heating a little oil and butter in a large cooking pot. Add the onions and cook until just soft. Then, add the garlic and fresh tomatoes. At this point you can also add a little chopped bacon or chorizo, however this is not essential. Cook until this is all soft. Add the paprika, ground chilli and cumin.

Add the fresh chilli, peppers and celery. Cook until all soft, with a little hot water. Add the Worcester sauce too and mix together. Add the kidney beans, drained, and mix together again. These will need a couple of minutes to soften, so I usually pop the lid on at this moment for a couple of minutes.

Add a nice glug of red wine (optional), a beef stock cube and 2 cans chopped tomatoes. Mix this all together so it forms a thick sauce. Add around 100-200ml hot water so you have a real liquid texture. Let this bubble away on a low to medium heat for about an hour and a half. Once your sauce has formed, then add the chicken and let it warm through in the pot for around ten minutes. 

Serve the Chilli with rice, nachos or both, as well as some fresh squashed avocado infused with lime and a good drop of yoghurt.

*as this is usually made with leftover chicken, if you want it to keep for a few days, use chicken that is only one-day old. If any older, any leftovers need to be frozen and then defrosted on the day you choose to eat.

This recipe is my own.

My Take on Shakshuka

My Take on Shakshuka

So, this popular breakfast has become very well known here in the UK, and I have been loving experimenting with the ingredients to create an easy, delicious weekend treat after a lovely lie in. I have seen so many different variations online, and wanted to take the key components to make something very tailored to me and the people I feed. I have loved this recipe for months now, and it is something I just cannot wait to make/ eat for a lazy Sunday morning. I generally tend to make the beginning part of the pot on a Saturday night to make it a lot easier in the morning, however it is easily done in one go. The flavours are fantastic, and everything just works together so beautifully. It really is a nice treat and something a little different to just quick poached eggs on toast.

This recipe looks like something that you would never attempt if you don’t enjoy or can’t cook – however I promise it is a lot easier than it looks. Take it one step at a time and just wait for the magic to happen.

Serves: 4 or 2 with leftovers

Skill: Medium

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 30-40 minute 

Ingredients

1 Pack Sausages, enough for the people you are serving. These can be pork, Turkey or Chicken. Cut these into chunks.

½ Finely Chopped Onion

3 Cloves Garlic Finely Chopped

4 Fresh Tomatoes cut into chunks

2 Cans Chopped Tomatoes

1tbsp Smoked Paprika

1tbsp Dried Oregano

1/2tsp Crushed Chillies

Eggs, enough for one each.

Sourdough to serve

Method

Start by heating a wide dish on a medium heat with a little olive oil and knob of butter. Once bubbling add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Once soft, add the garlic, paprika and crushed chillies. Cook this until everything is soft and golden. Add the sausages and tomatoes. Keep stirring until completely the sausages are completely browned over. Add the oregano and cook until everything is soft and cooked through. Add the tinned chopped tomatoes and cover for around ten minutes.

Once ten minutes is up, check the pot and see if a thick tomato sauce has formed. If not, cook for a little longer. Once thick, turn the heat to very low and crack the eggs over the top spread apart. At this point I usually put my toast on as it takes around the same time to cook. Cover the pot and let the eggs cook for about 4 minutes.

Butter your sourdough and serve the eggs on top with plenty of sausages and sauce. I also then like to dip leftover bread in the sauce. Yum!

 

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Cookware – Sainsbury’s Home

Pepper Grinder – Le Creuset

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I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own. This recipe is my own, but I am sure it is very similar to others on the internet.

Valentines at The Ivy, Clifton Brasserie

Valentines at The Ivy, Clifton Brasserie

AD – This blog post contains a gifted meal from The Ivy Brasserie.

Last night Finn and I were extremely lucky to visit the Ivy in Clifton, which is very local to us for an early Valentines meal to review the selection on their menu and have a little quality time together. I have been to The Ivy a few times now, and have enjoyed many delicious meals in a beautiful setting. The restaurant oozes sophistication and a relaxed candle lit atmosphere perfect for a Valentines date night, or maybe even Galentines!

This year, The Ivy made sure that they welcomed this annual tradition and added a few things to their menu in order to help those celebrating really get into the tradition of the occasion. A passionfruit Cosmo was added to the cocktail selection, which had me at heart eyes straight away. I am absolutely obsessed with passionfruit, and am not at all partial to a Cosmo, so the two together sounded like absolute heaven. It did not disappoint. The taste of sweet fruit, with the sharpness of Vodka, meant for a balanced and utterly enjoyable aperitif prior to our meal.

To start our meal, I chose the Buffalo Mozzarella salad and Finn had the Duck Liver Parfait. The Mozzarella salad was delicious, paired with crispy artichoke and a truffle honey glaze. It was the perfect mixture of saltiness and sweet, as well as the soft texture of the mozzarella with crispy pears. The Duck Liver Parfait is a dish that both of us have enjoyed recently, and as ever, it was delicious. Smooth and creamy in texture, with a beautiful meaty taste, paired with some soft mouth watering brioche.

The main event – well except not in the case of this meal – I chose a new edition to the menu, Chicken Bourguignon. Having enjoyed many Beef Bourguignon, I had never tried a Chicken alternative, so I was feeling extremely excited to give it a go. Crispy Chicken, with some extraordinary creamy mash, a creamy mushroom and bacon lardon sauce all together with some sprouting broccoli. All I can say is, wow it was exquisite. It is everything I love in a meal and really tasted like a real treat for such a special occasion. Finn went for a Steak, which he said was extremely good with a luscious red wine sauce and some thick hand cut chips.

With our meal, we enjoyed a light and crisp red wine, Pinot Noir from New Zealand. I am the biggest red wine lover, and thoroughly enjoyed this one that our waiter Dominic suggested. It was the perfect balance in texture and taste with our entire meal.

To finish, obviously I had to try the Valentines dessert. To begin with, the dessert was absolutely beautiful. Served on a slate plate with gold detailing, the stand out red sorbet cake was without a doubt the most beautiful dessert I have ever been served, made even more perfect for the event with a white chocolate heart placed on top. The dessert itself consisted of a vanilla cake sponge at the bottom, filled with creamy ice cream and surrounded by a fresh and vibrant raspberry sorbet. I cannot even tell you how delicious it was and only wish I could let you taste it as you read this review. To finish the dessert it was topped with some cream, fresh raspberries and as mentioned the white chocolate heart. For ultimate indulgence, it was also served with a little pot of warm white chocolate sauce, bringing the whole thing together.

IT WAS HEAVEN.

As you can imagine, what with the cocktails, wine and large variety of food being served, I was feeling pretty giddy at the end of the meal and utterly full to the brim. It was all just so delicious and the perfect way to celebrate the most romantic evening of the year… if not one day early!

On Our Menu:

Passionfruit Cosmopolitan

Pinot Noir, New Zealand 

Buffalo Mozzarella & Duck Liver Parfait

Chicken Bourguignon & Sirloin Steak 

Valentines Cake & Chocolate Truffles

This meal was gifted and in collaboration with The Ivy Clifton Brasserie. All views and opinions are entirely my own.

Thank you to The Ivy Clifton for a wonderful evening and thoroughly enjoyable meal.

Gluten Free Christmas Bakes

Gluten Free Christmas Bakes

Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography

So the season of eating is upon us and I have already eaten more Christmas calories than I am proud of. A few weeks ago I started to be a lot more careful with my diet, reducing my gluten and dairy intake because of bad bloating and tummy cramps. Since doing so I am so much better, but it has been a struggle with all the Christmas goods on offer. The three recipes featured in this post are all cakes that I enjoy at this time of year, as well as enjoy making. I decided to try and recreate them all gluten free and am so happy with how they turned out. I mean, the brownies were already gluten free because I used ground almonds….which taste SO much nicer! Anyway, all I had to do was replace the flours for gluten free and voila, the perfect bakes this season.

These recipes are all ideal if you need something fast to put together that look perfect on your Christmas table and taste delicious!

The Best Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients | 125ml coconut oil // 300g dark chocolate // 300g caster sugar // 200g ground almonds // 1tsp GF baking powder // ½ mashed avocado // ½ tsp vanilla extract // 3 eggs // pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (180 fan). Line and grease your chosen tin.

Start by melting together the chocolate and coconut oil on a low heat until completely melted. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the avocado. Add the sugar, almonds, GF baking powder, vanilla and eggs. Mix together thoroughly. Then fold in the chocolate mixture and a pinch of salt.

Pour into your prepared tin and bake in the oven for around 30 minutes. Leave to set.

Spiced Orange Cake

Ingredients |  3 eggs // 200g butter // 175g GF self-raising flour // 1tsp GF baking powder // 2tsp orange extract // zest and juice of one orange // 1tsp ground ginger // 1tsp ground cinnamon // 1tsp all spice // ½ tsp ground nutmeg

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (180 fan). Line and grease your chosen tin.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Then add the eggs and mix together. Using a sieve, add the flour, baking powder and spices. Fold all these ingredients together. Finally, add the remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.

 

Transfer the batter into your tin and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Put a skewer through the cake to check to see if it is cooked. Keep an eye on the cake and cook until the skewer run clears.

I decorated mine with just melted white and dark chocolate, however a cream cheese frosting can work too!

Christmas Gingerbread

Ingredients | 180g GF self-raising flour // 2tbsp ground ginger // 1tbsp ground cinnamon // 2tbsp whole milk // 150g black treacle // 75g soft brown sugar // 75g butter // 1 large egg

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (180 fan). Line and grease your chosen tin.

First of all you need to soften the treacle to make it easier to handle. I followed Delia’s way of doing this by placing the tin in a small saucepan with some barely simmering water. I left it for just a few minutes then took out of the water.

In a large bowl, sift the flour and spices together, followed by the milk. Set aside.

Now, place the treacle, sugar and butter into a saucepan with 75ml water. Heat and gently stir until melted and blended. Don’t let it boil. Add the syrup mixture to the dry ingredients, beating with a wooden spoon. Pour the mixture into your prepared tin.

Bake the gingerbread for about an hour, or until a cake tester runs clear through the sponge. Take out of the oven and let it cool. Cover with icing sugar and serve with mulled wine!

 

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Grey Serving Plate – Biggie Best

 

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These recipes are my own.

Scrumptious Lemon & Courgette Cake

Scrumptious Lemon & Courgette Cake

Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography

Lemon cake has always been one of my favourites and something I will reach for at any tea party or coffee catch up. I think it is just the balance of sweetness whilst also being able to enjoy a sharp and citrus flavour. Paired with poppy seeds it is just pure bliss for me. During a blog shoot with my amazing photographer Hana, we went along to one of her favourite coffee stops in Bristol, where I tried the most delicious lemon and courgette cake. Since I had tried it, I just couldn’t stop thinking about how good it was and had to get my baking hat on to see if I could make something just as good. I have never ever baked before with courgette, but was optimistic as the one I tried was so good and I have heard very good things from people who use it a lot in their bakes. I used the base of a recipe I found online, but to be honest as with anything I cook or bake, I massively ran off course and went with what I thought was best. All in all the recipe has turned out to be very simple and not as time consuming as I had thought. It was light and fruity, whilst being moist in texture and the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon cup of tea.

For me, a lemon cake has to be extremely sweet and lemony. It cannot be dry and must always have a soft texture. These are always things that seem very simple to achieve in a bake, but in theory can be quite hard to get right. For this recipe, your biggest challenge is the courgette as it holds a lot of water. Once grated, ensure that you take as much water out as possible.

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cooking Time: 60 minutes

Skill: Easy 

Ingredients:

200g Courgette // 200g Caster Sugar // 1 Egg // 125ml Vegetable Oil // 200g Plain Flour // 0.5 Teaspoon Salt // 0.5 Teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda // 0.5 Teaspoon Baking Powder // 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon // 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract // 2 Lemons (Zest and Juice)

Icing – to ice I used the shop bought vanilla icing as I hate making butter icing and actually think it works really well with this recipe. However, you could easily make your own or add a lemon glaze.

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (160 fan). Prepare your chosen cake tin with baking paper.

Start by grating the courgette. I just use a normal cheese grater and try to get it as fine as possible. Empty all the grating out onto a clean tea towel and press as much as possible to remove excess water. The tea towel is usually dripping wet by the end.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg until it is a think liquid. Add the vegetable oil and sugar and thoroughly mix together. Then, add the courgette and mix again.

 

Using a sieve, add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Fold all these ingredients together. Then add the lemon zest and juice, as well as the vanilla extract. Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together until you have a smooth cake batter.

Transfer the cake batter into your prepared tin and place in the pre-heated oven. If you are using a loaf tin, the cake may need an extra ten minutes just because it is much deeper. Keep an eye on the cake and add foil to the top if it is starting to catch.

Decorate your cake as you please and ENJOY!

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Jumper – Boohoo

Cake Stand – Waitrose

 

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This recipe has been created using the AllRecipes Website, however slightly adapted.