Raspberry Ripple Cheesecake Squares

I found the recipe for these scrummy creations today in my local supermarket so I just had to share it with you!

Raspberry Ripple Cheesecake Squares

237 kcals, 19g fat (11g saturated fat), 5g protein, 0g fibre, 19g carbs, 15g total sugars, 0.3g salt

Timings: 55minutes plus cooling and chilling

Ingredients

Raspberry Cheesecake

  • 100g shelled pistachio nuts
  • 75g butter
  • 200g ginger nut biscuits

For the topping

  • 600g cream cheese
  • 450g Greek yogurt
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornflour

For the ripple

  • 150g raspberries
  • 1 tbsp. icing sugar

Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas mark 3.
  2. Scatter the nuts over a baking tray and toast them in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes, then leave to cool.
  3. Melt the butter gently in a pan. Put the toasted nuts into a processer with the biscuits and whiz them together to create crumbs. Add the now melted butter to these and whiz again to combine. Tip this mix into a 24cm x 34cm, 4cm deep tin and spread the mixture around the bottom evenly.
  4. Mix all the topping ingredients together in a mixing bowl and the spoon it over the crumb mix in the tin, smoothing over the top.
  5. To create the ripple, whiz the raspberries and icing sugar together in a mixer, then strain the mixture through a sieve. Pour this purée over the top of the cheesecake, using a skewer to make a swirly pattern over the top.
  6. Bake this in the oven for 45 minutes, then leave it to cool before placing it in the fridge to chill. Once chilled you’ll be able to cut it into squares (Though if you want to leave it whole as an impressive table centrepiece you can!)

You can make this cheesecake in advance and keep it in the fridge over night ready for the next day. It will keep in the fridge for a few days though I recommend you eat it soon – it’ll taste better! You can even save a few raspberries to serve on top of the cheesecake for a little decoration 🙂 But it’s just as good on its on – I mean who doesn’t love cheesecake!?!

Have a go and let me know how you get on! Enjoy ♥

 

Afternoon Tea: How To Make Strawberry Jam

As a true English girl I absolutely love afternoon tea (though I’m more of a coffee girl over tea). Nothing beats having some amazing cakes, or the little triangle sandwiches you get in tea rooms on a fancy china cake stand! But best of all? Scones, jam and cream!!! Now don’t get me wrong I love a good scone but I only ever have them as a treat once every so often – we had an American exchange student once who generally thought English people have afternoon tea everyday which I can assure people everywhere we definitely do not (well the normal ones don’t…), I’m pretty sure I’d be morbidly obese or hospitalised if I indulged everyday! But saying that I really do love afternoon tea and there’s nothing better than doing it yourself, so let’s start with the basics – JAM! Here’s my Mum’s famous recipe…

Strawberry Jam

This recipe makes about 1 1/2kg or 3 1/4lb and makes between 4 to 6 jars (depending on their size)

Jam 10

Equipment

  • Heavy based 4.5lt (8pt) saucepan
  • 4-6 sterilised jars (see Step 9)

Ingredients

  • 800g (1 3/4lb) fresh strawberries (NB: you can use frozen  fruit but defrost it first)
  • 1kg Jam sugar
  • a knob of unsalted butter

Recipe

  1. Take your strawberries and cut them into quite small pieces, removing the stalks, then put them all in the saucepan.
  2. Put on a low heat so the fruit starts to become more of a mushy purée, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add all of the jam sugar and continue to simmer on a low heat, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved (use the back of the spoon to see if there are any sugar granules left and scrap it around the bottom of the pan to see if you can feel any).
  4. Once completely dissolved add a knob of butter.
  5. Bring the heat up slowly until it starts a rolling boil – it’ll start to bubble vigorously, rising up the pan and can’t be stirred down again.
  6. Boil the mixture like this for 4 minutes.
  7. After 4mins a layer of white-coloured scum will form on top, remove using a spoon and throw away.
  8. Once done remove it from the heat and leave it to cool.
  9. Meanwhile sterilise the jars. Place them on a baking sheet on a tray in the oven  preheated to 170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3 and leave for 10 minutes.
  10. Once the jars and the jam have cooled pour the jam into the jars (if you have a jar funnel use it!) and place waxed jam discs on the top before sealing with the lids. IMPORTANT: make sure the jam and the jars are the same temperature when you put the jam in, if one is too hot and the other cold the glass jars will crack!
  11. Leave the jam to solidify before using – if it’s still runny after a few hours repeat Steps 4 – 7 again.

This recipe can be used for strawberry, raspberry, tayberry or loganberry jam and will keep in a cool place for several months if left unopened with a wax seal. All you need now is the scones and cream! Or better yet spread it in a cake or just on some toast 😉

Give it try and let me know how you get on!

Quick Sausage Cassoulet

So you’re off to uni, but there’s just one problem…You have no idea how to cook or what too cook on a budget! I thought for my first recipe I’d start with a classic student combination – sausages, beans and stuffing!

Quick Sausage Cassoulet

How long does it take?: 30mins     Serves: 4 people     How much does it cost?: ~ £1.34 per person

452kcals, 14.3g fat, 4.4g saturates, 13.7g sugars, 3.21g salt

Quick Sausage Cassoulet 7Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. sunflower oil
  • 454g reduced fat pork sausages
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 390g carton chopped tomatoes (preferably with basil, chilli and oregano)
  • 150ml chicken stock (made with 1/2 a chicken stock cube and 150ml boiling water)
  • 410g tin butter beans in water, drained and rinsed
  • 410g tin cannellini beans in water, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 x 130g pack roasted garlic and herb stuffing mix
  • 1/3 x 28g pack fresh flat-leaf parsley, washed and roughly chopped

Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas mark 6. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and fry the sausages for 5 minutes until they turn a golden brown then add all the diced vegetables and the smoked paprika – fry for another 2 minutes.
  2. Pour the chopped tomatoes, chicken stock and all the beans in and simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the stuffing mix, half the parsley and 150ml of water , then set aside.
  3. Stir the remaining parsley into the sausage mix and season with ground black pepper. Pour this into a large, shallow baking dish (such as a pyrex dish) and spread the stuffing over the top.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes or until the stuffing is crispy on top then serve. You can serve this with salad, vegetables or even with some crusty bread.

This is actually really easy to make and who doesn’t like sausages and stuffing!!! Have a go and let me know how you get on!

Confessions of the Hosipital Work Experience

For any of those still in the academic system and are desperately attempting to get into to uni or acquire a job you’ll be well acquainted with CV building and the joys of work experience. For the lucky few you’ll land some brilliant experience where you’re welcomed in as part of the team and get to do some really amazing stuff. For the less fortunate you end up the office slave for the week and gain intimate knowledge of stuffing and sealing envelopes. Having taken part in a lot of work experience through the years, I’ve done both kinds of placements – some where infinitely better than others.

I worked in a elderly care home for while, pushing the tea trolley around the rooms. Pros? Some residents are very sweet, telling you stories of the ‘good old days’ and give you sweeties. Cons? You have no clue where said sweets come from and therefore can’t eat them and some of the residents are, well, sort of creepy – the ladies get confused either thinking you’re their daughter or ‘some lady of the night here to steal her husband with her whoring ways’ and the gents ask you to sit on their knee or call you an English rose (normally I’d think this sweet but when a 93 year old man leers it at you whilst staring at your arse, its sweetness is somewhat diminished…)

I also worked in a children’s charity admin office once – I loved the kids and their families, even my boss but after folding and stuffing paperwork into over 300 envelopes only to be told they’d given me the wrong pamphlet and I had to re-stuff them all, the week did drag on a bit.

But in more recent years I’ve done more medically related work experience as I’m hoping to gain work in the healthcare sector. Now anyone in the field will know that there are some, *cough cough wink wink*, rather amusing stories gained from working in a hospital. From working in Radiology and having to X-ray someone who “accidently fell on a toilet brush which then got stuck up their bum”… to debating with the staff about the relationship status of a 90-year old man and his 30-something female friend after listening to them talking about her getting him naked…..

You do meet some very, interesting, people in a hospital though – some of the staff are absolutely lovely but you do meet the odd person who thinks and acts as if they’re much better than you, but then you get that in any work setting. There are a couple of things you have to get comfortable with in order to survive though –

  1. Nakedness – when you’re dealing with health and fixing peoples’ bodies you’re going to see a lot of naked people. Everyone reacts differently in these situations – some laugh out of awkwardness, some get ridiculously uncomfortable, some rather like it (ewww) and others (such as myself) don’t really mind the nakedness but panic about what their face looks like and whether people think they’re uncomfortable. To deal with this you need to work on your poker face and act professional – if you give off the air of not caring they’re naked and that you’ve seen it all before then you should be fine…just don’t stare at certain places for a great lengths of time…Also Top Tip do not, I repeat do not, do this sort of experience with a family friend – I did it with a friend of my brother’s and ended up having to watch a male genitalia check up…I have never heard the last of it!! Family friends + nakedness = mortifying experiences which should be avoided at all costs.
  2. Scrubs – if you’re over 18 and get theatres experience you’re going to wear scrubs. There are various problems with this. Firstly get ones that fit! Trust me when I say walking around with huge scrubs that you have to slyly pull up every 2 minutes is not attractive. And secondly the Crocs!! You have to wear either special trainers or the guilty pleasure we love to hate, Crocs. Top Tip #2 bring socks with you – borrowing someone’s Crocs for the day is bad enough but doing it bare foot is awful. On my first day I failed to do this, oh how I would come to regret this. One of the junior doctors asked if I’d like to go on a cardiac arrest run if his pager went off to which I of course replied yes! When it did happen though we had to run to the other side of the hospital and me with my short legs and my bare feet a size too small for the Crocs I was wearing was not a good combination and I ended up looking like a really slow idiot puffing away down the halls!
  3. Ward Rounds – ward rounds tend to go on a while, of course if its a massive ward it can go on for hours. Whatever you do make sure you eat loads and find drinks on a regular basis. On one placement they fed me chocolate and gave me coffee as we walked around and I ended up having a great time. At another place the person I was following did not give a shit and I spent over 5 hours trailing her around in a 30 odd degree ward, standing up the whole time having not eaten or drunk anything in over 8 hours…not being used to this kind of thing I had to sneak off to find water before I fainted and then re-join the group. They didn’t notice. Joy.
  4. Wear Comfy shoes – you’re going to be standing and walking around. A lot. So wear something comfortable!
  5. Get good at hiding your emotions and thoughts – you’re going to see some really gross things, some really smelly people, disgusting people, arrogant/obnoxious people, so you need to keep your disgust on the down low!!

As the work experience you need to be prepared for just about anything – from people get odd things stuck in inappropriate places to women who wander around the hospital, use the loo in reception as they think they’re desperate for a wee but end up giving birth in the toilet bowl. True story. It’s not all bad/weird though, I got to watch some amazing operations including major heart surgery and sometimes they let you do things (nothing major though, work experience doing surgery is generally frowned upon 🙂 ).

Whatever you end up doing, whether it’s in a hospital or in a marketing office I’m sure you’ll have the odd story to tell – and anyway it’s another thing for the CV!

If you have a story please share in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!