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!

Red Velvet Loaf With Berry Frosting

Next week sees the return of one of my favourite TV programmes…..The Great British Bake Off!!! So in honour of this I thought I’d share this scrummy recipe with you…

Red Velvet Loaf With Berry Frosting

Serves 12           351 kcal, 18.7g fat, 10.7g saturates, 29.8g sugars, 0.27g salt

Red velvet loaf with berry frosting• Ingredients •

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 175g light brown soft sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp. cochineal red food colouring
  • 150ml Greek-style natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp. Madagascan vanilla extract
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 75g soft cream cheese
  • 250g summer fruits (reserve the juice if from frozen)

• Recipe •

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas mark 4. Grease a 2lb/900g loaf tin and line it with baking parchment.
  2. Put 100g of the butter into a bowl and beat together with the sugar either by hand or in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time with 1 tbsp. of flour, then stir in the red food colouring, yoghurt and vanilla extract. Sift in the remaining flour and cocoa powder and fold together until smooth.
  3. Pour this mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the oven for 50 – 55mins until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  4. Whilst the loaf cools, make the frosting. Beat the remaining butter either by hand or with an electric whisk until smooth, then gradually sift in the icing sugar. Add to this the soft cheese and beat together until thick and pale. Spread this over the cooled cake and top with summer fruits and any fruit juice reserved if using a frozen bag of summer fruits.

My housemate is obsessed with anything red velvet so this bake is very popular at university! It’s so easy to make but it still looks so impressive on your table. Plus it’s got fruit in it…that makes it kind of healthy right?!

Have a go and let me know how you get on in the comments below!

(*Photo and Recipe credit go to Sainsbury’s)

Eternally North by Tillie Cole

In the next of my Tillie Cole reviews, the focus is on Geordie RomCom novel Eternally North. As an English girl myself Eternally North has to be one of my favourite stories purely on the amount of British humour it contains and the absolutely fabulous characters, particularly Tash and Tink….you can never have too much glitter!

♥♥♥♥♥

Eternally North by Tillie Cole

Natasha Munro is your typical twenty eight year old girl, well, your typical twenty eight year old Geordie: curvy, fun and a whole load of fab-u-lous. Her life is all going to plan — good job, great friends, close family and a loving boyfriend — until an unexpected event turns everything on its head.

Nursing a broken heart and decked head to toe in tasselled chaps and rhinestones, Natasha and her flamboyant fairy of a gay best friend, Tink, uproot from their Northern nest, throw caution to the wind and embark on a new life together in Canada — the land of Rocky mountains, Maple Syrup, oh, and an ‘in-between movies’ Hollywood mega-star.

Enter infamous bad-boy of the big screen, Tudor North.

Bonafide hunk and actor-extraordinaire.

Tudor is big, brooding and gorgeous and is harbouring a deep secret. Tudor’s cold and intimidating demeanour successfully keeps everyone at bay, that is everyone but a certain Ms Munro. It soon becomes clear, what with her smart mouth and lusciously ample arse, that Natasha proves more than a match for the emotionally distant star.

Will Natasha and Tink settle into their new life abroad?

Will Natasha ever find her fairytale happy ending?

Can a movie star and an ordinary girl ever really make it work?

Or will the secrets lurking in Tudor`s past threaten her chance at happiness?

Addictive, hilarious and heart warming. A fast paced comedic journey of self discovery, unyielding friendship and of course, a suitable dose of slap and tickle.

Warning: contains a foul-mouthed voluptuous Brit, a self-named ‘Friggin’ Fantastic Fairy’ and an abundance of bulging muscles and tattoos.

♥♥♥♥♥

If you’re looking for a fun, light-hearted and completely lovable book this summer then you’ve just found it! Written about a couple of fabulous Geordies who move continents to start afresh, Eternally North is a fresh new take on the old fashioned RomCom with bags of glitter, quirkiness and British sarcasm.

Natasha (Tash) Munro is a secondary school teacher with a low-life boyfriend. After catching said boyfriend in a… err *cough* compromising position, Tash packs her bags and asks the universe for a sign on what to do next. A Jane Austen quote and a run-in with a homeless man later, Tash finds herself at her best friend John’s house – or as he’s more commonly known as Tink! As you can probably guess Tink is quite fabulously gay, and has been Tash’s BFF since they both were forced to join the victims of bullying group at school. I have to say at this point how amazing Tash and John’s nicknames are – Wilbur and Tink! Tash was fat in school and John was gay, causing them to name each other Wilbur (as in the pig character from Charlotte’s Web) and Tinkerbell (as in the fairy from Peter Pan)!! Some of the pig and fairy related terms of endearment thrown around had me laughing all day – the humour in this book is amazing! But back to the story…

Tash tells Tink all about her now ex boyfriend and his antics and vows to live her life to the full from now on. After several drinks of Tink’s concoction they come up with the brilliant idea to move abroad for a year – if they like it, they stay but if they don’t they return to Newcastle. They let the television and fate decide and end up moving to Calgary, Canada.

Tash gets a great job at a posh school and though her classroom decorations were looked down on (who doesn’t love a mini henry hoover for your desk?!), she’s soon asked to take charge of some problem girls after school using performing arts to conquer their problems (cue the Lady Gaga dance routines!). In this class she meets the shy but lovely Boleyn Jones, who she helps to bring out of her shell.

One fateful night Tash and Tink decide to paint the town red meaning a whole lot of fake tan, short skirts, fake eyelashes, hair extensions and glitter descended onto Calgary. Meeting Tink at the restaurant he works at, Tash enters at the back greeting the staff with her usual drunken antics, only to discover her student Boleyn is there eating with her family, and unfortunately, wants her to join them! And who just happens to be Boleyn’s big brother? None other than Hollywood’s own Tudor North, brooding bad-boy and gorgeous hunk of a man! After a couple more run-ins (literally) Tash and Tudor soon become inseparable but after a series of events regarding Tudor’s past and how he’s dealing with it things become strained. Eternally North tells the tale of Tash and Tinks’ adventure in the cold climbs of Canada and their new found love of their home and the men they find there. You play witness to both Tash and Tudor’s growing love affair and Tudor’s secrets – but the question is, will Tudor ever tell Tash the truth? And will their relationship survive the fallout?

There are so many elements to this book to fall in love with – the story, the language, the characters. Each character in this book you can’t help but fall in love with, whether it’s because their so relatable or just down-right hilarious! Tink the flamboyant fairy BFF comes out with the most amazing comments sometimes – and the pig related names (“my little pork scratching, pork chop…”) are so ingenious I found myself laughing like a loon! Tash is just so Geordie! With her love of fake-tan, drinking for England and her witty humour, she makes for a fab-u-lous heroine. I really enjoyed reading her thoughts and her dialogue – she’s such a refreshing female lead with her no bullshit attitude. Her parents are equally as brilliant, especially her overly Scottish Dad! As for the Norths, Tudor is just what you want in a hunky book-boyfriend and his secret just makes your heart melt for him! The rest of Tudor’s family are pretty great too, especially Boleyn and Tate (who I’m classing as Tudor’s family!) who are both so sweet and completely lovable.

I guess the main reason I’m in love with this book is the way it’s written. With such witty sometimes sarcastic commentary, and other times rather Geordie language and humour you can’t help but fall in love with them all – though for those non-Brits amongst you fretting about not understanding the jokes, don’t worry this book will still have you laughing out loud and definitely will not disappoint. At the end of this book I was near ready to bow down to author Tillie Cole for her pure writing skill and awesome use of language! The story itself is pretty brilliant too and would make for an amazing summer holiday read with its refreshing humour and yumminess.

Eternally North is sheer brilliance – with witty humour, relatable quirky characters and a storyline which will have you gripped and begging for more, this is a book I can’t recommend enough. So lather on the fake tan, stick on your eyelashes, and get ready to slut drop in a whole lot of glitter because this is definitely a must read!

Read Eternally North by Tillie Cole for yourself by visiting…

Amazon.co.uk (UK) or Amazon.com (USA)

Check out some more reviews on Goodreads and to find out about Tillie’s other books visit her website

Chocolate and Chilli Shortbread

When the sun is shining you’re bound to have guests coming over, whether it’s for afternoon tea or just for a quick catch up. If you’re like me and love a good coffee afternoon then finding the perfect treat to enjoy with friends is exactly what you need, and what could be better than some homemade shortbread?…Well how about one with a twist –

Chocolate & Chilli Shortbread ~ 

 Makes 15        Prep: 15 mins + chilling time        Total Time: 45 mins + chilling & cooling

Chocolate and Chilli Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 175g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar, (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 2 pinches of chilli flakes
  • 50g dark chocolate chips
  • 50g white chocolate, melted

Recipe

  1. Put the flour, cocoa, butter, sugar and chilli flakes into a food mixer and pulse until the mixture comes together into a soft, clay-like dough.
  2. Tip the dough into a bowl and mix the chocolate chips in. Put this onto a piece of clingfilm and shape into a log about 5cm wide in diameter, wrap around the clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least an hour so it firms up.
  3. Whilst this chills, preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas mark 3 and line two baking sheets. Once the dough has finished chilling cut the log into about 15 pieces, 1cm thick. Place your biscuits onto the lined sheets and bake for 22-25 minutes. Once cooked leave to cool completely before drizzling the melted white chocolate over the top.

These cookies will keep for up to 3 days in an air-tight container – if left un-iced they can be frozen.

156 kcals, 8g fat (5g sat. fat), 2g protein, 1g fibre, 19g carbs, 11g total sugars, 0g salt

All you need now is a pretty plate (or even a tiered stand if you want to be really fancy!), a hot drink and someone to enjoy them with! As always let me know how you get on and enjoy!

Pimm’s Cup Traybake

So the Great British Summer is just around the corner (I hope so anyways!) and that usually means trips to the beach, ice cream, parties and cocktails! And of course a lot of food – maybe the odd dinner/garden party too. I recently had to plan my own summer dinner party and had absolutely no clue what to make, so I thought I’d share some of the amazing recipes I found. And what doesn’t say Summer like Pimm’s?!

Pimm’s Cup Traybake

– Because who wouldn’t want to eat a cake made with Pimm’s?

Prep: 20mins       Total Time: 1 hr 40mins ( + cooling)     Makes 24 Squares

IngredientsPimms Cup Traybake

  • 325g soft unsalted butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 325g self-raising flour
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2 medium egg yolks (keep the whites for the buttercream topping)
  • zest of 2 large oranges (use oranges for topping)
  • 150g dried apricots, chopped

For the Pimm’s Syrup

  • 300ml Pimm’s
  • 1000g caster sugar

For the Buttercream

  • 2 medium egg whites (leftover from the main cake recipe)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened & cut into small pieces
  • 2-3 tbsp. Pimm’s

For the Toppings

  • Mint leaves
  • 2 large oranges, peeled with pith and seeds removed and diced (use oranges from main cake recipe)
  • 300g strawberries, chopped
  • about a 2-inch piece of cucumber, peeled and diced (optional)
  • (Note: you can use any fruit here that you think will go with Pimm’s – e.g. apples work quite well)

Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3. Grease and line a 18cm x 28cm rectangular tin with baking paper.
  2. Put all the main cake ingredients into a mixer and beat for 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Pour this into the pre-prepared tin and level with a palette knife.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven on the middle shelf for 40-45 minutes until golden and well risen. Double check by sticking a skewer into the centre of the cake – if it comes out clean its done.
  4. Whilst the cake is baking, make the Pimm’s syrup. Put both the Pimm’s and the caster sugar in a small pan and place over a low heat – stir to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved bring it the boil for 7 minutes until its syrupy and reduced by half. Pour this into a small measuring jug.
  5. With a skewer, poke holes all over the warm cake and pour 100ml of the syrup over it. Leave the cake to cool completely on a wire rack and set the remaining syrup to one side.
  6. Whilst this cools, make the buttercream. Put the egg whites and caster sugar into a large heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water – but make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl! Use an electric whisk (trust me its easier than a normal one!) and whisk the mixture until the sugar has dissolved into the egg whites. To test if its done rub some of it between your finger and thumb – if you can’t feel sugar granules and isn’t warm it’s done. Take the bowl off the pan and whisk for another 3-4minutes on high speed – the bowl should be cool to touch by the end.
  7. Before adding the butter make sure the bowl is cool enough to not melt it. Reduce the speed of the whisk to about medium and start to add the butter, one piece at a time (make sure each piece is mixed in properly before adding the next). After half the butter has been added the mixture will look curdled – but don’t worry it’s not ruined! Keep adding the rest of the butter until the buttercream comes together (after about 4-5mins). Continue to whisk until it becomes light and fluffy, then add the Pimm’s and some mint if you want to.
  8. Cover the cold cake with the buttercream. Toss the oranges, strawberries and cucumber (if used) with the remaining Pimm’s syrup and sprinkle onto the top of the cake along with the mint leaves before serving and ENJOY!

What’s great about this recipe is that you can make up to Step 5 the day before it’s needed and keep it in an airtight container.

325 kcals, 20g fat (12g sat. fat), 4g protein, 2g fibre, 30g carbs, 21g total sugars, 0.2g salt

This is seriously an amazing cake, you can add or remove the types of fruit you use and it looks really impressive! Give it a try and let me know how you get on!