I am not a mushroom fan. The fact that they are so often the go-to veggie option actually makes me a little mad. Seriously, who decided that whacking a portobello mushroom in a bap made for a decent veggie burger? Yuk! It’s not the flavour […]
The big day may be over with for another a year but that doesn’t mean that we’re done with the feasting – as far as I’m concerned that doesn’t finish until the clock strikes January!
This rich, creamy cheesecake is the perfect dessert for this time of year and it’s full of festive flavours. It’s also a handy way to use up any leftover mincemeat that you might have hanging around.
200g biscuits (anything you like but ginger nuts or speculoos are nice)
600g cream cheese
100g sour cream
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 tbsp rum (or brandy)
dark chocolate decorations
Start by lightly greasing a spring-form cake tin and securely wrapping the base of it with foil. Pre-heat your oven to 170°c. Crush the biscuits and melt the butter before combing the two. Press this mixture firmly into the base of the tin, pushing it slightly up the sides. Pop this in the fridge to firm up whilst you make the filling.
Put the cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat them together until they are smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Mix in the sour cream, alchohol and vanilla, making sure that it is well blended. Stir in the mincemeat by hand and then pour the mixture over the biscuit base. Give the tin a little shimmy to level things off before giving it a couple of sharp taps to knock out any excess air bubbles. Put the tin in a bain-marie and bake the cheesecake for about 1 hour.
Once it’s done it should have a little wobble in the middle but be a little puffed up and a little golden around the edges. Turn off the oven and take the cheesecake out of its water bath but leave it in the oven to cool. Once it’s room temperature move it to the fridge to chill for several hours, preferably overnight.
To serve, carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin and add a few dark chocolate decorations and perhaps a touch of sparkle to the top.
Something about the onset of the cold grey weather makes me want to eat cheese. ALL THE TIME! Toasty, golden, melted cheese is my favourite and these scones, warm from the oven, fit the bill perfectly. They have a lovely combination of flavours. The rich […]
These are a lovely savoury twist on a sweet tea-time classic. You don’t have to limit them to afternoon indulgence though – these have proved very popular for breakfast and brunch topped with fried or poached eggs.
You can use any hard, medium-fat cheese you like in these so long as it’s got plenty of flavour. Welsh cheddar and Caerphilly are obviously great choices but I’ve used a mix of extra mature cheddar and Wensleydale in this batch. A cheese that’s a bit crumbly means that it will be distributed more evenly through the dough.
makes about 12 (depending on size)
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
150g plain flour
75g wholemeal flour
100g cheese (see note above)
splash of milk
pinch of black pepper
Sift together the flours. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub this into the dry ingredients to leave you with a mixture that resembles fine breadcrumbs. Crumble the cheese, fairly finely and then mix this through the flour and butter, together with the chives and black pepper.
Lightly beat the egg and use this to bring the dry mixture together to form a soft dough. If you need a little more moisture then incorporate a splash of milk into the mix.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1cm thick. Take a round cutter, any size you like, to cut out the cakes. Cook these in a little butter on a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. They should take about 3 minutes on each side and be just cooked in the middle
As a non-meat eater I would be chuffed to bits to be presented with these for my Christmas dinner, or for any dinner for that matter! The pastry is gorgeously crisp and flaky against the creamy filling and tender sweet squash. The flavours are spot on too, squash, sage and nutmeg is such a classic combination.
Obviously if you’re pushed for time (there’s never enough of it at Christmas) you can use ready-made pastry. These will keep for a day or two in the fridge and re-heat beautifully too so feel free to make them ahead of time if you need to.
40g toasted hazelnuts (ground finely)
200g plain flour
pinch of seasalt
splash of very cold water
450g (ish) butternut squash
1 1/2 tsp dried sage
pinch of grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Rub together the ground hazelnuts, butter, salt and flour, using your fingertips or a food processor, until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Use a little of the cold water to brind everything together but don’t let the dough get sticky. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 230°c and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
Combine the ricotta, sage, parmesan, nutmeg and salt and pepper, mixing well and set it aside. Slice the ‘neck’ of the squash (don’t bother to peel it) so that the slices are only a couple of millimeters thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut the squash into pretty shapes, this should be pretty easy if your squash is thin enough.
Once the dough has chilled and relaxed roll it out on a very lightly floured surface so that it is just a few millimeters thick. Cut four circles out of the dough (a breakfast bowl makes a good template) re-rolling the dough as necessary.
Put the discs of pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Add a dollop of the ricotta mixture to the centre of each and spread it a little. Arrange the squash slices on top, so that they overlap. Fold over the edges of the pastry, crimping and gathering as necessary. I like to brush the edges with a little beaten egg so that the pastry is lovely and golden once the galettes are baked. Dot the top of each one with a tiny bit of butter and sprinkle on a bit of black pepper.
Bake them for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 190°c and bake for a further 20 minutes.