For North Americans especially, Pumpkin is a quintessential autumnal flavour, and we love it too. Having been wowed by pumpkin cheesecakes in America and sampling delicious pumpkin pie from Canadians, we decided to try our hand at the former…
400g ginger nut biscuits
140g melted butter
110g dark brown sugar
600g cream cheese
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp ground ginger
70g double cream
Can of pumpkin puree (we found this in Waitrose)
Whipped cream, maple syrup and pumpkin seeds for the topping
Crush the biscuits until they resemble breadcrumbs. Melt the butter on a hob.
Combine the melted butter and biscuits to form the base of your cheesecake, press into your cheesecake tin and bake at 170 degrees for 5 minutes, allow to cool.
Turn the oven down to 120 degrees and beat the sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract, cinnamon and ginger,
Add the eggs and double cream, beat well.
Add the pumpkin puree, have taste and add more cinnamon or ginger if you like.
Add this mix to the cheesecake base and bake for one hour.
Allow to cool and then top with whipped cream, pumpkin seeds and maple syrup.
This has to be one of the best cheesecakes I have made to date, the almost savoury flavour really makes for a wonderful desert if you do not have a particularly sweet tooth.
Anzac biscuits were originally made to send to Army Corps from Australia and New Zealand, serving in Gallipoli. Although ‘Anzac day‘ is traditionally celebrated in Australia and New Zealand, on the 25th of April, I decided to bake these delcious biscuits for Remembrance Sunday, November 11th. I also added some raisons to my batch.
85g porridge oats
85g desiccated coconut
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
1tsp baking powder
60g raisons or sultanas (optional)
Heat oven to 180C.
Measure out the oats, coconut, flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl.
Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the golden syrup.
Once the butter and golden syrup has melted, pour this into your bowl of dry ingredients. Add raisons if you are using them. Mix the biscuit dough well.
Take small handfuls of the mixture and make a little patty in your hand, put these on greaseproof paper and bake for about 10 minutes.
It really annoys me when people say things like, ‘I really can’t cook’. Anyone can cook, they just have to try. There are plenty of tasty meals and treats that require minimum effort for maximum taste, Banoffee pie is one of these.
To start with, you need a biscuit base. You can use digestives, but I prefer the humble ginger nut biscuit as it adds a little more bite. Put a packet of the biscuits into a food bag and beat them to death, they will soon resemble bread crumbs. Melt around 100g butter, mix this in with the breadcrumb biscuits and press into the bottom of your dish. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Now, you need the caramel filling. If you are in a hurry, use Carnation Caramel, all ready for you to go. Alternatively, boil a can of condensed milk in water for around an hour, it will become delicious caramel! Spread the caramel onto your biscuit base, then add sliced bananas. Ripe bananas are best.
Now, whip your double cream. I like to add a teaspoon of vanilla essence and around 25g icing sugar. Spread the cream onto your caramel/banana base. I like to add some cadbury flake on top of the cream for extra flavour and decoration.
You can make one big banoffee pie, or individual smaller ones. It is a simple, but tasty desert, that is sure to satisfy everyone that eats it.
I love fruity deserts, particularly lemon ones. This lemon tart, or as you may prefer to call it, tarte au citron, is the perfect end to any heavy meal. I loosely follow baking genius, Mary Berry’s recipe.
Ingredients for pastry
175g plain flour
100g cold butter
25g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1tsp orange or apple juice
Ingredients for lemon filling
125ml double cream
225g caster sugar
Juice and zest of 4 lemons
Tbsp lemon curd (optional)
Icing sugar for dusting
To make the food processor either rub the flour, butter and icing sugar until it looks like breadcrumbs or use a food processor, then add the yolk and juice (you can use water instead of juice)
Knead your pastry and leave it to chill for 15 minutes in the fridge in clingfilm or foil
Grease your tart tray and roll the pastry out, dust the surface with flour
Put your pastry into the dish, cover with greaseproof paper and put baking beads on top, blind bake at 180 degrees 15-20 minutes
Once the pastry has cooled, remove the baking beads and greaseproof paper and begin making your filling. If you are feeling lazy you can buy Jus-Rol shortcrust pastry
For the filling, whisk the eggs, add the sugar, then the lemon zest and juice, add the double cream and lemon curd if you are using it. Mix and add to your pastry, it may seem runny, but it will set
Bake for 30-35 minutes at 170 degrees, the tart should like firm but with a slight wobble in the middle
Allow to cool, then refrigerate. Add an icing sugar dusting before serving
Enjoy! I served mine with lemon cream and raspberries.
We much prefer a starter to a desert (though frequently have all three courses). This is a quick, easy and impressive starter if served in individual ramekins, a tasty lunch or a buffet/mezze style starter. Hummus is everywhere at the moment, on restaurant and bar menus, we put a spin on it with butter beans rather than chick peas as the main ingredient.
1 tin of Butterbans
2 cloves of Garlic
Granary pita breads
Salt and Pepper
Drain the butterbeans, but leave a little excess liquid in the can
Empty into a food processor
Add two cloves of garlic and start the food processor
After about thirty seconds, start adding the garlic oil until the mixture becomes thick and smooth
Add the chives so that there is a smattering of green in your mix
Keep whizzing until the mix is smooth and not too watery – just like the consistency of hummus!
Chop the beetroot into small chunks and then fold into the mix. Fold gently – do not stir madly as you do not want the Beetroot to completely mix with the butterbeans
Decanter into a serving bowl or ramekins and then straight to the table, or to keep in the fridge for a day or two
Cut the pita chips into little squares / triangles / whatever shapes you want, but make sure you separate the two sides. You should also remove any pappy soft clumps that might be in the middle.
Arrange these on a baking tray evenly and cover (or spray) with your oil and then season to taste. Salt and pepper work a treat, but you might want to be a bit more adventurous. Bake at 170°C until chip-like (about 15 – 20 minutes)
This is a great cheap and easy starter that is bound to impress with its festive colours, rich textures and soft flavours.
So if like us you are feeling a bit distressed that the weather has taken a turn for the worse, then perhaps some tomato soup could warm you up. Tomato soup holds memories for me of being of school sick as a teenager, now I love how quick, easy and nutritious a bowl of homemade tomato soup is…
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 large carrot
2 sticks of celery
1 jar of passata or 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
350ml vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop and fry your onion in olive oil until soft and slightly brown, add chopped garlic
Add your chopped carrot and celery and fry all together until soft, add water if it gets too dry
Once this is softened, add your passata or chopped tomatoes, season with salt and pepper
Add vegetable stock and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, add some fresh basil
Whizz the soup and it is ready to eat, if it seems a little too thick, add some more water
Season with salt and pepper, sometimes I even ass a little pesto. Ideally serve with homemade bread!