Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

Totally delicious low calorie flapjacks

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Having put on quite a bit of weight over the past few months due to my life being a bit chaotic and unpredictable, I’ve decided to try and be healthier and lose a few pounds.

But I need to wean myself off the sugar and carbs slowly as I’m not up for shock tactics. So I thought if I could make flapjacks that are low in refined things and sugar and high in energy boosting things then it would be a good start to cutting down.

I found this recipe here http://cakeincardiff.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/low-calorie-flapjacks/ I’ve heard lots about the hairy bikers diet book – think I’m going to have to get sometime. I do like the Hairy Bikers, their recipes are very doable.

I made 16 flapjacks and adapted the recipe slightly. I worked out that each square has 88 calories so it’s a great diet snack as it’s under the 100 calorie mark, high in fibre and energy boosting oats, low in sugar, got a bit of fruit in it and even some nuts for protein.

And I’ve tried them – they’re delicious, so easy to make – I put it all together in about 5 mins and then shoved it in the oven until cooked. Requires virtually no equipment and you can adapt it anyway you like – use honey instead of maple syrup, substitute some oats for rice crispies, put in any dried fruit and nuts that you like, use any juice you want…and the bonus is – no sweetener in sight – this doesn’t feel like a diet snack. On top of that – these are really purse friendly. Even if you don’t have the ingredients in stock, they’re not expensive to buy – all these ingredients are in most supermarkets’ value ranges – just adapt to whatever you can find.

Cranberry & hazelnut flapjacks

16 squares

  • 200g rolled (porridge) oats
  • 300ml orange or apple juice
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, honey or golden syrup
  • 60g dried cranberries (or apricots, dates, mixed peel – any dried fruit)
  • 60g raisins (sultanas, currants, whatever)
  • 30g hazelnuts, toasted and chopped (or any nuts)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius
  2. Put the juice and syrup in a pan and heat until it starts to simmer.
  3. Add in the oats and mix well until completely combined (there shouldn’t be juice left it should be absorbed)
  4. Take off the heat and add in the fruit and nuts.
  5. Mix well to combine then turn into a greased baking tray. Push it all out until it fills the corners of the tray and then push down hard so its very compacted (fingers are good for this).
  6. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until golden and crispy on top.
  7. Remove from the oven, cut into squares whilst still warm (I used a pizza roller thingy but I knife will do). Leave to cool in the tin.
  8. Turn out and enjoy the fruity chewiness without feeling guilty 🙂
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The cake and bake show: chocolate & banana tarte tatin

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Last weekend I went to the cake and bake show with a good friend of mine. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but had so much fun, and bought loads of edible goodies.

I also watched a demonstration by Eric Lanlard, Patissier living in London. He’d just brought out a new book all about chocolate and I was really impressed by how simple his recipes were despite looking like something much more complex. So I bought his new book and to my delight, he had tarte tatin in his book.

You know how much I love tarte tatin, plus I had old bananas that Mr J had brought home from work (I am the banana dustbin for his work it seems), so it seemed like the perfect inspiration.

The book isn’t available to buy yet, although it will be in a week or two. Called Chocolat by Eric Lanlard – pic below.

Here is my version of his tarte tatin from the book, and very yummy it was too. If you’re craving chocolate, need a hangover cure, need some comforting or even a fantastic dinner party dessert – this is the one for you. It’s not for diets though! But you can’t diet forever.

Chocolate & Banana Tarte Tatin

Serves 4-6

  • 100g light brown sugar (you can use other sugar, it’ll just taste a bit different – this is quite treacle-fudgy)
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 75g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (or use 1 tsp ground cinnamon but it’s less decorative)
  • 4-5 bananas, sliced on the diagonal
  • 350g ready made puff pastry (I used ready rolled too to make it even easier)
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius
  2. Roll out and cut the pastry to about 1 inch larger than a heavy flat bottomed frying pan
  3. Put the sugar in the frying pan with about 4 tbsp of water and gently heat, stirring constantly, until you have a dark orangey colour. Remove from the heat and keep stirring until it stops changing colour.
  4. Add the butter and chocolate and stir until melted. Then drop in the cinnamon.
  5. Arrange the bananas in the caramel sauce in circular patterns (this will be the top of your dessert)
  6. Cover with the pastry so that the pastry hangs over the sides of the pan and then tuck in all the edges.
  7. Pierce the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape and place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden.
  8. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for a few minutes. Then place a plate on top of the pastry and invert the pudding onto it.
  9. Serve immediately with custard, whipped cream or icecream.
  10. Enjoy 🙂

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Easy peasy banana cake

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Hubby brought home a load of over ripe bananas from work last week, and so I made banana cake. I have such a simple and quick recipe that I use and the end result is always delicious. It’s moist and sticky and very bananary!

The main thing to this recipe is a food processor or blender or smoothie maker – basic an electric thing that wizzes. Even a hand blender would work. This is what makes it simple. Otherwise you’re back to the old fashioned way of creaming butter and adding eggs and hoping they don’t curdle. Basically, weigh everything out (I did this in one bowl, putting everything on top of each other), bung it in a blender or processor, wizz til smooth. Then put in a cake tin and cook til risen, golden and fluffy. And ta da- you are a wonderful cake god(dess)! The prep stage takes about 10 minutes tops. And then you can set the timer on your oven and leave it until it beeps.

With this recipe, the more overripe the bananas are, the better, and the less sugar you need to add.

I’ve no idea where the recipe came from – I’ve had it written in the back of a recipe book for years! And had previously been on a post-it note. It might have even come from my mum or a friend’s mum.

Banana cake

makes 2 loaf cakes (about 10 – 12 slices)

  • 250g self-raising flour (or use plain flour with 1.5 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt)
  • 340g caster sugar
  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • 340g butter or margerine, softened
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tbsp vanilla essence
  • To ice:
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsp granulated sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease 2 loaf tins.
  2. Place ingredients in a food processes or and blend til smooth.
  3. Pour half the mixture into each tin and bake for 45-50 minutes in the middle of the oven, or until a knife comes out the middle of it clean.
  4. Allow to cool slightly in the tins for about 10 minutes, then turn onto wire racks to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, making the sugar glaze icing by dissolving the sugar in the lemon juice. Prick the top of the cake all over with little holes (I use bbq skewers) and pour the glaze over it. It will run everywhere (make sure you do on a plate or cover the surface) but don’t worry, it’ll set and look quite pretty.
  6. Cool and serve with a nice cup of tea. And enjoy 🙂
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Diet friendly indulgences: banana and blueberry muffins

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I had some over-ripe bananas that needed using up and was surprised to find a recipe for muffins that was only 202 calories! These are really delicious, great for breakfast (or any time really), feel like a treat but don’t stick to your hips like others do. A definite preference to starbucks muffins or a chocolate bar and they don’t have the nasty taste of diet bars because there’s real sugar in them, not sweetener.

My version of the recipe actually has 244 calories – I put in whole eggs, not just whites (I hate having leftover egg yolks), but that’s still not many more. I also used slightly less sugar as my bananas were over-ripe so they were very sweet and milk instead of buttermilk because I didn’t have any. And they turned out wonderful. Apparently only 85 calories are from fat, there’s 2.6g saturated fat in these, and they’re high in vitamin A, C, calcium and iron – so great for keeping colds away.

The recipe is also ridiculously easy – no fancy equipment required. Just a bowl and a large spoon. It literally takes minutes to put them together, and 20 or so to bake them. And voilà – delicious healthy muffins in 30 minutes. Eat your heart out Jamie Oliver!

The original recipe is here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1572/banana-and-blueberry-muffins-

And here’s mine – enjoy without the guilt!

Banana and blueberry muffins

Makes 12 muffins

  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 80g light muscovado sugar + 1tbsp for topping
  • 50g porridge oats, plus 1 tbsp for topping
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed to a smooth pulp
  • 250ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and oats in a bowl. Make a well in the middle.
  3. Combine the milk, eggs, bananas and oil. Then tip this into the well and mix quickly and sparingly with the dried ingredients. Don’t worry about it not being well mixed or there being patches of flour, or it being lumpy.
  4. Tip in the blueberries and give it one more stir.
  5. Put cases in a muffin tin. Then spoon the mixture to very full into each muffin case (I did about 4 tbsp of mixture for each – so that they were just over flowing over the cases but not over the tin edges).
  6. Mix together the remaining tbsps of sugar and oats and sprinkle over the top of the muffins.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until risen and golden.
  8. Leave to cool in the tin (or eat whilst warm)
  9. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea 🙂

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Birthday cake: chocolate mocha cake

It was a friend’s 30th recently (yes I know, the candles were wrong….someone forgot to bring the candles so we reused last years!), and I thought I’d bake her a cake.  I was feeling really uninspired all week on what to make, and then found this recipe, courtesy of Woman & Home and thought it sounded really delicious.  I was not wrong.  It was.  I didn’t do the chestnut cream because I didn’t have any chestnuts.  So I did a coffee and bailey’s cream icing instead.  And it worked perfectly.  It’s also quite a simple cake to make as there’s no creaming of butter involved and no worrying about curdling mixtures.   You don’t even need any fancy equipment – just a cake tin.

http://www.womanandhome.com/articles/food/recipes/398153/sticky-mocha-cake-with-chestnut-cream.html

I was going to make the chocolate curls, but I ran out of time, so I just iced it.  It was dense and gooey with lovely strong chocolate and coffee flavours.  A real treat and was a winner all round.

Chocolate mocha cake

Serves about 12-16

  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 2tbsp baileys Irish cream (or similar)
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 125g dark soft brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 250g dark 70% cocoa solids chocolate
  • 350ml strong black coffee
  • 2 eggs, beaten

For the icing:

  • 120ml double cream
  • 80g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp Baileys
  • 2 tbsp strong coffee
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, grease and flour a round springboard cake tin.
  2. In a bowl over boiling water, put the chocolate, butter, coffee, baileys, and sugars.  Allow to melt, stirring occasionally.
  3. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder.
  4. Allow the melted chocolate mix to cool for 5 minutes and then add the beaten eggs to it, stirring well.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients until completely combined.
  6. Pour the mix into the cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for about 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean from the middle of the cake.
  7. Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  The top will crack – don’t worry, the icing will cover it.
  8. Whilst the cake it cooling, make the icing.  Whip the cream until peaks are formed when removing the whisk from it.  Add in the icing sugar and beat again until quite thick.  Add in the baileys and coffee.  Beat again until you have a thick, fairly stiff cream.  Spread over the top of the cake and sprinkle with icing sugar and cocoa powder and chocolate curls.
  9. Eat and enjoy the rich dense gorgeousness 🙂
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Hangover cures: peanut butter cup brownies

This is the problem with idly browsing recipes when you’re hungry and hungover.  You end up making things like this.  They are delicious though…and definitely helped the hangover!  It didn’t take too long either, and was quite simple.   I made my brownies from scratch, and didn’t use a packet of brownie mix like the recipe said because a) I don’t buy things like that and b) brownies are easy.  I used Ravinder Bhogal’s double chocolate brownie recipe – and it worked a treat.

The only thing is now I have a storage box full of cupcakes that I know that if I eat, I’ll put on a stone!  They’re probably better made for a party or bbq or something where you can fob them off on other people to avoid eating the lot.

The original recipe suggested using peanut butter drops – but as I had no idea what they were, let alone had any in the cupboard, I toasted and chopped up some peanuts.  I added half to the brownie mix and the other half I sprinkled on top with the chocolate drops.  If you don’t have chocolate drops, use sprinkles or chocolate shavings instead.  I thought this worked quite well.

The original recipe is here http://www.bakedperfection.com/2009/07/peanut-butter-cup-brownies.html

And Ravinder’s brownie recipe comes from her Cook in Boots book which I’m constantly raving about, which you can get here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cook-Boots-Ravinder-Bhogal/dp/0007291175/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317648971&sr=8-1

Peanut butter cup brownies

Makes 20 cupcakes

  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 225g dark chocolate (use at leat 70% cocoa solids)
  • 4 eggs
  • 300g sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp orange juice (about half the orange depending on how juicy it is)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100g white chocolate chips (or shavings)
  • 100g toasted, chopped peanuts (unsalted)
  • 4 heaped tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 50g milk chocolate drops
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Line a 2 cupcake tins with papers (or the same one twice).
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl over boiling water.  Set aside.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.  Then add the sugar, zest and juice of the orange, and vanilla extract and beat well.
  4. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in another bowl and then add this to the egg & sugar mix.  Fold in carefully.
  5. Then add the melted chocolate, mixing again, before chucking in the white chocolate drops and half the peanuts.  Give one last stir.
  6. Using tablespoons, drop some of the mixture into the cupcake papers until it’s just under the top of the paper – I found that 2 tablespoons did it.
  7. Cook for about 13-15 minutes (I found 14 minutes was perfect actually) until it’s cooked on top but a skewer still comes out gooey from the middle.
  8. Leave to cool for about 15 minutes or until the middles sink – if you’ve cooked them right they should do this or tap them with the back of a teaspoon if they’re reluctant.  I accidentally overcooked some of mine, so I scooped out a tiny bit of cake from the middle with a teaspoon.
  9. Heat the peanut butter in the microwave for 45 seconds and then stir.  Place 1 tsp of the peanut butter in the top of  each cupcake.  It should spread easily to look like icing.  Top with a few nuts and milk chocolate drops.
  10. Leave to completely cool in the tin or on wire racks.
  11. Scoff with a glass of milk and feel the hangover receed.
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Experimentalism: chocolate and red wine cupcakes

I wasn’t going to blog about these. I really wasn’t sure about them myself. I was unconvinced they worked as a concept. But I made them for work, and having been inundated with comments on their deliciousness by colleagues, I changed my mind and thought I would after all!

I understand the appeal – two excellent ingredients in a cupcake – what more could you ask for?! But if you think about it logically, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. For starters the alcohol in the cake is evaporated by cooking and you can’t really taste it because the chocolate overpowers it. So you think, that the taste in the icing would make up for it. Except, its buttercream – which means the wine caused the butter to curdle! But I was tired and had made the icing, so I just stuck it on the cakes, left them to dry out a bit overnight, and took them to work the next morning! Thankfully the sheer quantities of icing sugar in the icing meant that the icing still tastes good – albeit very sweet. But then I’m not really a fan of buttercream icing. So I’m not sure why I made it, other than it was in the recipe and I was too tired to be creative.

I do wonder though, whether or not a red wine glazed icing would work better (or work at all – would the alchohol prevent it from setting?), or perhaps, forget the wine and just do a melted chocolate glaze. But then – if you can’t taste the red wine in the actual cake – it may as well be a chocolate cupcake, so then why bother with the wine at all? Why not just drink it?

So you see – it’s a baffling experimental cupcake, that apparently, went down well! The cake was delicious, I must agree – light and fluffy and moist. But I didn’t like the icing. But others seem to think it’s lovely. So each to their own. If you do this, please tell me if you make the buttercream icing and if you manage to prevent it from curdling? Possibly my downfall was that I’d run out of cocoa powder and so used drinking chocolate powder instead. Maybe this is one of those things I have to make a few times to perfect!

The original recipe is here http://leaandjay.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/chocolate-merlot-cupcakes/

I did half quantities as 24 cupcakes (and large ones at that!) seemed excessive. Unless you’re going to do professional icing – I’d recommend quarter quantities of icing – I did half the recipe amount and have more than half of it left over after icing them all. But I just used a spoon and a knife. I’ve put quarter quantities in the recipe below.

Chocolate and red wine cupcakes

Makes 12 muffin tin sized cupcakes

  • 85g unsalted butter – at room temperature (if possible).
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 65ml red wine (like Merlot – or whichever one you have a random bottle of that you don’t like the look of!)
  • 160g plain flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8tsp (or a very small pinch) ground nutmeg
  • 90g dark cooking chocolate, melted (try to use at least 70% cocoa solids for a better taste)

For the icing:

  • 30g butter
  • 125g icing sugar
  • 2 heaped tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2.5 tbsp red wine
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius. Line a muffin tin with papers
  2. Cream the butter until pale and smooth (an electric whisk is definitely handy here). Then add the sugar and cream until pale and fluffy.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
  4. Add an egg at a time to the butter and sugar mix and beat well until combined.
  5. Then tip in the dry ingredients and carefully fold in.
  6. Finally add the melted chocolate and carefully fold into the mixture.
  7. Using two spoons, carefully spoon the mixture into each of the cases until 3/4 full.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until risen and a skewer comes out clean from the middle of them.
  9. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  10. Meanwhile make the icing. Cream the butter (again an electric whisk is very handy).
  11. Then slowly add the icing sugar a bit at a time.
  12. Next alternate by adding a half spoonful of cocoa powder followed by a half spoonful of wine – until all combined.
  13. When the cakes are completely cooled either pipe the icing onto the cakes using a piping bag or just spread on with a knife.
  14. Eat and enjoy with a nice cup of tea!
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Using up cooking apples: apple & cinnamon cake

As promised – back to normal posting about cooking today.  But please, do keep sharing my previous blog about protect your bubble with everyone you know, so they don’t have to go through what I did.  Help me spread the word!  Here’s a link to that post http://bit.ly/qqHZ5c.  I’ve also set up a facebook page, so please show your support and like my page here https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Stay-away-from-protect-your-bubble/

As you know from previous posts – I got a whole load of food my mother in law was getting rid of as she was going on holiday.  Including 6 large cooking apples.  I put a few in the pie and strudel, but I still had some left over (still do, in fact!).  And they were starting to go mouldy.   So, I had a flick through my Leith’s Simple Cookery book (to be found here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Leiths-Simple-Cookery-Jenny-Stringer/dp/074759046X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314104744&sr=8-1) and found an apple and cinnamon cake.

This was actually, as far as cakes go, pretty simple and quick to make, and exceedingly good (I might even be able to compete with Mr. Kipling!).  I just mixed everything with an electric whisk (I’d say if you don’t have any electrical appliances, this one will test you as you have to add the eggs and whisk pretty well to avoid curdling) and then stuck it in a cake tin.

I didn’t bother to ice the cake.  You could – perhaps a coffee buttercream might be nice?  I just sprinkled sugar over (icing sugar is best but I used caster as I didn’t have icing sugar) and some cinnamon and served with vanilla icecream. 

Without an icing, this is 351 calories per serving (if you cut it into 8 slices).  I reckon it would do 8 -10 slices.   If you did 10 slices it would be 281 calories.  Either way, it’s not mega calories for a very delicious cake, so you don’t need to feel guilty eating it, which always helps!

Apple & cinnamon cake

Serves 8 -10

  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 170g cooking apples, peeled, cored and grated
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 170g self-raising flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Grease a medium sized round (or oblong) cake tin and set aside.
  2. Beat the butter in a large bowl until softened.  Then add the sugar and beat again until pale and fluffy.
  3. Next carefully add an egg at a time, beating well to mix after each one.  If the mix starts to curdle, add 1 tbsp flour.
  4. Then add the grated apple, and mix to combine before adding the flour and cinnamon together, mixing again to combine.
  5. You want the mixture to be a reluctant dropping consistency.  if it’s too thick, add a splash of milk. 
  6. Turn into your cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour, or until a knife comes out clean from the middle of the cake.
  7. Allow to cool in the tin before turning onto a wire rack.
  8. sprinkle with icing sugar and some more cinnamon and serve with a lovely cup of tea
  9. Enjoy!
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Filo apple and blueberry strudel


This is another recipe to use up the contents of my mother in laws fridge.  She had filo pastry and a load of cooking apples.  So this seemed obvious!  I added the blueberries and almonds to make it more interesting.  And it seemed to  go down very well.  I used very little sugar in this, and as it’s filo pastry – this is actually fairly low in calories for a dessert.

According to the calorie recipe wizard – it’s 161 calories per slice, which for a dessert is nothing really.  You can quite happily have a slice and not feel guilty.  Of course if you add icecream or clotted cream to it, that’s going to up the calories quite considerably.  But you could go for a frozen or normal yoghurt instead or custard to reduce the calories, or just eat plain.

You can also freeze this.  Just make the strudel and freeze before cooking.  Defrost and bake as normal making sure you add the cinnamon on top before putting it in the oven.  And because of this, it makes an easy dinner party or family dinner dessert as it can be done ahead of time and defrosted when needed.

It’s also super simple to make.  I was expecting the whole thing to be harder than it was really.  I got the recipe from here http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/21686/apple-strudel-with-filo-dough and except for adding the blueberries and almonds, I kept to the recipe (mostly because it’s so simple, it’s hard to do anything else!).

I also made an apple and cherry pie with normal shortcrust pastry (all from her fridge!) but I’m not great with shortcrust pastry and whilst it tasted nice, it could have been better so I shall wait to post about that until I perfect a pie!

Filo apple and blueberry strudel

Serves 8

  • 1 packet of filo pastry (5-6 sheets)
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 500g apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 100g blueberries
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Mix together the apples, blueberries, almonds, 1 tsp cinnamon and sugar.  Set aside.
  2. Using a clean tea towel, lay 1 sheet of filo pastry on top of it.  brush with melted butter.  Lay the next sheet on top and repeat.  Repeat until you’ve layered all the sheets.
  3. Place the apple filling in the top third of the pastry (if looking at it wide side on), leaving about 5cm edge at top.
  4. Using the tea towel, fold the top edge over the filling.  Follow this by folding up the bottom part of the pastry over the filling to join the other side of the pastry.  Try to do this as tight as possible.
  5. Carefully place on a buttered baking tray, seam side down.
  6. Brush the remaining butter over the top of the strudel and sprinkle over some more cinnamon.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Remove, slice and serve with custard, ice cream or cream.  It’s also good cold.
  8. Enjoy 🙂
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A truly yummy summer cheesecake: mango and passion fruit

I apologise.  I’ve been somewhat absent from posting.  It’s been a bit hectic and to be honest, I’ve been cooking things I love and have already posted about.  I did the crispy chilli beef yesterday and Keralan egg curry the other day.  But that’s all excuses.  And to make up for it, I have a truly scrummy dessert here for you that ‘s perfect for bbqs or dinner parties, or just for dessert.  And the quantity of fruit puree in in means it tastes very light (I can assure you that the calorie count will tell you otherwise – this is not a diet dessert!).

It’s no bake as well, so can easily be make the day before if entertaining.  There is the odd fiddly bit but nothing overly complex.  And it should keep for several days in the fridge, no problem at all.  Your guests will genuinely be wowed by this dessert (especially if you decorate with pieces of mango and some passion fruit seeds, which I meant to do but didn’t quite get round to!).  You could serve with a dollop of cream or mascarpone or vanilla icecream, or even make a coulis from the passion fruit.

I found the original recipe here http://reliefchef.org/Documents/pastry-mangopassionfruit%20cheesecake.pdf and to be honest, I didn’t really change it.  Except that, I thought the quantities looked a bit high so I reduced them.  I was wrong on the amount of biscuit base but right about the cheesecake topping.  I reduced the topping quantities and it only barely fit into my dish!  So I’ll give you the quantities as I ended up using.

Also, especially with no bake cheesecakes, I just make them in my flan dish and leave it in there for serving.  Saves wondering if it’s going to fall apart when it comes out!  Any flat dish with a slight edge will do however, or use a spring board cake tin.

Any desserts involving fruit, providing its not something where they have to look pretty, its best using very ripe or overripe fruit.  It’s an excellent way of using them up and the dessert will taste better for it because they’ll have a higher quantity of sugar in them and you can reduce the amount of added sugar.  I also found that I used over ripe mangos and they really didn’t need cooking with the sugar to soften them.  They were on the verge of going mushy anyway and were very sweet.  So I just skipped that bit.  If your mangoes are less ripe, then do cook them with sugar to soften them first.  My passion fruit were also over ripe, starting to wrinkle and were reduced to 15p at tescos!  so they weren’t so pretty but very tasty and sweet, plus the seeds came out much easier.

You can buy gelatin sheets from most supermarkets, but if you can’t find any, use a lemon or lime jelly but just disolve it in 4 tbsp of boiling water instead and leave out the sugar when softening the mangoes as the jelly will have lots of sugar in it already.  This is my mum’s handy tip!  For more information on gelatin, take a look here, I found it very helpful http://www.britishlarder.co.uk/how-to-use-gelatine/#axzz1RneUN0h0.  Just remember, gelatin isn’t vege friendly so if you’re serving to veges, use a gelatin alternative.  And yes you do need something that will make it gel or you’ll get a soggy pile of mush instead of cheesecake (trust me, I know!  Had an incident with a strawberry cheesecake once!).  You could also turn this into a baked cheesecake and that would remove the need for gelatin – but use egg whites instead.

A food processor, smoothie maker, juicer or hand blender of some sort is pretty handy.  I suppose you could probably turn the fruit to pulp by hand, it would just take longer.  But try it in some strong bags with a rolling pin, or using the pestle from your pestle and mortar and a larger bowl.  Alternatively, look for pre-done fruit pulp in the supermarket.

Mango and passion fruit cheesecake

Serves about 12-16

  • 250g digestive biscuits
  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 125g melted butter (I used margerine actually)
  • 2 mangoes (medium sized, plus extra for decorating)
  • 8 passionfruit (plus extra for decorating, making couli with)
  • (2oog sugar & 200ml water – if softening the mangoes)
  • 4 sheets gelatine, softened in cold water, then dissolved in about 4 tbsp hot water (not boiling but over 35 degrees celsius)
  • 400g cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
  • 400ml double cream (I used elmlea), whipped
  1. Bash or wizz your biscuits into crumbs whilst you melt the butter.  Then add the biscuits to the melted butter and add in the sugar.  Mix well to combine then spread over the base of your flan dish or cake tin.  Press down hard (I use my fingers for this bit) and chill in the fridge.
  2. Next, peel, chop and remove the seed from the mangoes and soften them if you need to in a saucepan on a how heat with the sugar and water.  Remove all the fruits from the passion fruit skins.  Then put the mango (and any juices) and the passion fruit in a blender, processor or bowl and turn into puree.
  3. Next seive out any lumps and the seeds from the puree (I had to seive twice and still got the smallest seeds left in, but found this didn’t affect the taste or texture as most were removed) and add the disolved gelatine to it.
  4. Next add the cream cheese and mix well until thoroughly combined (I found a hand whisk was most effective with this) and fold in the whipped cream.
  5. Pour the mix over the biscuit crumb base, smooth with the back of a knife or spoon and refridgerate until set.  I usually prefer to leave it overnight.
  6. When you’re ready to serve it, arrange some mango and passionfruit over the top of it or pour over a coulis.
  7. Serve with a nice glass of dessert wine and enjoy the summer fruitiness!
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