Friday, 22 July 2011

Strawberry Chocolate Brownie Cheescake

This is a variation on a slice from The Hummingbird Bakery.  It's lovely on a sunny day with a cold glass of something.  The strawberry's really help cut through the rich chocolate base so it's not too sickly sweet and means it's easier to have that second slice.  The Hummingbird Bakery use raspberries I think which are possibly a little sharper but just as good.


100g Dark Chocolate
100g Margarine
130g Icing Sugar
2 Eggs
60g Plain Flour

200g Cream Cheese
80g Icing Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Paste
1 Egg

150ml Double Cream
50g Icing Sugar
80g Chopped Strawberry's plus more to decorate

Heat the oven to 170 C

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and leave to cool slightly.  Mix the remaining brownie ingredients till well combined, I use my freestanding mixer - my beloved Kitchen Aid in launderette yellow.  Now add the melted chocolate, resisting the urge to stick your head under the flow.

Pour the mixture into your lined baking tin.  Mine measured 25cm x 19cm.

Next mix your cheesecake ingredients in a clean bowl, I'm not lucky enough to have extra bowls for my mixer but they are on my birthday/christmas list if anyone is interested oh and a splatter guard please.

Pour this onto the brownie base and bake for 25-30 minutes.  It might rise and crack slightly but once cooled it shrinks back down and any cracks disappear, plus you'll be smothering it in cream.

It's best to leave it over night in the fridge before you put the topping on.  Put the cream, icing sugar and strawberry's in the mixer and whip till thick but still a little loose.  It will firm up further on it's own.  Decorate with sliced strawberry's.

It doesn't last long in our house but I did manage to hide a slice and it was still good after 3 days.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

West Kirby Primary School Fair


There are lots of things to love about our school fair.  The great live jazz played by two of our parents, chicken poo lotto - will it ever poo on my number?!  The Pimms stall and my children buying back the toys that I donated saying "I used to have one of these, they're great" to name but a few.

These were simple to make and really effective.
  I cut these owls out of a t-towel and sewed them onto t-shirts.

I also love being part of it and having my own stall selling home produce.  But the very best part is having returning customers each year.  I unfortunately disappointed a small boy this year by not having his favourite sausage & apple pie - sorry Joe

The pies always go down well, Saturdays included:

Chicken & Stuffing
Ham & Egg
Cheese & Potato
Goats Cheese & Onion

I also had scotch eggs, meat samosas, chocolate brownies and fruit scones.  There was also a good selection of jams which included strawberry, mango, mixed fruit (a collection of the last of the home grown berries from the freezer)  blueberry & strawberry and a marrow & ginger jam which generated a lot of discussion.  Marrow jam is something I remember my mother making and I've pimped this a little and added ginger and lemon.  Don't be scared of the marrow, it really has no taste but gives it a similar texture to pineapple.

Marrow & Ginger Jam
1kg Marrow, peeled and cut into small cubes
3 Lemons, Juice & Zest
1kg Jam Sugar (with added pectin)
50g Fresh Ginger, peeled and grated

Put the marrow in a large pan with half the lemon juice and cook on a low heat till the marrow becomes soft but not mushy, it should look translucent.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir till the sugar dissolves.  Bring it to the boil then simmer for about 15 minutes till it reaches setting point.  You could use a jam thermometer but if you don't have one pop a saucer in the freezer before you start the jam then when you're ready take it out and put a small spoon of jam onto it.  Leave it a minute to cool then run your finger through the jam, if it has a skin and wrinkles it's ready.

Pour you jam into sterilised jars and leave to cool.