Black Cherry Cheesecake Topped with Kirsch Soaked Black Cherries

Black Cherry Cheesecake

There are some desserts that I just cannot resist and cheesecake is one of them. Maybe it’s because it’s something I’ve grown up eating or maybe it’s just because cheesecake is the best dessert ever.

Not only is cheesecake the best dessert ever, this cheesecake is the best blackcherry cheesecake ever.   The secret is all down to some natural flavoured black cherry icing sugar from Sugar and Crumbs.

sugar and crumbs black cherryI tasted a little before mixing it into the cheesecake mixture and it had a lovely intense black cherry flavour – I could have eaten it in spoonfuls out of the pack!  Even when mixed with the cream cheese and cream there was still a very definite black cherry flavour.  It would have been hard to find black cherry flavouring so using flavoured icing sugar was a perfect way to get the taste I wanted.

The finished black cherry cheesecake was delicious, not too rich and perfect as an adult dessert, although you can omit the kirsch soaked black cherries and the extra juice if you want.

This icing sugar would be perfect to make a black cherry flavoured buttercream icing too and so I may use the rest to decorate some little cupcakes.  There’s a recipe on the pack if you’re not used to making buttercream.  The icing sugar is white but if you wanted it to look more like how it tastes, you could easily add a little food colour.  If you have a look on the Sugar and Crumbs website there are so many delicious flavours – pineapple, peach melba and pistachio are just some of the ones I am tempted by at the moment.

Sugar and Crumbs flavoured icing sugar comes in 250g or 500g resealable bags and costs from £2.99.

black cherry cheesecake 3

Ingredients – Serves 10

8 digestive biscuits (120g approx)

75g butter

300g cream cheese

60g black cherry flavoured icing sugar

250ml double cream

Jar of black cherries in Kirsch or something similar (optional)

How to Make Black Cherry Cheesecake

1. Crumble the digestive biscuits between your fingers to make crumbs.  Alternatively blitz them in a food processor or put them in a food bag and bang them with a rolling pin.

2. Melt the butter in the microwave or a small saucepan.   Pour it over the biscuit crumbs and stir till them are all coated in the butter and the mixture is clumping together.

3. Put the crumbs into the bottom of a 20cm springform or loose bottomed cake tin.  Press them down with a spoon.

4. In a food mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and creamy.   Beat in the icing sugar.

5. In another bowl, whisk the cream until it stands in soft peaks.   Fold the cream into the cream cheese mixture then spoon it on top of the cheesecake base.

6. Smooth the top and put it in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours.

7. To serve, remove the cheesecake carefully from the tin and top with some of the cherries.   When you serve, drizzle with some of the liquid from the jar of cherries.

Disclosure: I was sent some sample packs of Sugar and Crumbs Flavoured Icing Sugar but the views here are my own.

Recipe Redux: Pesto Crusted Sea Bass

Grilled Sea bass with a pesto coating

I’ve made lots of different pestos over the years.   Some of them have featured on this blog, some of them haven’t.   Until now they have all had one thing in common – cheese.   This pesto is the first one I’ve made without cheese as I was aiming for a lighter and fresher pesto recipe.

The reason for that is that this is my first month taking part in the Recipe Redux, a food blogging challenge set up by dietitians where the focus is on creating delicious but also healthy dishes.   This month the theme was double dinners and we were challenged to either make a healthy meal from the leftovers of a dish on our blog or to cook a new dish but to show how the leftovers could be used to make another delicious dinner as well.

I chose to make two meals with coriander pesto but adapted the recipe on my blog to make it less oily.  For my first meal of parmesan crusted sea bass I wanted the pesto to have quite a thick consistency so it would coat the fish like a crust, keeping the fish moist but also adding lots of pesto flavour.   This meant not adding too much olive oil to it.

It worked.   The fish was moist and the pesto made it so yummy.   Avoiding adding cheese was definitely the best option for this dish.   It just doesn’t need it – the flavours from the lemon, garlic, chilli pepper and coriander are perfect for the sea bass.  Or any other white fish you choose to use.

For my second dinner we just mixed the pesto with pasta.   As the pesto was quite thick I left quite a bit of the cooking water in with the pasta before stirring in the pesto so that the sauce would be liquid enough to coat all of the pasta and although you can’t see it in the picture further down, I then topped each plate of pasta with a small handful of grated parmesan, making a slightly richer but just as delicious pesto dinner.

Ingredients – Makes enough pesto to make both meals

Large handful of coriander including stalks and leaves (approx 60g)

50g cashew nuts

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

1 dried green chilli pepper, crumbled

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 sea bass fillets

How to Make Coriander Pesto Crusted Sea Bass

1. Put the cashew nuts into a dry frying pan and toast them until they are turning golden.  Keep tossing the pan so they don’t burn.

2. Put all the pesto ingredients into a food processor and blitz until everything is well combined.

3. Put a tablespoon of the pesto on each sea bass fillet and press it down so it coats the whole of the top of the sea bass.   Grill for 10 minutes.

Coriander pesto on pasta

Click on the link below to see what other Recipe Redux bloggers have made for their double dinners.

Beef and Egg stir Fry

beef and egg stir fry

I have the Sainsbury’s magazine and Ken Hom to thank for this recipe.   I am a recent convert to the magazine after picking up a copy at the end of last year.   I always find about 4-5 recipes I really want to make and this month was no exception.

I often make stir fries but I have to admit that I am a bit stuck in a rut.   I use the same flavours and sauces and apart from different vegetables, the basic flavour tends to be the same.   I was attracted to this particular stir fry as it had egg in as well as meat and the way it was added was some thing I’d never tried before.   Of course, I’ve made stir fried rice with egg, but never put egg in with the meat and vegetables.

I also hadn’t used  black bean sauce at home for a long time, although it is my favourite takeway choice.  The fact that you just use a tiny bit but then the jar says to use up within a certain number of days always puts me off.  We like Chinese food but we are unlikely to eat it every day!

I really liked this but did find it slightly salty so next time I wouldn’t add the soy sauce in step 5 and I would also use a smaller amount of black bean sauce.   I’d probably add a tiny bit in step 3 then just add a little more at the end if it needed it. Of course, the saltiness could be down to the particular brand I was using, but I think it would make sense to do that next time anyway.  Apart from that it was a really good discovery and a nice way of using mince rather than making it into burgers or bolognese.

Ingredients

For the Beef Marinade

200g beef

2 tsp soy sauce

1.5 tsp shaoxing rice wine

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp cornflour

For the eggs

2 eggs

1 tsp sesame oil

Pinch of salt

Other Ingredients

3 cloves garlic, finely diced or crushed

Small knob of fresh ginger, finely diced or grated

1 tbsp black bean sauce

3 spring onions, diced

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine

1 tsp caster sugar

1 large tomato

1 tsp sesame oil

How to Make Beef and Egg Stir fry

1. Put all the marinade ingredients for the beef in a bowl.   Mix together and then add the beef mince and mix it in quickly with your hands.   Leave for 15 minutes.

2. Prepare the eggs by beating the eggs, sesame oil and salt together in a bowl.  Set aside.

3. Add a little oil to a wok or large frying pan.  When it is hot, add the garlic, ginger, black bean sauce and spring onions.

4. Cook for about 30 seconds then add the beef.   Keep stirring and breaking up the beef as it cooks.

5. Cook for a couple of minutes then add the extra soy sauce(optional), shaoxing rice wine and sugar.   Stir in then add about 60ml of water and the tomatoes.

6. When the water has reduced and the beef is cooked, drizzle the egg in and stir slowly.   As soon as the egg is cooked, serve the mince with rice and drizzled with a little more sesame oil.

I am linking this to Bunny Eats Design’s Our Growing Edge, hosted this month by Cynthia from Eat Munch Love and also linking to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum.Tasty Tuesdays

Our Growing edge

February 2015 Degustabox Review

Degustabox February 2015

After the healthiness of January I was pleased to see the products in February’s Degustabox.   They were all things I wanted to try and as I don’t really like tea, I was especially pleased to see there were no tea bags this month!

lily o'briens cocoa cookie crunch

The first item and my absolute favourite this month was the Lily O’Brien’s Cocoa Cookie Crunch.  These are round biscuit shaped chocolates with small pieces of crunchy dark cookie in each one.  I wished I’d been sent a few packs of these and would definitely buy them again. £2.60

American Muffin Co Brownie BitesUnfortunately I was a little disappointed with these gluten and wheat free American Muffin Co Chocolate Brownie Bites.   I love brownies and to me a brownie is a dense rich sticky chocolatey block of deliciousness.   I also love cake but they are two different things.  As these are called brownies I expected them to be like brownies but they are not.   They are just pieces of cake with chocolate chips in but shaped like a brownie.  If only they had just been called cake, then I would have felt a bit more positive about them. £2.50
schwartz shots

These Schwartz flavour shots are a really good idea, especially if you don’t have a big stock of individual spices at home.  I love paella but hadn’t made it for a while so this was the perfect excuse.   The paella was full of flavour and actually quite spicy for paella, which is certainly not something I’d complain about. £1.40 each
Melba thins

These Melba thins are crisp and crunchy and come in little individually wrapped packages with 6 in each – perfect for putting in your bag to snack on when you’re out and about.   I liked them just plain but they are also lovely with peanut butter or smoked salmon and cream cheese.  In fact, anything you like to put on bread, biscuits or in a sandwich would also be great on these. £1.39

Peanut hottie

It’s funny how I often find an item in my Degustabox that I have only just tried.   That was the case with this Peanut Hottie.  I love peanuts and peanut butter so to find a hot drink that tastes just like sweet peanut butter was a real delight.   This is the type of drink you’ll want to enjoy when you’ve been out in the cold battling the elements and you finally get to sit down somewhere warm, ideally in front of roaring log fire.  If only. £3.00

laimon fresh

Lemon and lime is a really lovely flavour combination.   Add in a bit of mint and it’s even better.   I loved this Laimon Fresh, a sparkling soft drink flavoured with lemon, lime and mint.   It definitely tasted fresh, if I’d had my eyes closed and someone gave me a  glass I would have though it had real fresh mint in it. £1.99

JAck Links Beef snack

Dried meat hasn’t really taken off here as a snack although it is very popular in some countries.  I love snacking on chorizo but would still be unlikely to buy any other meat snack but that’s probably more out of habit than anything else.   I was actually really impressed by this Jack Link’s Beef Snack.  The meat is nicely seasoned with a smoky taste.  It was easy to bite through and not overly chewy like some types of snacking beef can be. £1.39
Beet it
I do like fruity flapjacks.  Plain ones can be a little boring but fruity ones always win me around.   When I first saw these Beet It Sport Pro-Elite Bars I wasn’t sure if they would be for me.   After all, I am not the fittest I’ve been and also beetroot does seem like an unusual flavour for what is basically a flapjack.   Well, the beetroot gives it a lovely red colour and a sweet fruity taste.   Beetroot may not be a fruit but you wouldn’t know it if all you’d ever had was these sports bars.   Very tasty. £1.85 each
whole earth

Well, if you didn’t like peanut butter you probably wouldn’t have been impressed by the Peanut Hottie or this Whole Earth 3 Nut Butter containing cashews, peanuts and hazelnuts.   Luckily, I love nut butters and now have another one to add to my collection. This one is slightly crunchy, naturally sweet and absolutely perfect on toast. £3.00

A Degustabox costs £12.99 and contains 9-14 mystery products to try each month. If you would like to try a Degustabox, once again I have  a discount code so you can get £3 off your first box: 01Z62

You can also follow Degustabox on Twitter or Facebook.

Cranberry Oat Streusal Muffins

Cranberry oat streusal muffin

I was determined to make something healthy this month for Secret Recipe Club.   I planned to make this tasty looking salad but when my shopping arrived the romaine lettuce was missing.   Never mind, I thought I would wait until I was out at the shops and buy some lettuce then.   I forgot.   It seemed that I was not meant to make that salad, although it is still on my list.

Instead, I opted to make these delicious sweet oaty cranberry muffins flavoured with cinnamon.   The attraction?   That dark sugary streusal topping.   I love streusal and can never resist a muffin or cake with a streusal top.   Usually it’s not me who’s made it though.   These are the type of muffins I see when I’m in a cafe and just have to have.   They are normally my can’t resist impulse buy.

This time though, I found the muffins on It’s Yummi, a blog by Chef Becca Heflin, who was my Secret Recipe Assignment this month.  I actually saw them before I saw the salad but cranberry streusal muffinsI just kept being drawn back to them. I couldn’t go out and buy them and as Becca lives in Wisconsin and I am here in the UK, there was little chance of her making them for me in person.  I would just have to make some streusal myself!

I only adapted the recipe slightly, partly through being in a hurry to weigh out the ingredients before Master Spice demanded attention again!   I also changed the measurements to metric to make it easier for me to make the muffins.   There was a long list of ingredients but as they are just mixed together that doesn’t translate into a long preparation time.   The finished muffins were really tasty, especially when still warm with a bit of ice cream.

The recipe called for dried cranberries although there were fresh ones in the picture on Becca’s blog and I think the muffins would be even more delicious with fresh cranberries.   They are very sweet so the tartness of the cranberries would be a nice contrast, at least for me as I don’t have a very sweet tooth.   You could also adapt them by using different dried fruit.

As Becca is a chef she has so many delicious looking and sounding recipes on her blog.   There are a mix of sweet and savoury recipes and most recipes are healthy, involving cooking from scratch using easily available unprocessed ingredients.  I promise you, especially if you like cupcakes and have a slow cooker, you will definitely find some inspiration so do take a look.

Cranberry oat streusal muffin

 

Ingredients – Makes 10

90g rolled oats

240g whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

2tsp ground cinnamon

100g dark brown sugar

100g white sugar

2 eggs

60ml vegetable oil

60ml milk

80ml natural yoghurt

120ml applesauce (I used two stewed apples)

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g dried cranberries

Ingredients for the Streusal Topping

60g whole wheat flour

2 tbsp rolled oats

80g dark brown sugar

40g white sugar

60g butter, melted

How to Make Cranberry Oat Streusal Muffins

1. Prepare the streusal topping by melting the butter and then stirring it into the rest of the ingredients with a fork.

2. Put all the dry ingredients except the cranberries in a large bowl and mix together.

3. Put all the wet ingredients in another bowl and whisk together.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.   Add the cranberries and stir in.

5. Spoon the mixture into a muffin tin lined with muffin cases.   Fill the cases almost to the top.  Top each of the muffins with some of the streusal mixture.   I had some leftover.

6. Bake the muffins in the oven at 180C for about 18-20 minutes.   Cool the muffins on a wire rack.

 

I am also linking these to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum.

Tasty Tuesdays

Black and White Animal Cupcakes

Polar bear, sheep and cat cupcakes

I’m so proud of these little cupcakes.  There’s room for improvement certainly.  Next time I would use a slightly larger cutter to cut the piece of fondant that covers the top of the cupcake.  I would also knead the black fondant a little more before modeling the cat too, just to get a  smoother body.  I have to admit to having had the packet of black fondant in my cupboard for slightly too long so it had gone a little hard around the edges, even though it was sealed in the packet.

I actually made 9 cupcakes but only managed to decorate three of them.   Little Miss Spice was decorating the other ones and of course she kept trying to get her hands on the ones I had.  When it came to eating them, as always she chose to eat the ones I’d decorated and I ate the ones she’d ‘decorated’.

The cupcake recipe was the from the Compendium of Cake Decorating Techniques by Carol Deacon.  I used the quantities to make a small pound cake (15cm) but also added some vanilla extract.  The cupcakes turned out to have a delicious quite strong vanilla flavour which I loved.   It’s definitely a recipe I’ll use again for either a plain cake or cupcakes I plan to decorate.   In fact, I’ve already used it again but flavoured with lemon.

For the cat cupcake I took the idea from the Deacon book and just made a sausage shaped piece of fondant and then curled it around.   I pulled some fondant out to make the ears, used a small knife to make the eyes and then made a long worm-like piece as a tail.

I was inspired to make the sheep by this one on Rose Bakes and the polar bear by this one on Polka Dot Bride.  I just cut out pieces of fondant in the shapes I wanted and layered them up.

Ingredients

120g butter, at room temperature

120g caster sugar

175g self-raising flour

2 eggs

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

To decorate

Apricot jam

Black fondant icing

White fondant icing

How to Make Black and White Animal Cupcakes

1. Cream the butter and sugar together and beat until light and creamy.   Beat in the eggs, milk and vanilla and then fold in the flour.   Alternatively beat all the ingredient together using a food mixer.

2. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases and bake in the oven at 150C for 20 minutes. Test with a skewer to see if they are done.  Cool on a wire rack.

3. Heat the jam in a microwave and brush a thin layer on top of each cupcake to help the fondant to stick.

4. Cut out circles of fondant to put on each cupcake.

5. To make the cat, see my description above.

6. To make the polar bear, cut out a large circle and two curved triangles from the white fondant.  From the black fondant cut out a small black circle for the nose and two roll two tiny pieces between your fingers to make the eyes.  Use a little water to stick the fondant onto the cupcakes and then draw the mouth by pressing in with a knife and using a drinking straw to indent the curved bit.

7. To make the sheep, just cut out pieces of fondant in the right shapes and stick them on using water as above.  Use something thin and sharp to make the nostril holes.  If you are making a lot of sheep cupcakes you can make templates out of card for the sheep’s face and ears to make it easier to get all of the pieces the same size.  Just make sure the card is clean and cut around it.

I am linking these to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum and to Family Foodies with the theme Let’s Get Baking, hosted by Eat your Veg and Bangers and Mash. As they contain eggs I am also linking them to Belleau Kitchen’s new challenge, Simply Eggcellent.

Tasty Tuesdays

Family Foodiessimplyeggcellent_logo1

What’s New In My Kitchen: February 2015

This is a new series I’m starting to showcase new food, kitchen equipment and services I’ve been trying each month.  I love reading these post on other blogs and getting tempted by all the delicious foodies ideas I come across so now seemed a good time to start my own series, although I was supposed to have published this a few days ago!   Some of the products are ones I’ve been sent to try and others are just ones I have decided to try for myself as I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and love buying food in markets and small stores when I’m out and about.

Lushice Cocktail Sorbets

I sometimes make my own ice cream and sorbets but so far have always stuck to fruity or chocolaty flavouLushicers.   I’ve never tried adding alcohol to any of my own ice creations but I’m definitely inspired to give it a go after trying two sorbets from Lushice.   Lushice aims to capture the flavour of your favourite cocktails but in a sorbet.   I was sent Pina Colada and Strawberry Daiqari to try.   I don’t often drink cocktails but I do love pina coladas and the pina colada one was absolutely yummy, as well as being only 105 calories for 100ml.   It was very fruity with just a hint of rum to make it that little bit special.  I’ve only drunk a couple of strawberry daiquiries but I loved the fruitiness of the strawberry one too. Unfortunately my lovely husband loved it so much that there was virtually none left when I tried to have some.  These cost £4.99 for 500ml and you can find stockists on the Lushice website.

Hello Fresh Meal Kits

Hello freshOne of the things I love about being a food blogger is trying out new recipes and sometimes I like to be challenged to make something I otherwise wouldn’t have made.   Last  year I tried Gousto and although the meals were delicious and I picked up some new ideas about doing things from following the recipes exactly, which is something I rarely do, having a company deliver meal kits every week takes away the joy of finding new recipes to try and creating new recipes for myself.  Even so, after seeing all the advertising recently, I was curious to try Hello Fresh as a comparison and so signed up for just one week.   In terms of quality of ingredients there was little difference and nothing to complain about.  I enjoyed the three meals we had but there were none that I really wanted to make again.    I felt they were just lacking a little flavour.  For each meal I would have liked the flavour to be just a bit stronger and punchier, not a complaint I would have made for Gousto.  It may be unfair to make that comparison after just three meals from each company, especially when all the meals were good, but that was our initial impression.   A Hello Fresh box containing three meals for 2 people costs £39 and you can often find big discounts for your first box if you search online or if you just want to try one box.

Unearthed Spanish Snacking Chorizo

One of my favourite recently discovered Brands is Unearthed and my absolute favourite product is their chorizo meatballs.   We are all big fans of chorizo in this house.   I buy it ready sliced, as cooking sausages and when it’s in other products so I was keen to try the Unearthed Spanish Snacking Chorizo when I saw it recently in Waitrose.  It comes in a smallUnearthed Snacking Chorizo bag containing a few mini chorizo sausages.  If you are looking for an alternative to sweet snacks and like cured meat then this is a good choice.  As well as snacking it would also be great served as part of a selection of antipasti. £1.69

 

 

Raw Chocolate Making Kit from Indigo Herbs

Indigo Herbs Raw Chocolate Making Kit

For Christmas last year I came across a raw chocolate making kit online and knew immediately that I wanted to have a go at making my own chocolates.   As I was Christmas shopping at the time I couldn’t really justify getting one for myself and so did the next best thing.   I got one for someone I knew well: My sister.

Anyway, having bought my sister the present I wanted, I imagined I’d just have to wait till another birthday or Christmas to get someone to get me one so I was delighted when I was offered the opportunity to review a Raw Chocolate Making Kit Gift Set from Indigo Herbs.  My birthday had come early!

The kit came in a box with all the ingredient individually wrapped – cacao butter, vanilla powder, cacao powder, agave syrup, brazil nuts and gogi berries.  The few times I’d had gogi berries in the past I wasn’t impressed so I did consider just swapping them for raisins but then decided I should stick to the recipe as it came.   I was actually pleased I had. Once in the chocolate, the gogi berries were a little bit soft and chewy, almost caramelly.

The chocolate was very easy to make.  You just melt the cacao butter and then stirr in the rest of the ingredients one by one.   I used some silicone heart-shaped moulds to put  the chocolates in to set.   It was the first time I’d used them so I didn’t get a perfect finish.   There were a couple of air holes but they still looked pretty impressive for homemade chocolates.   They impressed my lovely husband anyway.   I had some chocolate leftover that wouldn’t fit in the moulds so I just dolloped it on a baking tray covering in cling film and put it in the freezer to set.  These ones certainly didn’t look as impressive but still tasted just as good.

I was worried that the chocolates might not be sweet enough as they had no sugar in and I hadn’t used agave syrup before.   I needn’t have worried.   They were lovely and definitely didn’t lack sweetness.  It’s also nice to be able to eat chocolate and not feel guilty.  The raw cacao bean hasn’t been roasted so apparently the chocolate retains more of the nutrients, minerals and anti-oxidants than a traditional chocolate bar.

So, would I recommend this kit from Indigo Herbs?   Well, I loved making the chocolates and if I hadn’t already given my sister a raw chocolate making kit, this is definitely the one I’d give her. I would definitely buy it again.

Homemade chocolates from Indigo Herbs raw chocolate making kit

Beef Bourguignon

beef bourguignon

On a cold winter’s day in February, what you need to eat is a stew.   You could make one with meat, vegetables and stock.  A simple stew like that would be delicious, but on certain days you need to push the boat out a little and not hold back on the red wine.   On days like that a rich beef bourguignon is the stew to go for.   I read somewhere that a real bourguignon doesn’t contain any stock, just red wine, and so that’s what I’ve gone for here.  Thanks to Tesco, my trusty food and drink supplier.

The key to a good bourguignon is not to skimp on the wine.   I have to admit that I rarely use quite as much wine as this.  Normally I use a little bit, about a glassful.   After all, we want to have the rest of the bottle to enjoy with the meal.   This time I went to the other extreme pouring half the bottle into the pan and saving just a large glass each to enjoy with the meal.   At least I wasn’t cooking for more people, then there would have been none left!

The bourguignon itself is rich and tasty.   The bacon, beef and mushrooms are a perfect match for all that red wine and you’ll be tempted to lick the plate.  Although I did just cook this at home for me and my husband, it would be a perfect meal to serve for friends too as you can prepare it in advance and just heat it up to serve.   Like lots of stews, it’s even more tasty the next day.

Ingredients – Serves 2

300g beef

2 rashers of thick smoked bacon, diced

150g mushrooms, cut in half

About 8 shallots, peeled but left whole

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp dried parsley

1 bay leaf

400ml French red wine

How to Make Beef Bourguignon

1. Heat a little oil in an ovenproof saucepan and brown the meat on both sides.   Remove the meat from the pan.

2. Cook the bacon until it is browned and then add the mushrooms, shallots and garlic.  Cook for another few minutes until it’s beginning to brown then add the herbs, tomato puree and a dash of the red wine.   Scrape the bottom of the pan so that any bits that are beginning to stick to the pan go back into the sauce.

3. Return the beef to the pan and top with enough red wine to just cover the contents. Bring to the boil and then put in the oven at 150C.  Cook for three hours.

4. Take the pan out of the oven.  If there is too much sauce, take the vegetables and meat out of the pan and boil the sauce to reduce.  To keep the meat and vegetables warm, put them in another oven-proof container and return them to the oven until the sauce has reduced.

5. Serve with baked or mashed potatoes.

Disclosure: Written for Tesco

Raspberry Pavlova

Raspberry pavlova

My mum makes a fantastic pavlova with crisp crunchy meringue on the outside and soft sticky meringue on the inside.   From now on, I can say that I make a fantastic pavlova too!  Well, I like to think I am fairly modest so I will have to rely on the people who ate this raspberry pavlova with me to spread the word.   And if it slips their mind?   Well, I’ll just have to rely on this blog too.

For years my mum has made a pavlova for family gatherings. The fruit is sometimes different – sometimes berries, sometimes grapes, sometimes kiwi fruit – but the pavlova itself is always the same and it always has that delicious chewy middle underneath the crunchy meringue.  She recently told me proudly that Mary Berry’s recipe was exactly the same as her one.  You would almost have thought she’d given the recipe to Mary Berry!

This was my first attempt at a pavlova and I wasn’t sure how well it would turn out, despite the pedigree of the recipe.   I feared that somehow I would mess it up and it would all turn out hard and crispy.   I needn’t have worried.   After making this I would say that a pavlova is just about the easiest dessert to make and still manage to impress.   As long as you have an electric whisk you just cannot go wrong.

There are so few ingredients – eggs, sugar, cream, fruit.   Oh and just a tiny bit of vinegar and cornflour.   Why not make it straightaway?

Of course, If you don’t like sugar then you’d best avoid this.   If you don’t like cream then I’d also stay away and if you have an egg allergy then it might not be suitable, but if you have a sweet tooth and a love of sweet sugary desserts but with a bit of fruit thrown in, just to make you feel it might be healthy, then go for it.

When buying any eggs in the UK it’s always worth checking that they have the British Lion stamp on them.  These eggs have had to meet stringent food safely and welfare standards, which has led to salmonella being almost completely eradicated from British Lion eggs.

I chose to decorate my pavlova with raspberries as we all really like them but any fruit would do.  Strawberries would be perfect, as would blueberries.   I like the idea of peaches or mango too. Yum.  In fact, I think I’m going to have to make this again soon, especially as I rather cheekily ate the last piece while my lovely husband was out of the house.  I thought he might just forget that we had some left.  He didn’t.

Ingredients – Serves 8

3 egg whites

175g caster sugar

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp white wine vinegar

400g raspberries

200ml double cream

2 tbsp icing sugar

How to make Raspberry Pavlova

1. Put the egg whites in the bottom of a mixer bowl and whisk until they begin to form soft peaks.

2. Add the sugar gradually, whisking as you add it.

3. Mix the cornflour and vinegar together and whisk in too.

4. Draw a 20cm diameter circle on a piece of baking paper and spoon the meringue onto it.

5. Put in the oven, preheated to 150C and turn it down to 140C straightaway.   Bake for 45 minutes and then turn the oven off.   Leave the pavlova in the the oven as it cools.  I took it out an hour later.

6. Whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks and then whisk in the icing sugar.

7. Put the cream in the middle of the pavlova and top with the raspberries.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum.

Tasty Tuesdays

 

 

 

 

Disclosure:  This is a featured post for British Lion Eggs.  However, the views it contains are my own.