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I have been very busy recently creating a menu of treats for people to give as Christmas presents. I am very happy with how successful it has been so far, but it does mean I have spent most of my spare time trialing recipes and making batch after batch of chutney! Because of this, I have had to put baking to one side. It does sounds a little sad, but I have really missed it! I used my uni friends coming to stay for the weekend as a perfect excuse to have a break from chutney and bake for them.

One of my friends, Zoe has Coeliac disease which means she has a gluten intolerance and has to follow a gluten free diet for medical reasons. Gluten free food seems to be the latest ‘fad’ for people in search of living a healthier life. Although this overshadows people who can’t eat gluten for medical reasons, it at least means that gluten free food is becoming more widely available.

In our first year at uni, Zoe made me delicious brownies for my birthday which were gluten free. She used Nigel Slater’s recipe who is a chef I have admired for years. He speaks so passionately about cooking and creates delicious food. I really like the way he describes his brownies “The crust is thin and lightly crisp, the centre poised between chocolate cake and the texture of a peat bog. The flavour is intense. This isn’t just gastroporn, this is positively pay-per-view.”

Because deliciously gooey brownies aren’t amazing enough, I decided to add Snickers to the mix before it went in the oven. I have seen people do this with lots of different chocolate bars and have wanted to try it for a while. Up until now I deliberately hadn’t bought a square tin because I knew it would tempt me to make brownies. I gave in when I needed one to make fudge for my Christmas menu and so at the first opportunity, I made brownies.

300g golden caster sugar
250g butter
250g chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids)
3 large eggs plus 1 extra egg yolk
60g flour
60g finest quality cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 23cm x 23cm tin with baking parchment
  2. Beat the sugar and and butter for at least 5 minutes until white and fluffy
  3. Break 200g of the chocolate and melt it in a bowl suspended over simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water! Keep stirring until the chocolate has melted and become smooth and glossy and then remove from the heat and set aside

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  1. Chop the remaining 50g of chocolate into small chunks and set aside

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  1. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder along with a pinch of salt. Turn the mixer back on to a low speed and add the egg a little at a time. As you add the egg, speed the mixer up
  2. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add in the melted and chopped chocolate and stir with a large metal spoon
  3. Fold in the flour and cocoa mix gently making sure you don’t knock the air out. This can take a couple of minutes to ensure the ingredients are fully combined
  4. Scrape the mix into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Now is the time to add any chocolate bars if you want to. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes. Test the brownies with a cocktail stick – it should come out sticky but not with raw mixture. If it does, put back in the oven for 3 minutes. Remember the brownie will solidify as it cools

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One of my favourite parts from the original recipe is ” Leave the cake out to cool before cutting. It needs time to calm down. Oh, and if you pull out your skewer and it comes out clean then I’m afraid you have blown it.” He is quite right, what makes a brownie so delicious is its gooeyness so if you over bake it you have ruined it, as harsh as that sounds.

Between the five of us, we managed to easily eat the brownies within 12 hours – four of us ate two in one sitting! They are so rich and moist and delicious and the contrast between the soft gooey brownie and crunchy Snickers is fantastic. Obviously you can make these with ordinary plain flour and any chocolate bar you like; or even leave them as they are.

These are easily one of the nicest things I have baked.

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Beef Burgers

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If you read my posts often you will know I am quite fussy. I love burgers, but I don’t like them when they are made with onion. I first has this recipe a good few years ago when my sister made them using a Jamie Oliver recipe. Since then Jamie has realised lots of different burger recipes but I have been reluctant to try a different one as everyone loves this recipe. I have made these burgers for friends and family and have been told repeatedly that they are delicious. My boyfriend’s Mum isn’t a massive fan of beef burgers but she has said she loves these. These are the only beef burgers you will get if you come to my house!

The original recipe can be found here I’m not 100% sure exactly how my sister made them, but I have tweaked the original recipe slightly to meet my own tastes. This recipe is great for adding more of what you like, and leaving out things you don’t.

This recipe is perfect for beginner cooks as it is so easy. As you will see by the photos, Rien made these.

Makes 4 large burgers 
500g beef mince
12 cream crackers, crushed
1 egg
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp  oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
Salt and pepper

  1. Put the crackers in a sealed plastic bag and crush them using a rolling pin until they are broken into smallish pieces. You don’t want fine crumbs at all, some texture is what adds to the burger

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  1. Put all of the ingredients in a bowl  and mix thoroughly to combine making sure all of the ingredients are mixed. I find it easiest to do this with my hands

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  1. Divide into four portions and shape into patties. If it isn’t holding together, add a little more egg to bind

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  1. These burgers are delicious cooked on the BBQ; on a high heat they should need about 7 minutes per side. If you don’t want to BBQ them or like me don’t have a BBQ, I put them in an oven set to 200ºC for approximately 20 minutes

These burgers are lovely and juicy with the crackers adding a nice crunch. They are very tasty with or without a bun, but I always serve them with homemade wedges.

They are so tasty and easy to make you will find yourself making them time and time again!

Nutella Muffins

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I LOVE Nutella. I think it is possibly one of the greatest things ever invented. I’m not one of those people you see in the advert that likes to eat Nutella on toast for breakfast, no way. My favourite way to eat Nutella without a doubt is with a spoon straight from the jar. This is why it is very dangerous for me to have Nutella in the house because it sits in the cupboard tempting me.

My lovely friend Millie, bought me the cutest heart shaped spoon which she had engraved with ‘Nutella spoon’ because she knows how much I love it. I now have to use that spoon every time I have Nutella and it makes me think of Millie.

As I have mentioned before, I like to have a muffin for breakfast and am trying to find healthier recipes for muffins. When I was thinking of different flavoured muffins, Nutella popped into my head. Now I know what you’re thinking – Nutella is not healthy. I’m not trying to claim it is, but by using yogurt in the recipe it reduces some of the fat and you only need a teaspoon full of Nutella. Depending on how generous you are with the Nutella will change how many calories are in the muffins, but if you use a level teaspoon the muffins are roughly 270 calories. In my quest to find a tasty, healthy muffin I know 270 calories is still not great, but it is less than the blueberry muffins I made so it is a start!

I used a recipe that I found on Pinterest for the muffin mix and instead of using chocolate chips, I used a small dollop of Nutella ( The muffins were lovely and fluffy with amazing Nutella goodness. I freeze them and the night before I want one, take it out and leave it on the side to defrost. This does mean they aren’t as fluffy as when they were first baked but I don’t want to eat 12 muffins in one sitting!

Depending on how big you make them, this mix will make between 12 and 14 muffins.

2 cups plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup no fat Greek yohurt
12-14 tsp Nutella

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a muffin tin with liners
  2. Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the vegetable oil, eggs and yogurt
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined

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  1. Fill the cases half way with mix and then add a level teaspoon of Nutella into the middle of each muffin. Cover the Nutella with the remaining muffin mix

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  1. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean

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These muffins are really easy so perfect to make a batch and enjoy as a tasty breakfast.


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I have been very busy lately which is why I didn’t join in last week with #GreatBloggersBakeOff. I spent last Sunday with my Mum making labels ready for my chutneys that I am selling for people to give as presents or enjoy themselves around Christmas. I have been so happy and slightly surprised with how many people have placed orders already. So much so that I have had to order lots more jars to meet the demand! Because of this, I have been spending the majority of my spare time making the chutneys which has meant everything else has taken a back seat. I was looking forward to making doughnuts last week for #GreatBloggersBakeOff but I ran out of time. I have had a doughnut baking tray for a couple of months now which I am dying to use so I will be making doughnuts as soon as I can!

Week 9 of GBBO was patisserie which is something I have never even contemplated trying before. The technical bake and showstopper looked a little bit time consuming which wasn’t what I was looking for, so I decided to make baklava. Like in the show, I have no idea what the correct way to pronounce it is! I didn’t want to mess around with the recipe and wanted to keep it quite traditional. My idea of baklava is filo with pistachios with a syrup flavoured with rose water and honey. There seem to be a lot of slightly different variations out there, but I eventually found a recipe that incorporated all of the ingredients I associate with baklava. I did end up slightly tweaking the recipe but the original one was found at I obviously used ready-made filo pastry. I can’t see myself ever feeling the need to make it myself!

My manager at work has been suggesting baklava as something I could make for months now so when it came up on GBBO, there was no escaping it! I can’t remember ever eating baklava before, so finger’s crossed I like it!

For the baklava
300g shelled pistachio nuts
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
250g filo pastry
140g butter, melted

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC
  2. Grind the nuts in a food processor until they are coarsely ground and then mix in the cinnamon
  3. Lightly butter a 23cm square baking dish. Unfold the pastry and cut it in half, keep it under a damp tea towel to stop it drying out. Start layering the filo into the dish lying one sheet vertically and the next horizontally making sure you brush each layer with the melted butter.  After four sheets, scatter with a layer of the nuts. Repeat this until you have used up all of your nuts and filo

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  1. When you have finished, brush the top with melted butter and trim off the filo that is hanging over the tin. Cut diagonal lines right down to the bottom of the tin. The pastry will be too flaky when it comes out of the oven to cut which is why you cut it before it cooks

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  1. Put in the oven for 40-45 minutes until it is golden and crisp. If it is becoming too brown, turn the oven down to 170ºC
  2. Leave to cool

For the syrup
300ml water
350g caster sugar
125ml clear honey
1 tsp cinnamon
½ orange zest
1½ tsp rose water 

  1. Put all of the ingredients into a pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until the syrup has reduced by 1/3. Pour the syrup into a jug and let it cool
  2. When the baklava has come to room temperature, pour half of the syrup down the cuts. Leave this to soak in for 5 minutes or so and then pour the remaining syrup down the cuts
  3. Leave for at least an hour to let the syrup soak into the baklava

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The pastry is deliciously crisp with layers or pistachios smothered with a thick, incredibly sweet syrup with the most amazing flavour which is like nothing I have had before. I think Nigella sums up baklava perfectly “This is so temple-achingly sweet that one small marked-out diamond, or maybe two, is enough. But even so, I love its perfumed sugariness – as much as I love the tender, rose-shot green of its equally fragrant nubbly interior.”

It’s not something you will sit and eat piece after piece, it is so sweet and satisfying that less really is more. This isn’t an everyday dish, but it makes an amazing treat for a special occasion. I am very pleased with how this recipe turned out because I have never used filo before and also because I had a fiddle with the recipe and did it my way.

To see more recipes inspired by GBBO. Please check out or follow @jennypaulin on Twitter.



Oreo Cupcakes

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I had seen a number of posts online where people had used mini Oreos on various cakes and thought they looked incredibly cute. I came across them in a shop the other day and instantly knew I wanted to make Oreo cupcakes with a mini Oreo on top. You could use a normal sized Oreo, but it doesn’t look as cute.

There are quite a few different recipes online for Oreo cupcakes so it was a case of looking around and finding the one I liked the sound of. I decided to make the recipe by Good Food Channel ( A few of the other recipes I had looked at said the cupcakes were too sweet or they hadn’t come out right. All of the recipes used cream cheese in the frosting which I thought sounded a little strange – cheese and chocolate, but it really works!

The original recipe said to use half an Oreo, but why would you use half when you can use the whole thing?! Yes I was feeling greedy, but I thought it would look better when you saw the inside of the cupcake.

For the cupcakes
11 large Oreo cookies
115g unsalted butter, softened
115g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
100g self raising flour
20g cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 tsp milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Line a muffin tin with 11 paper cases and put an Oreo in the bottom of each case

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  1. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until  pale and fluffy
  2. Sift the flour and cocoa powder and add to the mixture along with the eggs. Mix until all ingredients are combined. Add the milk and mix to combine
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases and bake for 20-25 mins or until a cocktail stick comes out clean

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For the frosting
50g butter, softened
80g full fat cream cheese
175g icing sugar
6 large Oreo cookies
11 mini Oreos to decorate

  1. If you have a food processor, whizz the large Oreos into fine crumbs. If like me you don’t have a food processor, but them in a sealed sandwich bag and bash them with a rolling pin. Make sure the crumbs are quite fine or else they will get stuck in the nozzle when you are piping
  2. Beat the butter, cream cheese and icing sugar together. Gently fold in the Oreo crumbs, be careful to not over mix. If the frosting is a little runny, put it in the fridge to chill for 15 mins or so

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  1. After you have piped the frosting onto the cupcakes, decorate each with a mini Oreo

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If you are making them in advanced, wait until you are about to serve them before you decorate with the mini Oreo as it can become a bit soft if you do this in advanced.

These cupcakes went down really well and are a must if you are an Oreo fan!


Chocolate chip cookies

Cat Bics 1(photo by me)

I first tried this recipe because of it’s claims to be as good as Millie’s cookies – I was not disappointed. They are delicious cookies with a crisp outside and a soft centre which is my favourite part of a cookie! I have made them a number of times since and people have said they taste even better than Millie’s cookies! They are really quick and simple to make. I always seem to have the ingredients in the cupboard for these so I can make a batch whenever is needed and no one is ever disappointed!

For the cookies
125g butter or margarine
100g light brown sugar
125g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g self raising flour
½ tsp salt
200g chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line baking trays with greaseproof paper and set aside
  2. Cream the butter and the sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined
  3. Sift in the flour and salt and then add the chocolate chips and mix
  4. Shape into walnut sized balls (if this means nothing to you, mine are about the size of a 50p) and place them on the lined baking trays. Make sure the cookies are placed far enough apart to allow room for them to spread in the oven. If you don’t they will merge together and you will get one huge cookie…then again that does sound quite good! If you want them soft in the middle like Millie’s, bake them for 7 minutes. If you want a crisp cookie, bake for 10 minutes. After 7 minutes they will look quite pale and still very squidgey, if you want them soft in the middle don’t be tempted to put them back in because you think they need longer. They will harden up and be perfect

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  1. Take them out of the oven and leave them to cool slightly on the tray before moving them to cool completely on a wire rack

Cat bics 2(photo by me)

Cookies A(photo by Betty)

You can use any kind of chocolate chips you like and also add other flavours. I have made them with white chocolate chips and added 1 tbsp of freeze dried raspberries (I’ve seen these in Waitrose and Sainsburys). You could also try milk chocolate chip and chopped hazelnuts.

I really recommend trying this recipe as it is so simple and produces great results!

This was the final recipe that I made for my photography session with @BettyBeston. I learnt so much from my session with her which I am hoping you can see in the photos I have added recently. Please check out her website at – her photographs are amazing!

The original recipe can be found at

Curly’s pasty

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Week 7 of GBBO was another pastry week where the signature bake was a savory parcel. I thought I would have a go at my version of a Cornish pasty for #greatbloggersbakeoff2014. I am not usually a fan of Cornish pasties and would never normally eat them, but I wanted to try a slightly different version. The traditional Cornish pasty has a filling of beef, potato, onion and swede. My Curly’s pasty leaves the swede out and adds some herbs.

I used Paul Hollywood’s Cornish Pasty recipe because although he isn’t my favourite person (I think he is very arrogant), there is no denying that his food looks delicious. I found the recipe here: and it features a video which I found really helpful – especially when it came to the crimping. I must have watched the video 3 or 4 times and still couldn’t figure out how to crimp the edge of my pasty! In the end I had to ask Rien to help me, so the crimping is down to him (he does have this uses).

Paul must be a hungry man because these pasties are enormous! Next time, I think I will make them half the size. I was really pleased with how these turned out; the pastry had a lovely texture and the filling was delicious. I will definitely make these again and possibly try a slightly different filling.

For the pastry
500g strong bread flour
120g suet
½ tsp salt
25g margarine
175ml cold water
1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt for the glaze

  1. Add the flour, suet, salt, margarine and water to a bowl. Use a spoon to combine the ingredients the best you can and the use your hand to crush the dough together to get a dry dough. If it isn’t coming together, add a a splash more water
  2. Turn out the dough onto a clean surface. You shouldn’t need any flour as the dough is tight rather than sticky, but if you do use a very small amount
  3. Knead the dough to combine the ingredients and break down the suet. Keep kneading for 5-6 minutes until your dough is smooth and glossy. If you watch the video in the original recipe, you can see Paul is really rough with the dough. Don’t be afraid to smack it around because this apparently gives the best results (and is quite fun)
  4. When the dough is smooth, wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30-60 mins

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For the filling
400g braising steak
500g waxy potatoes
175g onions
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Knob of butter
Spray oil

  1. While the dough is resting, peel and cut the potato and onion. The potato needs to be roughly 1cm² and the onion fairly finely diced. Cut the beef into similar sized chunks as the potato. Put the ingredients into a bowl along with the thyme, season generously with salt and pepper

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  1. Lightly grease a baking tray with spray oil and line with baking or silicone paper (not greaseproof). Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan assisted)
  2. After the dough has been left to relax, take it out of the fridge and divide it into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle roughly 25cm wide

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  1. Spoon a quarter of the filling into one half of each disc. Put a knob of butter on top of the filling
  2. Carefully fold the pastry over and seal the edges by pushing them together with your finger. Crimp the edges to seal the filling in. You can either do this by twisting the dough over (watch the video) or by using a fork. Once you get to the edge, fold the end corners underneath the pasty

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  1. Put the pasties on the baking try and brush the top of each with the egg and salt mixture. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the pasties are golden brown. If after 35 minutes they aren’t browning, increase the oven temperature by 10°C for the last 10 minutes or so

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Please visit for more of the #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 bakes.

Vanilla cake pops

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As well as other baking goodies, Rien’s sister bought me a cake pop making kit for my birthday. Included in the kit was a silicone cake pop mould to make it even easier. The other way to make cake pops is to make a normal cake and then crumble it up with frosting and shape into balls – like I did in my cake ball recipe. I really liked how simple the silicone mould was to use and that it kept the cake moist and light. You can buy silicon cake moulds very cheaply at supermarkets and Poundland; I recommend buying one to make your life easier!

I decided to make these when my friend Tasha was coming over so that we could both decorate them. You can use any flavour cake mix that you want, but I definitely recommend using Candy Melts for the icing. Candy Melts are chocolate coins which when melted give a lovely creamy consistency. What is really great about them is that they come in a wide variety of colours so there are lots to chose from. You will also need cake pop sticks to insert into the cake. You can buy both online or in Hobby Craft and Lakeland.

For the cake:
75g margarine
75g caster sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
75g self raising flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC (160ºC fan assisted). Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix again. Add the flour and mix until combined
  3. Fill the mould with the cake mix – I did this using a teaspoon. Fill them so that the mix is just below the top of the mould. If you overfill them, the mix will seep out and you won’t have the shape you need

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  1. Put in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool

For the icing
1 pack of Candy Melts
vegetable oil

  1. Melt the Candy Melts in the microwave for short periods of time making sure you stir in between each melt. This will help ensure it doesn’t become grainy
  2. Once melted, add enough vegetable oil to get a smooth consistency that will coat the back of a spoon. It needs to be runny enough to coat the cake evenly so there isn’t a set amount of oil to use, just keep adding a little as you go

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  1. Dip each stick in the melted chocolate so roughly 2cm of the stick is covered. Insert the stick 1cm into the cake ball and put in the fridge to firm up

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  1. Once the chocolate has hardened, dip each cake pop into the remaining Candy Melts so that the cake is completely covered. Tap the stick against the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate – this is where your cake will fall of the stick if it hasn’t hardened long enough. If this happens, you will be forced to eat it to hide the evidence and put the rest of the cake pops back into the fridge to chill for longer
  2. When you have iced each cake pop in the Candy Melts, decorate them however you would like

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New York Cheesecake

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I made this cheesecake quite a while ago for Rien’s birthday. He absolutely loves New York Cheesecake so I first made this recipe for him roughly 3 years ago. I still lived at home so was able to use all of Mum’s baking equipment which was very useful. Even so I managed to get myself really stressed and worked up making it. Rien loved it, but I said I would never make it again.

3 years later and after lots of nagging from Rien, I decided to attempt it again. There was no way I could make a cheesecake for my brother in law (the chocolate ripple cheesecake) and not make one for Rien. I was now in my own kitchen with my own equipment so I thought it was time to try again! It went so much better than last time and I was a lot more calm and relaxed. Don’t tell Rien though because he’ll be asking me to make it every week!

For the base:
85g butter, melted
140g digestive biscuits, crushed into fine crumbs
1 tbsp caster sugar

  1. Set an oven shelf to the middle of the oven and preheat it to 160ºC (fan) or 180ºC. Line the base of a 23cm springform cake tin with parchment paper
  2. Melt the butter in a pan or in the microwave and then stir in the crushed biscuits and sugar until it is evenly coated. If like me you don’t have a food processor, put the biscuits in a sealed bag and bash them with a rolling pin. Press the mixture into the bottom of the tin making sure it is an even layer – it might be easier to do this with clean hands. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes and then allow to cool while you make the filling

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For the filling
900g full fat cream cheese
250g caster sugar
3 tbsp. plain flour
pinch of salt
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ tso lemon juice
3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
200ml soured cream

  1. Increase the oven temperature to 200ºC for a fan oven or 240ºC for a conventional oven. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at a medium-low speed for approximately 2 minutes until it is creamy. Reduce the mixer to a low speed and gradually add the sugar, flour and a pinch of salt
  2. Change the paddle attachment to the whisk. Add the vanilla, lemon zest and juice to the cream cheese and mix. Whisk in the eggs and yolk, one at a time making sure you scrape down the bowl. Add the 200ml soured cream and mix on a low speed making sure you don’t over beat. The mix should be light and smooth
  3. Brush the sides of the springform tin with melted butter and put on a baking sheet. Pour the filling into the tin – if there are any lumps push them into the mix with a knife. Bake for 10 minutes

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  1. After 10 minutes, reduce oven temperature to fan 90ºC or 110ºC conventional and bake for 25 minutes more. If you gently shake the tin, the filling should have a slight wobble. Turn off the oven and open the oven door for a cheesecake that’s creamy in the centre, or leave it closed if you prefer a drier texture. Let cool in the oven for 2 hours. The cheesecake may get a slight crack on top as it cools – don’t panic about this, the topping will cover it later

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For the topping:
226ml soured cream
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp lemon juice

  1. Combine the soured cream with the sugar and lemon juice. Spread over the cheesecake right to the edges. Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight

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  1. Run a pallet knife around the sides of the tin to loosen any stuck edges. Unlock the side, slide the cheesecake off the bottom of the tin onto a plate, then slide the parchment paper out from underneath. Or if you’re too scared to do this like me, just cut it on the base of the tin – doesn’t look as professional but its easier!

If you aren’t very confident but would like to try a cheesecake, start with the chocolate ripple cheesecake and work up to the New York cheesecake. The original recipe can be found at

Goat’s cheese and pepper tart

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This post is inspired by Week 5 of GBBO which was tarts and pies. Although the tart they made in the show was sweet, I wanted to try a savoury one. I have been wanting to make a tart for a while now as my Mum bought be lots of baking bits for my birthday; including a tart tin and ceramic baking beans. I’ve only ever used shop bought pastry before because it is so convenient. I was slightly nervous about making it myself but it was very simple to make and turned out well. Goat’s cheese, peppers and thyme are a few of my favourite flavours so I knew I wanted to use them in my tart. I adapted a recipe from delicious magazine ( and used a BBC Food recipe for the shortcrust pastry.

For the shortcrust pastry
250g plain flour
pinch of salt
110g butter, cubed
5-6 tbsp cold water

  1. Put the flour and salt in a bowl and add the cubes of butter
  2. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Try to work quickly so it doesn’t become greasy
  3. Using a knife, stir in just enough water to bind the dough together
  4. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 10-15 minutes before you roll out

For the tart
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 peppers

2 tbsp fresh thyme
pinch of salt 

150g creamy goat’s cheese
200g low-fat crème fraîche

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Cut 2 peppers into strips and put them on a baking tray. Drizzle with the oil and vinegar and scatter with thyme leaves and salt. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes

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  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a circle about 4cm wider than the tin. Carefully lift the pastry into the tin (23cm tart tin) and gently press into the base and sides, taking care not to stretch the pastry. Trim any excess pastry and prick the base with a fork. Chill for 20 minutes

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  1. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Scrunch up a sheet of baking paper then smooth out to fill the pastry case and then fill with baking beans. Make sure they completely cover the base in a single layer. Bake for 15 mins

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  1. Remove the baking beans and paper and bake for a further 15 minutes, until golden and crisp. Leave to cool slightly
  2. Beat the goat’s cheese and crème fraîche together in a bowl until creamy. Season to taste. Spoon evenly into the tart case and arrange the peppers over the top. Spoon over any cooking juices

2014-09-06 15.34.43   2014-09-06 15.41.00 For my first attempt at a tart I was very happy – I was just happy I didn’t have a soggy bottom! The flavours were delicious and went really well with onion chutney. Please visit to see other people that are joining in with The Great Bloggers Bake Off. GBBO