“Blackberry Ricotta Cheesecake” from “Crumb”

Kirstin: I used to make cheesecake a lot when I was younger and not so much recently. But having made two wonderful recipes from Ms Tandoh’s books I can feel myself drawn to them again. And I urge you to do the same. This one had a beautiful blackberry compote mixed in (sadly not in the picture because we ate it all!) which went beautifully with the lemon ricotta flavoured cheese. Cheesecakes are an easy but very satisfying form of cake, lovely to share with others for tea and dinner alike. Do it. You know you want to.

“Blackberry Ricotta Cheesecake” from “Crumb”

“Brooklyn Cheesecake” from “Flavour”


Kirstin: So I had all these plans for us today, and as the girl is on half term I thought we should go to a museum or something. You know, to bond. But Storm Doris had other plans for us, and we decided to stay indoors. And make a cake!

Ella: I wanted to go to the British Museum and see the Brutus coin.

Kirstin: Riiiiight. That well known Brutus coin. Ha! I let Ella choose the cake but not the music.

Ella: I wanted to listen to Quomodo Dicitur.

Kirstin: I vetoed the musical choice because I don’t need to listen to Latin while baking. Anyway, why did you choose this cake?

Ella: Because I like cheesecake more than I like chocolate cake. And this one involved crushing things.

Kirstin: Yes, you did rather enjoy the crushing part, didn’t you.

Ella: I love to crush. We were supposed to use a rolling pin to crush the biscuits, but we also happen to own this spiky hammer, it’s like a hammer but with metal spikes. Perfect for smashing in the skulls of your enemies.

Kirstin: It’s a meat tenderiser.

Ella: So I was just taking out some of my rage on these biscuits, as you do, but I ended up foiled by the brazil nut effect.

Kirstin: Riiiight. So while that was happening, I was making the rest of the cake.

Ella: I still don’t understand what cream cheese is. Is it cream? Is it cheese? Is it some Franken-dairy-product?

Kirstin: Good question. I have never been able to figure it out.


Kirstin: …

Ella: There’s not even cheese in this cake. What kind of fake news is this. What kind of alternative facts. What’s the truth.

Kirstin: Anything about the actual cake?

Ella: I am disappointed that you didn’t let me lick the bowl.

Kirstin: So what did you think of the final product?

Ella: The cake was good. The cake was REALLY good. It was like, you die and you think you’ve ascended to heaven and God is there and she gives you this cheesecake and you’re like ‘is this heaven,’ and she’s like ‘Get Ready to Level Up, Mortal,’ and you take a bite out of the cheesecake and instantly ascend to Heaven². And God² is there and she reveals the secrets of quantum physics to you and you get to punch Plato in the face with the meat tenderiser.

Kirstin: Excellent. Shall I make it again sometime?

Ella: If you let me lick the bowl.

“Brooklyn Cheesecake” from “Flavour”

“Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake” from “A Year of Good Eating”

IMG_8147As soon as I read the title of this recipe, I knew I would be eating this in January.

What better way to cheer up a drab month with atrocious weather, grey skies and no holidays to celebrate? For what it’s worth, I’ve dubbed this month my Not Dry January. Unlike the legions of others who’ve decided that this will be the month they give their liver a rest and try to eat more healthy, I’m doing the opposite.

An American by birth– though not by location at the moment– I absolutely love the ambrosia that is the chocolate-peanut butter combination. After all, I was raised thinking that when it came to candy, there was nothing better than a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. In fact, I still think that.

I made this for a dinner party where we would be joined by fellow expat Americans (and a few random Brits). I made it the afternoon before, as per the instructions, as it needs an overnighter in the refrigerator to set.

It did not disappoint. In fact, the only disappointing thing about the experience was because I wanted to be a polite and thoughtful guest, I left behind the remaining 1/4 of the cheesecake to my hosts. But I certainly missed not being able to have seconds the next day.


If you’d like to make this yourself, click through this sentence to find the original recipe in The Guardian.

“Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake” from “A Year of Good Eating”

“Italian Breakfast Banana Bread” and “Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake” from “Nigellissma”

If you’d like to make the cheesecake– and I recommend you do– click on this sentence to find the recipe.

If you’d like to make the banana bread, and it is an excellent use of brown bananas– click on this sentence to find the recipe.

First things first. You should know that since the beginning of the month, I’ve made both of these treats twice. That’s how good they are.

I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with banana bread. I find that the only way I can force myself to eat it is if there is chocolate and/or nuts in there somewhere. I keep on making it, though, because I hate to waste food and I know the black bananas in the fruit bowl that are mocking me can be used in a banana bread. So I persevered.

But now I think I’ve found the perfect banana bread recipe (with one alteration on my part). Nigella very cleverly has you add a few teaspoons of instant espresso to the mix. Not only does this mask the banana flavour, it also makes it more sophisticated version of this breakfast treat.

The one alteration on my part was to add 100 grams of chocolate chips to the mix. This addition works great with the espresso flavour and also manages to mask the banana flavour even more. Frankly, there’s nothing better than biting into an unexpected chip of chocolate, is there?

This cheesecake is a wonder. As this is the non-baked variety, all you need to engage in is a little forward planning in order to have a delicious dessert. Both times I made this I was short on time, so I slotted in assembly of the ingredients the day before I needed the cake, and BANG, I was done 10 minutes later. I’m sure Nigella would agree that this is not cooking, but assembly, and we were all the richer for it.

The cheesecake isn’t going to work for anyone who doesn’t like Nutella, chocolate or hazelnuts, since that’s pretty much the extent of the ingredients. It is also very rich. There’s probably about a million calories in every slice, so you should slice small ones.

Will I make these treats again? You bet. Anytime I have some black bananas mocking me, they will find a new lease on life in this banana bread. The cheesecake isn’t going to win any awards on the “Great British Bake Off”, but it’s good and people love it.

Win. Win.

“Italian Breakfast Banana Bread” and “Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake” from “Nigellissma”

“New York Cheesecake” from “Easy”

Maureen: Tonight we’re having New York Cheesecake. I figured it was the perfect time to do it, since we have a born-and-bred New Yorker (The Bronx, since you asked) to test it. What do you think, New Yorker?

Tom: I think it’s absolutely good.

Maureen: I’m not convinced by the crust. It’s not a traditional New York cheesecake crust. This is a cake layer, whereas all the other New York cheesecakes I’ve had in the past had a more crumbly layer, made out of graham crackers. Of course, you can’t get graham crackers here, so you have to use digestives. But they’re an excellent substitute.

Tom: Yes, this is a different kind of crust, but it’s good. It’s got a nice chocolate flavour.

Maureen: But it’s not what you would expect to have when having New York cheesecake, or indeed, cheesecake in New York.

Tom: No, but it’s good.

Continue reading ““New York Cheesecake” from “Easy””

“New York Cheesecake” from “Easy”

“Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake” from “The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days”

Lee: People don’t like my comments, because I overdo it.

Tom: We love your comments Lee! Look, a cheesecake! With no handprint in it! Do you remember the time you thought you would help Kirstin when she made a cheesecake and by taking it out of the oven and then managed to leave a handprint in the cheese part?

Lee: I do, I do. You guys will never let me forget it. See this is a naked cheesecake. Who drank my wine?

Tom: You did.

Lee: Did I? Oh. How could I do that? It’s like losing my passport, isn’t it?

Ella (whispering): Please do not talk about fish or clocks, because they are the answers to our riddles.

Lee: Mothers’ Day has been postponed, like Castro postponed Christmas! Because this mother was not available. But like a phoenix, she rises from the fire, and she’s here today!

Continue reading ““Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake” from “The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days””

“Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake” from “The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days”

“Ricotta Cheesecake and Oranges in Caramel” from “Best Menus”

Kirstin: Oh my god — it worked! But we’re not having the oranges and caramel, because I knew I’d mess up the caramel.

Tom: Why were you surprised that it worked?

Kirstin: Because all of my cakes fail. I am rubbish at cakes. Particularly cheesecakes. Blimey! It really did work!

Kat: I am very anxious to try this cheesecake that worked!

Kirstin (as cake slices perfectly): Look at that! Clever Gordon!

Continue reading ““Ricotta Cheesecake and Oranges in Caramel” from “Best Menus””

“Ricotta Cheesecake and Oranges in Caramel” from “Best Menus”