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Thursday, 28 April 2016

LEMON CHEESECAKE WITH GINGER BISCUITS

Good Morning to you,

I wonder, are you like me?

Do you have a drawer in your kitchen where random items, spend their lives, for a period of time?

The one drawer, where bits and bobs end up.  You know the sort of thing, odd bits of string, elastic bands, takeaway menus, which funnily enough we never use, so I have no idea why they are in the drawer in the first place, it just seems to be the place they end up.

A drawer where random recipes live.  The type of recipe, which over the course of time, have been cut from magazines or handwritten and shared by friends, then placed into plastic wallets, in the hope that one day they will see the light of day and be made. Don't be misled, not one plastic wallet per recipe, but one plastic wallet for about 50 or more recipes.

I have a drawer which is packed to the gunwales and really does need sorting out, but the problem is, I can be a bit of a procrastinator.  No, that's not true, I am a procrastinator.  But on this occasion, as the drawer was  filling up, I couldn't procrastinate any longer. I decided to spend an hour or so, having a little sort out. The takeaway menus were easily sorted, they went straight into the recycling bin, but when it came to the many recipes written on bits of paper, well, that was a whole other matter. Instead of just throwing them away, I decided to read through them... now that was a huge mistake. 

One of the recipes  I came across, was  a recipe from 2005, which I had cut from the Cyprus Weekly newspaper. The recipe was for a Survival cake, which I had always meant to make, because I loved the ingredients, but todate, it has not been made. That's 11 years which have gone by, I wonder when I will get around to making it.

Then I found a snippet from a daily newspaper for back exercises.... have I done them....nope not as yet, but you never know, at some point, they might prove useful.

Then I found a recipe for roasted figs and walnuts, which I thought looked delicious.  The recipe called for Acacia honey from the Pyrenees... consequently this was never made.

Then I came across an article about the Chelsea Flower Show.... date 2010.  I kept it because I had meant to buy the new rose 'Beatrix Potter' and yes, you've guessed it again, I didn't.... but I might.

....and the oldest piece of paper I discovered, was a diet sheet from 1975, called The Human Diet.

It was not produced on a glossy sheet of paper as diets are today, no this diet, was produced using a stencil. Now that took me by surprise. I remember using stencils back in the day, way before we had photocopiers. In the early days, if a letter needed to be sent to 10 or more people, I would type the information on a waxed stencil. The next stage which I always disliked, was the inking of the Gestetner drum.... and the stage I always dreaded, was laying the stencil on top of the ink, hoping that I would not make any creases in the stencil and I always kept my fingers crossed, that the ink did not bleed and that I would not be covered in ink, which invariably I was. You can see by my choice of words, how much I disliked using the Gestetner duplicating machine.

Now that is 5 pieces of paper,  which I have kept and not used and this is only the tip of the iceberg. So why do I feel the need to keep this stuff. What I do know is, I just have this love for old recipes, but the back exercises I cannot explain those, they are a mystery.

.... but I digress, why on earth have I kept a diet sheet from 1975? For posterity? Again who knows, but keep it I have, so I thought it would be fun to share with you a couple of the meals which were recommended on this diet.

Breakfast.  1/2 a grapefruit, 1 slice of starch reduced bread, spread with 1/4oz of butter and 1 teaspoon of marmalade or honey.  

Now if my memory serves me correctly, wasn't the bread called Nimble.... and such tiny slices.

Lunch.  1 portion of Cadbury's snack soup,
2 cream crackers with 1oz Edam cheese or cucumber. Notice I say or, not both.

Supper.  Beans on Toast.  A 5oz can of baked beans placed on a thin slice of toast. Topped with a poached egg.

My word, did I do this diet. I don't remember it. Maybe it was one of those diets a girlfriend recommended, which I didn't get around to. I'm glad I didn't because I feel there's not enough food  to feed a sparrow.

.... luckily George does not have the appetite of a sparrow.  That is why he loved this,


Lemon Cheesecake with a  ginger biscuit base.  Do you remember when I used my Lakeland moulds for the Pearl Barley, Chicken and Feta Cheese Stack, well I decided, instead of making one large cheesecake, to make 4 individual cheesecakes. I have to say, I am using these moulds such a lot and I love how, whether I make something savoury or something sweet....the presentation is impressive.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to today is,






Justin Bieber's 'What Do You Mean'.... does that surprise you?  This is a song,  the minute I hear it, I want to dance around the kitchen.... I can't help myself.

So listen to this song, and I bet you will be foot tapping as well. Now I haven't included the Utube clip, because I think it is a little raunchy, you however may not, but it doesn't take away from the fact that I love this song.

I think I had better get on now, and organise my ingredients, before time runs away from me.


INGREDIENTS YOU 
WILL NEED
TO MAKE
LEMON CHEESECAKE
WITH GINGER BISCUITS

FOR THE BASE

200g dark chocolate coated, ginger biscuits
75g melted butter

THE TOPPING

250g mascarpone cheese
200g single cream
1 tin (397g) condensed milk
2 large lemons - juiced

You will need: a baking tray lined with
greaseproof paper
4 Lakeland moulds
or
1 x 9" springform cake tin

HOW TO 
MAKE
LEMON CHEESECAKE WITH
GINGER BISCUITS


Oil the 4 moulds
and
place on a baking tray lined with
grease proof paper.


Blitz the biscuits
in a food processor
or
place the biscuits in a plastic bag
and 
using a rolling pin gently tap
the biscuits until they become
biscuit crumbs.


Slowly melt
the butter in a saucepan
then
add the biscuit crumbs
and mix together.


Divide the crumb mixture
between the 4 ring moulds.
Gently press the biscuit crumb
with the back of a spoon.

Place in the fridge for half an hour.

While the biscuit base is firming,


place the cream
and


the mascarpone cheese
in a large bowl
and 
using a balloon whisk,
mix together
to combine the ingredients.


Add the condensed milk
to the bowl
and



add the lemon juice
a tablespoon at a time.


Whisk until the mixture
becomes thick.
As you can see from the picture,
I made a pretty mess when I whisked
the ingredients together.


Divide the 
mixture between the 4 moulds
and
place in the fridge for at least
4 hours to set.

By which time,



these fabulous cheesecakes
will be ready to eat.

Now you can eat them as they are,
or
you can decorate them as I have
with either a strawberry 
or
some some chocolate curls.
On this occasion I plumped for
the 
strawberries.... now that's a surprise, as you know
how much I love chocolate.

Then all there is left to do,
is,
enjoy.


You might have noticed an odd photograph.... the lemon.  I had forgotten to photograph the lemon, so I used the photograph from another dish. It does look a little odd I know, sorry about that.

.... and guess what, this is a recipe I discovered in my plastic wallet, which I haven't made for years. Now that the recipe has seen the light of day, I am going to start a book and write out all the recipes I have discovered.... I'm not sure how long that is going to take.... probably a little while, so hopefully, before not too long, you will see the Survival Cake appear on Ivy, Phyllis and Me!

Before I take my leave. Do you remember earlier, I mentioned, that George really loved this cheesecake.


Well take a look at what he did to my strawberry decoration. 

Yes, he was in a really minxy mood yesterday.

Take care and I will see you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,







As Always,










Thursday, 21 April 2016

A VISIT TO THE BEAUTIFUL ISLE OF WIGHT

Good Evening to you,

.... and where was I last week?

Well I shall tell you, I left the very cold North East of England to visit the much warmer, Isle of Wight.




We decided to enjoy a mini break and visit the Isle of Wight, in the south of England. The only thing is, I didn't have the time to let you know about our trip, as time seemed to sneak up on me, a little too quickly.


We travelled light, with just a rucksack each, which is pretty amazing for me, as usually, I want to pack everything, but the kitchen sink, but no, on this occasion, I was very good.... and here's the proof, well not of me carrying a rucksack, but George, looking very dapper carrying his rucksack. Do you know I am so surprised he let me show you this photo as he is normally very camera shy.


When we left Newcastle, to fly south, the sky was very grey, the wind was blowing and the rain was falling so hard, that I couldn't keep my umbrella up. It was so very cold. It really did not feel like Spring at all.



.... and then, after a short, hop, skip and a jump.... in actual fact, it was an hour and ten minutes flying time,





we arrived in Southampton, to be greeted with warm sunshine and beautiful blue skies, we couldn't believe our luck. 

We then boarded a train for the short journey to Portsmouth Harbour, where we waited just 15 minutes, for the ferry to transport us to the Isle of Wight. It was marvellous, because everything was on time and there was no hanging around, due to time delays.




We watched the activity in the harbour while we waited for our boat to dock,  then we boarded, to travel the 20 minute journey across the water.



There was a lot of shipping traffic in and out of the harbour and here you can see, another Isle of Wight ferry returning to Portsmouth Harbour. 

Do you see the sun shining on the water? I absolutely love  this image, as it takes me back to my childhood in Cyprus.  As a child, I would watch the sea sparkling for what seemed like hours and to be honest, I still love to see the sun shining on the sea. I used to find it so fascinating.... and yes, as a child, I really believed they were diamonds floating on the water.




It was such a beautiful day, that there were quite a few people sailing their yachts. If it had been Cowes Week, then it would have been a totally different story, as the Solent would have been awash with yachts. 





Once the boat had docked at Ryde Pier, we caught the local train into Lake. It was like travelling on the London Underground.... very noisy. We took the short walk to our hotel, as we both needed to stretch our legs.... but during the walk, we had to take our coats off, because it was so warm, we both really enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine.





We settled into our hotel and then went to the Merrie Gardens restaurant  for our evening meal.

The following day, we decided to take a stroll into Old Shanklin, where we found the most beautiful thatch cottages.




With beautifully laid out gardens. As it was only April, there wasn't very much colour in the gardens, but there were some lovely trees and shrubs.



There was a wide variety of food to enjoy.  A juicy steak for George and seafood for me. I have to say, give me the choice of a steak or a seafood platter and there is no competition, as I will always choose the seafood platter.



We walked a little further, and there ahead of us, we saw a sign for,




The Crab.  I had to walk passed it and turn back to take the photograph, as it was hidden from view until we actually walked up to it. The Crab is a place full of memories as we had taken Natasha and Danielle there, many years ago, when they were little girls. As you can see from the beautiful blue sky, we really had glorious weather.



Walking passed The Crab, I discovered  this absolutely gorgeous, pink,



tea room call the Old Thatch Teashop.  Take a look at the roof.... aren't they just a little fabulous, a thatched cup and saucer and teapot.... they are just adorable.



.... and what a pretty teashop this was.



I loved the larger sign telling me I could enjoy morning coffee, with crumpets and teacakes.... and the little sign to say they were open for business was really cute.



As we wandered back to the hotel, there were so many lovely houses to enjoy. 




There came a point when I thought, I really must stop taking photographs of thatched cottages, but then I thought to myself, the sun is shining, the sky is a beautiful shade of blue, the cottages are a feast for the eyes, so I just knew you would indulge me.

So that is what we have been up to during the past week.

.... and my savings account for my chair, well, that was put on hold.  I would much rather have a mini holiday than a chair, so I will tack an extra week on to make up for last week. You know how much I love cooking, but I also loved not having to pick up a pot or pan,  I had a wonderful time.

Doesn't a little bit of sunshine lift the spirits.... and you'll never guess what, when we arrived home, the sunshine followed us. We have enjoyed two, wonderful  sunny days.

Having said that, we are told to expect some arctic weather over the weekend.  Can you believe it, we have been warned, that there is even going to be snow on the high ground.

Hey ho! That's England for you. 

Take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,

Thursday, 7 April 2016

MEDITERRANEAN STYLE TORTILLA WRAPS

Good Morning to you,


I have to tell you, my savings plan, for the chair I have my eye on, is going very well. Admittedly it is the first week, but I can honestly say, the only item I have bought this week, is a litre of milk. Everything else has come from either my store cupboard or freezer.  I had enough fruit and vegetables to keep us going this week and not a single thing was wasted. Even the broccoli, which is notorious for turning yellow, pretty quickly, was used.

I admit, I have had to think about and plan what we are eating, because our meals are restricted to using the ingredients I already have, so I have not had the luxury of deciding to make something on the spur of the moment.

Also, I want to keep our meals interesting as George really loves his food. It's not that he is demanding, nothing could be further from the truth, but he does enjoy his food and I think it would be unfair of me to change the quality of our meals, just because I want to save money to buy a chair.... that hardly seems fair.  After all, I don't need a chair. Could I live without it, of course I could. What I feel about saving is, it will give me time to think if I really want the chair.  I have to say, I do, right at this moment, but will that change when I have saved the money mmm... we shall see.

It was interesting to discover, that Saturday evenings would be the hardest to cater for, because we tend to relax and enjoy one or two treats, while watching the television, during the evening.  Its a little like going to the cinema and enjoying popcorn whilst watching a film.... to be honest, treats on a Saturday evening have become a bit of a habit with us. This tends to happen for a few weekends, and then, we decide to reign ourselves in and be a little stricter with ourselves.... but last weekend was no such weekend, so I needed to think of a few things which would please George's taste buds, so that he would not miss his usual treats.

So I gave it some thought.  

I decided to make houmous which is full of flavour and can be eaten with either pita bread or crisps. Not the bought crisps, but the crisps which I make.

I then whizzed some black olives in a food processor and made a black olive tapenade.... which I know George loves... it's not sweet but I knew it would pack enough flavour that he would not miss his sweet treats.

I then went on to make some crudites, so the snacks were taken care of and although they were not sweet treats, they were flavourful.

On Sunday, I made a roast dinner. Now I have to tell you, this is a rarity, because I don't make a Sunday roast very often. The reason is, I find the flavours are rather bland, but George does enjoy a Sunday roast every now and again. How times have changed, because Ivy and Phyllis, on the other hand, would cook a Sunday roast, come rain or shine.  Ivy was such a wonderful cook that she would have the Sunday lunch perfectly timed. When she returned from church, the meal was almost ready. Perhaps this is why my father loved a Sunday roast so much, as it was part of his upbringing. I remember, one unusually hot, English summer's day, Phyllis suggested that she would make a chicken salad for Sunday lunch. This was met with absolute horror.  Sunday was not Sunday for my father, unless it included a Sunday roast. Come to think of it, Bob, George's father, was exactly the same, they both came from a generation when a Sunday roast was an integral part of a Sunday. As George said, it was tradition.

Monday, was easy, because we only used half of the chicken on Sunday, and as we were not very hungry, I made chicken salad sandwiches and we had soup from the freezer.

Tuesday, I made a Tuscan Bean stew, which I really love and we enjoyed the stew with some baked crusty rolls. Actually, I feel sure I have never made a Tuscan Bean stew with you, mmm, I will add it to my list of things to make.

.... and yesterday,


I ventured into unknown territory.  For lunch I made, with the help of George, these Mediterranean wraps. In actual fact they were made with ingredients I wanted to use up.

So it's on with the pinnie and the album I am listening to is,


the 1977 album 'In Your Mind' by Bryan Ferry. The song I have chosen is one I absolutely love, This is Tomorrow.

So I really don't have much to do, as although I am listing the ingredients, they were really odds and ends which I wanted to use up, but the end result was very pleasing.

So I will tell you roughly the amount of ingredients I used, but really, you can use a little more if you like. I would say, don't overload the tortilla as they will not roll up very nicely if you do.  

HOW TO MAKE
MEDITERRANEAN
TORTILLA WRAPS

Serves 2

2 large tortilla wraps
1 roasted red pepper
1 cooked chicken breast
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of pesto
sliced lettuce 
3" piece of cucumber
sea salt
black pepper

Parchment paper 40cm x 25cm

HOW TO MAKE
MEDITERRANEAN
TORTILLA WRAPS


Mix the
mayonnaise and the pesto
and set aside.


Slice the roasted pepper
and 
set aside.


Slice the cooked chicken breast
into strips
and
set aside.


Slice the lettuce into strips
and
set aside.


Slice the cucumber
into strips
and set aside.


Place the tortilla
in a hot dry pan
and cook each side for 15 seconds.


Spread half of the pesto/mayonnaise mix
onto the first tortilla.
Place half the chicken and
half the red pepper
two thirds from  the top of the tortilla.


Add half the sliced cucumber
and
half the lettuce
to the chicken and roasted pepper.


Season with sea salt
and
black pepper.


Now this is the fun bit and one, I have
to admit, I am not very good at,
but today I have my assistant, George,
who very kindly agreed to do the rolling for me.

Place the tortilla
on the baking parchment
and 
begin rolling away from you.


Until the wrap is completely rolled.


Bring the tortilla to the bottom of the
parchment paper
and
roll quite tightly.


Twist the ends.


Then cut the tortilla wrap, diagonally in half.
Remove the top layer of parchment paper
but keep the lower half intact,
as this will make the tortilla easier
to eat and it will also stop the filling from
coming out of the end of the wrap.

Repeat with the second tortilla.


Enjoy one,
or two
but


enjoy them,
you certainly will.


Today, my sous chef was George, he was brilliant actually..... but I was only allowed to take a photo of his hands.... he was camera shy.

I mentioned earlier that making tortillas was new territory to me. This is because I am not a finger food person. Give me a knife and fork and I'm much happier.  So when Natasha gave me my first tortilla wrap, I have to say, it was not a great experience. I loved the filling, but I did not like the mess I made, when eating the tortilla.  So the next time, Natasha wrapped the tortilla in parchment paper.... and I was thrilled, because for me, it made eating the tortilla so much more pleasureable. So it's thanks to Natasha that I am able to bring to you these wraps.

Actually, it's George who loves making these wraps. It's interesting, because George does not cook, but he does make a marvellous bacon sandwich, which, when the family return home, they insist George makes. You'll never guess what they call him.... they call him 'The Baconator'.  He also makes an amazing panini. So on a Saturday, I make George his hamburgers and he makes me my panini.

Oh, just before I go, I was in such a rush last week because I had written to you in the evening that I forgot to show you a picture of my chair..... listen to me, it sounds like I already own it.

.... and here it is,



now I'm sorry it's a little skew whiff, but I had to take the photo without all the adverts around it.  I have had my eye on this chair for a long time.... I wonder if within a few months it will be enhancing my living room.... if I'm being totally honest, once I've saved the money, I don't think I will change my mind.... yes I think it will be a beautiful addition to my living room.... I'm so excited.

Take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,





As Always,






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