Wednesday 10 February 2016

Raspberry Cheesecake

One of the benefits of a large garden is lots of room for soft fruit bushes such as red and black currants, gooseberries, loganberries and raspberries. They usually produce far more fruit than we can eat straight away or even make into jams and jellies, so quite a lot gets packed in plastic boxes and frozen.

So right in the middle of winter we can enjoy treats like Raspberry Cheesecake.

Here's the recipe I used:

This is a cooked cheesecake.  You'll need a 20cm cake tin with a removable base, well buttered and lined with greaseproof paper. Butter that too.

For the base of the cheesecake:
8 or so plain digestive biscuits or similar crunchy biscuits.
50gms melted butter.

Crush the biscuits and mix with the melted butter. Press into the bottom of the cake tin in an even layer.

For the cheesecake:
250gms mascarpone
250gms quark or ricotta
(You can use any similar soft cheeses - Philadelphia, cottage cheese etc. But generally use a creamy cheese like mascarpone and one with a bit of bite like ricotta.)
3 medium eggs
50 gms plain flour
40 gms sugar (I don't like it too sweet - you may want more if you have a sweet tooth.)
300-350gms raspberries

Save about 15 raspberries for the top. Sieve the rest to get rid of the pips.
Mix up all the cheesecake ingredients and the raspberry puree. It'll be very sloppy.
Pour onto the biscuit base in the cake tin. Scatter the whole raspberries over the top.

Cook in the oven 160C fan-assist (180C for ordinary oven) for 45 mins. top should be softish but not gooey. Remove from the oven and leave for 15 mins then remove from the tin and place on a flat serving plate.

Serve warm or cold with cream (and maybe more raspberries!).  Enjoy!

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Sun, snowdrops, beans & spuds

The sun is shining today after a week of more horrid wet and windy weather. They are giving the storms names now, perhaps to make them less scary, or maybe because they are such frequent visitors. The latest was called Imogen. (Thankfully we haven't had it as bad as Devon & Cornwall). That's been the pattern this winter - wet, windy and warm. We had only one week of sub-zero in January and one day of snow which disappeared within 24 hours. Altogether very mild, but the wet is disheartening. The ground is sodden and virtually impossible to work. However, now Spring is springing - snowdrops and crocuses all across the lawn, hellebores which started before Christmas are in full flower - and birds singing.

Snowdrops in the grass
Yesterday, not able to do much outside, so in the greenhouse I planted up 3 big pots with some of last year's Kestrel potatoes. Last year's potatoes weren't very big and I'd forgotten about the box of Kestrels in the garage. However, they are sprouting nicely, so I planted them up 4 in each big pot and will cook the rest. They haven't gone soft.

I also planted 7 pots of Broad Beans (Masterpiece Green longpod) - 5 to a pot. This year I had to buy seed because last year's went soggy on the plants. Usually I save bean seeds. I have some Runner Beans which have been saved each year since my Mum bought the original back in Dorset in the 80s. Can't plant those yet because they are more tender than the Broad Beans.

Pretty pink hellebores