Wednesday, May 17, 2006


After much testing, I've finally settled on a definitive lemon (or orange) cheesecake recipe. Cheesecake recipes vary hugely, but this simple baked cake includes no gelatine, no strawberry jelly, no annoyingly gritty zest, and no fancy amaretti biscuits.

We ate it topped with orange chunks, but raspberry coulis would be divine poured over the top. There are lots of oranges arriving in our fruit bag from the farm at the moment, so we will probably be having an all-orange version next!

There is a gorgeous photograph of a lemon cheesecake on the cover of BBC Good Food this month. It is served outdoors, with a glass of white wine - perfect lunch if you ask me.


2oz digestive biscuits, whizzed to crumbs
1/3 cup ground almonds
1oz butter

1lb (400g - two boxes) cream cheese
2/3 cup caster sugar
4 eggs
4floz liquid, made up from 1tbsp lemon/orange juice and the rest double cream

Whiz biscuits and almonds, melt butter and stir together. Press into tin, wrap bottom of tin in foil, and put into freezer.

For the topping, blend the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and cream thoroughly in a processor. It will look sloppy but that's good -- pour onto the base and carefully slide onto the middle oven shelf.

Bake at 140 degrees C (275 F) for up to about an hour, checking often - the centre will be wobbly but just set. Cool in the tin - it will firm more as it cools. The centre will be the creamiest bit!! In fact, I think this cheesecake would benefit from minimal cooking - so will try to catch it sooner next time.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


When the asparagus is becoming woody (say, because someone you know bought it and didn't use it early enough!) and you can only use the tips, try this - a different way to combine the classic flavours of asparagus, lemon and cream.

4oz flour
1oz Trex
1oz butter
1oz parmesan
2tbsp cold water

Pastry: weigh out ingredients and combine with a knife, chopping the fat into small pieces. When relatively crumbly, start to add the water and pull together with a metal spoon. Finally, push the last remaining dry bits together, form into a rough ball and wrap in cellophane. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins.

Asparagus tips (about 12)
Splash of stock
2 cloves garlic, crushed
6floz double cream
4 floz milk
Squeeze lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1 egg and 1 egg yolk

Steam/boil the asparagus tips lightly in a pan containing a splash of stock: bring to boil, cover and allow asparagus to absorb stock. Roll out the pastry in a quiche tin. Arrange the asparagus tips in a starburst pattern.

Blend the milk, cream, lemon juice, garlic and seasoning in a jug. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat well. Pour gently over the asparagus, and put into the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with grated cheese, then return for another 10 minutes.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

with wild garlic

We picked some wild garlic from the woods! Check out that foraging instinct! You see, who needs a fancy marketing job and organic supermarkets when you can write from home and pick your own dinner? Hmm?

Didn't get poisoned, neither. Am so country-girlish. (The next urban chic, you know. Primal Scream says so.)

3-4 medium potatoes, sliced thinly
2 leeks, sliced
Big handful wild garlic leaves, shredded
3 cloves of normal garlic, chopped
Tbsp butter
100ml double cream
100ml milk
1tbsp grated parmesan
Salt and pepper

Melt the butter and soften the leeks. Add the garlic leaves and cloves, and stir briefly. Add the parmesan, milk and cream and bring to the boil. Tip in the potatoes and mix well. Season generously.

Tip the lot into an ovenproof gratin dish and cover with foil. Bake at about 180 deg C (dunno, got an ancient Farenheit oven so I just guess) for an hour. Remove the foil, sprinkle with more Parmesan, and allow to brown for a few mins. Serve - delish!