Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Tis the season for lots of pumpkin!  Pumpkins here are not like the ones I can get at home (St Helena), or like my grand-parents grew, with their dark green skins and bright orange flesh inside!  I haven't tried cooking any of the orange ones found here, as they look all dry and forced ripened, so they appear to be grainy and bitter!  To get around this.....Libby's 100% canned pumpkin found in Waitrose, is the best answer to proper home-grown stuff, and can easily be found all year round!

Yesterday I made a Pumpkin Cheesecake.  It is one of my absolute favourite baked cheesecakes, even though for some pumpkin is a bit like either like it or you hate it.....but in our house we love both!

How to cook Good Food and Franglais Kitchen host a One ingredient challenge, which this month happens to be pumpkin or squash so my Pumpkin Cheesecake is perfect for this. (Recipe Below).

My friend Sue gave me this recipe about 20 years ago.  I think she got it from her aunt after visiting her in the USA or Canada. Having twigged it  with varying amounts of cream cheese or the years, I think its now in a good place!

Ingredients - Base:

1 1/4 cups of finely crushed ginger biscuits crumbs
1/4 cup of melted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar
14 oz cooked pumpkin or a 14 oz can of pumpkin
600g of full fat cream cheese (I used supermarket value brand)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice


Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius and base line a 9 inch round, deep spring-form pan.  Half fill a Roasting tin with hot use later. 

Mix the biscuit crumbs and melted butter together and press into the base of the pan.  Bake for ten minutes and then remove from the oven.

Cream together the cream cheese and sugar then mix in the eggs, one at a time.  Add the spices and mix until well combined.  Using a large metal spoon, gentle fold in the pumpkin.....dont worry if there are areas of white, it looks great in the cooked cheesecake.

Pour the cheesecake mixture over the base and place in the middle of the oven.  Place the roasting tin with water at the base of the oven, to create a steamy atmosphere in the oven.  

Bake for 40 -45 minutes until the outside edges of the cheesecake are firm to touch, but the middle of the cheesecake still has a slight wobble.  (Try not to open the oven until around the 40 minute mark, otherwise the steam will escape).

Cool and then chill well....overnight, if you can wait!

Monday, 22 October 2012

I have been wanting to bake up a storm all week, but I seem to be loosing my mojo very fast amongst other things too and yet baking is what makes me happy....but it hasn't been working this week!!

I came across The more occasional Baker and Caroline Makes by chance and they host a monthly Alpha Bakes challenge, with this months, host Ros, hosting the letter N.

With nuts off the menu in our house as my husband has an allergy, and most recipes beginning with a N have some sort of nuts in it........Neapolitan Mousse Cake was an option. I baked my three sponges in the same pan, to make a slim, layer cake.  

I used a 6oz victoria sponge mix ( 6 oz of each self raising flour, caster sugar, butter, 3 large eggs, 2 tablespoons milk, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and the seeds from one vanilla pod). I divided each one equally and then added pink food colouring to one and three tablespoons of cocoa, mixed with two tablespoons warm water to the other.   I baked it at 180 degrees celcius for around 15 minutes.  

I filled the layers and outside with a soft chocolate mousse filling.  - equal weights of light double cream and dark chocolate, heated together and allowed to cool to a soft butter consistency, before stirring in some more hot melted chocolate, which sets quickly and make a mousse with chocolate bits in it.  (sweet but yummy).  

Monday, 8 October 2012

Autumn is upon us and the days are certainly feeling colder.  Small son was asking this morning "how many more days until Summer!" He was appalled that it wouldn't be for another 8 months - and to be honest I really didn't need to be reminded of that myself!

At least at this time of the year there is an abundance of apples and pumpkin! After  swimming club  on Friday evening, I made an apple pie.  It was lovely warm with a bit of cream, and perfect comfort for the cold, wet weather!

I used granny smith apples, which I sautéed in a small amount of butter, then added some cinnamon and a tablespoon of brown sugar.

The sweet shortcrust, using plain flour, icing sugar and egg yolks. (Recipe to follow).

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

After a long break, I am building up to a blog post.  I have had a lovely summer off with my family....some scattered baking here and there along with the odd card and tag.  I have met up with friends and family who I haven't seen in a long, long time and its been great to get reconnected with them.  

We went off to see Team GB men at the Olympic football....our first ever football match!  The atmosphere was electric and we were literally sat on the edge of our seats the whole time....and yes Team GB won (on that occasion).  We were interviewed by the BBC Wales reporter and we had our picture (as below) on the BBC Wales news and on the BBC Wales on line add to the excitement!

Scattered and there ( Shabby Chic the colours)

Unusual colours for a wedding cake....but it turned out beautifully....white chocolate and carrot cupcakes!

We spent a few days in London, which we really enjoyed.....(that little head, photo bombing our picture again)......took the boys on the London Eye this time and met up with friends......who we hadn't seen for ten years!

Now its back to school and as the Autumn is now here....dark nights, dark mornings and cold days....I expect I shall be spending many hours in my corner in the kitchen....which I am really looking forward too.