Posted in Biscuits & Cookies, British Cuisine, Cakes, Cheese, Chocolate, Mediterranean, Oven, Uncategorized

Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

slice cheesecake

Living in Bodrum, a once small Aegean town in Turkey, which is growing rapidly each year, you cannot miss the abundance of orange and mandarin trees.  With not only the Christmas season upon us, but with it being the season to harvest all those sweet fruits, I thought it would be the perfect time to make a chocolate orange cheesecake, to remind me of my favourite Christmas treat, Terry’s Chocolate Orange which I can’t get here.

The recipe is quite simple to follow so you do not need to be a master chef to bake this cake.

Ingredients

Base

250 g digestive biscuits

100 g melted butter

Filling

200 g labne (mascarpone)

200 g soft white cheese (Philadelphia)

200 g suzme peynir (a type of soft white cheese in Turkey)

150 g thick cream

3 whole eggs and 1 yolk

75 g sugar

3-4 tablespoons orange flavouring

Zest of one large orange

100 g chocolate chips

Topping

200 ml bitter chocolate

300 ml thick whipping cream

2 tsps sugar

2-3 tblsps orange flavouring

Sliced baby oranges and a star anise for decoration

Method

First of all prepare your baking tray.  Line a spring release cake tin (approx. 20 cm) with baking paper.  Cover the underneath with aluminium foil to seal it.  If you have a release tin with a lipped tray that holds the water you don’t need to use the foil or submerge in another dish of water.

For the base

Break the biscuits in a bag, then using a rolling pin roll over them until finely crushed. Alternatively you can use a blender.

Mix into the melted butter and mix well until all combined.

Place into the cake tin and spread out pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon.  If you have too many you can press against the sides too.  (This may be the case if your tin is a little smaller) Place the cake tin in the refrigerator to chill for around 30 minutes.

Now pre-heat your oven to 180°c.

For the filling

Place the eggs in a bowl and whisk.  Then add the sugar and the cream and whisk together.

Place the labne (mascarpone), soft white cheese (Philadelphia) and the suzme peynir (a type of soft white cheese in Turkey) into a separate bowl and mash together until smooth.

Now add this to the first bowl containing the eggs, cream and sugar along with the orange zest and then add the orange flavouring and whisk together until smooth.  Finally, add the chocolate chips and stir gently to spread evenly.

Pour onto the cheesecake base and level out with the back of a spoon.  Make sure to get into the corners if not a round tin. Place the tin into another larger bowl or tray with water about one third of the way up the sides in order to stop the cake from cracking.

Place in the oven for 55-60 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool then cover with stretch film and place in the fridge over night for best results.

Topping

Break the bitter chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.  In a small saucepan, heat the whipping cream until it almost comes to a boil.  Pour the hot cream over the broken chocolate and stir continuously until all the chocolate has dissolved and you have a smooth chocolate topping.  Add the orange flavouring and decorate with the sliced oranges and star anise.

 

 

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Posted in American Cuisine, Biscuits & Cookies, Quick and Easy

American Cookies

cookies

These cookies are like those huge ones you get in the coffee shop…

Ingredients

250g All purpose flour

1 pkt Baking soda (5mg)

170g Melted butter

220g Brown sugar

100g White sugar

1 pkt vanilla essence (5mg)

1 egg

1 egg yolk

100g Chocolate chips (use more if you wish)

A pinch of salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 165c and prepare the baking trays by either lining with grease proof paper or greasing with butter.

In a bowl sift the flour and the baking soda then add the pinch of salt and set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix the melted butter, brown and white sugar.  Then beat in the vanilla and egg and the egg yolk until light and creamy.

Slowly add the flour and keep mixing until well combined.

Add the chocolate chips and fold in evenly.

Put about a large spoon of cookie dough on the tray.  Make sure to leave about 3 inches between as they do spread out. (I cooked 4 at a time).

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until crispy on the edges.  Do not worry if they don’t look cooked in the middle, they will soon harden up.  If you leave too much longer they will resemble bricks.

Once you remove from the oven, leave on tray for 5-10 minutes (otherwise they may break when lifted), then move to a wire rack to cool.

Suggestions

Warm slightly and add a large dollop of ice cream.

Try mixing in 2 teaspoons of peanut butter and/or a dash of caramel syrup after the chocolate chips.  Make sure you mix well.

 

 

Posted in Biscuits & Cookies, British Cuisine, Quick and Easy, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Scottish Shortbread

scottish shortbread pic

Nothing beats the sweet crumbliness of a Shortbread biscuit.  Shockingly expensive to buy in Turkey where I live, but pretty easy and cheap to make.

Ingredients

125g butter (softened)

55g caster sugar

180g plain flour

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 190c.

Beat the butter and sugar together until it is smooth.

Slowly stir in the flour and mix well.

Turn mixture out onto a clean worksurface (sprinkled with flour to avoid sticking) and roll out until it is 1 cm thick.

Cut out desired shapes (rounds or fingers) and place on a baking tray with parchment paper (grease-proof) and softly poke with a fork to make pattern and then place in fridge for 20 mins.

Sprinkle with a few sugar grains over each one then bake in oven for 15 mins or until pale golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.

Posted in Biscuits & Cookies, British Cuisine

Coconut Ice

In Victorian times the coconut shy was a popular feature at fairgrounds in the UK.  You paid a few pennies to throw something at a coconut in the hope of knocking it over and taking it home as a prize.  I remember this was still around when I was a child.

This led to the widespread popularity of desiccated coconut and the increased use of it in British cuisine.  I remember the first time I made coconut ice, it was in my cookery lesson at Wembley High School and I was sharing a kitchen with my friend Susan Vernall.  I’m now posting it here for Sue’s niece Janine Be who asked me for the recipe.  Happy Cooking Janine.

Unfortunately I didn’t have the pink food dye required so substituted it with a red dye instead.

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Ingredients

1 lb granulated sugar (454 g)

5 oz (141 g)

1/4 pint milk (150 ml)

Pink food colouring

Method

Butter a shallow tin.

Place the sugar and milk in a saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Bring to the boil and cook gently until a little of the mixture dropped in cold water forms a soft ball.

Remove from heat and stir in the coconut.

Pour half the mixture into the buttered tin.

Add a few drops of the food colouring to the remaining mixture, stir  and then gently pour over the first half of mixture in the tin.

Mark into bars (or small bite sized squares) and leave to cool.  Cut when cold.