Food Blog | Cooking Blog
In attempt to reconcile the ridiculous length of time it has been since I posted a recipe, I am planning to bombard the blog with tons of ideas for summer cooking. Drinks, canapés, meals for one, meals for two, suggestions for a cheap ‘n’ easy lunch a la desk? Stay tuned to find whatever you are looking for, and as always, feel free to get in touch with any requests or recommendations. First comes first, the perfect pre-preparable pud for your summer dinner parties: mini New York cheese cakes with balsamic glazed strawbs. You don’t need much time, skill or money for this one; just the right ingredients, about 20 minutes on the clock and a little fridge space for the couple of hours before eating. You can make them the day before, freeze them the week before, or just pop them in the fridge at the beginning of your meal. Flexible, dericious, and drop dead gorgeous.
A brilliant thing about this recipe is that it is entirely flexible. Just use the cheesecake formula as a template and get creative with your favourite ingredients. I went for balsamic glazed strawberries as I encountered the marriage of mascarpone-cream cheese cake and balsamic reduction in an Italian restaurant and fell completely in love with the combination. The balsamic reduction sweetens the fruit and brings out the bitter tang of the creamy filling. If you don’t dare to try that, fresh herbs bring a burst of color (basil or mint are the ones that I would recommend with red or black berries) or you can soak your fruit in anything from elderflower cordial to brandy, or season it with chilli, cardamom or anything else for whatever kick you desire.
1. Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Line the base and sides of a 20x30cm shallow cake tin with baking parchment.
2. Put the digestive biscuits into a food processor and whizz to very fine crumbs. Add the melted butter, using the pulse until well mixed. Spoon the mixture into the individual moulds and spread out evenly. Using the back of a metal spoon, press the mixture down firmly - you want to try and pack a dense layer of crumbs to support each of the cheesecake cups.
3. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until lightly crisped and firm to touch and then set aside until completely cool.
4. Beat the softened cream cheese and mascarpone in a large bowl (using a wooden spoon or a medium-set free standing mixer with the paddle attachment) and gradually add the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla essence, beating until smooth and creamy.
5. Making sure that the bases are cool, spoon your cream-cheese filling into the moulds - the amount depending on the size of your moulds - but each of mine took about 1/3 of a cup of filling (recipe makes around 12 cups of approximately 150 ml filling).
6. I like to chill the cheese-cake cups over night to ensure maximum stability, but 90 minutes will do the trick just fine. Cover them with cling film and place flat in the fridge for between an hour and a half and 72 hours, and ne touché pas until serving.
7. Wash, pat dry, de-stem and quarter the strawberries before tossing them in the caster sugar and balsamic vinegar . Cover and allow to rest for about an hour, toss again, and then chill in the fridge for another hour.
8. Uncover the berries when it is time to tuck in, and toss again, adding a little more balsamic to your own taste. Simply pop your puds out of their cases by using your thumbs to press up on the biscuit base and your index fingers to peel back the paper. 9. Lay a heaped spoonful of berries on top of each pudding and top with any garnishings or decorations you see fit!
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Queen of Tarts
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