Monday, 30 January 2012

Super-speedy Baileys cheesecake

I made this cheesecake the other day on a sort of trial run, but as it worked well I thought I'd write a quick post on it. There's nothing like a proper baked cheesecake, but if you fancy a speedier alternative then this could be it.
The base is made from pecan nuts and chocolate finger biscuits (a variation on something I saw the Hairy Bikers do on the telly recently- thanks Si and Dave), and the topping is simply some mascarpone cheese mixed with Baileys. A nice person bought me some hazelnut flavoured Baileys for Christmas, and it pretty much already tastes like a pudding in a glass so was ideal for using in this cheesecake. But you could of course use regular Baileys or another cream liqueur.

Recipe (enough for 4 individual servings):

40g unsalted or lightly salted butter, melted
12 chocolate fingers
50g pecan nuts, chopped quite finely
250g mascarpone cheese
6-10 tblsp hazelnut flavour Baileys cream liqueur
A very small amount of chocolate for grating on top (optional)

Crush the chocolate fingers (I put them in a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin), until they are in large crumbs. Mix with the chopped nuts and melted butter, and divide equally between four small ramekins. I lined a couple with clingfilm, so I could lift the set cheesecakes out, and used some pots suitable for eating straight out of for the other two. You may well have more matching cookware than me though. Push the base mixture firmly into the bottom of the ramekins, and smooth down with the back of a spoon. Next make up the topping by combining the Baileys with the mascarpone. Have a little taste, so that you achieve your favoured level of booziness. I think there's enough sweetness in the Baileys on its own, but do add a little icing sugar too if you want. Spoon the topping over the base and chill in the fridge for a few hours if you want it properly set, but even 30minutes should be enough if you really can't wait. Grate a little chocolate over the top when you're ready to eat them.

This isn't exactly a classic cheesecake, and the top is more of a mousse-like texture. But I really liked the chocolate biscuit and nutty base with the creamy top layer. And it was pretty much a doddle to put together.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Crisptastic days

Way back in the day when I first started this blog, I had sort of intended to write about ready-made food products. And that was indeed what my first few posts were on. The only problem with this occurred when I realised that I don't actually buy that much ready-made stuff. And I'm not sure anyone would be that interested in my musings on different brands of fishfingers. However, there is one food stuff which I am very keen on and always buy ready-made. And that is one of the finest forms of the fried potato, the crisp.

I spotted these new offerings from Burts just before Christmas. The pesto flavour was marked as 'seasonal', which I thought was a bit puzzling until I found out that they had actually been released over the summer. Although, I'm still not exactly sure how pesto is seasonal. Anyway, I am already an acknowledged Burts fan. They seem like a nice independent brand, and their hand-cooked crisps are pretty much always super-crispy and grease-free. They also tend not to over-season their flavoured crisps, and this applied to the pesto variety too. There was a subtle herby taste, with a gentle cheese flavour in the background. All in all, nothing too pungent and a seasoning that still allowed the flavour of the fried potato to come through. The crisps were also almost the size of my head, but I may just have struck lucky with my bag. So I really liked these, and would be quite pleased if Burts made pesto a permanent flavour in their range.

And on the subject of crisp flavours- I was recently offered the chance to try some mystery flavours from crisp behemoth Walkers. I do like Walkers crisps, but pretty much always go for the ready salted option. As you can see from the pic above, these new flavours were indeed very mysterious. It turns out that this wasn't just for my benefit, and that Walkers are actually running a competition for people to guess what these flavours are.
Here are my attempts:

Flavour A- mildly cheesey with a bit of herb. I think this is something like cream cheese and chive. Definitely my favourite of the three, and the one I'd consider buying in preference to cheese and onion.
Flavour B- something vaguely bacon-y and maybe a little spicy. Maybe trying to be chorizo or salami.
Flavour C-something with tomato and peppers. Maybe a salsa type flavour. My least favourite.

So I think my favourite crisp is still the plain salted type, but there are a couple of flavour options here that I'd happily scoff.

Burts Pesto Flavour Crisps
I rate them 8/10
Around £1.70 for a 150g bag, from lots of shops (though I only saw this flavour in Waitrose)

Walkers Mystery Flavour Crisps
I rate them all perfectly acceptable but the cream cheese-type one is my fave
Around £0.50 for a 35g bag, but I was kindly sent my selection for free and gratis by the nice Walkers crisps tweeting bod.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy Noo Year!

I've been eating quite a lot of things over the past few weeks, so the above is a little summary. Here's to a 2012 filled with more food, fun, drink, excitement, peace on earth, and naps.