Ricotta and cherry cheesecake

 This cheesecake is perfect on a summer evening with a large scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream on the side. It’s delicious and light, not to mention very easy to make. You can add different types of berries if you can’t get cherries and it will be just as delicious. It’s also great for entertaining as it can be made well in advance.

Ingredients

200g good quality ricotta

200g sour cream

200g fresh cherries, deseeded & roughly chopped plus extra to garnish

175g caster sugar

3 large eggs

Zest of 1 lemon

1 vanilla pod

150g digestive biscuits

70g butter

1 tbsp, icing sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degreesC. Place all the digestives into a sandwich/freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs. In a pan, melt the butter and add the biscuits ( if too dry add more butter ) then press into a 9 inch cake tin to form the base. In a food processor mix together all the ingredients apart from the cherries until smooth. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and then add the cherries. Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes until golden and very slightly wobbly. Place tin foil over the cheesecake and leave to cool. Remove from tin, place on a serving plate and garnish with cherries and a sprinkle of icing sugar. Enjoy!

Super quick peach & limoncello tarts

This was just a very quick, last minute dessert. Yes I know it’s cheating using pre made pastry but sometimes you don’t have time to do everything yourself and still want a nice dessert to enjoy at the end of a meal or as a treat through the day.

Makes enough for 4-5 small tart cases

Ingredients

1 packet of sweet shortcrust pastry ( savoury would be ok too )
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
300ml milk
3 tbsp of sugar
2 tbsp flour or cornstarch
1/2 vanilla pod, scraped
2 tbsp limoncello
Zest of 1 small lemon
1 or 2 tinned peaches

Method

Preheat your oven to 200 degreesC. Scald the milk in a saucepan. In a separate bowl mix the egg, yolks, sugar and flour until smooth. Add a little hot milk, whisking constantly then add the egg mixture into the remaining milk. Whisk constantly on a medium heat until it thickens ( around 5 minutes ). Take off he heat, add limoncello, vanilla and zest. Mix and place in a separate bowl or container to cool placing cling film directly onto the surface to avoid a skin forming.

Roll your pastry out to about 1cm thick ( if your using ready rolled, fold it in half and roll it out again as it will be too thin ). Cut the pastry to size to fit into your tart cases, leaving a little hanging over the edges and crimp the sides into the mould. Prick the bases with a fork and place baking parchment in each case followed by baking beans.

Bake the tarts in the oven for around 10-15 minutes and leave to cool. Add your cooled pastry cream mixture into the cases and top with little pieces of peach. Chill until ready to serve.

 

  

Salted peanut & marshmallow rocky road.

imageThis really does taste as good as it looks. Salty chocolate and soft marshmallow..mmm just what I need after the week from hell I’ve had. Let’s just say there’s some serious Italian sickness bugs going around and I’ve managed to catch them all!! So after not being able to even think of food for the past week ( not exactly the Xmas diet I was looking for ) I suddenly got all festive again. The Christmas songs went on and my little reindeer came out to play. This honestly takes two minutes to make, it’s ridiculously easy and the reward is well worth making….well not much effort at all.

Ingredients Makes 12

300g good quality dark chocolate
1tbsp runny honey
125g butter
200g salted peanuts
100g mini marshmallows
1 tbsp icing sugar
17 x 22 cm foil tray

Method

Add the butter,chocolate and honey in a saucepan and melt slowly over a low heat. Add the peanuts into a freezer or sandwich bag and bash with a rolling pin ( you want some little pieces and some larger ). Once melted turn the heat off and add the peanuts and marshmallows. Spoon the mixture into a foil tray and leave to cool slightly before placing in the fridge for 2-3 hours or over night. Cut into little squares and sprinkle with a little icing sugar if desired.

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Marsala nectarines with basil and vanilla mascarpone

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Deliciously fruity, sweet, sharpe and creamy. The perfect pudding for a summers night. I have noticed the recent nectarines and peaches we’ve been buying are not quite as soft as they used to be, it may be because we are heading for the end of summer and the season. However this recipe is the perfect way to use up the fruit that’s not quite soft enough to eat on it’s own and can also be made with perfectly ripe fruit. It’s so quick, easy and delicious..what’s not to like?

Serves 2
2 nectarines
6 tbsp Marsala
5tbsp water
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tsp icing sugar
125g Mascarpone
1/2 vanilla pod
2 basil leaves, to garnish.

Firstly cut the nectarines into wedges. Heat a non stick pan on a medium heat and dry fry the nectarines until slightly coloured. Meanwhile mix the mascarpone with the icing sugar and vanilla, set aside in the fridge.
Once the nectarines have coloured add the Marsala and let it bubble for a minute then add the water and caster sugar and let it thicken slightly to create the sauce.
Place the nectarines on plates and create a quenelle with the mascarpone using two spoons, garnish with basil leave and drizzle with more delicious sauce.