Monday, 28 May 2012

'O'is for....Oreo and strawberry cheesecake

Hello all....a little late again posting....I am already in the throws of baking for the letter 'P' :) so keep a look out :)
I struggled with this as I could only think of oranges and could not associate oranges with memories. The light bulb went on and although another cheesecake was made at least I had a story to tell.
My Mum could not have a cuppa without getting the biscuit tin out, Rich Tea were her favourite followed by Digestives. I can remember her dipping the biscuit into the tea, and as a child I watched this ritual with what point would the biscuit be dipped too long in the hot tea causing that part to fall into the cup. She would then take a teaspoon and retrieve the soggy sloppy mess and seeing the smile on her face it was obviously the part of this ceremony she enjoyed the most.
I could not understand why she enjoyed doing this as the few times I  tried was something I found quite disgusting. I'm afraid biscuits for me had to be crunchy....after all if you brought a packet and opened them to find them all wet and slimy you would take them back. Anyway seems this was something adults did, and I can remember aunts, uncles and many neighbors 'dunking' as its called their favourite biscuit.
There is a definite divide with people on this pastime....a bit like Marmite you either love it or hate it! 
So what has this got to do with my creation, well the commercial for Oreo biscuits shows a little girl dunking these delights into a glass of milk while her pet dog sits watching and drooling:) So now you can see the connection!
How many of you 'Dunk'?

The one problem I had with this cake was the weather and the lightness of the whipped topping. The cake had to travel 20minutes in the car to my taste testers, and being a warm day it became a little sloppy, but despite its appearance on cutting it still tasted good :) and all went, not even a crumb left :) Somehow the sloppiness of the topping was a happy accident as it fitted in well with sloppy biscuits in my story! 

300g oreo biscuits save 6 for decoration
100g butter , melted
600g soft cheese
100g icing sugar
284ml pot double cream
Punnet of fresh strawberries chopped, reserving some whole for decoration
Make the base: Butter and line a 23cm loose-bottomed tin with
baking parchment. Put the biscuits in a plastic food bag and
crush to crumbs using a rolling pin. Reserve half a cupful for decoration.
Put the crumbs to a bowl, then pour over the melted butter. Mix thoroughly until the
crumbs are completely coated. Tip them into the prepared tin
and press firmly down into the base to create an even layer.
Chill in the fridge for 1 hr to set firmly.
Place the soft cheese & icing sugar
then beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
Tip in the cream and continue beating until the mixture is
completely combined. Gently fold in chopped strawberries.
Pour into tin over biscuit base. Smooth the top of the
cheesecake down with the back of a spoon or spatula.
Leave to set in the fridge overnight
Decorate with a sprinkle of Oreo crumbs and whole strawberries and halved oreos
Enjoy :)

Saturday, 19 May 2012

'N' is for....Nut and Mixed Berry Roulade

A light almond flavored sponge filled with fresh mixed berries and cream. Topped with hazelnut dragees and amaretto flutes

Tea at my Grans was always a feast, 'Sunday high tea' as she called it, included toasted buttered crumpets in the winter and sandwiches, usually egg and cress in the summer. This would be followed by jelly and ice cream or  a home made trifle. More tea would be made and poured from a huge teapot, and cake stands would appear, full of cakes that she would of baked the day before. For some reason known only to herself,  she considered it was not a proper feast without a shop brought swiss roll. I was not keen on it and rarely ate any, we all used to tease her though about the predictability of the swiss roll, the cakes she baked would vary from week to week. One of her regular sayings was 'always keep lots of standbys in the larder, just in case'. As a child I always wondered about this just in case.....just in case of what? But now I completely understand, if she was unwell and could not bake, the swiss roll would be in larder so we could have cake with our cuppa:)
As I grew up she became more and more sophisticated and adventurous with her baking, I seem to of inherited the 'baking' gene from her :). I remember when I was around 15 after carefully laying the table with one of her embroidered tablecloths, out would come all the goodies, all sitting on flowery plates with paper doilies on! This particular Sunday she left a space right in the middle, went back to the kitchen and came back with the most delicious looking cake, and was greeted with oohs and ahhhs from from all of us.She proudly placed it in the saved space, and announced 'there, Grans chocolate roulade' with which my grandfather replied swiftly back 'looks like a bloody swiss roll to me'. Her face fell and although we all thoroughly enjoyed the cake she never baked another roulade ever again!
So Granny Dora Jane wherever you may be I hope you like my version of swiss roll? Love Maxine xx
  • Sunflower oil for greasing
  • 100g ground almonds
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 medium eggs, separated
  • Few drops of almond oil
  • 100g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 284ml carton double cream
  • 300 gr assorted berries,
  • Mixed berries, toasted flaked almonds, chocolate amaretto flutes and hazelnut dragees to decorate


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Line a 27.5cm x 32.5cm swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper and oil lightly.
  2. Mix together the ground almonds and salt. Set aside 2 tbsp sugar from the 100g. Whisk the remaining sugar with the egg yolks until they form a pale mousse that holds a trail on the surface when you lift out the whisk.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the 2 tbsp caster sugar and whisk until thick and slightly glossy. Quickly fold the almond mixture into the egg yolk mousse, followed by the egg whites. Pour into the tin, spread evenly and bake for 12 minutes or until just done and shrinking away from the edges.
  4. Once the roulade is cool enough to handle, put a clean tea towel on a flat surface and top with a sheet of greaseproof paper. Sprinkle the paper with caster sugar and invert the roulade onto it. Carefully peel away the paper. Trim the edges of the sponge, and leave until cold.
  5. Sift the icing sugar into the cream and whip until it forms soft peaks. Fold in the chopped mixed berries and spread over the cold sponge, leaving a 2cm border all around. Use the paper to carefully roll up the roulade from the short end. Ease on to a serving dish, sprinkle with the almonds, berries, flutes and dragees, dust with icing sugar and serve ..........Enjoy :)  Maxine x
A traditional Swiss Roll is a whisked light sponge. The thin cake is made of eggs, flour and sugar and baked in a very shallow rectangular baking tray. The cake is removed from the pan and spread with butter cream or jam  rolled up, and served in circular slices.
The origins of swiss rolls are unclear. The cake originated in Europe, but not in Switzerland  as the name would suggest. It appears to have been invented in the nineteenth century, along with Victoria sponge, doughnuts and battenburg cake.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

'M' is for .... 'Maxinesmixup'....Mango Dessert x

Mangos remind me of the many exotic countries we have visited as a family, and the fleshy fruits would always be welcome in the hot climate to help quench our thirst. And whenever my youngest son is home Mango's are always on the shopping list. I just wish someone could invent seedless ones like grapes as the stone inside does not make them the easiest fruit to prepare.
Most people when I was little girl would not of heard of or seen a mango, and others who had would be suspicious of its foreign origins. Today we are lucky to have a huge variety of exotic  fruits and vegetables that can be brought in any supermarket.
My Mum was one of those that would not  recognise a mango if she fell over one, but I on the other hand experienced the taste of the lovely sweet yellow flesh from around the age of 5. My Nan was a lady who was not afraid of being different and 'lived in sin' her words not mine. In those days it was frowned upon,  she lived with a lovely man from India called Jim, so the neighbours really had something to gossip about.
I would visit my Nan and Jim every Sunday and always looked forward to seeing them both. She would cook the most delicious roast dinner, and a traditional English Pudding....yummmmm  She was probably the only woman in here street to prepare and eat traditional Indian food as she liked to give Jim a reminder of the country he was born in so they mostly ate curry!
During the afternoon she would give me slices of mango, which at first I was unsure of, as their texture and taste was very different from anything I have ever eaten but was not long before I looked forward to this afternoon treat.
So these mango and ginger cheesecakes are dedicated to my Nan, Gladys.....x
1 Pack of Fairtrade Ginger cookies....I brought mine from Waitrose
6 tbsp butter
200g Mascarpone cheese
400g curd or cream cheese
100g caster sugar
3 tbsp milk
small pot of double cream
2 Mangos


  1. Crush the biscuits roughly. You can either do this by putting them in a plastic food bag and crushing them with a wooden spoon or you can crumble them with your fingers. Reserve some for decoration
  2. Put the biscuits into a bowl and mix in the melted butter. Put the mixture into a 23cm cheesecake tin or little individual cases, using your fingers or the back of a spoon to spread it evenly, press it down  to form the base. Put into the fridge to set. This should take about 30 mins.
  3. Chop and puree the mango.Put the curd or cream cheese, mango, mascarpone, sugar and milk into a bowl and mix it well with the wooden spoon.
  4. Put the cream in a clean bowl and whisk until it is the consistency of thick custard. Add to the mango mixture and mix thoroughly.
  5. Remove the cheesecake  from the fridge. Pour the filling over the biscuit base and spread evenly. Decorate with crumbled ginger biscuits and mango and return to the fridge until ready to serve (at least 4 hours or overnight).
  6. I decorated my minis with pieces of mango, a macadamia nut, slice of fudge, pomegranate seeds for extra colour and Belgium chocolate thins. 

A Hindu legend tells the story of the mango tree growing from the ashes of the sun princess, who had been incinerated by an evil sorceress. The Emperor fell in love with the mango flower and subsequently its fruit. When the mango ripened and fell to the ground, the beautiful sun princess emerged. Thus, the mango has become a symbol of love in India, and a basket of mangoes is considered a gesture of 
Below are some interesting facts and myths about mangoes
The word 'mango' is derived from the Tamil word 'mangkay' or 'man-gay'. When the Portguese traders settled in Western India they adopted the name 'manga'.Mangoes are known as the 'king of fruit' throughout the world.
  • The Mango tree plays a sacred role in India; it is a symbol of love and some believe that the Mango tree can grant wishes.
  • In the Hindu culture hanging fresh mango leaves outside the front door during Ponggol (Hindu New Year) and Deepavali is considered a blessing to the house.
  • Leaves of mango trees are used at weddings to ensure the couple bear plenty of children (though it is only the birth of the male child that is celebrated - again by hanging mango leaves outside the house).
  • The fruit of the mango is called a Drupe - consisting of themesocarp (edible fleshy part) and endocarp (large woody, flattened pit).
  • The mango is a member of the Anachardiaceae family. Other distant relatives include the cashew, pistachio, Jamaica plum, poison ivy and poison oak