Posts Tagged ‘Ottolenghi’

Playing catch up

Before I start feeling inexplicably guilty for not writing anything non-work related forever, let me start by saying hi. How’ve you been? I hope that those of you who do ocassionally find themselves on my blog haven’t missed me too much – in fact I’m pretty sure that the majority of you follow me on Twitter and are subjected to my word vomit on a daily basis. If you fall into either (or both) of those categories, then THANK YOU.

As I’ve been gone for a while, I figured I’d launch my new look blog with a little catch up.

February 2014

Back in February I spammed everyone who follows me on Instagram with photos from Hakkasan, where Charlie and I had our first ‘Dim Sum Sunday’ experience. We opted for the Signature menu (hello additional champagne and cocktails) and sat back as 6 equally beautiful and delicious courses were delivered to us. But February wasn’t all elegance – I also reverted back to my teenage years and went to see Taking Back Sunday at KOKO with some great friends and ended up in Burger King. So swings and roundabouts.

March 2014

March was particularly busy as Mum and I went to see Yoncé and Charlie and I celebrated our anniversary early. We like to go out and do something together rather than buying gifts we don’t really need, so I took him to see Book of Mormon and he treated me to dinner at Soho’s NOPI afterwards, which we both enjoyed, but felt lacked something in comparison to Ottolenghi in Islington. I also got to spend time with one of my dearest friends Elizabeth at the Martin Creed exhibition, where we giggled at fart boxes and danced around in a room filled with balloons.

April 2014

In April I went to Chatsworth House for the first time in years with my family. As beautiful as the house is, I could just as easily spend all day exploring the gardens. Back in London, I went to see one of my favourite bands Brand New at Troxy for the first time EVER. Don’t ask me why or how, but I’d never gotten around to seeing them before and I wasn’t about to miss them again. The gig was everything I had hoped for, although if you ever find yourself at Troxy you might want to drink a lot of water: it’s a stunning venue but the air con was non existent and I saw at least 5 girls hit the deck before Brand New even hit the stage.

I also took a trip to Leeds for the weekend to visit the girls I lived with at University and had THE BEST time. I’ve only been to Leeds on a handful of occasions but each time I’ve fallen more in love – does anyone else feel the same way? Like all great weekends away, my mini break revolved experiencing some of the best food and drink Leeds had to offer, including…

Leeds 2014

Red’s True Barbecue

As tempted as I was to try their infamous donut burger (yes, you read that correctly) I opted for a giant helping of the best pulled meat nachos I’ve ever had. If you like your meat with extra meat, GO. IMMEDIATELY.

The Alchemist

After stuffing my face at Red’s, I was in the mood for a strong beverage. My resident Leeds girl Zoe took me to The Alchemist, where you’ll find smoking cocktails, colour changing cocktails, glittering cocktails…my cocktail ‘A Night at the Movies’ even included popcorn!

The Botanist

Before I left Leeds, I got the chance to sample The Botanist’s deli style menu, which is perfectly suited to an afternoon of nibbles and drinks. The hanging kebabs looked delicious, the cocktails were great (despite slightly slow service) and the staff were extremely friendly.

May 2014

May was a blur of adventure, fun and excitement. Charlie and I went to Lisbon to stay with one of my oldest friends and had an amazing time. I wish we could have stayed for the whole month, but we had to get back to London for Charlie’s birthday surprise: Les Mis. I managed to hold it together until the interval but after One Day More, I basically cried throughout the entire second act. Towards the end of May, the nerves set in as I got ready to be photographed by Rankin! I joined 10 others who had also entered Hunger Magazine’s Selfie competition at the studio for a surreal afternoon of posing – Rankin even jumped in for a couple of fun photos. You can see the full winners shoot here and if you visit Hunger’s Tumblr, you’ll even see me in GIF form…

Rankin shoot

In June I discovered a handful of new pubs in the area thanks to Streatham Food Festival, which I only regretted slightly as I joined the inspirational Curvy Kate ladies for a photo shoot to promote their awesome new strapless bra – keep your eyes pealed for more news soon and look out for the Ultimate Uplift campaign…

June 2014

June was also the time for new tattoos. I’d wanted to get a tattooed by the immensely talented Rebecca Vincent at The Circle for a while, so when she announced a charity day for Sensory Leeds, I emailed her immediately. Now I have a beautiful tattoo AND I can feel good about the money going to such an important non-profit organisation. You might have seen my pinecone on Instagram recently as I’ve been documenting my #100happydays – I’m almost at the half way point and haven’t given up yet!

Just Desserts: Strawberry and caramel cheesecake

Remember back in August when I made Chocolate Pudding Cups for Domestic Sluttery’s ‘Just Desserts’ club? Well this time around the theme was cheesecake. Since the last cheesecake I attempted failed spectacularly (sob) I was eager to try a new recipe. Until last week I’d never made a baked cheesecake before, so, with a determined attitude and my sleeves rolled up, I dove straight in.

Confession time; this should have been a caramel and macadamia cheesecake but I accidentally burnt the caramel and used all of the nuts in the first batch. Drama! As non of my local shops seem to stock macadamia nuts, I had to improvise and alter the recipe slightly…but hey, it’s all part of the baking process, right? Aside from the additional strawberry topping, this recipe comes from Ottolenghi’s first cookbook. Enjoy!

strawberry and caramel cheesecake recipe

The cake:

  • 160g dry biscuits
  •  40g unsalted butter
  • 600g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla pod 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 60ml soured cream icing sugar for dusting

The caramel sauce:

  • 65g unsalted butter
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 100ml double cream

Make it!

  • Pre-heat the over to 140°C and lightly grease a springform cake tin, lining the base and sides with baking parchment.
  • Whizz the biscuits in a food processor (or do it the old fashioned way and beat to death with a rolling pin) then mix with melted butter until you have a damp, sandy consistency. Transfer to your tin and flatten out evenly with a spoon/your hands.
  • Put the sugar and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Slit the vanilla pod lengthways in half and scrape the seeds out into the bowl, then mix until smooth.
  • Gradually add the eggs and soured cream, whisking until smooth. Pour the mixture over the top of your biscuit base and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 60-70 minutes until set; a skewer should inserted into the centre should come out with a slightly wet crumb.
  • Leave to cool in the tin until room temperature, then release. Be warned – transferring to a plate can be tricky with such a delicate cake! Serve on the cake tin base if you don’t trust yourself to drop it (or get a lovely assistant to help you lift it). Chill the cake for at least a couple of hours in the fridge.
  • To make the sauce, put the butter and sugar in a thick bottomed saucepan and stir constantly over a low heat with a wooden spoon until it becomes a smooth, dark caramel colour. The butter and sugar will look as if they have split but don’t worry, just keep stirring! Once you’ve reached that yummy colour, carefully add all the cream whilst stirring vigorously. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  • To finish the cake, dust the edges with some icing sugar and pour your caramel sauce into the centre; depending on how long ago you made the sauce, you may need to heat it slightly. Top with freshly washed and cut strawberries et voila! You should have a beautiful cake that will keep in the fridge for 3 days.