Strawberry Cheesecake, with a Nutella Base

no bake strawberry cheesecake

A couple of weeks ago, Ruby-Roo turned six.  She’s a sophisticated little lady, and when I asked her what kind of cake she wanted, she firmly told me strawberry cheesecake.

In our house, when it’s someone’s birthday, they get to choose what we eat that day.  It doesn’t matter what it is, it’s their day, and they get it.  As well as cheesecake, Ruby asked for homemade dough balls with garlic butter, and chicken nuggets and chips.  We went out for ice cream for lunch, and I can’t remember what she had for breakfast, but I imagine it was something she wouldn’t normally get offered.  

I’d never made a strawberry cheesecake before, but I figured it couldn’t be all that hard.  I had a look on Pinterest, found a few recipes I liked the look of, and put them all together and made an epic mishmash of strawberry deliciousness.  And it was good.  More so after a day or so, so if you do make this, make it up a little in advance.  And don’t scrimp on the nutella in the base.  You really won’t regret it. 

strawberry cheesecake

To make this (no bake) strawberry cheesecake, you will need:

For the base:

200 – 250g of plain digestive biscuits – approx half a large packet
150g Nutella.  
2tbsp melted butter

For the cheesecake filling:

500g of FULL FAT cream cheese.  It MUST be full fat, and it needs to be at room temp.  500g equates to 2 packets of cream cheese.
2 punnets of strawberries
300mls double cream
icing sugar – to taste 

First make the base.  In a food processor blitz the biscuits to crumbs.  If you don’t have a food processor, then put the biscuits in a plastic food bag, seal and bash with a rolling pin.  It’s very satisfying. 

Add the melted butter and the nutella and pulse to combine.  It helps if you do have a food processor for this bit, but if not, just mix thoroughly with a spoon.  Press the biscuit-nutella mixture into the bottom of a loose based or springform tin, making sure there is a little lip of base that is slightly deeper around the edges.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  I use a 20cm springform cake tin for this.

When the base is nice and solid, it’s time to make the filling.  This isn’t a baked cheesecake, and whilst it does hold its shape and set a little as the cream and cheese become stiff in the fridge, it’s soft and easiest cut when cold.  If you wanted neat portions, I would probably put the cake into the freezer for an hour or so.  

Beat the room temperature cream cheese with icing sugar, until it’s as sweet as you like.  Beat the cream to soft peaks and fold this in to the cream cheese.  

Hull a punnet of strawberries, and blend to a smooth puree.  Fold this into the cream and cheese mix and taste.  If you think it needs more icing sugar, add some.  I found at this point, the strawberries made it sweet enough.  Pour over the base and smooth out with a spatula.  Cover with cling film and return to the fridge for a further few hours.  

To make the strawberry garnish, remove the green tops, and slice up finely.  Arrange the cut strawberries prettily over the top of the cheesecake, and dust with a little more icing sugar.   This will make the strawberries all glossy and add just a little extra sweetness. 

no bake strawberry cheesecake

5:2 Friday

5:2 Friday

5:2 FridayThis week hasn’t been the easiest to stick to, though it has been super delicious and pretty carb-laden, and thus, I’ve only shifted half a pound.  Ruby turned six on Wednesday, and requested dough balls with garlic butter, chicken nuggets and wedges, followed by strawberry cheesecake for her birthday meal.  The dough balls, frankly, were way too tempting – also way too easy.  Why have I never thought to make dough balls before?!  We dipped them into garlic butter, and it was just heavenly.

I used this recipe for the chicken nuggets, but in absence of tapioca flour or arrowroot, I used cornmeal – thus rendering these nuggets completely un-paleo.  Oh well.  Carpe diem.  Or something.  (who cares when your child has a birthday?)

I did bake them, though, instead of frying.  So I gave myself props for that. 

And the cheesecake? Oh, the cheesecake.  I’m going to blog it.  I will, I promise.  In a nutshell, I trawled Pinterest for no bake strawberry cheesecake recipes, found elements that I liked from a number of different ones, and put them all together in a strawberry cheesecake mishmash of wonder and glory.  

But enough about my treat day, here are a couple of meals from our healthier days. 

Tuna Salad

5:2 Friday

I found the recipe for this on Pinterest, which is, incase you haven’t realised, my first stop for meal ideas.  This tuna salad was the easiest thing I have made in ages, and tasted absolutely amazing.  Ross and the kids had potato wedges with theirs, but I had mine as you see it, scooped into romaine lettuce leaves.  It might not look like much food, but let me tell you, it was filling.  I threw in a handful of walnuts as well for added crunch, and I definitely foresee this being made a lot over the summer.  It would make a lovely jacket potato topping, or a great dish for a bring-and-share/pot luck meal. 

Chicken, Butternut Squash & Aubergine Curry

5:2 Friday

This was loosely based on my sweet potato and aubergine curry.  Very loosely.  I used butternut squash instead of sweet potato to save a few calories, and you know something, I think I preferred it.  

Serves 3-4

1 red onion, sliced into half moons
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp garam masala
3 fat cloves of garlic, minced
half a green chilli, chopped
1 green pepper, sliced.
half an aubergine, diced
half a medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks – seeds removed
1 chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
500mls chicken stock
optional – a few curry leaves.  I get these from our local ethnic food shop.  They are NOT the same as kaffir lime leaves. 

Fry off the onion, in a little oil, and add the ginger, garam masala, garlic and chilli and curry leaves.  Once slightly softened, push to one side of the pan (or remove and store on a plate – you’ll be adding them again later. 

Add the chicken, and push it around the pan so it gets coated with the spices.  Allow it to brown off a little.  Then return the onion mixture to the pan, and add all the vegetables and stock.  

Clamp a lid on and simmer until the chicken is cooked and the butternut squash is tender – about 15-20 minutes.  If there is a lot of stock left in the pan, remove the lid and let it bubble away for a few minutes.  Spoon in some plain yoghurt for a creamy tang. 

Serve with rice, or cauliflower rice.  

Lamb and Mint Koftas

lamb and mint koftas

lamb and mint koftasSundays like this call for barbecues.  

Since the weather got a bit nicer, my herb pots have sprung back to life, and since I had some lamb mince in the fridge… lamb and mint koftas it was!  

Ross, light the charcoal: it’s kofta time.

These took mere moments to put together, and I got 6 good sized koftas out of 500g lamb mince, which was pretty satisfying. 

To make these lamb and mint koftas, you need:

500g lamb mince.  Use fresh instead of frozen for a better texture. 
half a red onion, very very finally diced.
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
3 fat cloves garlic, 
a good handful of fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp olive oil – to bind the mix together

This could not be any simpler.  Put everything in a big bowl, and mush together using your hands.  You could put everything in a food processor and mix that way, but I could not be bothered for what is less than 5 minutes work. 

lamb and mint koftas

To make koftas, split the mixture into 6 equal lumps, and shape into a sausage shape around a wooden or metal stick.

If you don’t fancy koftas, you could shape the mix into meatballs, or burgers.  Whatever you fancy. 

As I mentioned, we cooked ours on a barbecue, but if not, stick them under a grill and turn every few minutes until the meat is cooked.

lamb and mint koftas

 We ate these with a tomato and feta salad (using the other half of the red onion), and a simple green salad with caesar dressing, and washed it down with a beer in the sunshine.  T’was lovely. 

Love Your Leftovers – Waldorf-Style Chicken Lettuce Wraps

chicken lettuce wraps

chicken lettuce wrapsThis is not strictly a paleo recipe, as I used commercial mayonnaise, which has all sorts of additives and stabilisers in it.  However, if I had made my own mayo, I think it would have been, if not strictly, then almost.  So as soon as we have finished our jar of generic supermarket mayo, I’ll be making my own. 

I wanted a quick lunch, using up bits and bobs I had in the fridge, and chicken lettuce wraps worked a treat.  It was essentially like a Waldorf salad (one of my favourites) but with chicken added – leftovers from the chicken I roasted yesterday.  They were filling, sweet, and savoury all in one delicious hit. 

To make these chicken lettuce wraps, you will need:

Leftover chicken – shredded.  Use as much or as little as you like, and use a mixture of dark and white meat if you can. 
1 sweet apple – diced.  No need to peel.
A handful of grapes – halved.
Walnuts, roughly chopped.
A rib of celery – finely sliced
Mayonnaise – I used 2 heaped teaspoons for me, but add this to your taste.  You can use yoghurt or creme fraiche instead if you like.  
2 leaves of romaine lettuce per person, each leaf cut in half widthways – the more curved the leaves, the better, as they act as a scoop for the filling.

Put all the ingredients into a bowl, add the mayonnaise and combine thoroughly.  

Spoon the mixture on to the lettuce leaves and serve.  

Eat with your hands.  Because, yeah. 

paleo and 52 chicken lettuce wraps

Paleo Pork Meatballs

paleo pork meatballs 2

paleo pork meatballs 1My first week of paleo eating has drawn to a close.  I stuck it it like glue during the week, even foregoing garlic bread on Wednesday.

Garlic bread.  You guys, I deserve a medal. 

Admittedly I was more lax this weekend, and ate meringue, and a couple of slices of cake.  I don’t think Palaeolithic folk had Eton mess, or banana cake.  But on Saturday we ate shepherd’s pie with sweet potato mash, and today we had a barbecue where I ate meat and salad.  So a couple of sneaky desserts is not the end of the world.

I’m kind of amazed at how easy I have found it so far – when Helen convinced me to give it a go, I said I’d commit to a week because how on earth could I ever live without bread?  Or Linguine?  Or rice? How would I ever be able to go a week without nibbling a biscuit with my coffee? 

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Mackerel, Mash and Asparagus

paleo mackerel

Not really a recipe post, but more a “you should try this, it was SOOOO good” post.

I’ve challenged myself to a week of paleo. Not in it’s purest form, as cutting out refined carbs, sweets, and processed stuff is one thing, but to take dairy away from me, too?  Well, that would be miserable.

Not that I am going overboard with dairy.  But I am still having milk in my coffee, a little bit of butter here and there.  A little cube of cheese nobbled from Elliot’s lunch.  You get the idea. 

But no biscuits.  Which is harder than I thought. 

Anyway, tonight we ate this

paleo mackerel

Smoked mackerel fillet, grilled for 3-4 minutes each side.  Just a plain mackerel fillet, not dressed up at all. 

Sweet potato mash, with butter, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and finely chopped raw spring onion.

Steamed asparagus.

It’s simple, and it was completely delicious.  I felt happy, and satisfied, and isn’t that the way food should make you feel?

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