Sunday, 13 April 2014

Healthy Orange Cheesecake

This cheesecake is so refreshing, and healthy, in that it gives you the feeling that you've had a more decadent dessert.  It has the lowest possible fat content (which you can control) in practically all of the ingredients, it is so easy to make, so its a winner in my books!


150g of low fat cream cheese
150g of low fat natural yoghurt
the juice of 1 large orange
1 packet of orange flavour jelly (made with half of the boiled water specified on packet)
approx 8 digestive biscuits (beaten with rolling pin to a fine crumb)
approx 8 small amoretti biscuits (also beaten with rolling pin to a fine crumb)
a small amount of low fat spread melted to bind the biscuit crumb


1. melt the spread (you can use butter if you prefer but then the fat content will be raised)
2. Stir the melted spread into the biscuit crumb and mix thoroughly until all crumb is coated by the melted spread
3.  press the biscuit crumb into a 8in diameter shallow dish, or you can make this in individual ramekins (as in the photo)
4. Make the jelly as directed on the packet, but only use half of the boiled water specified (you will be adding more liquid to the jelly so you do not want it too runny or it will not set firm)  leave to cool slightly
5. Mix the yoghurt and cream cheese together in a mixing bowl and add the juice of the orange (you can strain this if you want a smoother texture, or leave it natural if you don't mind bits of orange in it)
6. Pour the cooled jelly into the cheese, yoghurt and orange juice mixture, and stir well
7.  Pour onto base, or into the individual ramekins (could make approx 6-8 depending on size of ramekins)
8. Leave to set for a couple of hours in the fridge


Saturday, 3 August 2013

Monday, 3 June 2013

Orange Cheesecake - a semi healthy one too!

This cheesecake is a fairly healthy creation, no bake, and so easy, yet tastes so fresh and summery...the perfect accompaniment to a BBQ or salad lunch.

To make this you will need:

150 ml natural yoghurt
1 pack of jelly (orange flavour)
cheesecake minus 2 slices!  Not a good photo, sorry!
30 g butter
8-10 digestive biscuits
100 ml water (cold)
250 ml lightest cream cheese or mascarpone


1.  Crush the digestive biscuits to fine crumbs.  Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan, and add the crushed biscuits.  Ensure the melted butter has coated the crumbs thoroughly.  Then press the buttered crumbs into a flan dish to cover the base and sides of the dish.

2.  Put the jelly into a microwaveable jug or bowl, and add the 100 ml of cold water, and heat on full for 1 minute in microwave.  Leave to cool slightly

3.  In a bowl, mix together the natural yoghurt and cream cheese, then add the cooled jelly liquid, when thoroughly combined, pour mixture into the flan dish with the biscuit crumb lining the base and sides.

4.  Leave to set overnight in a fridge.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Chicken a la Matt

This dish is my son, Matt's signature dish! Inspired by our favourite place to eat, The Cleveland Tontine,
where a similar dish (his inspiration) is called Chicken JoJo.  Vermouth or Noilly Prat is used to de-glaze the pan, and this gives a really lovely depth of  flavour, together with the tarragon.  It is quite simply delicious.  Matt takes a great pride in perfecting this dish each time he cooks it, and I think now it barely resembles the inspiration behind his dish, and he has made it his own!

You do need to use good quality chicken breasts which can be 'skin on' but do ensure you crisp the skin sufficiently if you decide on using 'skin on' chicken breasts.  For ease though, I would recommend using skinless (and indeed boneless) chicken breasts.

Serve with button mushrooms, roasted carrots, roast potatoes, or new potatoes :)  This dish is really something else, and special enough to justify being the centerpiece for a special meal! The above pic shows some roasted fennel and roasted green pepper too.

In Matt's own words here is his recipe...

OK, the naming convention is quite lame, but the dish is worthy of featuring upon the tables of Valhalla amongst the gods!
Whilst the Main and Sides are a tasty inclusion in this meal, the sauce is the linchpin for the success of this dish.
Ingredients for Main
1 x Chicken breast per person
2 trays of Button Mushrooms
Vermouth Wine
Olive Oil
Garlic Puree

Ingredients for Sauce
1 tblsp. Butter
1 tblsp. Honey
2 tblsp. standard Flour
2 teasp. Dijon Mustard
1 Chicken Stock
80ml Milk (semi-skimmed) or Cream alternative
Garlic Puree
125ml Boiling Water

Ingredients for Sides
1.5 large Potatoes per person
2.5 large Carrots per person
(+ Any other vegetables suitable)
Garlic Puree
Olive Oil

1.       Peel and slice all vegetables into generous portions; combine them in a freezer/sandwich bag with generous amounts of Olive Oil and Garlic Puree and shake the bag.
2.       Pour bag and all contents onto a baking tray and season with salt and pepper - try to get the smallest contact area of vegetable on baking tray to minimise on the vegetables stick to the tray. 
3.       Cook for a generous 1 hour at 200'C (Fan) 220'C (unassisted) until partially blackened and sweet.
4.       This should be sufficient time to complete the remainder of the dish...
1.       Heat Olive Oil in large pan (30% dual-ring power or equivalent); when at temperature, add Chicken breasts (no marination or tenderising required).   Increase temperature to maximum of ring.
Note: The idea is to both cook the chicken breast and cause it to burn/stick to the pan, so feel free to leave it a little longer between turning the meat.
2.       When Chicken breast looks cooked (juices run clear when pressed), reduce the temperature to approximately 60% of total power and add the two trays of Button Mushrooms - these should be prepared by simply brushing off the compost; do not rinse-clean with water as this adds too much moisture to the meal.
3.       When Mushrooms have fried sufficiently with the Chicken, temporarily remove only the Mushrooms and Chicken Breasts from the pan whilst conducting the next step - leave juices and any residual bits of Mushroom or Chicken skin that may be present in the pan.
4.       Whilst maintaining the ring heat, add enough Vermouth wine to coat the bottom of the pan, and then some more for good measure.  Using a wooden cooking spoon, carefully scrape clean the bottom of the pan.  The Alcohol in the Vermouth will make this task very easy.  Be sure to clean it thoroughly, as it makes the cleaning process after the meal far easier as well as collecting more taste!
5.       Pour out the pan contents into a suitably middle-high volume cooking jug and then re-add the mushrooms and chicken to the clean pan.  Reduce heat to about 20-25% of total temperature and place lid on pan; it is time to move to the Sauce...

1.       On a low heat, melt the Butter into a small pan.  When totally melted, take pan off the heat and add all the flour.  Combine carefully the butter and flour to produce a roux.
2.       Gradually add the Milk to the mix, be sure to whisk by hand all the lumps out of the mix to be left with a watery yellow liquid.  To this, add a generous helping of Tarragon and then return to the heat, which you will increase.
3.       Add the pan contents (Vermouth and pan stock) to this Sauce pan and notice the colour change to a darker yellow-brown; indicative of the richness and flavour captured in the sauce. 
4.       In a separate jug, combine the Honey, Dijon Mustard, Garlic Puree and Chicken Stock with 125ml Boiling Water until it is free of lumps.   This is then combined with the Sauce pan contents in the pan, still on the heat.
5.       This can be left to cook; depending on your preferences or palate, you can thicken the sauce by vigorously whisking flour into the mix (it will naturally thicken with heat and time), similarly, you can sweeten the sauce by adding more Honey, or make it more savoury by adding additional Mustard. 
6.       Final seasoning of Pepper will finish off the Sauce - leave it cooking on medium heat when 'perfect taste' to thicken up slightly.
7.       Eat.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Carrot, Orange, & Walnut Muffins

These not so tiny morsels of deliciousness are inspired by the recent Carrot & Orange Cake I baked.  Whilst the cake was absolutely superb, it was quite awkward to store (my storage boxes are the wrong size for the dimensions pre-slicing).  So, my answer to the storage issue is not to buy yet another storage box (you can have too many!), but make the recipe into muffins which will store perfectly in all my boxes!  They are simply more convenient to store and to transport too.

The carrot is not detectable in taste (for those of you who still have yet to be convinced that carrot cake is actually a sweet thing and not a savoury thing!), but does add to the moistness of the cake.  The cake is super fluffy, slightly spicy with ground cinnamon, and the combination of orange zest and walnuts adds a lot more depth of flavour than muffins/cakes without  these tasty ingredients.  The topping combination of cream cheese (low fat is fine, and is what I use), with orange zest, sweetened with icing sugar (but not overly sweet) perfectly compliments the flavours in the actual cake.  Top off with chopped walnuts to decorate! Perfect.

The recipe is exactly the same as the Carrot & Orange cake except obviously it is baked in 12 muffin cases, on 160 C Fan, for approx 20 mins (but do test with a wooden skewer to see if sufficiently baked through).

There is still the orange glaze on top immediately after they emerge from the oven; and there is still the cream cheese topping when they have totally cooled.

One word really sums up these beauties: Delicious!!

Excellent news !!

Following a recent inspection by the Food Standards Agency...The Cakes & Bakes Den is delighted to announce that the following certification has been achieved :

This of course means that our customers can now purchase from The Cakes & Bakes Den with every confidence, in the secure knowledge that we use only the best ingredients; produce delicious cakes, bakes and other delights; and that only the highest food hygiene standards are observed.