Tag Archives: soft cheese

Cheesecake Bars

When I lived in Tokyo I would usually pick up breakfast on my way to uni.  If there is one thing I miss the most about Japan it is the convenience stores, or conbini, they were just brilliant!  You want a kitkat, a bottle of mikan juice and a bowl of hot macaroni cheese at 3am?  Done!  Japanese food was just amazing in all ways, even the rubbish, but I digress.  Every morning for a good few months I would stop off at a particular store on my trip to uni and I would buy myself a carton of cafe latte and a cheesecake bar.  It was just a simple stick of baked cheesecake.  No biscuit, no flavouring, just cheesecake plain and simple. 

For Christmas I got a silicone baking mould that forms 12 bars.  I had asked for a 9 hole mini loaf tray but such a creature does not exist it would seem and the closest “Mother Christmas” could come was a 12 hole bar tray from France.  The first thing I thought of when I saw this tray was, “Well that’d make funny shaped loaves.”, the second thing I thought was, “But I could make cheesecake bars!”  And so last night, when I was in serious need of some baking therapy having just watched Doctor Who, I did. 

This cheesecake recipe is the simplest thing in the world only 5 ingredients!  I think I first saw this recipe in a supermarket magazine as a project for kids but it is now one of my emergency recipes as it takes so few ingredients.  I like to make it after dinner because then you can just leave it and forget about it while it cools in the oven overnight and it’s not taking any time away from other things.  Also you get to breakfast on cheesecake and what’s better than that?

Makes 12 bars.  If you don’t have a fancy mould like mine then you could probably just use a brownie or square cake tin and cut it up. 

2 large eggs
400g soft cheese
125g caster sugar
4 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tsp vanilla extract
the seeds from half a vanilla pod

Step 1: Assemble your ingredients.

[I changed my mind about the orange half way through and decided to keep it pure with the vanilla but you can easily substitute the vanillas for the zest and 3tbsp of juice from an orange, lemon or lime.  We keep our vanilla pods in the sugar jar, as you can just see, it gives a light hint of flavour to the sugar and stores the vanilla well.]

– Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease your mould, tin or tray with melted butter. 
– In a medium sized mixing bowl beat the eggs. 
– Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. 

It will look like this but keep beating...

...and it will look like this!

– Add the sugar, vanillas and creme fraiche and beat until well combined. 
– Pour into your chosen mould and  bake for 30 minutes. 
– Turn off the oven and leave overnight or until completely cool. 
– Turn out, and slice if necessary, and serve!

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Filed under Easy, Teatime Treats

Summer in Winter

At least I think that’s what the recipe called it.  I kept the name but altered the recipe a fair bit.  The idea of it was basically summery flavours in the depths of winter but these days that’s not so odd I guess!  Who knows what you call it in the summer!  It made a delicious dinner anyway and only took about 30 minutes to make.  It even kept warm very well as dinner was delayed by another 30 minutes.  I had everything ready by 8pm then kept the pasta covered with a tea towel in a warm oven and reheated the sauce and put it together when everyone was there. 

 

Serves 4-6

4 chicken breasts either whole or in strips*
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
~200g baby plum tomatoes, halved
200g soft cheese
~400ml creme fraiche
1 tbsp grated hard cheese/parmesan
~6 fresh basil leaves, shredded
2 salad tomatoes, sliced
pasta to serve

– Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and cook the chicken until just browned. 
– Get your pasta going. 
– Push the chicken to one side and add the garlic, fry in the space for a minute then stir through the chicken. 
– Add the halved tomatoes and cook for one minute. 
– Add the soft cheese, creme fraiche, hard cheese and parmesan. 
– Stir until combined.  If it seems a little thick add a little water from the pasta. 
– Grill the tomato slices until just starting to blacken in places. 
– Serve on top of pasta garnishing with the sliced tomatoes.

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Filed under Easy, Mains

Italian Stuffed Dough Balls

The filling for these dough balls came from a recipe called Italian Chicken so I thought I’d carry over the name.  Rather than being Italian in style the mix of flavours is what makes it Italian.  The tang of garlic mixed in with the bursts of tomato over the creamy base makes and excellent, and moreish, combination.  Tonight we had Italian Chicken and I thought I’d make some dough balls filled with the left over cheese mix.  I’ve tweaked the recipe from the first time I made Dough Balls and now they’re even better!  They only take an hour to throw together so it’s perfect if you don’t have time to make bread during the day. 

Makes 12 dough balls

250g strong bread flour
1 tsp (approx 4g) fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
150ml warm water
250g soft cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tbsp herbes de provence

– In a medium sized bowl mix together the flour, yeast and salt.  Make a well in the centre. 
– Tip the water and oil into the well. 
– Mix together with a wooden spoon until the mix comes together into a dough. 
– Once combined tip our onto a floured worksurface and dust with flour. 
– Knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. 
– Set aside to rest in a covered, lightly oiled bowl for 10-15 minutes. 
– Meanwhile mix together the cheese, garlic, tomatoes and herbs in a small bowl. 
– Lightly knead the dough so all the oil is absorbed. 
– Divide the dough into 12 balls, covering the dough you aren’t working with. 
– Roll each ball out into to a circle about 3″ in diameter. 
– Place a heaped teaspoon of cheese mixture in the centre of each circle. 
– Gather the edges of the circle together and pinch closed so the seam disappears. 
– Place in an oiled baking dish leaving a little space between balls. 
– Bake at gas mark 7 for 12-15 minutes until golden brown on top. 
– Serve warm to enjoy them at their best.

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Filed under Breads, Easy

Baked Cheesecake Recipe

Serves 10

75g butter, melted
12 digestive biscuits
2 large eggs
400g soft cheese
1 small orange
1 unwaxed lemon
125g caster sugar
4tbsp creme fraiche

– Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4 and grease the inside of a 20cm loose bottomed or sprong cake tin. 
– Put the biscuits in a freezer bag and gently crush them with a rolling pin until they are crumbs. 
– Mix the biscuits with the melted butter and press evenly into the bottom of the tin to make a firm base. 
– Beat the eggs in a large bowl and add the soft cheese, beat thoroughly. 
– Grate the zest of the orange and the lemon into the mixture and add 3tbsp of the juice of each. 
– Add the sugar and the creme fraiche and beat thoroughly until smooth. 
– Spoon the mixture into the tin on top of the biscuit base. 
– Bake for 30-35 mins. 
– If possible turn off the heat and leave it in the oven until both are cool, preferably overnight.  If not simply remove from the oven and leave to cool, again preferably overnight.  The texture of the cake is much improved by letting it stand for this time.  The faster the cake cools the more likely it is to crack although sometimes no matter what you do it will crack anyway as you can see below. 
– Run a knife around the edge of the tin to loosen it and then remove from the tin and place on a plate. 

Variations
– Add 75g fresh blueberries to the mixture for blueberry cheesecake.
– Make with ginger biscuits and lime instead of the orange for ginger and lime cheesecake.
– Make with Oreos for both the base and stir through cushed Oreos for an Oreo cheesecake.  

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Filed under Cakes, Easy