Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Mint Choc Cheesecake Triangles

Firstly I must apologise, I haven't been keeping up with posting just recently. The reason is that I have given up a couple of things for lent. The first thing being alcohol and the second being cake making. I have, however, allowed myself 2 "jokers" that enable me to slip, just twice. Therefore, I have tried to avoid food temptation and also writing about it. Now I am nearly half-way through the challenge, and incidentally half a stone lighter, I thought it'd be a good time to post about Georgina's amazing mint-choc cheesecake triangles.
On Shrove Tuesday I ran a reading course for my Reading volunteer Mums. As I had this "ban" on cake making pending, I suggested we had cakes and I was all set to make a few. In my hour of need with a horrendous amount to do the week before, Georgina (a mum of a pupil at my school) happened to offer to provide some Mint Choc Cheesecake Triangles. They sounded intriguing. I happily accepted.

One word.... Wow!!!! I asked to keep an extra to photograph for this blog, however, there were about 8 left and I got to keep the lot. Result! (Obviously I shared a few of them with the staff who were equally as impressed). I could've faffed with getting all the cheesecake crumbs off before photographing them but I was frantically photographing them in the library at lunchtime so the staff could taste the remainders. And just before the end of the day Georgina was back to collect her Tupperware, recipe in hand...

When lent is over I will definitely be whizzing up some of these.

Recipe came from "The Pampered Chef" - (a company who sell cookware at parties in homes and teach you how to make lovely food with the kit). Why I have not yet attended one of these parties I do not know; nevermind the fact that I can't shut my kitchen cupboards for gadgetry as it is....

Here is the link to the American Pampered Chef website, I have a U.K recipe with British measurements that I will type out for anyone who wants it...

J :)

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The St David's Day Do

St Davids Day was last Tuesday (March 1st). Nobody in Wales (I know) does much for the occasion usually. It's primarily a day for the kids, (dressing up, making Welsh cakes and reciting poetry - to win a "mini chair" I vaguely remember)!?! When I taught in New York I couldn't believe the fuss they made for St. Patrick's Day, so I thought, why not for "Dydd Dewi Sant".

And then the planning for my "do" began:-

The Decor:-

Thank you Ant for the lovely 2-tone daffs...:)


Large Welsh flag to suspend from patio doors - another remnant from my teaching stint in NY. It's a good job my Mum keeps hold of as much stuff as I do!

Green serviettes

Sparkly red party plates for serving

The Music:-

Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers and Catatonia C.Ds - Ahhhh, the late '90s for Welsh music, such good times, especially when we watched the "phonics" in The Roseland Ballroom off Time Square and The Manics in the Millennium stadium on the eve of the millennium!

The Costume:-

Welsh lady hats for drinks waitresses

Now, I think I did well with the following refreshments, especially considering the suggestions I had were laverbread, rarebit and cockles - I'm sure that buffet would've pulled the crowds in! The "fusion" ideas (some with tenuous links) are in bold...

The Drink:-

Bottles of Ty Nant (sparkling and still water)

Pen Deryn Welsh whiskey

Merlyn - (Welsh cream liqueur)

Angry Dragon's blood (Cranberry, Pomegranate juice and lemonade)
Welsh "Black Dragon" cider

The Food:-

Mini lamb burgers

Pork and leek sausages

Plates of white things (bread), Butter bean and Caerphilly cheese bake
Plates of green things (fine bean and ginger salad / bowls of salad leaves)
Plate of red things (tomatoes and roasted red peppers)

Carrot and wild rice salad (yes, I know, this has no Welsh link whatsoever, it just sounded nice)
as did a bowl of homemade coleslaw and spicy sweet potato wedges.

And finally...

Mini Welsh cakes

"Keep a welcome in the hillside" (3 Colour Cupcakes)

{Red Velvets with Cream cheese frosting and green M&Ms} - recipe to follow at a later date

Magical Merlyn Truffles (except these went VERY wrong and I binned them, a real culinary low-point in my dessert making history).
Luckily, my Mum bought some of "Uncle Dave's" handmade white Welsh chocolate and that got served up instead... and in any case, Bella turned up with a bag of chocolate sheep (as you do!)

And that was that, 26 people happily fed and a fun night had by all!

Many thanks has to go to David for the tonne of prep and to my Mum for gathering up stuff in Wales and meeting me on the Severn bridge with her "griddle" for making Welsh cakes.

Diolch yn fawr also to the many party goers who surprised me in their large turnout for a Tuesday night... I have no idea how I manage to know so many people happy to drink "on a school night" - (the question was asked!)

And so to the recipes for the savoury dishes:-

(All ideas stolen {and slightly adapted} from recipes featured in the February issue of the BBC Good Food Magazine...)

Butter bean & Caerphilly Cheese Bake

Whoops, this was the 2nd lot of this (Bazz and I had some again on Sunday with roast chicken) and I still forgot to photograph it until only this little bit was left...

You will need:

2x400g cans of butter beans, drained and rinsed
100g light soft cheese with garlic and herbs
2 tbsps snipped chives
4 tbsp breadcrumbs
1tsp sunflower oil
(In addition I sprinkled some Caerphilly cheese and Welsh cheddar onto the top)

What you do:

1. Heat the butterbeans in a small pan for 3-4 mins. Remove a quarter of them to a bowl and mash with a fork until smooth and creamy. Stir back into the rest of the beans in the pan with the soft cheese and chives, then heat for a few mins more until warmed through.

2. Transfer to a small baking dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. Drizzle over oil and flash under a hot grill until the crumbs are crunchy and golden.

(serves 4)

Fine Bean and Ginger Salad

You will need:

200g green beans
1 tbsp sesame oil
small chunk of ginger, very finely chopped
1 tsp sesame seeds

What you do:

Cook the beans in a pan of boiling water for 3 mins until tender. Drain. Heat the sesame oil, then cook ginger and garlic for 1 min until fragrant. Stir in the beans, season and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cook for 30 seconds until hot through.

(serves 4)

Carrot and Rice Salad  

You will need:

250g pouch microwavable wild rice
1 red onion, thinly sliced
small handful of sultanas
3 carrots, grated
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp honey

What you do:

1. Heat rice according to pack instructions.
Put onion and sultanas in a bowl and pour on boiling water to cover.
Leave to stand 1 minute, then drain and stir in rice and carrot.

2. Mix in the lemon zest and juice, honey and seasoning then serve.

(serves 4-6)

So much fun, but I'm definitely going out for St Patrick's Day - (I might just have finished the cleaning up by then...)