c December 2014 | Garden, Tea, Cakes and Me

Fancy Pants Cheesecake Recipe

Fancy Pants Cheesecake recipe ? Do not be confused by the name of this cheesecake, put simply is a Banana and Chocolate Cheesecake. I like 'No bake' cheesecakes they are so easy to make, once assembled together they can be placed into the fridge until required the following day. 
Cheesecake Recipes Chocolate and Banana No Bake Recipe
Cheesecake Recipe Chocolate and Banana
This is another bake from my list of bakes, I promised I would work my way through earlier this year. This recipe was taken from the Cake Magic recipe book, a book I turn to time and time again.

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Chocolate and Banana Cheesecake Recipe (No Bake)

Equipment
Bowl
Rolling pin
8 inch loose bottom cake tin lined
Whisk
Small bowl

Ingredients
100g Chocolate digestive biscuits (milk or plain your choice)
100g Chocolate Hobnob biscuits
100g Butter100g icing sugar
Bananas (approx 2)
large packet Malteasers
300ml Double cream
500g Cream cheese
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste (or 1 vanilla pod)
Juice of 1 Lemon
Chocolate and Banana Cheesecake Recipe No Bake
Banana layer No Bake Cheesecake
Method
  • Crush up the biscuits, I put them in a bowl and crushed them with the end of a rolling pin or you can use a blender.
  • Melt the butter in the microwave, pour the melted butter over the biscuits and mix well together. 
  • Put the biscuit mixture into the cake tin and using the back of a spoon flatten down and into the edges. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
  • Whip the double cream to a thick stiff consistency, then add the cream cheese and vanilla and combine together. 
  • Pour half of the cream mixture onto the the chilled biscuit base and smooth. 
  • Slice the bananas and toss in a little lemon juice to prevent them going brown, arrange the sliced bananas on top of the cheesecake. 
  • Add the remaining cream mixture to cover the bananas, create a smooth top. Place in the fridge to chill.
  • Prior to serving top with Malteasers
Tip - this cheesecake tastes best chilled from the fridge. I would not recommend leaving it out before serving for any longer than 30 minutes.

Other Cheesecake recipes you may like:- 
Rocky Road Cheesecake
Key Lime Cheesecake

Chocolate and Banana Cheesecake Recipe - aka Fancy Pants
Chocolate and Banana Cheesecake Recipe - aka Fancy Pants!

Chocolate Banana Cheesecake Recipe No Bake Recipe Ideas Malteasers



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A Visit to Historic York including Bettys Tearoom and Fairfax House


My recent visit to Yorkshire, also included a stay in historic York, I have visited York previously. I was only 12 years old at the time on a school trip. I recall I visited the train museum and enjoyed a trip on the river,  staying in the dormitory at York Racecourse - ra,ra and puff ball skirts were in fashion!
Visiting York Minster
The magnificent York Minster
My sister and I stayed in a central location in York, the Hilton Hotel overlooking Clifford's Tower, and next to York Castle Museum, Fairfax House, Fenwicks department store. But also close to a stop for the York City sightseeing tour.  This was ideal for me and my limitations when it comes to walking. 

We started the day by catching the York Sightseeing Tour bus from the Clifford's Tower stop. We completed a full circuit of the tour, enjoying the informative commentary and passing many interesting points including Dick Turpin's grave. We left the tour at the Museum Gardens, the nearest stop for York Minster.  When we arrived at the Minster graduation ceremonies for York St John were taking place, so we were not able to enjoy a guided tour inside. So we marvelled at the spectacular architecture of the Minster from the outside.


Bettys Tearoom - Stonegate, York
Bettys Tearoom - Stonegate, York
Next stop was Bettys Tearoom at Stonegate, this is the smaller but more personable of the two Bettys tearooms in York. We had a very short wait for a table and passed the sweet trolley on our way to be seated. I lucked out when it came to my selected choices on the menu, they had but one pikelet left and all sold out of my selected praline eclair.  So one pikelet it was and a rather lovely fresh fruit and cream heart pastry cake. I also treated myself to a strong rich cafeteria of Bettys Java coffee.  


Betty's Shop - Stonegate, York
We made a number of cake related purchases in the shop on our way out, snacks for later! Christmas French Fancies, Betty's famous Rascals, biscuits, loose tea and coffee.
York's Christmas Lights
York's Christmas Lights
The rest of the afternoon we wondered around the shops at Stonegate and York's famous 14th century dated shopping street with overhanging timber buildings called The Shambles. I was surprised to see a number of empty shops in this area, though it just proves that no where is immune to the pressures of the  recent recession.  Then we moved onto the larger high street stores along with Fenwicks, which is close to the Jorvik Viking museum.  All along this route you will find plenty of places to stop for tea, helping to break up exploring the city and a chance to catch your breath and enjoy a cuppa.


Fairfax House - York a Georgian masterpiece
The next day we visited  Fairfax House it's location next to the hotel made it very convenient. It is one of England's finest Georgian Town Houses, restored to its former glory by York's Civic Trust. What a splendid gem it is, containing some wonderful pieces of furniture and decoration. There was a particular type of piano which was specifically shaped to fit against a wall. When discussing this with the room guide, she advised us it was a spinet, coincidentally this was mentioned in a Poldark book my sister was currently reading. 

If you love your National Trust or Heritage properties then Fairfax House is a must visit when you are in York. Sadly no photography is allowed in the property, though you will find the room guides very knowledgeable and exceptionally helpful.

Finally before leaving York we visited York Castle Museum, which  had some interesting exhibitions suitable for adults and children alike.  Though we realised on our way home that we had missed out elements of the tour, this was due to poor signage and unhelpful staff.
Visiting York Castle Museum parking
York Castle Museum
Parking at York Castle Museum Car Park for the disabled is free all day, this is located right opposite the hotel. 

We faired well with the weather and really enjoyed our stay, we did not manage to visit everything. I already have places in mind for a return visit - The Merchants Adventurer's Hall, Treasurers House, Museums Gardens and of course a tour of York MinsterYork was smaller than I remembered and I confess to expecting more historic properties, from a Shropshire perspective I would say Shrewsbury is bigger and had more heritage buildings.

Have you been to York? What is your favourite place to visit in York?
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Christmas Frosty Cranberry Biscuits Recipe

This recipe for Christmas Frosted Cranberry Biscuits was inspired by the Easter Biscuits I made a few years ago. For Christmas though I have included cranberries, I have still used the frosted sugar topping to give the look of a frosty morning. This is a perfect recipe for baking with children and also creating your own Christmas Tree decorations.
Christmas Frosted Cranberry Cookies Biscuits Recipe tree decoration edible gift
Christmas Cranberry Biscuits Recipe

Frosted Cranberry Christmas tree Cookies Biscuit edible gift

Recipe - Christmas Frosted Cranberry Biscuits

Makes 22
Oven temp 200 degrees C
Equipment
  • mixing bowl
  • scales
  • wooden spoon
  • sieve
  • baking tray - lined with parchment paper
  • small bowl
  • pastry brush
Ingredients
75g caster sugar
100g butter (softened)
1 egg separated
200g plain flour
50g dried cranberries
1-2 tablespoons milk
egg white (lightly beaten)
caster sugar for sprinkling

Christmas Frosted Cranberry Cookies Biscuits Recipe tree decoration edible gift
Christmas Cranberry Biscuits Recipe 

Instructions
  • Cream together to butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolk.
  • Sift the flour into the butter and sugar mixture.
  • Add the fruit
  • Add the milk, you should have a soft dough.
  • Onto a floured surface gently roll out the mixture, until 1/2 cm thick.
  • Cut out your biscuits using a star pastry cutter or other Christmas cookie cutter.
  • Place them onto a lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes oven temp 200 degrees. If you want to hang them on your Christmas Tree with ribbon you should make a small hole in the star before they go into  the oven - I used a chop stick.
  • Remove them from the oven after 10 minutes and using a pastry brush carefully brush each biscuit with egg white and then sprinkle with caster sugar.
  • Place back in the oven for a final 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven when lightly golden and allow to cool for ten minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack.
Christmas Frosted Cranberry Cookies Biscuits Recipe tree decoration edible gift
Cranberry Biscuits Recipe

Christmas Frosted Cranberry Cookies Biscuits Recipe tree decoration edible gift
Christmas Tree Biscuit decorations
Christmas Frosted Cranberry Cookies Biscuits Recipe tree decoration edible gift

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Christmas Fudge with Cranberries Recipe

Here is an easy recipe for Christmas Fudge. But what is it that makes this fudge Christmassy? I have replaced some of the caster sugar with some flavoured icing sugar, Christmas Punch from Sugar and Crumbs. I also added a handful of dried cranberries. I was a little unsure how it would taste as this was the first time I have used the flavoured icing sugar. Although I did enjoy the taste at Cake International show in November where I first discovered it.


Easy Christmas Cranberry Fudge Recipe Condensed Milk
Easy Christmas Fudge Recipe
I used a different recipe to my usual, using condensed milk. A recipe from Nestle's website but with a few changes to make it into Christmas Fudge. I did not use a thermometer or even the dropping some of the fudge is a glass of cold water method and it still worked perfectly. I was very pleased with the result both in taste and texture, and it was well received by all who tasted it.   I will be making more of this tasty fudge to parcel up as Christmas foodie gifts.

Christmas Fudge Recipe

Equipment
  • saucepan
  • scales
  • measuring jug  
  • wooden spoon  
  • 20 cm tray - lined with baking parchment 
Ingredients

Makes lots!

397g can of condensed milk light
150ml milk
400g caster sugar
50g Christmas punch flavoured icing sugar
115g butter
a handful of dried cranberries

Easy Christmas Cranberry Fudge Recipe condensed milk
Christmas Fudge with cranberries an Easy Fudge Recipe
Instructions
  • Place all the ingredients except the cranberries into a heavy bottomed saucepan.
  • Melt over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved, keep stirring.
  • Bring to the boil (keep stirring) then simmer for 10-15 minutes again keep stirring do not let the fudge catch on the bottom of the pan.
  • Remove from the heat and add the dried cranberries. Continue to stir for 10 minutes, the fudge mixture will start to thicken.
  • Pour into your tin before it gets so thick you can not pour it.
  • Leave to cool. Once cooled lift the Christmas Fudge out of the tin using the baking parchment and cut into cubes.

For something a little different why not soak the cranberries in Port.


Christmas recipes Cranberry fudge recipes condensed milk
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I am linking this recipe with two Christmas baking challenges.  Cakeboi's Treat Petite hosted this month by The Baking Explorer, also Alphabakes hosted by Caroline Makes and The More Than Occasional Baker, for which purposes this Christmas post is Xmas.
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Make a Christmas Table Decoration using a Cake Stand and Baubles, creating a Centerpiece for a Festive Table Setting

Whilst decorating my Christmas tree and glancing at an empty cake stand on the kitchen dresser, I had a moment of inspiration. Create a Christmas decoration using a cake stand. Combining the shiny Christmas tree baubles with the cake stand. Such a simple idea but very effective. Creating a rather glamorous and festive looking cake stand.  
Christmas table decoration ideas
Make your own easy Christmas table decoration
This simple idea will make a great Christmas table decoration, and would certainly create a fabulous Christmas centrepiece for a festive dinner setting. There is such a wide choice of colours and designs of bauble available in the shops, it is easy to tailor the decoration to your own table setting. 

How to make a Christmas Bauble Table Decoration
What you need:- 
  • 3 tier cake stand
  • 22 large Christmas baubles 
  • 12 small Christmas baubles
  1. Trim or hide the string on the baubles by winding them carefully around the top of the bauble.
  2. Arrange the small baubles on the top tier.
  3. Arrange the large baubles on the remaining two tiers.
alternative use and what to do with a cake stand
What to do with your Christmas baubles?

I have to admit this is such a simple way to make your own Christmas table decoration. Mine is displayed on my kitchen dresser and it has been admired by friends who think it a fabulous idea. So get that cake stand out of the cupboard today and add some bling!
Christmas Table Decoration idea inspiration Christmas crafts baubles

Make your own christmas table decoration
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Nutella Cheesecake Recipe & Russell Hobbs Aura 6-in-1 Hand Blender Review

I was so delighted to receive the Russell Hobbs Aura 6 in 1 Hand Blender to review and to use to bake a Nutella Cheesecake recipe. They are such a well known and respected brand in the UK. A brand I grew up with, and who have continued to produce modern and reliable products.
No Bake Cheesecake Recipe
Nutella No Bake Cheesecake 
Russell Hobbs Aura 6 in 1 Hand Blender Review
Russell Hobbs Aura 6 in 1 Hand Blender

The Aura 6-in-1 Hand Blender has many uses so I was expecting a huge box to be delivered, and pleasantly surprised by it’s compact size in the recognisable Russell Hobbs black branded box. 

Russell Hobbs Aura 6 Hand Blender Review
Russell Hobbs Aura Hand Blender
Inside it contained:- 
  • 1.2 litre processing bowl with: Processing blade, Creaming disk and Slicing / shredding disk
  • Stainless Steel blending leg
  • Stainless Steel whisk
  • Instruction booklet
All these tools give you the following functions:-
  • Processing
  • Creaming
  • Slicing
  • Shredding
  • Blending
  • Whisking
Russell Hobbs 6 in 1 Hand Blender
Tools store in the bowl

In order to review a product you first need to use it, I dived straight in with a Nigella Lawson Nutella Cheesecake recipe. Easy to make with the Russell Hobbs Aura 6-in-1 Hand Blender and truly tasted amazing. I must admit I am very much looking forward to using the blender regularly in the kitchen, blending soups, making breadcrumbs, whipping cream the list goes on.


Nigellas Nutella Cheesecake Recipe
Nigella's Nutella Cheesecake
I love… 
  • Easy to set up and simple to use.
  • Compact storage – the tools sit safely inside the bowl for storage, so you will never be hunting in the drawer for them. 
  • Minimum packaging - sufficient to protect the product to the consumer but no frivolous use of cardboard and no polystyrene at all.
  • 600 watt motor – wow now that is what I call power, you can really tell when holding the hand blender and using the whisk or blender attachment. It really did whip up the cheesecake filling in no time, be sure your baking bowl is on a non stick surface to stop it moving.
  • A bowl big enough to use, at 1.2 litres in size it held all of the biscuit ingredients for my Nigella Nutella cheesecake. 

Hand Blender Review Russell Hobbs
1.2 Litre bowl Russell Hobbs Hand Blender
Perfect for…
  • Making breadcrumbs – the bowl is big enough to take several slices of bread torn up. Which for me is great for making the breadcrumb coating for a batch bake of fishcakes for the freezer. My previous hand blender had a tiny bowl. 
  • The amateur or serious cook or baker, there are so many uses for this product. I am looking forward to trying the shredding tool, I am hoping it will make grating carrot for carrot cake easy going.
Could do better…
  • the start/stop button you press on the blender could be more ergonomically designed. Its not so comfortable for your thumb or finger to use. Although obviously you would not want it to be too easy to easily turn it on from a safety perspective.
  • I struggled a little to undo the plastic motor unit from the bowl when I had greasy hands. Not a problem for a clean and tidy cook of course.

The important stuff…
  • Currently retailing for RRP £64.99 you can be purchase it at many high street and online stores as well as the Russell Hobbs website.
  • 2 year guarantee with a free 1 year extension when you register your product online.
  • The Aura 6-in-1 blender comes with a small instruction manual, which is concise and easy to follow. Also included are 8 recipes and 21 smoothie recipes. 
Nigella Lawson Nutella Cheesecake Recipe
Nutella Cheesecake Recipe
Recipe – Nutella Cheesecake a Nigella Lawson recipe
personalised jar of Nutella
Love my personalised jar of Nutella
Ingredients

250 grams digestive biscuits
75 grams soft unsalted butter
1 x 400 grams jar nutella(at room temperature)
100 grams chopped toasted hazelnuts
500 grams cream cheese (at room temperature)
60 grams icing sugar (sifted)

Russell Hobbs Aura 6 in 1 Hand Blender
Blended biscuit base using the Russell Hobbs Blender
Instructions

  • Break the digestives into the bowl of the blender, add the butter and a 15ml tablespoon of Nutella, and blitz until it starts to clump. Add 25g/3 tablespoons of the hazelnuts and continue to pulse the blender until you have a damp, sandy mixture.
  • Tip into a 23cm/9inch round spring form tin. I used a heart shaped tin that was just slightly smaller. Press the mixture into the base using the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge to chill.
Heart Shaped cake tin Cheesecake recipe
Perfect biscuit cheesecake base

  • Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar using the whisk attachment until smooth and then add the remaining Nutella to the cream cheese mixture, and continue beating until combined.
  • Take the tin out of the fridge and carefully smooth the Nutella mixture over the base. Scatter the remaining chopped hazelnuts on top and did not use all my nuts to cover the top just thin scattering. Then place the tin in the fridge for at least four hours or overnight. Serve straight from the fridge for best results.
Nutella Cheesecake ingredients
Hand Blender with whisk attachment 

Nutella Recipes
Blended quickly and easily with the whisk attachment

The Nutella Cheesecake recipe went down really well and could easily be made a day or two before it is needed. Making it perfect for an alternative pudding for Christmas Day or New Year celebrations.

I have also spotted a video recipe for Mango Cheesecake on the Russell Hobbs website, which sounds perfect for the Summer.

Disclosure: My thanks to Russell Hobbs for sending me the Russell Hobbs Aura 6-in-1 Hand blender, ingredients and equipment to bake this recipe. I was under no pressure to write a positive review, all opinions expressed are my own.
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