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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake

A few years ago I fell in love with Reese's Peanut butter cups. I don't exactly remember when I had my first, but I suspect it was shortly after the birth of my first baby, whilst living in America. I craved peanut butter during that pregnancy but laid off it, as was the advice at the time due to allergies. I've since discovered Reese's Nutrageous bars, which are amazing, although I haven't had one for ages. I've also made my own peanut butter cups and featured them previously on this blog.

A while ago I had a conversation with fellow blogger Heather about a peanut butter cream pie, which I think she'd eaten in a Perkins Restaurant in Florida, and I promised I would try and recreate one, one day. This isn't quite a cream pie as it doesn't have a pastry crust or cream on top, and neither does it have the layer of chocolate ganache that a peanut butter cream pie in Perkins has, but surely a peanut butter cheesecake has to be a good substitute when the real thing is over 4000 miles away. Next time I think I'll add a layer of chocolate ganache, and maybe a layer of peanut butter or mini peanut butter cups, but I must say that this was pretty damn good as it was.

   Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake - makes a 20cm cheesecake

200g digestive biscuits, crushed
50g butter, melted
400g full fat cream cheese
450ml double cream
60g caster sugar
250g peanut butter
8 Reese's peanut butter cups, halved
caramel sauce (optional)
  • Mix the crushed biscuits and butter together and press into the base of a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin & place in the fridge to firm up
  • Whisk together the cream cheese, double cream and caster sugar until well combined and smooth
  • Whisk in the peanut butter, until stiff peaks form
  • Spread the filling over the base and level off
  • Place in the fridge overnight, until fully set
  • Remove from the tin before serving and decorate with peanut butter cups & caramel sauce

Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake

What Is Good Yoghurt: A Review of 5 Top Brands

We all know there are many health benefits to eating yoghurt, but with yoghurt coming in a wide range of flavours and with so many brands on offer, it can be difficult to know what the right choice is for you.

It isn’t the case that all yoghurts are healthy. Many brands, particularly those aimed at kids, will contain more sugar, calories and fat than others and may in fact not be a healthy choice at all.

Obviously the healthiest choice is to opt for natural yoghurt, but there are some flavoured yoghurts that still have health benefits, you just need to know which ones to choose. We’ve put together a review of 5 top brands of yoghurt to help you understand which ones are good for your diet, and which ones are best avoided.

yoghurt with fresh fruit

Rachel’s Organic Luxury Greek Style Bio Live Natural Set Yoghurt
As a natural, organic yoghurt, Rachel’s Luxury Greek Style Yoghurt is definitely one of the healthier options. This tasty yoghurt contains all the bio-live bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium, which helps the digestive system to function better and stay healthy too. The only downside to Rachel’s yoghurt, is that it does contain more calories and has a higher fat content than some, so if you’re on a low fat diet, it might not be your best every day choice.

Total Greek 0% Fat Free Yoghurt with Honey
The selling point of this yoghurt is the 0% fat, which lures many buyers into thinking it’s the healthiest choice, particularly for those on a low fat diet. However, don’t be fooled by this, although it does have only a trace of fats, this yoghurt does in fact have one of the highest sugar contents of all the top brands, which certainly bumps the calories up considerably.

Onken Bio Cherry Yoghurt
If you’re looking for a tasty flavoured yoghurt, then this is definitely the number one choice. It’s smooth and flavoursome and good value for money with probiotic properties, but be warned, the high calorie and sugar content could cancel all of this out. If you’re looking for an everyday yoghurt, or a sweet fix on a diet, rather than avoiding it all together, enjoy it as a once a week treat, rather than an everyday staple.

Petit Filous Fromage Frais
Everyone loves these little pots of yummy goodness. They’re particularly good for kids, as they have a nice range of flavours and offer a healthy snack. Having said that, they do have higher levels of sugars than some other yoghurts, but the upside is that they contain high levels of natural minerals and calcium, which are very important for healthy children’s development. If you and your family are fond of these yoghurts, you don’t need avoid them completely, but just limit the intake to keep down the sugar consumption.

Yeo Valley Organic Natural Probiotic Yoghurt
This brand of yoghurt is a good middle of the road choice as it’s reasonably low in fat, sugar and calories if you stick to a 100g serving. It’s tasty, smooth and available in a wide range of flavours too, for those who want to jazz up their natural yoghurt. As a probiotic yoghurt there are natural advantages too, as these will help keep your digestive system well balanced and healthy.

red berries

To ensure you get the most from your yoghurt, make sure you stick to probiotic or bio-live yoghurts and avoid the flavoured yoghurts too, or at least limit them to a once a week treat. A great healthier alternative to flavouring natural yoghurt is fresh berries, a splash of honey or jam and even some crunchy muesli. This way you can monitor exactly how much sugar and calories you eat. Additionally, making your own recipes is a great way to integrate natural yoghurt into meals, particularly breakfasts. However, if you’re struggling for ideas, then Udo’s Choice have some delicious recipes for you draw inspiration from or add your own personal touch to!

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Friday, 3 July 2015

Pimms and Elderflower Iced Lollies

Well, summer has FINALLY arrived, and what does everyone do? complain that it's too hot! Such a typically British thing to do, but if you can't stand the heat then get out of the kitchen, which definitely applies in my case, as the kitchen is the hottest room in the house this time of the year. Even the hamsters have gone on vacation to the deepest, darkest (and coolest) depths of the teen cave to cool down.

This explains why my blog has been quiet for a few days (ok, it was a whole week), because who wants to be stuck in the kitchen when the weather is so nice. I've either been at my desk in the coolest part of the lounge (warmest in winter as it's next to the radiator) or up at the allotment, planting, watering and building (more on my DIY pallet bench another time).

This weekend is set to be another scorcher, so these iced lollies will help to cool you down. If you don't have any sparkling elderflower you can make up some cordial with sparkling water or lemonade, or just use regular lemonade, whichever you prefer. This recipe makes 6 lollies but you may need to adjust the quantities depending on the size of your lolly moulds.

Pimms and Elderflower Iced Lollies

Pimms and Elderflower Iced Lollies - makes 6

100ml Pimms
300ml sparkling elderflower (I used Cawston Press Elderflower Lemonade)
a few thin slices of strawberry
a few thin slices of cucumber
  • mix the Pimms and elderflower together
  • pop a couple of slices of strawberry & a slice of cucumber into each lolly mould
  • fill the moulds with the Pimms mixture & pop a stick in
  • freeze overnight
Pimms and Elderflower Iced Lollies Pimms and Elderflower Iced Lollies

Enjoy! (and no moaning about the weather, we want it to stay like this for a while)

Friday, 26 June 2015

Mexican Jam Jar Salad

As anyone that reads this blog (or indeed knows me) knows that I'm always up for a challenge, especially when it comes to food. Bernard Matthews set me a challenge of creating a lunch recipe for their new campaign, but this wouldn't be just a regular sandwich, wrap or pitta, as it was to be a 'Breadless Lunch Challenge', without any kind of bread at all.

I don't often eat bread for lunch so I'm used to making something other than a sandwich, which is easy enough when working from home, but can be more of a challenge when going out for the day and taking a packed lunch or picnic.

Using a pack of Bernard Matthews sweet chilli turkey breast chunks I put together some layered salads in jam jars, which are then easily transported for eating out.

Mexican Jam Jar Salad

The kids loved these and ate one each as an after school snack - Hanna ate hers straight from the jar but the boys requested that theirs were warmed up and served in a bowl (obviously I didn't warm the lettuce up, and this was served alongside the warm salad). I haven't listed quantities here as it would depend on the size of your jar, so just layer up each ingredient to fill the jar.

Mexican Jam Jar Salad

cooked & cooled long grain rice
mixed beans in chilli sauce
Bernard Matthews sweet chilli turkey breast chunks
grated cheese
shredded lettuce
  • layer the ingredients in the jar in the order above
  • place a lid on and keep in the fridge until needed
Mexican Jam Jar Salad Mexican Jam Jar Salad

this recipe has been commissioned by Bernard Matthews


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