Easter Brownie Cheesecake- Guest Post

With Easter fast approaching what better excuse for chocolate? I hasten to add that is my excuse, and I’m sticking to it. I admit before children Easter wasn’t a grand affair in our household, we rejoiced about a 4 day weekend, had a family roast and chocolate eggs ( obviously). However now mini me is a bit older we tend to make a bit more of a day of it ( wish me luck this year is our first Easter bonnet parade). 

So I’ve digressed but my point is that Easter Sunday will come, I’ve got a houseful and for those that has given up their favourites for lent, then a special dessert is in order, and a make ahead, easy chocolate cheesecake is one of my favourite. 

The base is a rich, gooey brownie, the top a baked cheesecake. The result is amazing- the best of both worlds in one satisfying dessert.  The added bonus is you can adapt this to suit your requirements. Mine is nut and gluten free, but you can make it cleaner and vegan ( use sweet potato brownie and raw cheesecake topping)  or easier ( use packet mix brownie) it is up to you, there really is no right or wrong. 

 

Gluten Free Brownie Cheesecake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate
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A perfect dessert for an Easter gathering.

 

Ingredients

-packet of brownie mix or
-110g unsalted butter
-110g chocolate
-1/2 tsp salt
-180g caster sugar
-60g  gluten free plain flour
-40 g teff flour
-2 eggs 
-50 ml milk

For the cheesecake 

-700g  full fat cream cheese

-3 eggs

-250g caster sugar

-1tsp vanilla extract 

-120ml  Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche 

Directions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 and line a 9 inch spring form case. 
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, when almost melted give a good stir and set aside for about 5 minutes
  3. With an electric whisk beat the eggs, sugar and milk into the chocolate.
  4. Stir in the flour until just combined
  5. Pour into your tin and cook for 20-25 minutes. Don’t worry if it’s not completely cooked as your cake will have phase to in the oven
  6. Turn the oven down to 160 and mix together all the cheesecake ingredients. 
  7. Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the brownie and return to the oven. 
  8. Cook for a further 35-40 minutes. The top will give a firm wobble 
  9. Leave to cool for 2 hours in the oven
  10. Leave in the tin and then cool put in the fridge for 4 hrs or over night before you decorate. 

 

    Et voila there you have it. Thank you for reading my post, and have an egg-cellent ( sorry) Easter. 

    This is my guest post for Natreco a really great site that sells a host of free from, vegan and natural products. Pop over and have a look if you have time. 

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    Gluten Free Tiger Cake. 

    As you may, or may not know, I have a three year old.  Those of you with kids will ( probably) tell you how, at times, the toddler years can be challenging, and I’m not just talking about allergies. 

    I’ll paint you a picture, currently the obsession of LR is Thomas The Tank, Dinosaurs, Paw Patrol ( the theme tune makes my ears bleed) and animals. Which leads us on to the fact my birthday is this week and she thought it would be great if I have a birthday cake. Only Thing was madam thought a tiger cake would be great. Now if it’s anything like the dinosaur I attempted the other week, the cake was going to be a car crash- trying to explain that to a head strong tot was even worse.   The stropometer reached a level I think we have never seen before, and quite frankly I’ve no desire to see again.

    So why am I babbling about my cake decorating disasters? Well the compromise was a tiger cake in the form of stripes ( sort of ) with chocolate and vanilla layers to look ( sort of) like a tiger,  and LO was promised to be able to like the bowl so the actual cooking could commence. 

      
     Don’t worry about the vanilla sponge looking a rather odd colour, yours will look great, ours had the addition of orange food colouring to add to the tiger theme. 

    Ingredients 

    • 4 eggs
    •  100ml milk ( of choice) 
    • 250 ml oil I have used either coconut or sunflower
    • 250g caster sugar 
    • 1tsp vanilla extract 
    • 475g self raising flour ( I use Doves farm Gluten free) as a side note you can sub 75g of flour for ground almond which helps make the cake moist we don’t due to nut allergies. 
    • 25g Cocoa or raw cacao powder. 
    • 1tsp baking powder

    Method 

    • Preheat oven to 180C /Gas Mark 4 
    • Line a 23cm cake tin 
    • Lightly beat the eggs then mix with the milk, oil and vanilla extract. Add 175 g of flour and whisk until smooth
    • Get 2 bowls pour half this mixture in 1 along with 1/2 tsp baking powder and another 175g of flour
    • In the other pour the rest, add the cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp baking powder and the remaining flower. 
    • In the centre of your tin put 2 large spoonfuls of white mixture, then the same of chocolate directly on top. Keep doing this until the tin is full

      

    • Don’t worry if it’s not perfect circles I had to improvise a bit at the side but it adds to the effect of the cake. 
    • Put in the oven and cook for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. 
    • I let it cool for 10 mins in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

      

    Et voila there you have your marble ( I mean tiger) cake. My only notes to add would be that I think it would look great decorated as a chocolate drippy edge cake with the full works in terms of a mountain of chocolates on top.  

    It’s better eaten fairly quickly as well, I find the gluten free version has a tendency to go dry quite quickly, but it goes wonderfully with a cup of tea, and I fact the dry sponge I made into a chocolate and orange trifle….. Buts that’s another post. 

    Chocolate (Green) Smoothie

    Hello, hello, hello I’m back ( or BT has finally fixed our phone line). anyway now normal service can be resumed and I’ve got loads of posts to share with you all, so I best get started. 

      
    This here Is a green smoothie in disguise. It’s perfect for a chocolate fix but has less sugar than some of the other smoothie combinations out there. I’m not going to say  it’s clean, or sugar free etc, sugar is sugar whichever way you look at it, and this has some fruit in. 

    Ingredients 

    • Handful of spinach 
    • Small piece of cucumber
    • 1/2 frozen banana 
    • A few chunks of mango
    • 1tsp of cacao powder 
    • 1/2 tsp maca powder
    • Milk of choice 

    Place all ingredients into your blender/ nutribullet etc and voila there you have your smoothie

      
    Right back to it I’m experimenting with photo backdrops and have some pictures to take. ( it’s one of my aims this year to improve my photography skills). 

    Bircher ( Overnight Oats) Bowl 

    Hmmm so how’s 2017 going for everyone? Not bad for us this end, although losing a dear friend has been a blow.  However this is not a post intended on depressing you all, on the contrary the year is still young, opportunities are a plenty and my popcorn machine is on standby for me to pull up my chair and watch the comedy/ horror/ disaster movie that is Trump ( I’m childish and still snigger at his name) going into the Oval Office. 

    I’m sorry, I’m sorry I’m supposed to be keeping you all uplifted, well you will need energy to do this…..and this breakfast is perfect for that. I love ( gluten free) oats, they are filling, good for you, and versatile. What’s not to like? 

      

      The best thing about over night oats is that there is no right or wrong way to eat them, any flavour or combination work, they can be as clean ( or dirty??) as you want them to be, and can be made the night before. This is the real winner for me, as it saves precious time on that early morning rush….

    Ingredients 

    • 1/2 cup rolled oats ( or gluten free oats) 
    • 1/2 cup milk of choice
    • 1/2 cup of yoghurt or choice 
    • 1-2 tsp chia seeds ( optional) 
    • I dessert spoon raisins 
    • Sweeten with honey or maple syrup or Apple juice ( to suit your palate ) 
    • Topping of choice 

    Mix the oats, milk, yoghurt, chia and sweetner together and leave for 6-8 hours in the fridge. 

    In the morning add to a jar ( or bowl) and have fun with your toppings. 

      

    Have you tried over night oats? What’s your favourite flavour combinations? Let me know in the comments below. 

    Eggnog Smoothie

    Welcome to day 2 of my Blogmas posts. I thought a recipe would go down well for today.  I say a recipe, but that makes this super easy smoothie sound harder yo make than it is.  Fear not it’s incredibly easy and tastes fantastic. 

     Edit   
    To me there is nothing more satisfying that the festive taste of an eggnog, it’s rich and oh so moreish and contains all the right spices that just scream christmas. However I can appreciate as much as the next that A) not everyone likes the idea of eggs in a drink and B) it’s fairly  calorific as a drink, but hey it is christmas so a treat is ok.  With all this in mind this version has all the taste but without the egg or refined sugar. I can’t (and won’t) be jumping on the clean wagon with this. There is still sugar in it- so you know every thing in moderation, but this can be vegan friendly, it’s all down to your choice of milk used. 

    Ingredients

    • 1 frozen banana
    • 2 dates or a dash of maple syrup
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
    • Top up with milk of your choice ( almond works brilliantly) 

    Put all ingredients into your blender and blitz until well combined.

     Edit   
    Enjoy in between wrapping, putting up decorations or, in my case, as a reward from stopping the cat from wrecking the Christmas tree. Cheers 

    My November Favourites 

    Happy 1st of December, excited yet? Yes I am to, also very selfishly I cannot wait to open my advent calendar ( M&S beauty one in case you were wondering). I love Christmas so I’ve decided ( foolishly probably) to do Blogmas as well. You can expect recipes, ideas, reviews and a giveaway to. 

     

    I digress this is about November, or my favourite finds anyway. 

    First up Aldi, or their new free from section anyway.  Christmas wise they have mince pies, Christmas puddings and cakes all gluten free. The free from range in my local store is growing, and includes Newburn BakeHouse and Nairns. The prices are amazing  £1.29 for flour ( although I’ve not tried it yet) seems a great buy. The downside is that not all stores have the range yet, as some of my followers have sadly told me. Fingers crossed it will continue to be rolled out. 

     Next up is a new company Angels and Cookies they offer allergy friendly cookie dough free from the top 14 allergens, and what’s more they are delicious so if you fancy a treat for Christmas Eve grab some and get baking. 

      
    Next up is Moma Bircher muesli. I found via Ocado but they sell direct to. It’s great add your juice and yoghurt leave for minimum of 5-10 minutes and eat. No added sugar either. My only down side is it has a may  contain with nuts but in fairness I keep mine at work so not a problem. 

    A few more things to add, Sainsburys have both gluten free, dairy free and nut free Christmas puddings and cake ( I’ll add a picture when I get them) and keep an eye open at M&S their party food is coming in and a lot is gluten free. My personal favourites are the mini chicken Kiev and Asian belly pork. 

    That’s it from me today, I’m back to the hell of trying to find a Hatchimal and de icing the car. See you tomorrow. 

    Easy Slow Cooker Rice Pudding 

     
      Hello to you all, apologies to being a bit quiet, I got married on Sunday so the last week or so has been a whirlwind of flowers, organising catering, hair, makeup and celebrations.  All went well, we are very happy, but when the new week started my head was still sore, my feet hurt, and we had visitors – cooking wasn’t  top of the list.  

    However all was not lost, it’s autumn ( or Fall for my American readers) which for me means slow cooker season. Now I love my slow cooker, and don’t be deceived that they are just for stews- oh no, and I shall show you here. 

    Rice pudding, in 4 hours with no effect ( or skin, I hate the skin). It’s thick and creamy, perfect for the cooler evenings ( and hangovers). 

      

    Serves 4-6 

    Ingredients

    • 100g pudding rice
    • 3 pints of milk of choice ( dairy or almond work well) 
    • 4tbs of sugar
    • 1 tsp of vanilla extract 
    • 1 generous  knob of butter 

    Method,

    This couldn’t be easier, place everything in your slow cooker, turn on high and leave for 3-4 hours until thick and creamy. 

    Serve and eat straight away. 

    Review- Tesco Free From Instant Rice Noodles

    I’ve never been a pot noodle fan, but in fairness it’s been so long now I cannot remember what they taste like. ( I’m assuming I’m not missing much?)  so I was a bit skeptical when I noticed these new instant rice noodle pots in Tesco Free From range the other day, but I was in a rush and thought well why not?

      
      They seemed ok for the fat and sugar content, so not too bad for a quick lunch on the go. It’s easy to prepare-empty contents into pot, pour on water, put lid on and then leave for 4 minutes et voila. 

    I was amazed, the cardboard like noodles had transformed into long ribbons of rice noodle, that in fairness looked quite appealing, in a lazy sort of way. 

    My tip is give it a good stir, my first mouthful was horrid, it just tasted bland, but a good mix brings out the flavour. The curry isn’t like a cheap  curry sauce flavour either, there is spice, and heat. It’s warming and satisfying all in a mouthful. 

      
    I have to say I’m impressed, and although I would not want to eat them all the time, as a quick and satisfying lunch option these pots are very good. It’s encouraging to find a savoury product in a free from range that covers other allergies to – these are also dairy free. So thumbs up Tesco, keep up the good work. 

    Rana’s Ingenious Flatbreads 

    It’s busy busy busy here at the moment, wedding preparations are into the final few stages, wedding is in T-5 weeks!  I’m still trying to convince mini me her flower girl dress is the way forward ( she’s having none of it in case you were wondering) I needed a happy distraction, and it came in the form of Rana’s Ingenious  Flatbread Mix. 

      
    The lovely peeps from Rana’s sent me this, and as I was peckish the other lunch time, it was time to give it a go. The mixture is adaptable, you can make many things including pizza bases, and cheese crackers, but to start I gave actual flat breads a go. 

    The instructions are super easy, weigh out your mixture, add warm water, mix leave for 5 minutes, then mix vigorously ( I love that word) for a minute. The next step is to shape on parchment paper, but do flour the surface your dough is put on, and using a wet spatula is so much easier. Leave to prove for thirty minutes. 

    Cooking is easy to, even for me. On a heated frying pan place the bread dough side down, and leave the paper on, it took about 5 minutes but as the bread is getting ready the paper starts to ballon a bit, and it’s then easy to peel off, and flip over to cook the other side. 

      
      They really are delicious, I had to bake more, mini me stole the first one. Even better the mix is both gluten and nut free, as well as egg, dairy and soya free so can be enjoyed by everyone. 

    I served them simply with a balsamic and olive oil dip which worked wonderfully. My next mission is cheese crackers- I’ll keep you posted on how I get on. 

    Review -Alpro Go On Pots 

    I know I’ve been a little quiet this week, wedding prep has been taking over, but I’m back and raring to go.  And speaking of raring to go, this new yoghurt alternative from Alpro is great for an on the go breakfast,  or mid morning snack. 

     

      Now I was skeptical, I hate ( with a passion) soya lattes, I much prefer coconut based products taste wise, but I’ll not knock something until I’ve tried it, so Off to waitrose I toddled to pick a pot up. I went for Blackcurrant, but mango or Passionfruit are your other 2 flavour options. The pots are single annd around 85p each. 

    I should point out these  Are both gluten and dairy free and suitable for vegans and vegetarians, they do however have a “may contain” for tree nuts in the allergen list. 

     Anyway how does it taste, I was really impressed. The yoghurt is thick and creamy, with a silky texture.  There was a good layer of both fruit and yoghurt. The tangy sensation from the Blackcurrant was delicious, and not too sweet or sickly. Another bonus is that these pots are high in protein, which may have helped keep the hunger pangs at bay . I’ll definitely be trying  the other flavours. 

    These pots have restored my faith in soya products- some are really delicious. 

    Have you tried these new products? If so let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 
    Disclaimer: I was sent a voucher for a pot to sample.  All thoughts and opinion are my own, and honest.