Hazelnut Cherry Cheesecake

This is not healthy in the slightest really BUT it is deceptively easy to make! To ease up on the calories (because every little bit counts), I use fat-reduced cream cheese and ricotta, and I don’t add any more sugar. It does produce a slightly more tart cheesecake though, so if you’re after something sweet, add 1/2 cup of caster sugar to the filling.

Ingredients 

  • 250g block of cream cheese
  • 125g smooth ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp flour (can use gluten free plain flour if required)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut spread
  • 200g chocolate biscuits (I used chocolate ripple, but substitute for whatever suits your diet)
  • 70g butter, melted
  • To decorate – cherries, chocolate lindt balls (+/- 200g chocolate with 2 tbsp cream for ganache).

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C. To create the layered look, I used three different sized cake tins but in reality, a single 24cm springform tin will suffice! Line the base and sides of the tins with baking paper.
  2. Crush the biscuits until fine crumbs, and mix with the butter until starting to form clumps. Spread onto the base of the lined tin/s and bake until starting to firm (about 10 minutes).
  3. Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, ricotta, eggs, hazelnut spread and flour until well combined. Pour into the lined cake tins and bake until firm (about 20 minutes but keep and eye on them!). Return to the fridge to cool as the mixture will reduce down and become much more firm.
  4. If using ganache as part of the decoration, melt the 200g chocolate and cream in a pot over a saucepan of boiling water until melted. Allow to cool slightly. Once the cake is firm, assemble the layers with toothpicks if you’ve used different tins. Then pipe or drizzle the ganache around the edges, then decorate with cherries and lindt balls (again, use tooth picks to hold them on!).
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Best-Ever Potato Salad (with Saffron Garlic Aioli)

This is an extra-ordinarily big call to make but believe me when I say this is one potato salad you won’t forget in a long time! I made both the non-vegan and vegan version for Christmas and can confirm that both are rather sensational.

Ingredients 

  • 1 medium sweet potato, washed well (+/- peeled, up to you!)
  • 4 Kippfler potatoes, washed well (+/- peeled, up to you!)
  • 1 leek, green portion removed and finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup garlic aioli (or vegan mayonnaise with 1 clove garlic)
  • Small pinch of saffron threads
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh chives

Method

  1. Prick the Kippfler potatoes. Chop the sweet potato into chunks.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and boil the Kippfler potatoes until soft. Remove and do the same with the sweet potato.
  3. Heat a frypan over medium heat. Add a small amount of olive oil and fry the leeks until soft.
  4. Allow the saffron threads to steep in 1 tbsp water until yellow in colour.
  5. Mix the aioli with the saffron mixture and chives until well combined, then toss through the leek and potatoes. Return to the fridge to chill until serving.

Honey I Stuffed the Pumpkin

While we’re all getting into the full swing of our New Year resolutions, I thought I’d share a few of my recipes from the festive season – starting with this stuffed pumpkin.

I’ve seen many variations of this concept over the past few weeks, and mine is nothing fancy. But it was super easy and vegan / gluten friendly too!

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut pumpkin, halved
  • 1 cup black rice
  • 200g vegan cheese (I used a vegan version of Persian fetta)
  • 1 tbsp each of sunflower seeds, cranberries, pepitas
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp lemon infused olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C.
  2. Place the pumpkin halves cut side up on a baking tray. Remove the seeds and bake until soft enough to scoop out a portion of the flesh in the middle (about 30 minutes).
  3. Cook the rice as per the instructions (or you can cheat by using a supermarket microwave version). Mix the rice with the seeds and olive oil until well combined.
  4. Scoop out a small portion of the pumpkin flesh. Fill the hole with the rice mixture, then top with the vegan cheese and bake until the pumpkin is soft (another 15 minutes should do).
  5. Serve hot, or portions can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for 1 month. Enjoy!

Non Alcoholic Summer Punch

Whether you’ve got little kids or are just having a healthy silly season, this punch packs a punch without the booze!

Just soak three Twinnings watermelon strawberry tea infusers in 500ml of coconut water and 1 litre of no sugar added apple juice for 15 minutes until the liquid has changed colour to a deep pink. Add frozen raspberries and mint to serve!