‘German’ NY Cheesecake with a cherry topping


I have to admit that I’m starting to get a little bit bored of the limited choice of ‘winter fruit’. European winters are that little bit too long. Luckily, there is preserved fruit from the summer and even luckier I found some, in form of a jar of cherries in cherry juice, in the back of my food cabinet the other day.

Jars of cherries in cherry juice don’t seem to be that commonly used in England it seems but in Germany we use them in cakes or as dessert and waffle toppings all the time. That’s why I always try to have a jar of cherries in my larder at home in London too. This time I used it as a cheesecake topping…

I have been missing New York lately and thought of making a New York Cheesecake. However, I wanted to reduce the fat content a tiny bit, so I gave the cake a little German treatment by replacing some of the full fat cream cheese with some no fat Quark. I also used a little less sugar than the average American receipe would suggest but these are no drastic adjustments so it’s still a rich and sweet enough cake to enjoy and think of New York.

You’ll need

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 eggs
  • 125g flour
  • 1 pinch of baking bowder
  • 250g quark
  • 600g cream cheese
  • 1 jar of cherries (around 650g) and its juice
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • Grease a 26cm round spring cake tin.

For the base of the cake, cream together the butter, 60g of the sugar and ½ tsp vanilla essence, using an electric whisk. Combine the baking powder with the flour and add this, along with 1 egg to the mix. The resulting dough is a little thick and sticky but should be plyavble enough to be spread into the cake tin in an even layer.

Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees/ gas mark.

Whisk the remaining eggs and 120g sugar with 1 tsp of vanilla essence until fluffy, then fold the quark and cream cheese under.

Pour this cream onto the cake base and bake the cake on the lowest rack for a total of 45-50 minutes BUT after 20 minutes, take a knife all around the cake edge to loosen it from the cake tin and repeat this after 40 minutes again. This is the best trick to ensure the cake doesn’t crack!

A cheesecake also cracks when it gets moved too quickly from hot to cold, so once your baking time has been reached, turn the oven off and open the oven door but don’t take the cake out until it has fully cooled down.

For the cherries, pour the cherries into a sieve set over a bowl to catch the cherry juice. Heat the juice until it starts to boil, then add the cornflour mixed with a little bit of cold water, and stir it in to thicken the juice. You need to let the juice come back to the boil for at least 1 minute and should see it getting thicker and darker. Add the cherries and let the mix cool down before spooning 2-3 tbsp of it on the cake and serving the rest in a little bowl alongside the cake.

Valentine’s Fromage Frais Waffles



Happy Valentine’s Day…

To be honest, I’m actually not much of a Valentine’s Day fan. Having grown up in Germany when it wasn’t yet a thing over there I can still happily do without the rather commercial fuss. 

But I decided to use today’s date as an excuse for a breakfast of heart-shaped waffles in bed. And just as last year, I also decided that they might as well be red waffles then. 

Last year I had planned to make red velvet waffles but, annoyingly, I had forgotten to buy red food colouring and ended up with cocoa waffles instead. So I thought, I’ll make this year’s Valentine’s waffles red and I even remembered to buy red food colouring. But I still didn’t get red waffles…the dye wasn’t strong enough. That’s why the waffles here look rather brown, even though they have no cocoa or chocolate in them.

The receipe is based on a German receipe and the batter is slightly thinner than for American waffles. It therefore works better in a European Waffle Iron. Thanks to the fromage frais they are also a little lighter than American waffles. Which doesn’t need to stop you from topping the waffles with whipped cream and, since it is Valentine’s Day after all, some fresh passion fruit…

For 6-8 waffles you’ll need:

  • 125g butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 125g fromage frais
  • 200g plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml milk

To serve:

  • whipped cream
  • a couple of passion fruits

With an electric whisk, whip up the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and whisk again, then add one egg after the other, whisking the batter in between. Add the vanilla essence and fromage frais and briefly whisk them in the batter

Finally add the flour and baking powder and, again using the electric whisk, slowly mix it under the batter whilst slowly pouring the milk in at the same time.

Heat your waffle iron and bake the waffles until they are a little crispy on the outside.

Let them cool a little (or they will get soggy) and top them with whipped cream and the fresh passion fruit pulp before enjoying them – in bed.

Protein Pancakes


To make up for my recent quiet period, I thought I’d post two receipes in one week!

I’m still trying to be a little more healthy than usual and decided to make some protein pancakes.

I have made oat based pancakes before and also tried out a few cottage cheese pancakes, such as the blueberry one you can read about here. This receipe however combines the two ingredients along with banana as a natural sweetener. 

You can feel less guilty if you tuck into a pile of them compared to your regular pancakes, as these here are higher in protein, thanks to the egg whites and cottage cheese, and lower in fat. 

And, as they are made from oats rather than flour they can be made gluten-free too. I used slightly ground oats but as everything goes into a blender you can probably use any oats you like. 

If you’re trying to cut back the calories just have them with a few fresh berries but the berry compote is not too bad for you either – and a dusting of icing sugar on top won’t kill you either!

For 4 portions you’ll need:

For the pancakes:

  • 1 cup (gluten-free) oats
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese
  • 3-4 tbsp of milk (almond/ soy/ cow etc will work)

For the berry compote:

  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 1- 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch

It’s as easy as putting all the ingredients for the pancakes in a blender and whizzing everything together until you have a smooth batter.
That’s pretty much it!

If the batter is too thick add a little more milk. If it’s too runny, add a few more oats before blending the batter again.

To bake, heat a non-stick frying pan and spray it with a little oil and pour a generous tablespoon of batter into the pan for each pancake. Bake the first side until bubbles appear, then flip the pancakes and bake the other side.

I like to serve a simple berry compote with the pancakes which I make by bringing some frozen berries, a little sugar and water to the boil. I then take some of the liquid and mix it with a little cornstarch, pouring it back into the pot and bringing it to the boil once more to thicken the compote.

Raw and Vegan Granola Bars


Hello again!

I know it’s been so long…there’s been too much work and travel. But I finally had some time to get back into the kitchen again.

And since it’s January where everyone tries to be a bit healthier after the gluttonous December I decided to make something a little less sweet than usual. I am also in Berlin at the moment, where the vegan and raw trend is everywhere so I felt inspired to make something that fits right in.

So here are my quick and easy, no bake and therefore raw, vegan granola bars.

You can change the fruit and nuts to whatever you like or have at home. The exact amount is not that important either, as long as the total amount is less than one cup.

I am a big fan of dried physalis (also called Cape Gooseberries) as they add a little tangy citrus flavour. I also had a mix of goji berries, cashew nuts and mulberries so added this. But anything goes really – though you may want to roughly chop fruits and nuts above a certain size. 

For around 10 bars you’ll need

  • 1 cup (200g) pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup almonds 
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup dried gooji berries
  • 1/4 cup dried mulberries
  • 1/4 cup dried physalis
  • 1/4 cup cashew nuts

Chop the dates in a food processor on a high setting until only small bits remain – you should get a sticky dough like texture, which may all clump together but don’t worry about it.

Roughly chop the almonds and place them with the oats and dates in a large mixing bowl. Add the extra (chopped, if needed) fruits and nuts.

Warm the maple syrup and peanut butter in a small sauce pan over a low heat and stir to combine. 

Pour the mixture over the oats, almonds and dates and get your hands in there to combine everything thoroughly. 

Transfer the mix to an 20 x 20 cms / 8 x 8 inch dish lined with baking paper and press it down firmly until evenly flattened. I used the back of a big metal spoon to press it down as you want it pressed together tightly, to stick together.

Leave in the freezer for 20 minutes or at least an hour in the fridge and chop it into 10 bars. 

You can easily store the bars in an air tight container in the fridge for a few days!

Classic Creamy Porridge


It’s cold out there!

I’m in Berlin right now and it is starting to feel like winter. 

That’s the time of year when I need a warming breakfast, such as porridge. And though I know fancy chia seed and quinoa porridges are all the range these days, often I just want a classic, creamy oat porridge made with milk.

One of the best porridges in London can be had at a lovely coffee shop called Lundenwic and when I photographed a bowl of it the other day, I asked them how they make it. They told me their secret is using full fat milk for extra creaminess. I tried it out and although I am usually a low-fat milk girl, I am a convert when it comes to porridge.

So this is how I make my creamy porridge now…

For two small or one big portion you’ll need:

  • 1/2 c porridge oats (I like Scottish ones most)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups full fat milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • one apple
  • a handful of blackberries 
  • any other toppings you like, such as other fruit or nuts

Put the oats and 1 1/2 cups of milk in a small saucepan, cover it and leave it in the fridge overnight.

The next morning bring the oats and milk to the boil and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly. Add more milk, as needed, if the porridge thickens too much for your liking. I don’t like it too thick so I used the full 2 cups of milk.

While the porridge is cooking, cut an apple into slim matchstick pieces and prepare any other toppings you want to add – I also like thinly cut figs, slices of banana and chopped almonds.

Once the porridge is cooked, allow it to sit off the heat for 5 minutes, before serving it with the toppings of your choice.