Whipped Goats Cheese with sundried tomatoes

Ok,here is a little tasty dip recipe for sitting around with friends over the bank holiday. If you like goats cheese you will like this dip. It is quick to make,but not inexpensive. You can adapt the flavours by using nuts, caramelised onions,fruits,chopped meats etc. This recipe is a modification of a Simon Rimmer recipe.

Whipped goats cheese

Whipped goats cheese

Ingredients

112g soft, rindless goats’ cheese

112g full fat cream cheese

75ml cream ( I used double cream)

Salt and pepper

Juice quarter of alemon

Chopped sundried tomatoes to taste

1 tbsp honey approximately

 

Method

For the goats cheese

1. Simply whip all of the ingredients together by hand for a good 3 minutes.

2. Chop sundried tomatoes very small then add to cheese mix. Save some for decoration (see picture)

3.  Spoon into a small bowl,sprinkle on reserved tomatoes and drizzle with honey.

 

Baked Lemon Cheesecake with blueberry coulis

Lemon and blueberry cheesecake

Lemon and blueberry cheesecake

Cheesecakes maybe have the reputation of being the ultimate dessert. These desserts have a creamy, comforting texture with a hint of crunch and can often be found on many a restaurant menu. They can also make a show stopping end to any dinner party. The cheesecake can be baked or unbaked but is usually refrigerated before serving. The beauty of this dessert is it can be flavoured or topped with fruit,nuts, whipped or soured cream or fruit sauce,caramel sauce etc. Its versatility knows no bounds.

Limone....lemon madness

Limone….lemon madness

Having just returned from a holiday in Limone (Italy), where lemons are used to flavour a variety of drinks,desserts and pastas, I craved to bake something to remind me of our sunny,relaxed days surrounded by lush Lemon Trees.
As the citrus fruit in this area are considered to be one of the reasons the inhabitants are so healthy (See footnote 1) I decided to incorporate lemon into the flavour of my cheesecake. I also decided to add a coulis using another super fruit namely ‘blueberries’. (See footnote 2)

Now let me say I am under no illusions …..Cheesecake is highly calorific, high in fat and sugar, but Hey Ho, ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’, or so they say. Plus I had some very special visitors arriving and I wanted to give them something special to eat.
Anyway, enough of my chattering on. Here is the recipe for my Baked Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry Coulis.

Ingredients

175g digestive biscuits
50g ginger nut biscuits
100g butter, melted
250g tub mascarpone
600g soft cheese
2 eggs, plus 2 yolks
zest 3 lemons, juice of 2
4 tbsp plain flour
175g caster sugar
For the topping
½ a 284ml pot soured cream
3 tbsp lemon curd

NB. I used the full fat versions of the mascarpone, cream cheese and soured cream, however there is no reason why you can’t use the lower fat varieties.
Blueberry Coulis
100g blueberries
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1dessert spoon lemon juice

Method

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Line the bottom of a 23cm springform tin with greaseproof paper. Tip the biscuits and melted butter into a food processor, then blitz to make fine crumbs. Press into the tin and chill.

Preparation time

Preparation time

 

Biscuit base

Biscuit base

Whisk all the other ingredients in a large bowl until completely combined, pour into the tin, then bake for 35-40 mins until the cheesecake has a uniform wobble.

Whisk ingredients

Whisk ingredients

Turn off the oven and leave the cake inside until cool. When it is completely cooled, remove from the tin and top with soured cream. Swirl lemon curd over the top and decorate with raspberries, if you like

To make the coulis place all ingredients into the saucepan and heat gently until sugar has dissolved and the blueberries have softened slightly. Cool the coulis before serving with the cheesecake.

Cheesecake served with blueberry coulis

Cheesecake served with blueberry coulis

 

Limone sul Garda

Limone sul Garda

Footnote 1. A curious fact: several Limone citizens apparently possess the secret of long life. In 1979, a miraculous protein, APOLDPROTEIN A-1 MILANO, was discovered in the blood of a Limone native. This protein protects the heart by removing fat from the arteries, even with high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. In combination with the unique, mild climate and a healthy Mediterranean diet rich in fresh-water fish, olive oil, and local citrus fruits, this protein is an effective weapon against atherosclerosis and heart disease.

http://www.visitgarda.com/en/Limone-sul-Garda-vacanze-lago-garda/

 

image

Footnote 2. Blueberries are a good source of vitamin K. They also contain vitamin C, fibre, manganese and other antioxidants (notably anthocyanins)
Valued for its high levels of antioxidants, some nutritionists believe that if you make only one change to your diet, it should be to add blueberries.
Die-hards claim blueberries can help protect against heart disease and some cancers, as well as improve your memory.
http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/superfoods/pages/are-blueberries-a-superfood.aspx

 

The Collingwood Arms

The Collingwood Arms

The Collingwood Arms

For many, joy is experienced through eating. I don’t know about you, but I love going out to eat! I love having good food prepared by a real chef and tasting new combinations of foods that I would have never thought of, or eating good well prepared comfort food. The enjoyment of eating is only enhanced when you share your mealtime with good friends.
So this week, Mr G, myself and two friends ventured out to visit The Collingwood Arms, Cornhill, just across the River Tweed from the Scottish border town of Coldstream. We decided to have our lunch in the brasserie. A very pleasant room set around the bar. The staff were very welcoming and we were very quickly presented with the menu.
There was a good selection of starters,mains and desserts which seemed to cater for a variety of palates. The group went for a few options. After some consideration I made my decision.

Starter – Crayfish in a Marie Rose sauce in a smoked salmon parcel served with small oat cakes

Crayfish in a Marie Rose sauce in a smoked salmon parcel

Crayfish in a Marie Rose sauce in a smoked salmon parcel

The dish was well presented and flavoursome. The crayfish were plentiful, which was just as well because they were the reason I ordered the dish. Overall very enjoyable.

The other starters ordered were:
Wild Boar Ravioli with Tomato Confit
Tempura King Prawns with Sweet Chilli and Ginger Dipping Sauce

Wild Boar Ravioli Tomato Confit

Wild Boar Ravioli Tomato Confit

Tempura King Prawns Sweet Chilli and Ginger Dipping Sauce

Tempura King Prawns Sweet Chilli and Ginger Dipping Sauce

For main I ordered Mushroom Stroganoff with Mustard Cream and Saffron Rice. The dish arrived and was very pleasing to the eye when placed on the table in front of me. It looked very colourful ( which surprised me, it made a great change from some other mushroom stroganoff dishes I have experienced). The taste did not disappoint, it was deliciously creamy, the mustard definitely enhanced the flavour of the mushrooms. I have to say this dish was the best mushroom stroganoff I have tasted in a long while
( Well done chef).

Mushroom Stroganoff Mustard Cream and Saffron Rice.

Mushroom Stroganoff Mustard Cream and Saffron Rice.

The other mains ordered were:
Sausage and Mash Creamed Potatoes, Savoy Cabbage and Onion Gravy
Beer Battered Fish and Chips Hand Cut Chips and Tartar Sauce

Sausage and Mash Creamed Potatoes, Savoy Cabbage and Onion Gravy

Sausage and Mash Creamed Potatoes, Savoy Cabbage and Onion Gravy

Beer Battered Fish and Chips Hand Cut Chips and Tartar Sauce

Beer Battered Fish and Chips Hand Cut Chips and Tartar Sauce

The dessert menu was basic but quite plentiful for a brasserie menu. I ordered
Sticky Toffee Pudding Salted Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream. ( As did two others on the table) You can’t go wrong with this homely pudding and it did not disappoint. It was a light date sponge with a not too rich caramel sauce. A pleasant end to a really nice lunch.

Sticky Toffee Pudding  with Salted Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice

The other dessert ordered was:
Bakewell Tart Clotted Cream

Bakewell Tart with Clotted Cream

Bakewell Tart with Clotted Cream

All in all this fine border hotel serves cracking food served in a very pleasant atmosphere. Well worth a visit.