Category Archives: FOOD

A phoenix rises from the ashes…a chocolate cottagecake

Before today, I had never made a cheesecake. Technically, you would be right in saying I still haven’t made a traditional cheesecake. That’s what happens when kitchen bravado strikes and you misread “cream cheese” as “cottage cheese”, in this BBC recipe.

I’ve always been a bit gung-ho about cooking, liking to imagine myself as Jamie Oliver in a “just chuck everything in” kind of way. It’s a lot more likely that I’m just a lazy cook.

We are between blenders at the moment so instead of processing the biscuits for the cheesecake base down to a fine powder, I rolled a water-filled bottle over them and then gave them a few whacks with my new Scottish Spurtle.

Spurtle, I choose YOU!

I also don’t have any round baking tins, so went for an avant-garde rectangular cheesecake instead. It was when I added the uninvited cottage cheese that I realised the mixture looked odd. The cottage cheese curds were showing prominently through the glorious chocolate goo of a batter. The words “cream cheese” started to come back to me. Darn.

A quick google of the situation revealed a few others who had made the same mistake and who had requested advice, mostly on Yahoo Answers. The responses were as outraged and horrified as they would be if the poster asked for advice after they tried to give their new puppy a bath but ended up strangling them. I had committed a terrible, most grievous offence.

I researched further to make sure it wouldn’t kill me or anyone else and then decided to chill the cheesecake anyway and see how it turned out.

I didn’t expect it to set, as cottage cheese is so much lower in fat than cream cheese.

Miraculously, after about 2 hours, the cottagecake had firmed up and was looking…okay. The white curds stood out against the chocolate like tiny white marshmallows. I braved a taste.

You know what? It wasn’t half bad. It sounds horrible, but the curds provided a nice texture to the topping, which I think would have been too rich without a break in the monotony. (If you try the above recipe yourself, maybe use less chocolate. That is a sentence I never thought I would type).

What does all this prove? That making a mistake while cooking is not the end of the world. No-one could ever accuse me of being a master chef, but perhaps they could call me an inventive chef.


ice ice, Baby…

I’m a sucker for gingerbread houses. I love them. I had never been brave enough to attempt assembling one of them. They always seemed to be outside that realm of possibilities.

To be honest, I still amn’t brave enough. I bought a cop-out kit. Essentially a 3D edible jigsaw that you ice.

It was fun and put me in a Christmassy mood, which is hard to do as I am the love-child of Ebenezer Scrooge and Cruella De Vil when it comes to this time of year. Construction went well. The foundations were solid and I fell certain my house will be able to withstand some minor earthquakes, along with the tremors as I bound around the kitchen.

Icing the thing was my downfall, which I didn’t anticipate. It’s fun for like 10 seconds, and then you lose the will to live. There’s so much gingerbread in the world and icing is so uncooperative. It just wasn’t to be.

It didn't help that I recently read "The Snowman" by Jo Nesbo and my snowman looked particularly sinister...

Merry Christmas!


The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Nutella Chocolate Cake…in a Cup. (5 mins)

This is it. This is what I have been waiting for. Heaven and Hell in a cup. A delicious, nutella cake-filled cup. I found this recipe on Babble and full credit must be given to Angie McGowan for this.

It’s very simple. You have a hankering for some cake. But you don’t want to go though the whole rigmarole of getting out the whisk and the mixing bowl and the wooden spoon and measuring a bunch of stuff…

So, just lump everything into a mug. Make it a pretty big one as this bad boy expands in the microwave. I’ve shown myuber-cool Eeyore mug as an illustration of the size you should expect.

If you need an excuse to buy a ludicrously oversized mug, this is it.

Recipes don’t get much simpler than this, so enjoy. Feel free to mess around with it a bit. Some people top it off with whipped cream or marshmallows, some add peanut butter to the mix. Go crazy.

Nutella Mug Cake


4 tablespoons self rising flour
4 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons Nutella
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil


1. Combine all ingredients in a large coffee mug. Whisk well with a fork until smooth. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 – 3 minutes. (Time depends on microwave wattage. Mine took 1 /2 minutes.) Top with whatever takes your fancy.

Gives a whole new meaning to the word "cupcake".

Bon Appetito!