Oreo cheesecake

Re-blogging my Oreo cheesecake recipe from my strictly baking blog. Bon appetite

whatyougotcooking

This is technically a second edition recipe. A re-invention of my original Oreo cheesecake which was an absolute hit.

The main differences is that this is now a baked cheesecake and it bakes twice because of the two layers.


That also means it’s much more time consuming but for what you get, for that reward, it’s totally worth it.
So let’s just get straight to it because time is of the essence if you want to taste this dreamy dessert.

Firstly take a loan out because you need quite a lot of ingredients. You may have to sacrifice and sell a few slices to cover costs, and I take a 20% royalties fee 😉.

Bellow is your shopping list,

4 packets of Oreos (or equivalent, it just so happened to be Oreos were on offer when I made this so they were cheaper than the budget version)

110g butter

625g…

View original post 870 more words

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Saving the planet by growing stuff 🌱

It’s been well over a year since I posted on this blog. I decided to be less obsessive and stop forcing topics and start doing things that were blog worthy. I began a number of posts which I’m still working on. Like long-term projects.

I have also had a busy year, in October I moved out to Australia to do a working holiday, my initial plan was to only stay for 6 months but the opportunity was too good to waste and I’ve extended my stay. To get an extension on my first year and stay for up to two years you have to complete 88days ‘regional work’ so I found myself living in the country again and being surrounded by fields and animals which reminds me of home. 

I’m working with some beautiful horses as well as helping around the house. Because it’s winter most of the horses are on spell so very little needs to be done to take care of them and while its a 7-day a week job I find myself more of a baby sitter for my four legged friends and I have a lot of time to cook, go running and do some gardening.

Something I have always wanted was my own vegetable garden so even though I’m only going to be here for 6 months and then someone else will take on my role here I have started to take advantage of the time I have during the days to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs.

I’ve bought very little to get my garden going because there have been some old pots lying around and I’ve used recycled egg cartons to sew my seeds. 

In this post I’m going to show how to make versatile growing pods from your used egg cartons. I have also begun making a herb garden from an old pallet which I’ll show the beginnings of but I’m still working on finishing it and of course growing my herbs to fill. 

So I use eggs a lot and buy my eggs in 12’s, always free-range and local where ever possible. Back home (UK) I would use even more so I would buy trays of 30 at a time, some times as frequently as twice a week. But this method will work with any size (that’s how durable it is!) so start saving your cartons! 

This is what my pots look like:


As you can see I’ve separated the lid and used it to create a draining tray for the mini plant pots in case I water them too much and I’ve ‘water proofed’ the tray. 


It’s unnecessary to buy the pond lining stuff because while its very tough and durable it’s expensive and for this purpose I simply bought heavy duty bin liners (trash bags) from the local hardware store. They’re used for cleaning up building sites so are made of tougher black liner than your usual bin bags. They were also about 1/4 of the price of the pond lining. 

Ta-dah 

For drainage from each pod poke a hole in the base of each cup. I used a pair of pointy tweezers, haha, but if you’re carful just use sharp sissors but don’t make the hole too big. 


Fill the pods with compost (I recommend compost as opposed to garden soil as it will have the nutrition to help the seeds grow). 
Follow the instructions on your seed packed about depth and moisture. Gently press down the compost and sprinkle your seeds on top, dependant on what I was growing I sewed about 7/8 seeds per pod. Cover lightly with more compost and again very gently press down. 


When I began growing my seeds it was still about a month before winter began so I left my seeds outside. The second set of seeds I planted winter had ‘officially’ begun so I used my bedroom window (which faces the sun from rise to set) as a greenhouse. 

I had sewn carrots, silverbeet and strawberries. Then parsley and thyme. And again basil and chives later. The carrots and silverbeat grew without a problem but the strawberries failed to make a start outside and it wasn’t until they were out of the bitter cold and inside that they slowly took off. 


On the back of the seed packets it says what time of year is best for sowing and there are very few that are good for winter in Victoria. However having them inside has created a false Autumn/Spring temperature and the chilly winds are kept at bay. 


Before I planted my second and third lot of seeds I ‘re/potted’ my tray of silverbeet into a larger pot to allow them to grow larger. I had read that egg cartons take between 3-6 weeks to biodegrade. All I did was separate each pod (which was easy because they were soft from regular watering) and place them into my pot with fresh compost.


I saved my drainage tray to use with another lid.


Another thing I have done with this project is to use used coffee grinds. I mixed the grinds in no particular ratio with the compost. Be sure to break up the coffee and mix well with the compost, the grinds will begin to grown mound if they aren’t broken down and mixed well enough.


Fresh coffee grinds are very acidic so using unwashed grinds on acid loving plants is also a great way to add extra nutrients into the soil surrounding your plants. So if you have a coffee machine at home (or you work in a cafe) and you’re particular about having only the very freshest of ground coffee for your cup don’t throw away the unused grinds, store them away somewhere!

Washed/used grinds are neutral so great for all plants to add valuable goodness when growing, nurturing and maintaining plant. 


Other recyclable items to use as plant pots: used takeaway coffee cups, chipped or old tea cups/ pots/ glasses (imagine a kitchen windowsill of wine glasses growing herbs- my dream!)
Here’s my sneak peak at the on-trend pallet garden.

To be continued in a post of its own where I will explain my process and hopefully I will have finished it!

😊

Don’t call me a feminist.

When people talk about feminism I have to admit I get a bit awkward and uncomfortable. 

Not because I believe women belong in the kitchen and all those other gender stereotypes. 

I feel as though someone will throw out some horrible snarly comment about the negative aspects of declaring yourself a feminist. (Men-hating, bra burning) things that aren’t true.

It’s hard to believe in ‘this day-and-age’ we’re still fighting for equality. In my world I am lucky that I am paid the same as my male colleagues, I have the same opportunities as them and I’m not inferior. But outside of my little world, the bigger picture isn’t as sweet. 

Nationally fewer thn 23% of MPs are female. Gender based violence is still a concern and on averge women earn almost 10% less than men.

In the whole of Europe there’s a percentile difference of almost 17%!

Internationally women are still subject of many gender based crimes or violence. While it is outlawed in most countries that practise Female genial mutilation women in at least 25 African countries (and more across the world) are still at risk. The basic human right to education doesn’t apply to many girls in developing countries and many drop out in their early adolescent years due to pressures including marriage and pregnancy. 


Women elected to be heads of state/government in recent years:

  • Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany (Elected 2005)
  • Executive President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia (Elected 2006)
  • Executive President Michelle Bachelet Jeria, Chile (Elected 2006)
  • Minister President Emily de Jongh-Elhage, Nederlandse Antillen (Self-governing Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) (Elected 2006)
  • Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, Jamaica (Elected 2007)
  • Prime Minister Han Myung-sook, South Korea (Elected 2007)
  • President Pratibha Patil, India (Elected 2007)
  • Executive President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Argentina (Elected 2007)
  • Acting President Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, South Africa (Elected 2008)
  • Leader of the Government Antonella Mularoni, San Marino (Elected 2008)
  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed, Bangladesh (Elected 2009)
  • Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Iceland (Elected 2009)
  • Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, Croatia (Elected 2009)
  • President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Lithuania (Elected 2009)
  • President of the Confederation Doris Leuthard, Switzerland (Elected 2010)
  • President Roza Otunbayeva, Kyrgyzstan (Elected 2010)
  • President-Elect Laura Chinchilla Miranda, Costa Rica (Elected 2010)
  • Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi, Finland (Elected 2010)
  • Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Australia (Elected 2010)
  • Prime Minister Iveta Radičová, Slovakia (Elected 2010)

*Sources: Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership

Women like me who earn an equal or better salary than our male counterparts should not be blinded by the sexist inequality in the work place and all over the world. You would have to have been living in solitude to have not seen or heard about Emma Watson’s speech to the UN on gender equality and feminism launching the HeforShe champagne which encourages men (and women) to stand for equality of the sexes.

Believe it or not if you hope for gender equality you are a feminist. So why do I not want to be called a feminist?

It’s true, if you believe in the equality of the sexes you are a feminist but that word is so dirty and dusty, covered in the webs of history. 

No matter what we think there is still a negative stigma with being a feminist, it’s shameful since the women of our past died to make it so we are able to live as freely as we do in the modern world. But not only that, feminism refers to the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. It’s very one dimensional. What about the races? Nationalities? Gays? 
I have decided that I will not refer to myself as a feminist. I want everyone to know that I am for the rights of women everywhere, that I will fight for equality of the sexes but that’s not all. I won’t stop at the sexes, I want equality for all! No matter what gender, race, sexual orientation, age! I am no longer a feminist. I am an Equalitist. I believe that one day we will have the social political and economical equality of all! No one man should stand above another and tell them they are not their equal! Noone shall stand in front of a child and deny them their basic human right to education. No straight, gay, bi man or woman should feel subject to their peers or disallowed to be married! 
A part of my personality is feminist. A part of me is argumentative, I’m a vegetarian. I’m a baker, a daughter, a peppermint tea drinker. I play rugby, I play rounders, I love animals and the world blows my mind every day! My point is that I have many qualities, personality traits and hobbies. I am as complex as you, and we’re all as complex as the universe, why would I want to identify with just one thing. If I said ‘I’m a feminist’ then I am only one dimensional.
If we want change, if we really want equality, we should create a new world, one where our feminist ancestors of the last century are our Heros, role models.
It isn’t just about people accepting they are what they are (you’re a feminist because you believe in equality) it’s about a new world and a new age! Eradicating inequality and building a new future on educating our children to be equal, be the best they can be. 
Let’s bring this world into the new century, let’s dust off the cobwebs that feminism has left behind and shine light on the age of Equalitism,
Equality for all!

The world needs to provide a better platform for women to allow them to earn the same, speak as openly and not feel subjected to the scrutiny of men. 

And on that note I’m off to bake a cake and do other things women should be doing. 

👑

💁

Yours truly

The Equalitist xo

National cupcake Finals

It’s two years to the day since you passed. Right now I’m on my way to the National Cupcake Finals at Birmingham NEC to submit my entry. Criticising everything I have done.
Another nightmare right before submission means I’m feeling like going home not going to the finals.
I’ve had a little cry to myself, it’s more than just falling at the final hurdle, it’s what this day means.

Three years ago we had only just accepted the diagnosis. Not accepted, not really, not ever, not even now.
If you had stayed I don’t know if I’d be where I am now. Does that comfort me? Not really. Everything happens for a reason though, yes?

I’ve told, retold, and re-retold my ‘story’ and maybe today will be an additional chapter.

After loosing my nana to pancreatic cancer two years ago today I decided to sign up to the Cancer Research Race for Life. To increase the amount of donations to my sponsorship I began baking cupcakes and selling 6 for £5. It was such a success I managed to doubled my sponsorship and had such good feedback I decided to make baking a job. I got myself a job at a local bakery on the ‘patisserie finish’ section, filling eclairs, putting pavlovas together & piping custard! After a few weeks I was told about the National Cupcake Competition and decided to enter. I spent months developing a mulled wine cupcake and getting everyone I knew to try them! By the time National Cupcake week cake around I had pretty much forgotten about it and hadn’t felt too confident about getting through, so when I was on my break at work and the email came with the list of finalists and I saw my name I was unbelievably shocked!

Last year I was convinced I had messed up my chance at winning, the day before the competition I made three lots of my Mulled wine cupcakes because it all kept going terribly! I still wasn’t satisfied when time was up and I have to leave to get to Birmingham! I didn’t even think it was worth going but I set off with my friend and arrived late at night at my cousins who was putting us up for the night. In the morning I decorated the cupcakes, still feeling pessimistic and delivered then to the NEC. The day dragged to say the least, I felt sick with nerves! I wanted to win so much but I thought all hope had gone out the window!

We passed the time taking a look at all the decorated cakes, wondering the cake stalls and having a few drinks, the winners were to be announced at 3.30 and so at 2.30 we went to the presentation area and watched one of the demonstrations. When it got to 3.15 the organisers called all competitors together and sat us in the front few seats. I was fidgety and I imagine I looked like I was going to be sick because I certainly felt that way! They began the announcements of the winners with the homebakers, first classic cupcake, then free from, made with alcohol and finally themed. There was a highly commended and a winner from each category. I was genuinely pleased for everyone who’s name was called, when I didn’t hear mine for highly commended (which I thought was the best I could do with the nightmare id had) my emotions dropped to disappointment, so much so that as they said ‘Lauren Jenkinson with a Mulled Wine cupcake’ it took me a few seconds to register. The applause had already started and I turned to the guy next to me and I remember as if it was yesterday I said ‘oh my god, that’s me!’. My legs were like jelly they could barely carry me to collect my trophy and have my picture taken next to Mary Berry and last years overall winner!

Instead of going back to my chair I went straight to my friend, half crying, half in shock, shaking and smiling! I noticed the winner of the classic cupcake from the professionals was the guy who I had been sat next to, Martin Hargreaves (he’s a finalist again this year). After all announcement we were called together for a group photo and I got chance to speak to one judge who congratulated me on my recipe and innovation! He mentioned how Great British Bake Off winner and another judge for the competition John Whaite had been really impressed and loved the cupcake! I was overjoyed and overwhelmed!

When my cousin came to get us I pretended to be a bit gutted, we got in her car and she said ‘I guess you didn’t win’ at which point I pulled out the trophy! She scolded me for having been so negative and told me to have more faith in myself which I definitely have tried to do!

Since then all I’ve thought about was the National Cupcake Competition 2014. I started working on a few different ideas in December and entered into the professionals with a classic cupcake that didn’t quite make it and a Gluten and Dairy free Brandy Passion Truffle (with passionfruit curd and dairy free cream) which made it to the finals and I’m about to deliver to the judges!

I could still hope I’ve done everything within my skills to win. I know the competition is much harder this year because I’m entered as a professional even though I only do these experiments at home. I know I’m up agains professionals with their own businesses and who’ve been making cakes for years so again I’m not feeling too confident! This year I’m going to make the most out of the event and try not to focus on the competition!

I’ve got more to be thankful for and focus on even if I don’t win. I’m in the process of setting up a baking workshop with a homeless shelter in Manchester (The Mustard Tree Foundation) which I’m unbelievably excited about and I’m going to start selling cakes from home when our new kitchen gets in!

I love and miss my nana more and more each day and it doesn’t get any easier but because of her I’m where I am today.

It’s definitely an exciting time at the moment and I couldn’t be much happier!

Fingers crossed

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Blogging 101 class of 2014

I accidentally missed day one, therefore skipped straight to day two and here I am at day three, so to recap I’m making this a hybrid, days one & three!
Random picture of a kitten I rented for a day 😘

Day one; introduction.
I began blogging a few months ago to raise my professional profile (so to speak) and have an outlet for my baking expression. As an opinionated individual I decided it was a waste to limit myself to just baking so I created a blog designed to be an expression of all aspects of my life, from baking to politics!
I implore you to subscribe and read my blog because I’d like to guarantee there’s something for everyone, especially where baking is involved. Ask me to try a recipe, or ask me for a recipe, read about my views on things like university (tuition fees), diets and exercise, saving money!
I decided to keep a blog, like a public journal. It’s as personal as a diary and as open as a book!
In a years time I hope to still be getting hits for old blogs like my chewy cookie recipe and tips to writing your CV, have a good community of subscribers who I regularly interact with and most importantly still blog!
Here are three facts about me; I still have 2 baby teeth, I can’t tie my shoe laces ‘properly’ (I’m a bunny ears tied together girl) and I can’t whistle!

To coincide with day three here are five new blogs I have followed, and five post I love!

1. Easy Pizza Dough
By The Perky Pancake
Easy pizza, 5 day dough, Sourdough pizza, Sourdough flatbread, Pizza dough, Pizza, Sourdough
http://perkypancake.com/2014/09/23/easy-pizza-dough/

2. Would choux like an eclair?
By Sticky Pinny
choux, Choux pastry, baking, Great British Bake Off, crème pâtissière, GBBO, eclairs, pastry, chocolate, choux buns
http://stickypinny.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/would-choux-like-an-eclair/

3. Gadget of the month: Heston Blumenthal Dual Platform Precision Scale
By She Wolf In The Kitchen
Heston Blumenthal Dual Platform Precision Scale, scale, Heston Blumenthal, baking, kitchenware, cooking, Salter, kitchen gadget, kitchen scale
http://shewolfinthekitchen.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/gadget-of-the-month-heston-blumenthal-dual-platform-precision-scale/

4. Cookie Dough Cereal Bowl…filled with Cookie Crisp obv.
By The Vulgar Chef
food, recipe, baking, chef, cookies, cooking, cereal
http://thevulgarchef.com/2014/09/12/cookie-dough-cereal-bowl-filled-with-cookie-crisp-obv/

5. Chocolate Twists – My self challenge at 2AM
By dreamernxtdoor
creme patissiere, food, recipes, baking, tea time, pastry, chocolate, desserts, sweet
http://dreamernxtdoor.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/chocolate-twists-my-self-challenge-at-2am/

Me to me

You’re about to enter a room full of strangers, where you will have exactly four minutes to tell a story that would convey who you really are. What’s your story?

Three years ago I came home from a summer working in America to the news that my nana had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 14 months later she died. He life and her death were both the making of me. After she died I signed up to the Cancer Research Race for Life, to help raise money I sold cupcakes for sponsorship. I had so much fun baking and experimenting. I got such good feedback and smashed my target I decided to take my passion to the next level, I got a job in a bakery and entered a National cupcake competition. On the first anniversary since my nana passed I won my category at the National Cupcake competition and was presented with a trophy by the one and only Mary Berry. My nana left me with her hands and heart.

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The Daily Post | The Art and Craft of Blogging
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Pretzels!

Re-posting this from my brother blog
whatyougotcooking | A fine WordPress.com site
https://whatyougotcooking.wordpress.com/

I absolutely love pretzels, giv’em to me hard or soft, hot or cold! Since I’ve been expanding my culinary horizons and trying to make bread I thought I’d give pretzels a go.

Over the last 10 days I’ve been dog and house sitting for a friend which has meant I have a kitchen to play around in! I found a recipe with very limited direction (much like the technical bake on Great British Bake Off) and got to work.
It seemed like it would be a really arduous task and I promise you it’s not, it’s really easy and really fun to make!

Before your begin make sure you have either a large pan or cook pot that you can put on the hob. I got ahead of myself and made my pretzel dough before realising you need to boil water and bicarb together and pre-bake the pretzel in before baking in the oven! You’re also going to need baking trays.

The yield of this recipe is pretty much up to how big you want your pretzels to be, I got 7 of varying sizes, if you want big pretzels assume you’ll make about 5/6 from this recipe and possibly 10 small.

ingredients
185ml warm water (1 part hot to 2 parts cold)
1/2 tbsp caster sugar
3g yeast (about half a sachet)
310g strong white bread flour
1tsp salt
25g unsalted butter (melted)
Also:
3 or 4 tbsp bicarb
1 egg (beaten)
Coarse sea salt

Firstly stir your sugar into your warm water and add the yeast. Leave this solution to stand for 15 minutes, the yeast should start to activate and froth on top of the water.
In a large mixing bowl weigh out your flour and salt.
Once the yeast has been allowed to stand for 15 minutes and you can see the froth sitting on top of the water pour into the mixing bowl with the flour and add the melted butter. There’s no need to mix with a fork or spoon just get your hands stuck in, you can use a dough hook attachment on a mixer but the ingredients come together very quickly I don’t really see the need.
Dust your work surface with a sprinkle of flour and turn out your dough ready to kneed. Don’t discard your mixing bowl, lightly grease it with some olive oil and pop to one side.
Knead your dough for 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and easy to shape. Roll around into a ball and put the dough back into your lightly greased mixing bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour to prove. (I’m going with an hour because at this point I took the dog for a walk and it was roughly an hour)
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Before shaping your pretzels get yourself a large pan, I used a wok, fill about 2/3’rds of the way up with water, place on the hob and bring to the boil.
Once the dough has doubled in size turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into how many pretzels you wish to make.
To make the pretzel shape roll each piece of dough (either on the counter or between your hands) into long tubes. Put the dough in a U shape on the counter and take each end, cross them over and bring them down to the curve of the U.

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I wasn’t sure at this point wether to let the pretzels prove again so I left them in their shapes for 10/15 minutes to allow them to rest.
Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of bicarb to your pan of boiling water and one at a time slowly boil each of the pretzels. I did this for about 20/30 seconds on each pretzel. They seem to swell with the water so you’ll have an idea when they’ve had enough, I fingered at this point there was a way of boiling each for too long, as I said earlier though the directions I had to work with we’re limited to say the least!

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Put your pretzels on a baking tray, brush gently with the beaten egg and sprinkle the salt over before baking in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for about 15 minutes. You’ll know they’re read when they turn a golden brown colour and aren’t soft or sticky to touch.

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The following day I had a do at making some sundried tomato and mozzarella pretzels and wholemeal, Lemon & Poppy seed!

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I awarded myself star baker.

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