Sunday 29 December 2013

The Brilliant Chef Back in the Kitchen: White Chocolate Cheesecake

When we went shopping before Christmas, I bought the ingredients to make white chocolate cheesecake and my mum kept moaning that the raspberries were going to go mouldy. So today I made a white chocolate cheesecake with raspberry sauce.

Mum made the sauce and I made the cheesecake.

Ingredients for the cheesecake (makes 20cm cheesecake)
175 g digestive biscuits
200g white chocolate
75g butter
400g cream cheese
50g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the raspberry sauce:
1 pack of fresh raspberries
Around 50g caster sugar
A splash of Madeira
A little water

A few strawberries to serve with

1. Crush the biscuits by putting them in a plastic bag and hitting it with the end of a rolling pin until they are crushed into crumbs.
Crushing the biscuits
2. Melt the butter then mix in the biscuit crumbs.
Melt the butter
Then mix in the biscuit crumbs
3. Use a cake tin with a loose base and put the buttery biscuit mix in it and push it down until it is spread across the whole base of the tin. Then put it in the fridge for a while.
4. Then break the white chocolate into pieces into a glass or metal bowl.
Break the chocolate into a bowl
5. Then melt the chocolate over a pan of hot water. Make sure the bowl is not actually touching the water. Once it is melted leave it to cool a little.
Melt the chocolate over a pan of hot water
6. In one bowl, Mix together the cream cheese and 50g caster sugar.

7. In another bowl mix together 2 eggs and the vanilla extract.

8.Then mix the egg mixture into the cream cheese mixture a bit at a time. Keep mixing it as you go.

9. When the egg mixture and cream cheese mixture have been mixed together pour in the melted white chocolate and stir it in.
Licking the rest of the melted white chocolate - chef's perk!
10. Pour this mixture onto the biscuit base.
Pour the mixture onto the biscuit base
11. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 30 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave it in there for another 30 minutes.

12. Take the cheesecake out the oven and leave it to cool. Then put it in the fridge for 2 hours.

13. For the raspberry sauce, put the raspberries in a pan with some sugar and a little water. Add a little Madeira.

14. Bring to the boil and then simmer for a few minutes. 

15. Then push it through a sieve to remove the raspberry seeds. Leave the sauce to cool and then put it in the fridge.

16. Serve the cheesecake with the raspberry sauce and some strawberries. (We forgot to take photos of the cheesecake with the sauce and the strawberries but it did taste really good - my whole family really LOVED it! )

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Lemon drizzle drenched cake

Written up by mum.

Dan has not had much time to spend cooking since he went back to school after his years of homeschooling. He still asks to help out with peeling and chopping veg but he hasn't had the time or energy to initiate cooking like he used to.

It made us wonder for a moment, perhaps his interest in 'cheffing' was just a phase. He is,after all, only 7 years old. That's quite a young age to have decided your future career path. We've always been careful to encourage and support him but not to be pushy. If his interests change, then we respect that. 

But it did make us smile to see him pick up his cookery books as soon as school was over and the Christmas holidays had started. His love of food and cooking and his talent of sniffing out flavours, herbs and spices started at such a very young age (he was just 3 or 4 at the time) that it does makes us think that he does have a real in-built passion for cookery. Particularly as neither of his parents have any particular skills in this area, his passion has to be a God-given gift. 

He's planned something he wants to cook over Christmas involving white chocolate, so look out for that; but in the meantime we had a whole lot of lemons that needed using up so Daniel and I cooked a triple sized batch of lemon drizzle cake. Granny had been nagging Daniel to cook her something for ages. She liked the look of the New York cheesecake he made or the Panettone. But two problems with that: 1) they both take quite a long time to make (by the time we allow for interruptions from baby sister and autistic big brother, we would have to set aside a whole day for each of those), and 2) Daniel prefers to cook new things he hasn't made before so he hasn't been so keen on making the New York cheesecake or Panettone again.  

So here's the lemon drizzle cake we made. We called it 'Lemon drizzle drenched cake' because we used lots and lots of juice from the lemons.  These quantities are for one cake (20cm-ish circle cake tin or you could use a small loaf tin), but we made three times as much to make three cakes, one for granny, one for a friend and one for us.

Ingredients for the cake:
175g butter or margarine (we used stork)
175g caster sugar 
Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
3 large eggs
225g self raising flour

Ingredients for the drizzle:
100g caster sugar
Juice from the 2 lemons you used the zest from
(We used an extra lemon to make it extra moist)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
2. Line your tin with baking paper. We often both grease and line it but this time we only needed to line it. I think because of the moisture from the drizzle it helps the cake slide out.
3. Beat together 175g caster sugar with the butter or marg and the lemon zest. Then beat in the eggs, with a little of the flour. Add the eggs one at a time and then add a little flour. We also added a bit of lemon juice at this point as we didn't manage to get much zest off the lemons as we don't have a proper zester.
4. Then fold in the rest of the flour. You don't have to be too gentle with the folding. We just used the low setting on the mixer and it was fine.
5. Pour into the cake tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Check with a skewer to see when ready (the skewer should come out clean when it is cooked).
6. Whilst the cake is cooking, squeeze out the juice from the lemons. Mix it with 100g caster sugar. We put it next to the oven so it would warm up a bit and stirred it a few times whilst the cake was cooking.
7. When the cake is cooked, and whilst it is still warm, use a skewer to make lots and lots of little holes all over it. Keep the cake in the cake tin!  Then spoon on the drizzle trying to get it into those little holes too. It should soak into the cake making it taste all lemony and yummy.
8. Don't try to remove the cake from the tin yet. Wait until it is completely cooled.

This post was from a few years ago but am linking up with 2016 Great Blogger Bake off hosted by Mummy Mishaps as it was such a tasty lemon drizzle recipe!

Mummy Mishaps

Monday 16 December 2013

Makies Doll Review - Part 2 - It has arrived!

Remember my makie doll I designed a few weeks ago? Well it's arrived. Daniel junior (that's what I named him as I designed him to look like me) is here and here's my video review so you can meet him!

As you can see, I really, really, really love him and I think he is great!

I want to say a big thanks to Makies and also to Kids Blog Club for putting me in touch with Makies.

Disclosure: I was sent a Makie Gift Card worth £69 to create my makie doll which was then 3D printed and sent to me to review and keep. All my opinions are my own. 

Friday 13 December 2013

A Christmas Surprise from Hotel Chocolat!

I was soooo excited when a special parcel arrived for me. My mum had kept it a surprise so I had no idea what was in it. But I was very happy when I opened it!
Because....I LOVE chocolate! And Hotel Chocolat had sent me a little surprise for Christmas because they liked my blog so much.

They sent me The Magical Christmas Selection Stocking and my mum interviewed me to find out what I thought of it.

Mum: So do you like chocolate?
Dan: Of course. 

Mum: Is it your favourite food?
Dan: No. It isn't but it used to be until I tried moss at Noma. Now chocolate is my second favourite but I still love it.  

Mum: Do you like this gift you received from Hotel Chocolat? 
Dan: Yes definitely.

Mum: What do you like about it?
Dan: I like the fact that it was all Christmassy because the chocolate was in a stocking. And also I liked the flavours.

Mum: Can you tell us a bit about the flavours? 
Dan: Well there were three types of shape and three favours; one shaped as an angel which was caramel flavoured chocolate, one shaped as a reindeer which was white chocolate, and one which was shaped liked a penguin which was milk chocolate but tasted quite strong for milk chocolate.
Mum: Which was your favourite? 
Dan: My favourite was the reindeer because I liked the reindeer shape best AND I liked the white chocolate best.
Mum: Did you share the chocolate or did  you eat it all yourself?
Dan: I shared it with my family. My mum liked the caramel angels best. She thought they would be filled with runny caramel but it was solid chocolate that actually was caramel flavoured so that was cool as I think it's quite unusual.

Mum: Anything else you want to tell us about the magical Christmas selection stocking? 
Dan: There were 12 chocolates in the stocking and they were each in their own wrapper with the shape and flavour written on it so it was easy to share out.
As the white chocolate was my favourite I wish there was more than just two of those ones.  

Mum: It would cost £10 to buy it - do you think it is good value?
Dan: I think it should cost a bit less because it is not a big stocking. But I think it is ok to be £10 because they do something similar to fairtrade so it is fair for the farmers. I think that's why it doesn't cost less so that is ok.

Mum: Is there anything else you like on the Hotel Chocolat website that you would consider buying? (or asking mum and dad to buy it for you)?
Dan: I like trying new and unusual foods so I think that this cocoa pasta would be good to try out one day.

Mum: And finally, do you think children would be happy to find this stocking on Christmas morning?
Dan: Yes because it's very yummy. And grown ups would like it too!

Mum and Dad will be doing a review of what they were sent from Hotel Chocolat soon so keep an eye out on their blog at The Beesley Buzz.

Disclosure: I was sent this Magical Christmas Selection stocking free of charge from Hotel Chocolat so that I could review it on my blog. Everything I have said is my opinion of what I think about it. Thank you Hotel Chocolat!

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Noma: The Best Restaurant in the World

Me with just a few of the 40 chefs at Noma. 
A little while ago my mum won a meal for two people at Noma in Copenhagen. We finally got to go there last weekend. Noma is one of the top restaurants in the world; it was first place for three years in a row. Once my restaurant is open, I'm going to try to get the top spot, though!

Anyway, my mum decided that she would take me with her as she knows I love cheffing. I was so excited! In the end we took my dad, too, so the three of us went off to Copenhagen (my brother and little sister came with us but didn't get to go to Noma - Granny looked after them for the day in the city).

When we got to Noma, it was sooo cool. One of the chefs came out to meet us and take our photo outside, and then took us indoors. They were all expecting us, and knew my name and said hello to us as we came in. There are 40 chefs who work at Noma, and most of them were gathered round the door when we arrived just to welcome us!
Arriving at Noma.

We were treated to a 26 course meal! (There might have been even more, but when we thought back we got to 26, plus coffee).
Very creative foods - a broth inside a kohlrabi.
One of the best things was a special kind of edible moss (that reindeer like to eat). My other favourite was a Danish cake ball - they are normally dipped in cream, but ours were dipped in grasshoppers! Yum! It really tasted nice. I even got to eat wood-ant sauce; they had a sour acidic taste - I didn't like it as much as the grasshoppers and moss.
Danish cake balls, with a twist - dipped in grasshopper.
There was another dish which was raw squid served in a bowl made of ice. That was really cool - literally!
Squid in a bowl made of ice.
At the end, we had pork skin coated in chocolate and dried berries. It was like a giant pork scratching and was yummy. It kind of tasted like chocolate-covered wafer, so it was strange to think it was made of pork.

After every few courses, they brought a different kind of drink.
Just a few of the juices.
I had juices (my dad had wine). They had really unusual flavours. I really liked the apple and herb flavour, and a whiteberry flavour. With the ones I didn't like so much, I did my own mixing to make new flavours that I did like. For example I mixed apple and pine with spiced plum to make a new drink that was delicious.

The whole experience was brilliant. The bit I liked best was a tour of the kitchens at the end. One of the chefs, called Hamish, took us round and we saw the three kitchens, the outdoor barbecues, the staff dining room and all the chefs being busy getting everything ready for the evening.
Preparing the sea urchins (photo taken by Daniel).
I wish I had been brave enough to speak to Rene and ask for his autograph because I love to meet real chefs, especially really creative chefs like him.
Rene Redzepi (left) in the development kitchen (photo taken by Daniel).
I love Denmark and I love Noma. I hope I can get to go back there one day.

Update: When Noma read this, they very kindly arranged for Rene's autograph to be sent to me - Wow!

The Brilliant Chef makes Patak's pappadums

You must have noticed by now that this year me and my dad have been busy getting to do lots of great things with Patak's after my dad got picked as Patak's official curry taster.

Well one of the things we got asked to do is test out Patak's Ready to Cook Pappadums at home.

We have always loved pappadums and me and my brother usually eat most the pack before the dinner is even cooked.

These ones are extra special. Because these are ones that you cook yourself either in oil on the hob or in the microwave. We thought the microwave method would be safer (and probably a bit healthier, too, as you brush on the oil rather than deep fry it).

There are ten pappadums flat in the box.

You just take one out at a time and put it onto a microwavable plate, brush it with a little bit of oil...
...then lay a piece of kitchen roll over it and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds.

It was great to see the flat pappadums cook and grow into the finished and very delicious food!

I loved cooking these, as it was really easy. They tasted as good as the Patak's pre-cooked ones you can buy, but were way more fun! My dad says they are good because you get more in a pack, and the pack is smaller - so we could fit even more in our cupboard.

Me and my brother still managed to eat most of them before dinner was ready, though... with a little help from our little sister!

Monday 18 November 2013

Makies Doll Review - Part 1

Thanks to Kids' Blog Club, I was put in touch with Makies Dolls to review this amazing new 3D printed doll. Here's the first part of my review when the gift box arrived. You can also see me designing my doll using the Makies Doll app - it was really easy to do and it was great fun to be able to design my own doll. I used an app on the ipad but you can also design a Makie doll at

When the actual doll arrives, I'll be doing another video, so you can see how it turned out!

You can find out more about Makie dolls here.

Disclosure: I was sent the Makies doll gift box worth £69 to design my own Makies doll for the purposes of review. I paid an additional fee for postage. All opinions are my own. 

Thursday 31 October 2013

The Romans

You may have seen that I go to school now, after having been homeschooled for a few years. Well, this half term we have been learning about the Romans. We've had a trip to a Roman Villa, and even had a special visitor (a Roman soldier) at school one day! This half term we have been asked to put together a project about the Romans.

Here's my little project:

Sunday 15 September 2013

My Golden Ticket to Lick!

Guest post from Mum (who normally blogs at The Beesley Buzz):

Not one but two foodie experiences for The Brilliant Chef this week! Not only did he get to do a Spice Masterclass last Thursday but yesterday he joined me on a special day out to my home town of Brighton.

I was the extremely lucky winner in a competition run by LEON restaurants (more about them later) by telling them why I wanted to spend a day in Brighton eating Lick frozen yogurt and having lunch at popular Brighton vegetarian café Idyea.

Lick is one of those brands that has a story behind it. I love brands with stories behind them.

I think that is why I am such a big fan of Moshi Monsters (almost as big a fan as the kids!) It is stories behind brands like these that show how a dream mixed with enough passion and determination can become reality - and a very successful reality too!

So we headed off to the Lick shop in Brighton's popular North Laines and started our day by picking up my golden ticket which would give me as many Lick's as I could eat in a day.

So we got started...

Even T didn't want to miss out and shared some with us.

Then a play in the newly refurbished play area at The Level.

Followed by a lovely lunch at Idyea. It wasn't the best equipped place for kids as it does get very busy at lunchtimes (well they have been voted Best Café in Brighton & Hove's Foodie Awards so what do you expect), and we had to manage a standing up nappy change for T in the teeny loo, but the fantastic food and the wonderful service more than makes up for it. They were very welcoming of the children with the lovely waitress making a fuss of T. As the prize was supposed to be for me and a friend, we were actually very grateful that they didn't mind us turning up as a family and paying the extra.

They have a great formula for the food too - healthy fast food. Pick a main from a selection of vegetarian options ready to serve, 2 sides (either from a selection of hot veg or selection of salads) and then 2 toppings like beetroot chutney, sour cream and chive dip, hummous etc. You can also get the food to takeaway if you like.

As the weather started to drizzle we popped into the Brighton Dome which happened to be joining in with the Heritage Open days weekend. We enjoyed a look around the museum and doing a kids trail following clues.

A visit to Brighton would not be complete without heading to the beach.

 And a visit to the beach would not be complete without J getting soaked in the sea. Yes he did his usual trick of getting his shoes, socks and trousers soaked in the sea and had to endure an uncomfortable journey home.

Not before one last stop at Lick!

I promised an extra word about LEON so I just wanted to highlight one of the great things they do (as well as running great restaurants with healthy, tasty food of course). Their Cook 5 challenge is a way of getting kids cooking in the kitchen and I have been meaning to get D involved for ages. They have 15 recipes for kids to cook 5 of and upload photos. You can cook other savoury dishes too if you like. This is totally what D's The Brilliant Chef blog has always tried to do - encourage kids to have a go at cooking ANY type of food and not just things like cakes and cookies that a lot of kids recipes end up focused on.

Sadly the Lick shop in Brighton is closing soon - bizarrely due to Lick's success in being sold through other outlets like Ocado and COOK for example. Owen and Ky (Lick's founders) no longer have time to run the shop too. Look out for them at events and festivals still though.

Thank you Lick and Idyea for a wonderful day, and thanks to LEON for running the fab competition.

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