Parsnip, Pecan & Maple Cheesecake

We went to my favourite cafe in Chorlton this afternoon, Tea Hive. It’s a lovely little place serving inventive, delicious and always massive slabs of cake as well as tasty and equally massive sandwiches and salads with fresh ingredients and really lovely homademade chutneys and relishes. They serve lots of nice lose leaf teas in mismatched tea pots and vintage style china teacups and saucers. They have a lovely peaceful little courtyard garden out the back where you can sit in the dappled sun and enjoy the use of oversized cups and teapots as plant pots!

Previous favourites have included honey and ginger cake. Today, despite being sorely tempted by the orange and almond cake, I spotted something delicious-looking billed as parsnip, pecan and maple cheesecake. I was intrigued and had to taste it! I can imagine the use of parsnip in cake to create a fluffy, moist sponge, in much the same way as carrot cake or the use of avocado, courgette or beetroot. But in cheesecake? Interesting! I am also a big fan of pecan so we settled on this.

I’m not usually a massive cheesecake fan, but the bearded one is, which is the other reason we settled on this particular delicacy (the pieces are so massive we decided to share a bit so as not to spoil our appetites for tea later –  we had something good planned, which I’ll post another day!!) This cheesecake however was really, really good, the topping was super light and fluffy and not too cloying or rich at all – my usual complaints with cheesecake. The base, I think, was ginger biscuits – another big tick for me! The gingery flavour combined with the pecan and maple was so delicious!

I guess the use of parsnip will have made the mixture really moist without making it too heavy, but as someone who doesn’t usually go for cheesecake, and has never made it, I’m not sure. Anyone else out there made anything similar?

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Yesterday we had a bbq to celebrate 1 year (and a bit!) in our house. Last summer we had a bbq around the same time for our housewarming as well as to celebrate the other half’s 30th. This year we were more lucky with the weather – no rain so we didn’t need the gazebo and we didn’t even need to light the chimnea til 9.30pm! The sun didn’t quite shine but the clouds stayed a relatively pale shade of grey and it was pleasantly warm! Our friends arrived and we ate, drank and were generally merry. Last year I had made a Caribbean brownie cake (with ginger, rum and pecans!) for desert, this year I decided to go with something that didn’t involve turning the oven on (given how humid the weather has been these last few days!) and ended up making cheesecake stuffed strawberries after seeing the recipe in the Guardian magazine last weekend. No actual baking, plus the use of strawberries means it’s healthy, right? 😉

I adjusted the amounts a little as follows;

  • 2 large punnets (bar the odd one that went straight in my mouth!) of strawberries (try to pick largeish strawberries as they’ll be easier to hollow out and stuff!)
  • 300g cream cheese
  • Around 6 tbsp icing sugar (you can adjust depending how sweet or not you like it)
  • 1 tsp of good quality vanilla extract
  • Smashed digestive biscuits

Cut the tops of the strawberries and hollow out the middle. If I had more time I would have saved the flesh I was cutting out and maybe made a sorbet or something with it. As I was in a bit of a rush with guests arriving any minute, I’m afraid most of it just got eaten…. oh well!

Beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla extract then use a piping bag to to fill the strawberries. Bash up some digestive biscuits (very satisfying!) then sprinkle over the top. Yum!!

I had planned to take more bbq food pictures but somehow after a few beers got a little waylaid…

We also ate pepper, red onion and halloumi skewers (I really don’t think  there are many things nicer than barbecued halloumi!)

As well as chicken strips marinated in my Turkish kebab mixture (see earlier post!), chicken strips marinated in lemon, olive oil and herbs, and some yummy pork and honey sausages!

Oh, and mustn’t forget the toasted marshmallows! 😀