Lemon and blueberry swirl cheesecake

Lemon and blueberry swirl cheesecake

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I thought the recipes on Bake Off this week were a bit odd, the Spanish Windtorte looked pretty complicated (and like it needed a LOT of eggs!), and the 3 tier baked cheesecake was a bit over the top – who would actually ever bake and eat a 3 tier cheesecake?! Nadiya’s cheesecakes did look absolutely amazing though, and I loved her decorations. Tamal’s also looked and sounded really yummy, and it was a shame he didn’t get star baker, especially after his crème brulees, which looked so good. I’m glad Mat managed to redeem himself with the cheesecakes and wasn’t eliminated, even after committing the cardinal sin of Bake Off and serving Mary Berry coconut, not once but twice!

Since nobody in my house likes baked cheesecake – it does have a weird texture, and I think baking cheese is just wrong! – I decided to make a fridge cheesecake with a lemon shortbread base. This means that apart from the base, it doesn’t need any baking, so you don’t have to test that wobble! The lemon in the base and centre means the whole thing isn’t too rich, and the blueberry swirl gives it a fruity tang all the way through.

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Strawberry and coconut ice-cream with an almond and cacao crumb (Vegan)

Strawberry and coconut ice-cream with an almond and cacao crumb (Vegan)

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This vegan ice-cream is perfect for hot summer days, as it has all the creaminess and texture of non-vegan ice-cream, thanks to the whipped coconut cream, but is also much lighter and more refreshing, as it doesn’t have any dairy in it. It tastes almost like a frozen strawberry smoothie, and is absolutely delicious! This ice-cream is also free from refined sugar, only using maple syrup as a sweetener, so it will set pretty hard in the freezer, which explains the addition of the vodka, and the necessity of removing it from the freezer 20 minutes before you want to eat. However, the lack of refined sugar isn’t all bad – because it only has (mainly!) healthy ingredients, it is entirely acceptable to eat for breakfast… which I have done…!

One of the best things about this ice-cream is that it’s so easily customisable; once you have the coconut and banana base you can add any flavours you want, maybe some mint extract and cacao nibs to make a healthy mint choc chip? Or how about adding peaches instead of strawberries to make a creamy peach ice-cream? Once you have churned the ice-cream you can either put it in a tub to freeze, or spoon it into ice-lolly moulds to make an exciting treat for the kids! The cacao and almond crumb is, of course, entirely optional, but I do find that it adds a lovely crunch of texture.

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Raspberry and nectarine crumble

Raspberry and nectarine crumble

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This crumble is based on a recipe by Deliciously Ella, who has an amazing new book full of healthy vegan and gluten free recipes. It came about when my sister came to stay with me for the weekend and after a long walk we really wanted to do some baking. However she has given up sugar for Lent, so we were very limited as to what we could make! I bought Ella’s book a couple of days ago, so we looked through it for inspiration and found this crumble recipe. Ella uses maple syrup for sweetener, which we replaced with a homemade date syrup (after a mad dash to Aldi for dates!) to keep it sugar free.

We used nectarines and raspberries, and the raspberries went all jammy and lovely, but you could also use blackberries, apples, pears or any other fruit you fancy! This crumble is gluten free, using coconut oil and almonds in place of butter and flour, and is delicious served with some natural yogurt.

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