Sunday 8 September 2013

Nutella Cheesecake

I was so happy when I put this simple, yummy cheesecake recipe together, couldn't wait to share this with you all! Hope you will like this recipe as much as I do!

I came up with this recipe, all to do with the unopened jar of Nutella which has been in my cupboard for the past 6 months. I knew if it continues to stay there, I will just end up opening the jar and start eating it with a spoon! Haha yes i'm that bad! So I thought maybe I can make a cheesecake with it and i'm so glad that I did! It's my new favourite cheesecake recipe now. Quick and easy to make and simply delicious!

Serves 12
2 packets Oreos (154g packets)
80 grams unsalted butter (melted)
400 grams philadelphia cream cheese (full fat)
300 ml double cream or whipping cream (lightly whipped)
300 grams Nutella 
2 tablespoons of cold water
2 teaspoons of gelatin
12 Ferrero Rocher (optional) Or use some fresh fruit to decorate

  • Lightly grease a 8 inch springfoam tin or a mousse ring with unsalted butter. Remove the fillings of the Oreos. Discard the filling. Finely crush the Oreo biscuit and put them in a bowl. Add in the melted butter and mix till well combined. Lightly press the mixture over the greased tin evenly. Refrigerate while you make the cheesecake mixture.
  • Put the 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl, add in the gelatin and place the bowl into a saucepan of simmering water (water bath) but make sure the water in the saucepan doesn't bubble into your bowl of gelatin. When the gelatin have dissolved, turn off heat and set aside until needed.
  • In a large bowl whip the philadelphia cheese until smooth. Add the Nutella and whip till its well combined.
  • Add in the dissolved gelatin and mix well (gelatin should be like liquid, if it has turned into jelly heat it back in the saucepan.
  • In another small bowl whip the cream till soft peaks (make sure not to over whip the cream) Gently fold the cream into the cream cheese mixture till combined and pour into the prepared biscuit base. Spread and smooth out the mixture evenly with a palette knife.
  • Chill for 4-5 hours, ideally overnight.
Un-mould the cheesecake and cut into 12 equal pieces. Place a Ferrero Rocher on top of each slice or decorate with some fresh fruits.
Light, smooth and creamy!

Remember to leave a comment below if you've tried the recipe, I would love to know what you think of my recipe. You can also tweet me a picture on Twitter of your cheesecake or show me on Instagram xx

Sunday 25 August 2013

Afternoon tea at the Celtic Manor Resort

A few weeks ago it was afternoon tea again for me, this time at the Cetlic Manor, a 5* Resort in Newport, Wales. A lovely friend said that the afternoon tea here at the resort is great, so I thought i'll take my cousin along for a belated birthday treat. 

The resort afternoon tea is served at The Olive Tree & Garden Room. As we entered, we were welcomed by friendly polite staff who sat us down to our table to a window seat. The room was beautiful and bright and it put a extra big smile on my face that day as the sun decided to make an appearance so we manage to enjoyed the beautiful sunny view outside towards the golf course. 

With our drinks, we got to choose from a few selection of fresh teas or freshly brewed coffee. Food came on a three tier stand, everything looked very appetising and it is quite a lot of food for afternoon tea but I always skip lunch if i'm having afternoon tea and because our table was booked for 2.30pm I was particularly hungry by this time and I knew I wouldn't have a problem demolishing the whole lot, especially when it comes to bread and cake!

So we started off with the bottom tier with the sandwiches. There was a wide range of sandwiches, i've not had afternoon tea with so many varieties before. We had seven pieces each, which includes, egg mayonnaise, chicken coriander and lime, cucumber and mint creme fraiche, honey roast ham with cherry tomatoe and apple chutney, mini bagel with smoked salmon and lemon and chive cream cheese. Sandwiches were all fresh, fillings were just right, not too much or too less. My favourites was the honey roast ham with apple chutney and the mini bagel, the salmon was lovely and fresh and tasted beautiful with the cream cheese.

Moving onto the second tier, mango and passion fruit chocolate pot and lemon meringue 

The chocolate pot was a little too sweet with the syrup on top but I always love the flavour combination of mango and passion fruit together, a little different as i've not had a dessert like this before. I don't eat lemon meringues that often as I do find the lemon filling too sweet with a meringue, although the tart was very sweet but it was also very light and fluffy too.

Third tier, cakes, my favourite!

All cakes were all lovely and soft, the buttercream with the velvet chocolate cupcake was so smooth and silky. The raspberry joconde, a cute little cake with a raspberry mousse filling and a praline buttercream pyramid which was a little sweet but the sponge was lovely and light. When we were close to finishing all our cakes the waitress came over and asked if we were ready for ours scones but we said if we could wait for a moment, as we needed time to rest before eating anymore food.

For me, afternoon tea is all about the scones, I am quite fussy when it come to scones, and I would have prefer if they were served at the start rather than at the end. The scones were warm when they arrived, I thought the outside was slightly over baked but the inside was lovely and light served with Roddas clotted cream and strawberry preserve.

Overall another lovely afternoon experience. Food was delicious, service was good and the atmosphere was relaxing with the beautiful surroundings.

I highly recommend the resort afternoon tea, with a unbeatable price of just £32 for two persons its worth a visit for a elegant and luxury treat! I'm looking forward to going back to try the Newbridge Cream Tea and the Christmas Afternoon Tea.

For more info on the Celtic Manor Afternoon Teas, click HERE 

Sunday 18 August 2013

Recipes by John Whaite

I'm sure many of you are just as excited as I am! Yes The Great British Bake Off  is back on our screens on 20th August!

Since the show last year, I have been a little addicted to John Whaite's recipes, my favourite and well deserved bake off winner! John won over the audience with his down to earth personality, his passion and his amazing talent for baking. I think it was the second episode when John won star baker on bread week that I thought what a great baker John truly is! I started following him on twitter and when he tweeted a recipe for his wholemeal loaf, I really wanted to try out the recipe. I've only tried bread making once and it turned out in such a disaster that I never attempted it again but after bread week on the bake off, I was inspired by John and the show to give it another go. So when I attempted the recipe and seeing my dough double in size I was clapping with joy! I was thinking, I must be doing it right this time! (The first time I tried making Chinese bread rolls, they actually turned out like rocks!)

Yes! My first successful homemade bread! The loaf turned out beautiful, lovely and light. Bread making didn't seem that scary after all following this easy and simple recipe. Recipe can be found HERE 

Second recipe I tried from Johns blog, Lemon Drizzle Loaf. A very moist, zesty and fluffy loaf. Recipe HERE 
From here on I always trust Johns recipes as I know they will turn out great, they do just get better and better each time!

These Blueberry and White Chocolate Bagels are the ones John made on the bake off. I've not made bagels before but the contestants on the bake off looked like they were having so much fun and after making my first successful loaf I was a little bit more confident playing with dough this time. I loved the recipe, these turned out great! Sweet, chewy and yummy! Recipe HERE 

Johns Gateau Saint-Honore a la passion is one of the most advanced recipes that i've tried. So much works goes into this famous French patisserie and its a real test of skill and I certainly didn't have it! Its the first time I made choux and rough puff pastry. The choux pastry was quite straight forward to make but the puff pastry I found very difficult! After wasting two blocks of butter, I still failed miserably and i've never been brave enough to attempt puff pastry till this day. This would have been a lovely dessert if I didn't mess up my puff pastry but the flavours was beautiful, the choux was lovely filled with chantilly cream and the caramel but I wished I did a better job with the presentation. What's special about this recipe is that it has a lovely passionfruit curd filling, absolutely gorgeous. Recipe HERE

Johns Arabian Night Tart is one of my favourites bakes from last years bake off! A rich and buttery pastry case filled with pistachio frangipane, creme patissiere and decorated with exotic fruits.

I was so please how this turned out as I don't make tarts that often. The pastry turned out lovely, not too thick or too thin, crisp with no soggy bottom, soft pistachio frangipane and a lovely smooth creme patissiere. A perfect, stunning recipe! A recipe I highly recommend. Recipe can be found HERE 

Soon after John was crowned the winner of The Great British Bake Off, he started to write his first baking book but he still continued posting recipes on his blog and this time I decided to make my first ever Christmas cake using his recipe. As I didn't want to use alcohol, I asked John what juice he would recommend and he suggested pomegranate juice would be nice. I was really looking forward to making this cake as i've not made a Xmas cake before, while the cake was in the oven my house smelt absolutely beautiful! Recipe HERE 

My first Christmas Cake

Johns chocolate chiffon recipe has got to be my all time favourite cake! I've lost count how many times i've made it now. A very light and chocolatey sponge and it's even better with his salted caramel icing, indulgent experience! Trust me, I can eat a lot of this cake! Recipe HERE

Finally in April 2013, John released his first book JOHN WHAITE BAKES, Recipes for everyday and every mood. I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book and I knew I wouldn't be disappointed! The book have a wide variety of recipes and for people of all skill levels. There are many delicious savoury recipes in the the book that I would like to try including, a caramelized onion and rosemary fougasse, pizza puttanesca but I do have a very sweet tooth and everytime I pick up the book I can't help but make something sweet again! Here are a few of the recipes i've tried so far from the book.

Here are some apricot and white chocolate flapjacks, a white chocolate and raspberry melting cake, rose madeleines and spiced apple and cranberry muffins. What I love about the book is that it includes many quick, easy and mouth-watering recipes, a lot of ingredients you will already have in your cupboard and also many fancy recipes for dinner parties or those special occasions. 

These salted peanut and chocolate florentines are absolutely addictive! I used sultanas instead of apricot as I didn't have any apricot in the house but they still were very good. Perfect for my sweet tooth, sweet, chewy and chocolatey.

These Rose Lychee Meringue Hearts are so adorable! I was so looking forward to making these as i've never made meringues before and I was so pleased that they turned out lovely! The meringues were light and airy, crisp on the outside and soft in the inside just like a meringue should be and with the lychee topping its just perfect.

Definitely one of my favourite recipes from the book so far! Deliciously sweet, pretty and such a chic dessert. John has definitely created the most indulgent and delicious recipes for everyday and every mood...

A must try recipe, heaven on a plate! 

Hope you like my attempts of Johns recipes, do try them out as they are all beautiful recipes. You can order Johns book HERE John is already writing his second book and i'm really looking forward to when it comes out as he's been studying at Le Cordon Bleu for a pastry diploma to become a patissier and i'm sure there will be some great recipes and hoping some baking techniques too. I'm so happy that he is doing so well after the Great British Bake Off and i'm sure he's going to continue to do great in the future.

Sunday 28 July 2013

Afternoon Tea at The InterContinetal Hotel, Hong Kong

One of the must do things when I went to Hong Kong this year was to have another high tea experience at one of the top hotels in Hong Kong, after really enjoying the one at the Ritz Carlton hotel last year (you can read about it here) I was hoping to try two places but things didn't go towards planned and I only manage to fit one in during my two weeks stay. This time I picked  the Intercontinetal Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. 

Afternoon tea at the InterContinetal hotel is serve between 2pm-5pm at the lobby lounge and one thing I didn't like was that the hotel will not take advance reservations for afternoon tea. We had to make sure to get there early because we didn't know how busy it was going to be and I really wanted a window seat, I would have found it frustrating if I got there and all the window seats were taken and I had to queue, as afternoon tea should be a relaxing experience but luckily it wasn't many people there when we arrived at 1.45pm. 

So since we were one of the first ones there, we had the choice to where we would like to sit. We chose a very spacious table overlooking the harbour, just what I was hoping for!

Before I went to Hong Kong I did have a quick look online for reviews to see where was the best place for afternoon tea. There was two hotels I had in mind, the Peninsula Hotel which had quite good reviews or the InterContinental hotel. At the end I chose this hotel because there was one thing the Peninsula couldn't offer me and that's the breathtaking view outside! Just look at the impressive walls of windows, so beautiful!

So glad that we got there early, by 2.30pm the lounge was filled with people.

The hotel has three sets of afternoon teas to choose from, the Champagne Set, the InterContinental Afternoon set and the Chinese set. We went for InterContinental tea set which is the classic afternoon tea set (for two) which includes selection of savoury sandwiches, parisian style pastries and cake, warm scones and a choice of mariage freres teas or coffee.

I really needed caffeine that day, so I ordered a lovely latte. The coffee art was so beautiful, I didn't want to drink it.

We ate the scones first as they were still lovely and warm. We had two each, definitely the best scones i've ever had! They were very light and even more delicious with the jam, devonshire clotted cream and the earl grey jelly.

When the food came, it didn't seem a lot but by the time I finished my scones and savouries I was actually quite full and we didn't even have lunch that day! I enjoyed all the savouries especially the salmon sandwich, the salmon tasted fresh and the bread was so soft, just lovely!


By the time we got onto the cakes, I was happy that there was only one piece of each and that we could share, otherwise I would have been so full and I wouldn't have enjoyed them as much. The sweet items includes a mousse filled chocolate egg, vanilla tart, chocolate cake, raspberry cheesecake and a matcha cake. My favourite is definitely this vanilla tart. The pastry was very light and the creme patissiere filling was smooth and silky, it just melts in your mouth.

By the time we nearly finished, it was a lovely surprise when the waitress brought over these complimentary panecotta desserts over to our table. They were very light and smooth and had a lovely citrous taste, a perfect finish to our afternoon tea.

We spent about two and a half hours at the hotel. Definitely another lovely high tea experience! However service could have been better for a five-star hotel but still I couldn't ask for anything more. Food was great, comfortable seating, beautiful and relaxing views while enjoying my food and half way into our afternoon tea there was even a live band playing!

Photo taken outside. A spectacular view of Hong Kong Island. Hopefully it won't be too long before I go back :)

Sunday 7 April 2013

Oreo & White Chocolate Cheesecake

Another simple and easy cheesecake to make. I love Cookies & Cream flavour ice-cream especially Haagen-Dazs and this taste just like it but a cheesecake version!

Serves 12
3 x 154g packet Oreo
Mini Oreos for decorating
75 grams unsalted butter (melted)
300 grams cream cheese (room temperature)
300 ml double cream (or whipping cream)
150 grams white chocolate
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon gelatine

  • Lightly grease a 8 or 9 inch springform cake tin or a mousse ring with butter. 
  • Remove the filling of some of the Oreos until you get 200grams of just biscuits to use for the base. Discard the filling. Finely crush them and put them in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mixed till combined. Press mixture over base of the tin evenly. Refrigerate while you make the cheesecake mixture.
  • With the rest of the Oreos cut them up into small pieces.
  • Put the tablespoon of cold water in a small bowl and add in the teaspoon of gelatine and place the bowl in a small saucepan of simmering water till the gelatine dissolves.
  • Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie or double boiler.
  • In a large bowl whisk the cream cheese till smooth. Add in the gelatine and melted chocolate and mix till smooth and combined.
  • In a smaller bowl lightly whip the cream till it forms soft peaks (make sure not to oover whip) Then gently fold into the cream cheese mixture and mix till combined.
  • Stir in the pieces of Oreos then pour the mixture over the prepared biscuit base.
  • Spread the mixture evenly over the biscuit base with a palette knife until its smooth and even. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally over night. 


Remove the cheesecake from the tin and cut into 12 pieces and place a Oreo on top of each slice.

Take the cheesecake out of the fridge and leave for 15-30 minutes before serving .

I would love to know how you all got on with the recipe. Enjoy! xx