Easy No-Bake Key Lime Pie (minus the Key Limes!)

I like a good Key Lime Pie as it´s a bit like cheesecake (at least the ones I´ve tried anyway!) and as I had some digestive biscuits lying around that needed eating up, it was my excuse to make this tangy yet sweet dessert. Key Lime Pie is an American dessert and is usually made with key limes (hence the name) but of course if you can´t get Key limes, ordinary limes will do. They are also usually baked and even though I tagged it under baking, this recipe is super easy as you don´t have to actually do any baking!!According to Wikipedia, it is usually also topped with a meringue topping but again the ones I tried haven´t. So here´s the recipe, adapted from one of the editions of Better Homes & Gardens Cook book, enjoy!

Ingredients (makes about 8 slices)

100g oat digestives (or similar biscuits-I think gingernuts would be great for this recipe if I could buy them!)
50g butter
1/2 cup of lime juice (about 4 limes)
1 cup of whipping cream (2nd cup optional)
1tsp grated lime zest
1 1/4 cups of condensed milk

1.Process biscuits in food processor till very fine crumbs.
2. Melt butter in pan over low heat and add to biscuit crumbs,mix, then press into cake tin to form biscuit base, place in fridge.
3. Mix condensed milk, lime zest and lime juice in a bowl.
4. Beat whipping cream with an electric hand whisk till it forms soft peaks.
5.Fold into condensed milk and lime juice mixture, then spoon on top of biscuit base.
6.Freeze for 2-4 hours. If desired, whip up extra cup of cream and place on top and grate some lime zest on top for decoration.


Vegetarian Paella -style rice

Now that I´m no longer pregnant and need to eat as much protein as possible, I´ve started cooking some vegetarian dishes again as I was eating far too much meat!! This dish is tasty, quick to cook and low in fat and is quite similar to a paella!The recipe has been slightly adapted from Cocina Vegetariana rápida by Anne Wilson.

Ingredients (for 2)
1 cup long grain rice (I used Basmati)
pinch of saffron
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion or 1/2 large onion, chopped
3 mushrooms, sliced
handful of frozen green beans
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tbsp sweet paprika
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 litre vegetable stock (you might need to add a little more)-I used veggie Oxo cube
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp salt

1.Place vegetable stock in a pan and add saffron strands.When it reaches boiling point, remove from heat.
2. Heat oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion, garlic, tumeric, paprika, cinnamon and rice until rice is infused with spices.
3. Add vegetable stock, red pepper,mushrooms, green beans and salt.
4. Once boiling point has been reached, lower the heat and cook slowly for 20 minutes until rice is tender.


More Christening biscuits & Chloe´s Christening Cake

It´s quite difficult having a baby to find time to bake and furthermore blog about it, especially with Chloe´s Christening just around the corner I´d been busy organising it! As tradition states I had saved the top tier of my wedding cake-it´s a fruit cake so keeps very well particularly in the freezer-for the Christening cake. I took it out of the freezer to defrost 4 days before the Christening. I had planned to decorate it completely myself and had bought white and pink fondant, a smoother, edible glue, heart shape cutters and baby feet cutters. Unfortunately, it all went to pot...I did practice making the baby feet a couple of times and they turned out well, however my fondant had gone past it´s expiry date and was rock hard. Although I tried adding butter to it (I can´t buy shortening here!) and Glycerine, which helped it to become more supple and easier to work with, it was still very difficult to work with and cracked a lot. I also had a go at making some baby bootees which I think would´ve turned out if I hadn´t had the problems with the fondant/gumpaste mixture...they just collapsed and broke before I could stick them together. Luckily my mum had asked Amelia, who had made my wedding cake to make me a topper as a backup plan! She made me a beautiful ballerina teddy, a name plaque and some teddies for the side!

So in the end all I did was re-ice the cake with Royal Icing using the peak method (it´s easier than trying to get it completely smooth and time was of the essence!)with the help of my mum, then we stuck the teddies round the side of the cake and placed the teddy on top of the cake and the bootees and name plaque on the cake board and voíla!What do you think? Very cute,methinks! Will have to have some more attempts at the bootees and baby feet for the next one!!

I also wanted to make some decorated biscuits as favours for the guests even though I set myself up for a lot of work!! I made the biscuits on Thursday night, then using the leftover Royal Icing from the cake, I dyed a small quantity of it pink with red liquid food colouring. Using disposable icing bags and two Wilton no.2. nozzles I outlined the biscuits in white and filled in the bottles and the wheels of the prams. I then filled the prams in and the bottle teats with the pink icing, then on the bottles I piped Chloe´s name and simple designs such as lines for the measures and spots in pink and then on the pram spots and Chloe´s name in white. Practice definitely makes perfect as I think these are my best Christening biscuits to date and writing turned out much better than ever before.

To give my biscuits a more professional touch, my parents and I wrapped them in cellophane and tied them with pink ribbon curled at the end (I´m not really very good at doing these creative things so my parents helped me!!) and they turned out really well in the end! I was pretty impressed with myself! I definitely have to speed up though if I want to do this professionally some time!!


Piña Colada Cheesecake & Bricoreposteria

For all you Spanish, cake-decorating, baking addicts whether you are a novice or amateur cake decorator or baker, I thouroughly reccommend a new(ish) specialist magazine, Bricoreposteria, packed full of cake decorating ideas and detailed step-by-step instructions and photos telling you how to recreate the featured cakes, advice and explainations about different caking tools, icing nozzles etc and recipes of how to make your own edible glue, fondant etc. It comes out bimonthly and costs 4.95Euros...my only complaint is that it is quite hard to find at my local newsagents, which means that I´ve missed out on a couple of issues.

I haven´t got around to tackling one of the bigger or more difficult projects yet.However, I have made the following, simpler Piña Colada cheesecake, taken from the latest issue (No.6)

Here´s a slightly adapted version of the recipe taken from Bricoreposteria:

100g digestive biscuits (I used oaty ones!)
50g unsalted butter
2 coconut yoghurts
250g mascarpone
227g tin of pineapple
100g dessicated coconut*
50g sugar
6 gelatine sheets (you could substitute this for powdered gelatine sachets)
yellow food colouring (optional)

1. Blast the digestive biscuits in a food processor(great time saver!) and melt the butter in a pan over a low heat, then add melted butter to biscuits and mix, till biscuit crumbs start to hold together.
2. Press biscuit mixture into dish and place in fridge.
3. Place 4 gelatine sheets in a little warm water (here is where I got ahead of myself and made a slight both by placing all gelatine sheets in water and then consequently in cheesecake mix but in the end,it wasn´t a big deal and the cake still turned out pretty tasty!) and warm one coconut yoghurt in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water, then add warm yoghurt to gelatine sheets and stir till gelatine dissolves completely.
4. Add the other yoghurt, the mascarpone, the sugar and the dessicated coconut and mix till well combined, then spoon over the biscuit base and put in fridge while you prepare the pineapple part.
5. Separate the juice/ syrup from the pineapple and heat the juice in a pan or in the microwave, add the remaining gelatine and mix till dissolved.
6. Blast the pineapple & gelatine & pineapple juice in a food processor and add a couple of drops of yellow food colouring if desired and place on top of cheesecake.
7. Leave in fridge for 4 hours or until cheesecake has set.

* As I´m not that fond of coconut, I would reduce the amount of dessicated coconut to 50g next time I make this cake or maybe even leave it out all together as I found it very coconutty tasting,plus the dessicated coconut gives it a very grainy texture, which I didn´t find that pleasant.
* Another adaption I might make next time is try making it with fresh pineapple and soak it in rum...then it would truly be a Piña Colada Cheesecake!

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