Baked Chocolate Cheesecake

Baked Chocolate Cheesecake


For those you who have read any of my other recipes, you know I haven’t been able to eat much chocolate or fatty foods. That doesn’t mean I don’t treat myself now and then. I have discovered I can eat dark chocolate without much problem, and treat myself to some 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate on a Saturday night. This weekend I have used that treat in a cheesecake. If you don’t like dark chocolate just change it to a chocolate you do like. If I could, I would, trust me. I have always liked dark chocolate, but I now have a new found appreciation for it, since it’s the only type I can eat without any problems.

I have always been a chocoholic, it is one of those vices that I cannot fully get rid of. As so many people say, ‘Everything in moderation’. I baked an apple crumble cheesecake a couple of weeks ago, and since then have been playing about with a recipe of a chocolate version that is pretty low fat and much less sugar than the ones you can buy over the counter, or the many recipes out there that have a tonne of sugar in them. Since starting my diet my mission has been to create food that I used to eat but with different ingredients and less fat and sugar in order to get healthy without it being too much of a food and taste killer. I knew it was possible, I have lost 3 stone in since March. It’s amazing what you can do with a little effort. The thing is, dieting encompasses your life when you stick to one – that can be incredibly hard to stick to. It’s too intense. My trick is you have got to treat yourself, but the treat has to be worth it or it has to be kinda healthy or lower in fat and sugar. That way you’re not wandering off back into your old food life.

This baked chocolate cheesecake contains far less fat that most baked cheesecakes contain as it uses low fat cream cheese and lighter mascarpone. The chocolate topping is the naughty part of this dessert. Although I have used far less of the naughty stuff than you would imagine by using good quality chocolate that delivers on taste.

We tried this dessert after a steak dinner on Saturday night.

The Rump Steak dinner was pretty good too!!

It went down like a house on fire. My kids had smiley chocolate faces that you really can’t pay for. It’s worth a little bit of extra effort to make the family happy. The bonus of making this cake is that I make it in a large cake tin, which means there is plenty for the next day and also plenty to share out to family and friends. I love hearing what they think of my recipes. I have started a Facebook group for sharing recipes – share some please, I have loved making cheesecake recipes lately. It’s great, considering  they are inspired by a recipe shared with me.


Cheesecake Base:
A half pack of digestives (approx. 10 biscuits)

75g of toasted and blended oats

2 tsp Cocoa powder

2 tablespoons of honey

Cheesecake Filling
2 packets lightest (5% or less) cream cheese
1 packet light mascarpone

2 tsp cocoa dissolved into 1 tbsp of hot water

50g melted dark chocolate
25g sugar

1 tsp of Cornflour

2 tsp honey
2 medium eggs

Topping (optional)

50g dark chocolate

25g chocolate buttons

10 Maltesers


  1. Heat the oven to 160°C/320°F
  2. Toast the oats in a dry frying pan until they start to brown. Be careful not to burn the oats as this doesn’t take long. They should smell a little like popcorn when toasted. Yum! Put the the toasted oats and digestive biscuits in food processor and blend until they are just crumbs. Add the cocoa and process again until combined. Add the honey and mix. The mix should be damp and form crumbs. If not add a little more honey until you get this texture. Press into the bottom of a lined, spring loaded, cake tin and refrigerate whilst you get the rest sorted.
  3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave. I do this 10 seconds at a time to make sure it doesn’t burn. Alternatively, you can do this in a bowl over hot steaming water. Also, dissolve the cocoa powder for the cheesecake filling in a tablespoon of hot water. I learnt this little trick by watching Nigella. Like her or not, she has some pretty awesome recipes.
  4. Add all the ingredients for the cheesecake filling and pulse until smooth. Use can you a food processor or a hand mixer like I did for this. Empty in the mixture into the cake tin and place in the centre of the oven for 1 hour.
  5. Once it has baked, let it rest for at least 10 mins before adding your topping.
  6. For the topping melt the buttons and the dark chocolate with just a couple of drops of oil. I used rapeseed oil as it’s lower in fat. It also gives the chocolate topping a nice shine. Once melted use a small spoon and drizzle over the top of your cake. Add the Maltesers for some decoration. The kids had these on theirs. You can use white chocolate buttons – melt a few and drizzle them over the dark chocolate to make a nice visual contrast to the dark chocolate. Its up to you.
  1. Set for at least three hours in the fridge. I l was suppose to leave mine overnight but it looked too good not to try it.

I hope you like it! If you do, let me know what you think.


Slow Cooker Brisket

Slow Cooker Brisket

I’ve thought about trying out vegetarianism a few times; in fact, I once gave up meat for lent. I lasted about twenty days until I accidentally ate a shepherd’s pie that was put in front of me. I am not exaggerating. It was upon my last mouthful that I realised what I was doing and how I had just ruined my lent challenge. I am a meat eater and can’t really help it. This recipe is just one of those reasons why as well. The photos don’t do it justice on this occasion. Sunday’s, especially at the start of Autumn, demand a roast dinner. That’s one of the things I love about this time of year – there’s something magical about going for a Sunday morning walk, seeing the new colours that we all remember from childhood, having the wind blow the cobwebs from your tired eyes and the cooler wind freshen your soul. Returning home and having that roast dinner aroma fill your nostrils is heavenly. Of course, it is not just the meat that seals the anticipation, but it is definitely the main show.

Rolled Brisket is generally one of the cheaper cuts of cow meat. I bought this one for £5.03 from Lidl. You can obviously buy them at your local butchers, which I do often, and other supermarkets. The prices vary but generally they are cheap cuts wherever you go. Cheap sounds great,yeah? In my book it definitely does. I used to buy the most expensive bits of meat for my cooking, but since becoming a parent and looking after the pennies and pounds a little bit better, cuts like brisket are perfect. If not cooked correctly, this incredible bit of meat will become tough. Cooked low and slow, this meat is absolutely mouth watering.

Cooking it low and slow is the basis of any good brisket. Generally, a brisket is going to need at least 3-4 hours in a slow cooker in order to make it nice and tender. Trying to rush this cut of meat is a major no no! Trust me, I’ve tried and failed and it’s just not worth the disappointment. You can’t just chuck it in the slow cooker without taking care of the cut just a little bit either. Don’t worry though, it’s not a complicated process, and you definitely don’t need much skill. Simply put, all you need to do is brown off your meat in a frying pan (the darker you get it the better) as this will seal in the juices and also colour and flavour the gravy that you will make as you’re cooking. The other task is imparting as much flavour as you can with vegetables, herbs, stocks, and spices. For this recipe I’ve made it simple – some salt and pepper, stock, chunky carrots and some roughly chopped carrots. That’s it!! I cooked mine for a bit longer on the lowest temperature on my slow cooker – 8 hours. It was deliciously soft and tender by the time it was ready. The effort was minimal and the satisfaction was maximum.

The best part about – there is always leftovers that you can use the day after for a nice stir fry or stunningly sumptuous beef brisket sandwich or wrap. The other bonus, other than my own satisfaction, is that my kids and family love it and always think you’re some amazing cook that has slaved away in the kitchen carefully looking after your roast, when in fact it is far from it. Sit back, relax, go for a Sunday stroll and come back to a awesome Sunday lunch.


Rolled Brisket

2-3 Carrots

4 Shallots or 1-2 Onions

500ml of beef Stock ( I use an Oxo cube dissolved in hot water)

1 Tbsp Cornflour


  1. Unpack your meat and season by rubbing salt and pepper into the brisket. Roughly chop the onions and carrots and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. The slow cooker needs to be on the low setting for 7-8 hours or the high for 3-4 hours. Also, make the stock with 500 ml of hot water and a stock cube. Add any spices or herbs you like. I usually add some garlic and bay leaves (at least 2). Add the a tablespoon of cornflour to thicken the gravy throughout the cooking period.

  1. Sear the brisket in a hot frying pan. Do not add any oil to the pan. Sear all sides of the meat until it’s nice and dark brown. Don’t worry if parts of the meat catch and look too dark. This will add more flavour and give a lovely colour to your gravy.IMAG0131.jpg
  2. Add the meat to the slow cooker for the your chosen time. When ready get the meat out and rest for at least 15-20 minutes. This will help the meat relax and will be all the better for it.
  3. Remove the carrots and blend the liquid in the slow cooker to make a gravy. You can move liquid into a saucepan to reduce down for 5-10 mins if you like a thicker sauce.

We have this served with other veg and Yorkshire puddings. I will post my recipe for Yorkshire puddings soon.

Homework Welsh Cakes

Homework Welsh Cakes

My son goes to a fantastic school which specialises in special needs education. They make sure he has the best education and he loves it. He especially loves his cooking class every week. We encourage this in the house – my kids love helping out Daddy in the kitchen. This week my son came home with his first homework of the year: Make Welsh cakes! Awesome! They even gave us a recipe to work from.

I have to admit, having in lived in Wales for 27 years, I have never cooked Welsh cakes. I have always meant to get round to ‘having a go’ but never did. So, we made these yesterday, and I have got to say that they were lovely – it was a really simple recipe and delicious. Even though I am not suppose to eat stuff like this anymore I couldn’t resist a little nibble.

As I said, I can’t lay claim to this recipe but I thought I might share, especially as I seem to be getting quite a few visitors to this site from different parts of the world, I thought it would be a nice introduction to some welsh cooking heritage.


225/8ox Self raising flour, sieved

110g/4oz (preferably Welsh) salted butter

1 Free range egg

Handful of Sultanas

85g/3oz caster sugar


  1. Rub the butter into the sieved flour to make breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the sugar, sultanas and then the egg. Mix to combine, then form a ball of dough.
  3. Roll out the pastry until it is a 5mm/1/4in thick and cut into rounds.
  4. Place in a dry frying pan on a low heat. Cook until brown, turning once.IMAG0133.jpg

It doesn’t take long and it’s a really simple recipe to do. If you have kids, they will love it! The other bonus is they are great with a cuppa of tea or coffee. All courtesy of my son’s school teachers.

Disability Hate Crime


My son is disabled. It is just a fact of life. He had a stroke and although this is awful, we don’t let it determine the way we live our lives. Of course there is an impact, but we don’t let it control our life, in fact I think it has enriched our lives in a lot of ways. We have experienced so many beautiful events and people that I feel have blessed us in so many unique ways. There are moments in life that are a bit harder, I am not going to lie. Whether it is having to find somewhere clean to change your disabled child when most places don’t have adequate facilities, or having to deal with people staring or making really cruel comments. Although I don’t like to focus on the negativity, I feel it is important to discuss some of the things that make it harder as well as the aspects that make it all worthwhile.

I got inspired to write this post by a new report on the BBC this morning – It’s titled ‘ Disabled children hate crime reports increasing’ and it details how children (yes children!) faced with prejudiced and despicable acts of hate. I would like to say that this is not common, and in my experience it is not. This article focuses on one family who has a 23 month old daughter who ‘has hydrocephalus, or water on the brain, which causes her head to swell. It means at one point Lydia’s head was double its natural size. She also has cerebral palsy and is fed through a tube.’. Before we had J I would have thought it impossible that anyone could victimise a baby – a vulnerable, innocent child who can’t defend themselves. It is unconscionable to think any human being can do this, yet it happens more often than you think. The article states:


Overall the number of disability hate crimes increased by 101%, from 1,531 in 2014-15, to 3,079 in 2016-17.

3079 cases of disability hate crime is one year! This is a shocking statistic for most, however I don’t find it surprising. Why? Because we have experienced it ourselves on a number of occasions. It may not be as bad as some, but it can still hurt.

When our son was born it was the most amazing event of our lives. He was diagnosed with having had a stroke a few days after birth and with epilepsy a few months later. It was a traumatic time in our lives, but we have a great life. It is full of love, fun and laughter the majority of time. He has overcome so many obstacles so far. We were told he wouldn’t walk, or talk, or do very much at all. He does have trouble walking so he uses a wheelchair when he can’t walk. He does have trouble with his communication and he is hard to understand. He has gone through long periods of selective mutism which impacts on his education. He has uncontrolled epilepsy which means he will need surgery at some point soon. Do you know what though, he still smiles through it all. He plays with his sister all the time, he makes our family so rich with love and experiences, I could only hope every family has a son as wonderful and as strong and determined as him. You can tell – I am quite taken with him. Just like any father would be. I would honestly give my life for him. If I could have had the stroke instead, I would have. My wife says the same. We can’t change that, and we wouldn’t change him for the world. Yes, we would like him to have it easier, but that’s life. You can’t change it. However, I think we need to educate people better about disability and difference. Hate crimes are avoidable through education. I don’t just mean at school either. We are educated every day – by our experiences; our interactions with different people, cultures and communities; by our parents and family, even by the people who we don’t get on with. We all need to learn acceptance of difference and disability. It’s easy for me to say I know, but it is our unique differences that make us interesting and worthwhile.

I was going to write this post a while ago but didn’t get round to it until reading that article today. It reminded me of a situation I dealt with last week whilst visiting our local Tesco Cafe. My son was getting over a ten day illness and my mother and I decided it would be nice to get J out for a well deserved treat. It was also one for myself as I was a dishevelled, knackered, exhausted mess after a very long few days. Tesco cafe isn’t the most glamourous of treats, but it is one J is familiar with and enjoys. He doesn’t always like new places and we wanted him to feel comfortable. We are used to people staring. Seeing a child in a wheelchair isn’t uncommon but people tend to stare anyway. That’s not what bothers me. It is the looks of fear and occasional disgust. I just don’t get it. Unfortunately, many people can’t hide the feeling from their faces. For example, I know when I am on the wrong side of my wife – her face says it all, even if her words don’t. I imagine I am the same. Well, on this Tesco visit we had the usual stares. It was busy though and the cafe was rammed. So much so we had to try to squeeze through spaces to get J’s wheelchair to our seats. This is where we encountered the looks of disgust. Maybe, this was just out of inconvenience as we had to ask them to get past. Don’t get me wrong, most people are willing to move and are helpful, but there are enough people out there where this is not the case. Just one person can make you feel annoyed unfortunately. It’s not fair as it is not our, or his fault. We also had two young women come to sit behind us, J was sitting in his wheelchair, and that he was a bit messy because he was eating and this can be a little bit of a challenge for him – especially to stay relatively clean. Needless to say, they didn’t like this and made the most awful look at J and his wheelchair, mumbled a few comments under their breath and then decided to move to the other side of the cafe. I mean the other side as well. They couldn’t have moved further away. It upset my mother and I was annoyed, but I thought it better not to react. We have had this experience numerous times and I always find it a really strange event. I think it is ignorance and a lack of understanding. Most people who get to know my son find him to be awesome. I mean awesome! He is a little shy when he meets someone new but when he eventually comes round he is always smiling.

There is a positive to this story though.A big positive. I think it happened for a reason as well. I am a great believer in that. We met a lovely lady whose name evades me as I am writing this. She sat behind us and she gave us and J a nice big, welcoming smile as she came to sit down. Without warning she said ‘Hi’. Wow just wow, a stranger who is willing to say hi and smile! It came as a jolt. So often nowadays we live our lives without really impacting each other. I love saying good morning to people in the street and smiling – it is a great way to spread a bit of happiness, although it is sparsely reciprocated. She then asked if she could say hello to J. I couldn’t help but say yes. She came over and sat on a chair in front of J and told us to ignore the stares and spoke directly to J. The worried look on his face soon evaporated and a smile lit up his face. If I could have given her the Nobel peace prize there and then, I would have. What a wonderful lady! It is moments and encounters like these that give me hope. After a little conversation we learned that she had a son, older than J, who had autism, and that she loved speaking to children who were like him. In that moment she gave me hope that people are inherently good, and that experience teaches us to be kind to each other. She left us much happier than when we had sat down. The treat that we had was not the cakes or coffee that we had consumed, it was the chance encounter we had had with a like minded human being. I wish this sort of experience on everyone. It has stuck with me since it happened. It will definitely be something I will try to reproduce for someone else. It made our day!

The article also shone light on more vocal encounters, with people making direct comments either face to face or online. This is less common in my experience but still happens. I experienced it when my son was a lot younger and I was also with my daughter. It was an older lady in a supermarket. I know, I am there a lot – I could pitch a tent there, it would be easier and save petrol! An older lady came up to us and spoke to our 18 month old daughter. She said she was lovely and beautiful. What a lovely thing to say, I agree. However, when discussion turned to J, her face changed to horror. I was surprised, he looks like any normal child, if you didn’t know he had a stroke and was not in a wheelchair you wouldn’t guess that he was different in anyway. His wheelchair was obviously the problem as she decided to say ‘he’s not right is he!’, the disgust on her face was ‘HD’. I was in shock, I did not know how to respond to be honest. This sweet, little old lady had just sucker punched me. She carried on after that as well. She even followed us round the shop further clarifying how wrong he was!!! I had to tell her to go away. I honestly couldn’t believe it. People were looking on, not saying anything though, but looking on, interested in our exchange. This woman really opened my eyes to how some people can be unnecessarily cruel. My son was coming up three so hopefully he won’t remember it. I will, forever. I do forgive her ignorance, but I cannot forget how hurtful her comments were. I have told people about this situation and always get the same reaction of horror and disbelief. I could let these type of occurrences change the way we live our life, yet I will never let that happen. I know most people are kind, generous and accepting. I want to teach my kids that. We just need to educate and change the attitudes of people that have not yet learnt the nuances of accepting difference.

The latter part of the article states something really troubling:

Amanda Batten of the Disabled Children’s Partnership said the findings echo a new survey it carried out of nearly 2,700 parents of disabled children which revealed hate crime and abuse was commonplace.

“Families often feel like they can’t go into busy public spaces or post images onto social media for fear of being publicly shamed or having to be submitted to people telling them that their child must lack quality of life because of their disability.

“The idea that so many parents and children with a disability are facing such a lack of support and outright abuse from the general public is truly heart breaking.”

Not one person or family should feel that they can’t go into busy public spaces, or post pictures of their loved ones on social media. I write my blog as a way of keeping myself busy and productive whilst being a stay at home dad. There’s no agenda for me. I just wanted to write. I find it fun. However, with this topic I hope that it opens the eyes and the hearts of someone who finds it hard to accept difference. Having worked in a school for five years helping to educate teenagers, I have learnt that you have to open an honest conversation to really engage people about changing attitudes and preconceptions. I would be happy if only one person read this and that helped them understand. The next time you see a person who is different try to make a positive impact. If you stare, why not make it a positive experience for them – smile, start a conversation, say a simple hello. It makes a difference, trust me.

I am happy to say there is a campaign launched under the hashtag #secretlivesofus by the Disabled Children’s Partnership which aims to challenge and break the barriers that disabled children and their families face. You can sign up here if you want. You can follow them on twitter as well .

Bread – Bloomer Loaf

Bread – Bloomer Loaf

This recipe is pretty similar to the previous recipe I posted for homemade bread. The difference is the amount of liquid and the oil I used. Also, I sliced the bread and did not use a loaf tin in order to make the classic bloomer shape. Making bread is far cheaper and much more fun than buying from the shops. The only cost really is your time and effort. Luckily I have plenty at the moment.


500g Strong White Bread Flour (You can get 1.5kg for less than a £1)

300mll of warm water (I just combine half boiling and half cold water)

25ml Rapeseed Oil (You can use olive oil if you prefer)

10g Sea Salt

Pinch of Sugar

1 Sachet of Fast Acting Yeast


  1. Combine The the flour, yeast and salt. Mix well, but be careful not to put the salt directly onto the yeast. I put the yeast in first, mix and then add the salt.
  2. Add the liquids and mix and knead until they combine to form a smooth, elastic dough.
  3. Rest in the mixing bowl for 30 mins. Make sure it is covered with food wrap or a tea towel.
  4. Use some flour to dust a clean work surface. Scrape out the dough with a plastic spatula. You can use your hands if you want. You now need to knead your dough for about 15-20mins. See this video for an example of how to knead bread dough.
  5. You know it is done when it is almost see through when stretched. I usually hold it up to the window or kitchen light.
  6. Place back into the mixing bowl to rest for 1 hour. It will double in size and smell slightly fermented when it’s done. Preheat your oven to 220C (200 for fan assisted), Gas mark 7 or 425 F. I have a bake setting on my oven so I don’t have to use a fan. I find this gives a better result.
  7. Knock out the dough by flattening hit out with your palms and then use your fingers to poke dimples in the dough.
  8. Shape into an oval shape on baking paper Make slices horizontally across the dough on the top. Oil the top of the loaf. Put in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-35 mins.
  9. When baked correctly your bread should sound hollow when tapped. Place your loaf on a cooling rack until cold.

This bread makes amazing toast for those weekend mornings where you need something a bit special.

No Chilli Chicken Enchiladas

No Chilli  Chicken Enchiladas

If you can’t have chillis or chilli powder like me, this is a great recipe. I have always loved enchiladas – there’s nothing better than settling down for the night, watching your favourite TV show and then tucking into to a couple of tasty Mexican treats. I used to like mine spicy and cheesy. We used to do it the lazy way and buy the El Paso Enchilada kit, and although I loved it I would always add a few extras to make it spicier or a little bit more cheesy.

As I have mentioned a few times before, I cannot eat a few different things now due to a lot of ingredients triggering LPR. Enchiladas were going to be one of those recipes I was going to have to figure out pretty quickly – I could not live without this for too long. Needless to say I sorted a recipe out and it has gone through a few different changes to get it the way I like it over the past few months. I have tried it out on a few people, including my sister who is another mexican food lover like me. She loved it! I knew I was onto a winner and the litmus test had been passed.

I am a little biased obviously, but I think this recipe is far superior to any enchiladas I have tasted, although I haven’t been to Mexico so this recipe would probably be beaten by a traditional Mexican recipe. Maybe not. Suppose I will never know.

Ingredients (Serves 4 people)

3 Chicken breast fillets – Sliced into thin strips

1 onion or 4 spring onions (milder flavour) – Sliced into strips

Tomato puree

Chopped tomatoes – half can – blended

1 Bell Peppers  – Sliced into strips

1 Beef tomato – roughly diced – chunks are better

2 tbsp cider vinegar

Chopped tomatoes

Corn flour – 1 tsp

1 1/2 tsp Cumin

1 tbsp Paprika

Salt – To taste

2 tsp Chives

1 tsp Tumeric

200ml warm water with veg oxo cube dissolved

1 tbsp Tamarind Sauce

1 1/2 tsp Garlic Granules

100g Cream Cheese – Low fat (-5%)

Flour tortillas – Corn tortillas are better but I tend to have flour more often

Parmesan – 50g (or more if you like a stronger cheesy flavour)


  1. Prepare the vegetables and chicken by slicing them all into strips of roughly equal size.
  2. Soften the onions in a pan for 5 mins. They should be translucent when they are ready.
  3. Add the beef tomatoes and cooked for a 3 mins on a medium heat.
  4. Add the cider vinegar and cook off the liquid until evaporated.
  5. Add the peppers and make sure to stir constantly until softened.
  6. Add the spices and herbs including the garlic but not the tamarind sauce.
  7. Add some corn flour – this will thicken the liquid that we are going to add. Stir for a minute until the cornflour has combined with the ingredients.
  8. Add the water and stir all the ingredients in.
  9. Blend the half can of chopped tomatoes and add to the sauce.
  10. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 20-25 mins until the sauce has reduced to a thick concentrated sauce. Add the tamarind here and simmer for another 5 mins.
  11. Put one half of the sauce aside.
  12. Brown the chicken in a pan. This takes about 5 mins. Add the sauce and cook for a further 5 mins.
  13. Preheat your oven to 220C or 200C for fan assisted.
  14. While this is good grate your parmesan, ready 4 – 6 tortilla by lining them with low fat cream cheese and a little bit of parmesan or low fat mature cheddar.
  15. Add the chicken and sauce and roll your tortillas. If you’re using the flour tortillas you will need to cook them without a topping first in order to get that crispy finish, otherwise it will become soggy and not very tasty. I use a George Foreman Grill, but a panini press with also do the job. It doesn’t take long. You want a nice browning or charring on the tortilla.
  16. Assemble the enchiladas in an oven proof dish.
  17. Then pour the rest of your sauce over the middle of the enchiladas. Do not full cover unless using corn tortillas.
  18. I then dollop cream cheese over the and then grate parmesan over the top.IMG_0264.JPG
  19. Place in the oven for 20-25 mins until the cheese and melted and starting to crisp.
  20. I serve mine with a nice Avocado salad and sweet potato wedges.

If you do try this, tell me what you think. It’s not the usual/traditional way to make enchiladas but it is extremely delicious and is definitely within the realm of mexican flavours I like.