Monthly Archives: April 2012

Study Music, Take Eleven.

Currently sat on my bed covered in notes, books and flashcards and the following song popped up on my playlist, seems fitting seen as I’m cramming for an exam tomorrow.  Plus it’s by my latest obsession, The Black Keys, so if you too are revising, whack it on youtube, grab yourself a cuppa and try to keep calm…

Vanilla and Raspberry Baked Cheesecake

Hola, made a cheeky cheesecake the other night to accompany a very tasty dinner at a friends house. Super easy, super quick and pretty damn good (even if I do say myself) Recipe is good with any kind of soft fruit, blueberries are amazing, as is a mixture of strawberries/raspberries/red currants.

Pretty shoddy picture, but you get the idea!


12 digestive biscuits

70g butter , melted

600g cream cheese

2 tbsp plain flour

175g caster sugar

vanilla extract

2 eggs , plus 1 yolk

150 ml pot soured cream

300g raspberries

3tbsp of sugar and 2tbsp of water (for the jam topping)


1) Preheat the oven 180 degrees (160 for fan assisted, gas mark 4). Crush your digestives , you can do this in a food processor, but I prefer the more therapeutic approach of putting them in a bag and smashing them with a rolling pin. Melt your butter in the microwave or on the hob, whatever is your preference, combine the butter and biscuit crumbs and press into the base of a lined springform cake tin ( I use a 10 inch or 12 inch) Bake in the oven for 5 mins, no more, take out and leave to cool whilst you’re preparing the cheesecake topping.

2)Beat together the cream cheese, flour, sugar, two eggs, one yolk, vanilla extract and sour cream till smooth and fluffy (don’t worry if it’s too runny, it should be fluffy and light preferably, but runny isn’t the end of the world.

3) Pour half of your raspberries on top of the biscuit base, on top of that pour your cheesecake mixture. Bake in the oven for 40 mins, it should be set all through, but still wobbly. Nigella says that all cheesecakes taste better if you bake in a bain-marie, having not tried this yet I cannot say whether she speaks the truth, but after all, she’s NIGELLA, so if you wanted to do this I suggest you double wrap the bottom of your cake tin with tin foil, ensuring no gaps whatsoever, and cook for slightly less time. But alas, just popping it in the oven provides great results.

4) Once you’ve taken your cheesecake out of the oven, leave it to cool in the tin. Meanwhile half of the remaining raspberries into a saucepan, with 3tbsp of sugar and 2tbsp of water, heat still it becomes jammy, whilst stirring smush the raspberries with the back of your spoon. Once it’s reached a sticky consistency take off the heat, you can sieve this so you’re jam is seedless, whatever is your preference.

5) Spoon the jam on top of your now cooled and removed from it’s tin cheesecake, and decorate with the remaining raspberries.

et voilà baked cheesecake!


ps: here’s a track to make your cheesecake making more musical…

Study Music, Take Ten.

Shouldn’t really be posting as I have so much revision/essays to write, so will just be a quickie.

This song keeps popping up on my spotify playlist, and I absolutely love it. It’s by a guy called Benjamin Folke Thomas, unfortunately I can’t find a youtube link, but it’s on myspace (cringe, I know, who uses myspace these days)  check it out, it’s pretty jaunty, pretty folky, but chill enough to have on in the background of some last minute cramming.



Snacks and Tracks- Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies

So exam season is upon is which means comfort food is definitely required. Today’s recipe comes with a free song to listen to (thats right, free!) so here you go, some snacks and a track…

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies.


300g plain chocolate

100g milk chocolate

100g light muscovado sugar

85g butter/margarine

100g crunchy peanut butter

1 egg

½ tsp vanilla extract

100g self-raising flour

100g salted roasted peanuts


1)Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4/fan 160C.

2) Chop 200g of the plain chocolate and all of the milk chocolate into small chunks for inside of the cookies.

3) Melt the remaining 100 grams of plain chocolate in the microwave (be careful not to burn it!)

4) Mix into the melted chocolate stir the sugar, butter, peanut butter, egg and vanilla and beat with a wooden spoon until its all mixed in.

5) Then stir in the flour, nuts, milk chocolate and half of the plain chocolate chunks.

6) Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, spoon on a tablespoon of the mixture at a time to form round blob shapes, make sure there is plenty of space between them so they have room to spread, I cooked mine in batches of four. Press two or three of the left over plain chocolate chunks into the top of the mixture so they are exposed. Cook on the top shelf for ten minutes, so the cookies are cooked around the outside but still gooey in the middle, they will harden once they have been left to cool. Leave on the baking sheet once you’ve removed from the oven for about 10-15 minutes,  the cookies will break if you move them straight away. Repeat with the rest of the batches.

Simples, Enjoy!

The ‘Track’

Peanut Butter reminds me of American Diners and American Diner’s reminds me of Buddy Holly, recently stumbled across this excellent cover of ‘Dearest’ by my current obsession The Black Keys.

Study Music, Take Nine.

BEARDED IRISH MAN ALERT!! Let me introduce you to the wonderfully talented, James Vincent McMorrow-esque, Marc o’Reilly…

I can’t get enough of this guy, he’s irish, folky and bearded, doesn’t get better. There’s not a lot of his music on youtube, but if you check out his official website you can find more, and of course iTunes, for those with a few pretty pennies to spare for a really talented guy who deserves to make it big. I’ve been obsessively checking his tour dates, but alas, he is nowhere near in the immediate future, but hopefully by the end of the year I’ll be able to put his name on my ‘Best gigs 2k12’ list.

So here’s a track of his called ‘Foo’, Enjoy!

Happy T-easter!

The stage was set…

Happy T-easter y’all, which in the Moran Household, is a combo of Easter and Afternoon Tea (we love a good pun).  It has become  some-what of a tradition that every Uni holidays me and some B-town friends get together to eat cake and catch-up/spend a ridiculous amount of time mocking one another. So, following the success that was ‘Cakemas 2k12’, plans for an easter themed afternoon tea were put in place and people got their bake on. The success of afternoon tea is reliant on everyone bring something literally to the table, and my oh my did people deliver (well, one un-named friend baked a questionable sponge, half orange and covered with what looked like red candle wax and already licked mini eggs, but it’s the thought that counts…) I was pretty bad at snapping pics of what people baked but I have a few, the above picture shows the Carrot Cake (recipe below) and Mini-egg cupcakes I baked for the occasion. One thing I will remember for next time will be to shake it up with some savoury fare, eating 10 different forms of baked goods leaves you feeling remorseful and sick. Below is a cheeky pic of what people made, including some delish cupcakes, gingerbread with caramel frosting and strawberry ones, cookies- peanut butter and chocolate and some white chocolate and some home-made meringues and brownies. I certainly recommend adopting this tradition for yourselves!

Enjoy! (we certainly did)

Chocolate filigree’s on top of the Gingerbread Cupcakes, pretty swish!

Triple Layer Carrot Cake.

I can’t bake without some tunes on in the background, so I’m making a rule, you cannot bake this without listening to this song.


For the cake:

300g plain flour

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

200g soft brown sugar

4 eggs

250ml oil

1 orange , zested

1 lemon , zested

200g carrots , finely grated

227g tin pineapple pieces (sainsbo’s is exactly 227g!)

For the filling and decoration:

200g unsalted butter

100g icing sugar

350g cream cheese

½ a zested orange.

Crushed walnuts for the topping

Drizzle of Honey on the top.


Into a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir together, roughly, it doesn’t matter too much! In a separate bowl (or jug, probably easier) mix together the oil, eggs, lemon and orange zest. Then simply mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together. Finally stir in the grated carrot (make sure it’s finely grated) and pineapple chunks (you can leave this out, but they do make the cake more moist)

Line a cake tin with greaseproof paper, preferably a 10 inch, the smaller the tin, the taller the cake, the more layers you can cut. Simples. Then whack in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 2/150 degrees C for 1 hour 25, check after 1 hr 15 just to be sure, if you pop a skewer in and it comes out clean, it’s done!

Make sure you leave it to properly cool, it can’t be even slightly warm when you cut it, I left mine over night.

To make the frosting; beat together the butter, cream cheese, sugar and orange. Slice the cake into three layers and spread the mixture over, leave some for the top. Spread the remainder on the top and sprinkle with crushed walnuts (if you’re a fan) and a drizzle of honey, then finish off with a sprinkling of orange zest, et voilà a triple layer cake easy peasy.

Guest Blog – Twin Takeover (II)

Cheeky guest blog from the twin as I’ve been pretty dull recently…

The Royal Albert Hall

A few weeks ago I did something stupid. I bought a £55 ticket to a gig three hours away from where I live. Yet sometimes stupidity is a blessing, and this was definitely one of those times. This wasn’t just any old gig. It was Florence + The Machine, and it was the Royal Albert Hall. I probably should also throw in the word “orchestral” somewhere as well, but rather than wait for a convenient time I’ll just play that card now. Florence + the Machine, an orchestra, at the Royal Albert Hall.

The Royal Albert Hall feels special, the high arches and domed ceiling means you could watch an episode of The Apprentice there and it would seem like a dreamy night in the 1920s. The gig was in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust, meaning the ticket price was well worth it as it raised a load of money for an excellent cause.

Support came from “Big Deal”, which whilst it might have been for them certainly wasn’t for us. Obviously opening for such a powerhouse main act is a tough gig but the Anglo-American duo did little out of the ordinary to entertain the audience and live up to the spectacle of the occasion. Also, bizarrely, Caroline Flack compered the evening, which was wholly unnecessary considering it consisted of only two acts. But I suppose she needs to get work from someone to keep her in those mini skirts and non-existent shorts. Rock legend Roger Daltry also popped up with a teenage boy to say a little about the brilliant work the teenage cancer trust does for teens around the country.

Florence Welch – A woman so pale her facial features cannot be detected by the average phone camera…

After what seemed like a lifetime Florence arrived, dressed all in gold and pale as a ghost. And she didn’t disappoint. From her opening song, the brilliant The Source Cover ‘You’ve Got The Love, to ‘Shake It Out’ to close she relentlessly showcased her amazing voice. Both Ceremonials and Lungs are excellent records, but they almost don’t do justice to her talent and the sheer power of her vocals. Set in the backdrop of the beautiful hall and accompanied by a full orchestra it was truly something special. Despite saying she was nervous Welch handled the occasion like a pro, engaging with the audience between songs and looking nothing short of ethereal during her performances. Before closing the show she engaged the audience with a spectacular rendition of Dog Days Are Over reminding everyone just why they fell in love with Florence and the Machine in the first place.

And so we all left happy and content with having helped out a brilliant charity. Oh and with even bigger girl crushes on Florence Welch. What. a. woman.

Rachel xx