Lemon No-Bake Cheesecake

Lemon cheesecake

After seriously considering Mr K’s suggestion to get a new OH after the incident last weekend, I have decided to give the old one another chance.  At this very moment he is constructing a new diddy plastic greenhouse and dismantling the vandalised one.  Off he skipped with a smile on his face and a hammer in his hand.

To reward him for his efforts I thought I would make my signature pudding, ie my only pudding, a cheesecake.  It is from the wonderful The Hungry Student Vegetarian Cookbook by Charlotte Pike.  We are neither students nor vegetarians, but we are often hungry and this recipe always works out well.  You could call it foolproof.  It is also easy to make and delicious.  Perfect.   You can customise to taste,  add other flavourings, arrange fruit artfully on the top or even throughout, as is your wont.  It is unlikely that any of these creative adaptions will happen in this house, but stranger things have happened.  As usual an approximation of Ms Pike’s instructions are in normal font, my interpretations are in italic.

Lemon No-Bake Cheesecake

Lightly grease a 20cm springform cake tin

I rummaged in the “cooking ephemeral that seldom gets used” cupboard and found that I did indeed have a 20cm springform cake tin.  A Christmas miracle in itself.  It was a bit cobwebby, so I gave it a good wash.  I then attempted to put it back together.  The bottom kept falling out.  I must be doing something wrong.  Time passes.  It must be broken.  OH walks past with a sledgehammer ” the tin ring is upside down”.  Doh!  Grease the tin.  Add butter to shopping list.

Place twelve digestives in plastic bag and smash to crumbs with a rolling-pin and transfer into a bowl.

As thirteen is our lucky number and we like a nice thick base I chucked in another one for good luck.  You can’t be mean with cheesecake.  Check whether Stealth Postie has been yet.  OH asks if I know where the pile driver is.

Melt 80g of butter, add to crumb and mix, pour into cake tin and flatten down evenly.

To take into account the extra biscuit I weighed out 87g, perhaps a little bit too much …..  Mixed it all together and began to flatten with spoon but decided fingers might be better.  Should have put an apron on before I started.  Had a little hoppy dance to Earth Wind and Fire on the radio, perhaps it was more of an enthusiastic sway.  OH bangs on kitchen door gesturing to greenhouse cover he left inside.  He says I am his assistant.  The word “lovely” was never mentioned.

In a large bowl mix 400g of sweetened condensed milk and 225g full fat cream cheese.

The cream cheese comes in pots of 280g and as space in the fridge is at a premium at the moment I bunged the lot in, mixing it with a tin of disgustingly sweetened condensed milk.  I never said this was a healthy recipe.  OH taps on window with his face pressed against a wire shelf.  *sigh*  Another dash to see if postie is on the way, as we have box of Lindor for her.

In another bowl whisk 300ml of double cream until thick and it can be lifted into peaks.

When I gave OH the shopping list I asked him to get 300g of cream.  This is a mistake I have made before.  Many years ago I had a holiday job in a grocers shop and I served someone cream in grams rather than millilitres.  She returned later and complained.  Unfortunately, for her, the person she grumbled at was my mum, who worked in the same shop.  Out of interest I have just investigated and 300ml of cream weighs 292g.   Obviously a catastrophic mistake.  It is highly likely that in the future I will make the same error again.  It is always best to know the enemy.  OH, a little bewildered by this anomaly, bought 600ml just to be sure.  It is unlikely to go to waste.

I whipped the cream, with a little extra for luck, until it was thick and could be lifted into peaks.   I can obey the rules sometimes.  Almost.  Definitely should have worn an apron.

Add the cream to the cheese/milk mix and stir in gently.

Gentle, that’s my second name.  OH pops in, grabs the whiskey bottle, takes several large gulps and head back outside without a word.  Seems like its going well.

Stir in zest and juice of two unwaxed lemons.

I’m not entirely sure that the lemons are unwaxed, although the chances are that they are, and they are looking a little past the first flush of youth.  Attempt a little zesting then give up.  Juice the frazzled fruit and top up with some extra from a bottle.  A few pips escape me, but manage to fish them all out, probably.  Otherwise it can become a new tradition, whoever finds the pip gets to do the washing up or an extra brussel sprout.  Also a great opportunity for a little festive Heimlich manoeuvre.  More stirring.  Still no postie.

Carefully spoon the mixture over the crumb base and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably over night.

More carefulness, I am surpassing myself today.  The mixture, possibly as I added a little bit more of both cream and cheese, reaches right to the top of the tin.   I covered it with foil and carefully placed it in the fridge.  Then I began my patient wait.  Or as patiently as I can muster.  Don’t be tempted to look too soon.  This had been confirmed by my good friend Betsy.  Her big cheesecake reveal turned out to be a big lemony cheesy flood.   Then to cooks perks.  Licked out the bowl.  It tastes wonderful.  Now I wonder how is OH getting on? There is a mountain of washing up to be done ……

ps  Postie didn’t turn up, greenhouse did.



Spirit in the Sky

The sun came out briefly today, although it is raining again now.  The respite from the wind and rain did wonders to raise my spirit, which to be honest hadn’t been that low considering my predicament.   Hero took me out for coffee and we met up with the Damage Crew, it was just like old times.  Spirit is now well and truly aloft.


Six on Saturday – If you think I am going out in that you’ve got another thing coming


Afternoon all, it has been a challenging day on the Six on Saturday front.  In fact I am finding it tricky to comply with any of the criteria, including the most basic “six” and “Saturday” aspects. It is tipping down outside, the wind is howling and I am still indisposed in the foot department.  Am I going out to take photos? No way José! Never mind, as it is nearly Christmas  I am sure that our very own purveyor of comfort and joy, The Prop, will be lenient.

I haven’t been in the garden proper for a while, so I can’t report first hand what is happening out there.  There have been rumours and I have imaginings.  The builders traipsed back and forth through the Bed of Anarchy to repair the tiles that the scaffolders broke.  The wind has been so strong and spiky that many of my sensitive souls stored in pots in the top garden, yet to return to the warmth of the courtyard, are no doubt distressed.  All these things will have to wait until I brave the steps and investigate.  Possibly best not to know at the moment.  Let us head off down the road and see where we find ourselves.

First we have a lone lobelia flower, this photo was taken yesterday and I can say without fear of contradiction that it is probably looking even more sorry for itself now.  I am very fond of lobelia, they are tougher than they look, need little maintenance and come in some wonderful colours.  Their only downside, and this is being picky, is that they are a bit of a faff to grow from seed.

Allium aflatuense 'Purple Sensation'

Next we have a packet of Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’, who with its twin is yet to be planted.  I thought they would bring some early colour and later structure to the garden.  I was waiting until the BoA died down a little so I could push these in between the other perennials.  Things don’t always work out the way you planned it. They were very cheap, so no great financial disaster if they don’t get in the ground.  As soon as I can I will shove them in somewhere, where there is life there is hope.


Now another job not done.  I bought these primulas a few weeks ago, to brighten one of the planters in the front of the house when the resident annuals had given up the ghost.  Perhaps in the next week I might manage it.  It won’t take long and I need to keep my hand in.

Allan Jenkins

This morning OH greeted with “I’ve cut the door off your plastic greenhouse, it was flapping about all over the place.”  I will leave that with you.

The postie bought me a parcel today and inside was a book, a present from Phlomis Phlo.   Not a Christmas pressie, a pass it on gift from a thoughtful someone to another body who might have a little extra time for reading at the moment.   I have heard about this book, and am looking forward to discovering its treasures.


Shall we finish on this plucky gazania?  Bedraggled but not beaten.

We did it.   Some days it is more difficult than others, that is true, but all the more fun for it.  Pop on over to Prop’s site to find out what is going on in the rest of the world, and yes, I mean The Whole Wide World.  You never know what you might find.


On the Up


I needed a photo that said “there is light at the end of the tunnel, let’s get moving its nearly Christmas and there is sausage, mash and gravy for tea”.   One of Nancy Nightingale’s funky dunky dahlias fitted the description perfectly.

It has been a good day.   There were a few firsts after my disastrous stuntwoman interview a couple of weeks ago.  It was my first full day without the stormtrooper boot.  It was my first day with two shoes on and my first visit to the physiotherapist.  All went well.  Very well.

I don’t want to disco dance before I can walk but things are definitely on an upward trajectory.

Even better, when we got home from the hospital Father Christmas had visited.  OH didn’t mind shimmying up the scaffolding to retrieving the parcel.  I’m not that much better yet!



poppyUp until today I have felt quite ambivalent about my injury.  Injury makes it sound like I did something noble to aquire such damage, I should really call it a stupid self-inflicted accident.  Much more accurate, but not helpful on the glum monitor.  The rain has helped.  Work would have been challenging and uncomfortable, so a lucky escape in that department.  Today however it became an annoyance, a sadness.  Or was that yesterday.  When I tried to get through a door whilst inexpertly driving my crutches, or when my coat was dragging in the rain or when I had to ask for help to carry the coffees to the table whilst my friend was parking the car.  A lesson.  Learnt.

Earlier today I heard on the radio a representative from a homeless charity saying that celebrities sleeping out for one night in their designer sleeping bags was patronising to the true homeless.  I thought him harsh.

Now I realise that, god willing, in a few weeks I will be back on my feet and dancing YMCA with the best of them.  How to negotiate steps and doors and all manner of public places will be a problem of the past.  Some will not have this luxury.


crocus shoots

I take photos for two reasons and these are taken into account when I am culling them.  The first reason is I am attempting to produce pictures that I can share with you and use to illustrate a point without having to apologise for the quality.  I also take them for scientific records.  Even if a photo is blurry and uninspiring I hold on to it to show which dahlia was flowering on a certain day or, in this case, exactly when the crocuses were showing their fresh green shoots on Lord and Lady Mantle’s estate.   This means I can compare year on year.  If I wanted to.  Which as yet I have not felt the need to.  I’m a pretty pathetic scientist.


crab apple

My yearly trawl through reams of digital photos, deleting and labelling as I go, has begun early.   Not only does this attempt to impose some kind of order into my life give the illusion that I am in control, it also gives me an opportunity to share some of these snaps and the reminisces they invoke.  And I don’t have to go outside.

This picture of brace of crab apples was taken on a December meander around the gardens of Chambercombe Manor, not far from where we live.  I do love a crab apple and often recommend them when asked for advice on a small tree for the garden.  Beautiful blossom, abundant fruit, good autumn colour, wildlife friendly with few pests or diseases to ruin the party.  Near perfect.