Thursday, 25 July 2013

White Chocolate + Strawberry Pie

The recipe for Nutella Cheesecake I posted recently seemed to catch the attention of quite large number of pinners and bloggers alike. I shouldn't be shocked... who wouldn't want to eat Nutella in a cheesecake form?!

The recipe I am writing about today could be described as the complete opposite and at the same time, go hand in hand with the Nutella Cheesecake. Although the chocolate used in each recipe are contrary, the indulgent creaminess and rich flavor of both are the same. So if you tried the Nutella Cheesecake, please do try this one too.  
A few things to note if you make this for yourself; I used both dessert cups and a large pie crust to house my filling, next time I will only use dessert cups. I found the mixture did not quite set as much as I would have liked in the pie crust, however in the dessert cups the consistency was perfect! This could of been because of the cut strawberries in the large pie as opposed to uncut strawberries in the dessert cups. If you would like to use the pie crust instead of the dessert cups, I would suggest cutting down the amount of cream to 1 cup or until you reach a consistency thick enough to be sliced.  

For the dessert cups, I dipped whole strawberries in dark chocolate and allowed to dry using a wire rack. For the large pie, I cut strawberries in half top with dark and white chocolate. I used a piping bag with the white chocolate as it was quite thick and difficult to get a thin line.

For the large pie I used a ready made digestive crust and for the cups, I crushed tea biscuits and mixed them with the leftover dark chocolate that was used for the decoration. I have included a graham cracker crust in the below recipe.

  • Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cup of crushed graham crackers
  • 5 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
  • pinch of salt
  • Filling:
  • 350g cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 cups whipped cream - sweetened with 1 tbsp sugar and dash of vanilla
  • 450g packet of fresh strawberries -sliced for pie or left whole for cups
  • White and dark chocolate for decorating.

  1. Combine crushed crackers with butter and salt. Press buttery crumbs into a pie dish to create base. Chill  until firm.
  2. Melt white chocolate chips in a bowl over boiling water, ensuring the water does not reach the base of the bowl. Stir until chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool slightly. 
  3. Using a stand mixture or large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add the icing sugar until well combined. 
  4. Add the melted chocolate, cream and orange juice, folding to combine.
  5. If using large pie crust, pour filling into crust and chill for at least 1 hour. If using cups, add first layer of crushed biscuits then add the cheesecake filling. 
  6. Prepare the strawberries (to your liking, I used small whole strawberries and halved large strawberries for my mini pots and I used slice large strawberries for the large pie crust).
  7. Melt remaining chocolate to decorate. 
  8. Chill until your ready to serve. 
Hope you all enjoy this delectable dessert!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Bluebell & Ivy Update

The new pieces Bluebell & Ivy has been working on in the past few weeks!

 Hope you all like them!

Visit Bluebell & Ivy on facebook for orders & updates!

Melanie xo

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Rachel Khoo & The Little Paris Kitchen

Rachel Khoo & The Little Paris Kitchen

When my Mum told me to watch a cooking show that she likened to Nigella Lawson minus the big, well equipped, dream kitchen, I must admit I was skeptical, however, when she mentioned the name "My Little Paris Kitchen", I knew I'd love it. Anything with the words French or petite is enough to catch my attention, so with these two things together, its a match made in heaven. I may be a bit behind the time with this, but for anyone who doesn't know, keep reading!

The woman behind this amazing show is Rachel Khoo, a 31 year old Londener who had a dream to live in Paris and bake cakes. Her dream became a reality with hard work and determination. She spent four years working as an au-pair in Paris and during this time enrolled herself in world renowned culinary school Le Cordon Bleu, earning just 80 Euros a week however in an interview with Guardian UK she says, "Even though I was on a budget, I could afford to go to the fresh food market and get a baguette and cheese."

In 2010 she gave up her Au-Pair job after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu and set up a pop-up restaurant in her teeny 226 sq ft Parisian apartment. Named, My Little Paris Kitchen, it seated only 2 patrons. The restaurant became a huge success within the French society opening were quickly snatched up within seconds of advertising on social media sites. Not one to substitute quality for a flat stomach, Rachel insists on full fat dairy in her cooking which gives full food glory to her classic French dishes. 

Although her kitchen can barley accommodate a 2 ring burner and a portable oven, Rachel Khoo's take on classic French dishes and her modest surroundings are romantically appealing - the new Parisian dream for wishful women all over the globe.

Her character onscreen is infectious and her manner is simple and sweet - Amelie Poulain meets Emma Woodhouse.

I really love everything about her series, the food, the fashion and of course, the
scenes of beautiful Paris.

I'll be snapping up her book, The Little Paris Kitchen as soon as I find a hardcopy in Dubai! To get to know Rachel more visit her blog at , enjoy!

Melanie xo

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Ramadan Mubarak!

The month of Ramadan has begun and with two fasts already complete, it wont be long until Eid is here!

For those who are unfamiliar with Ramadan, it consists of a month of fasting for Muslims around the world from dawn until sunset. It is a spring of good deeds, a month of fasting, devotion, compassion, generosity, forgiveness and repentance. Ramadan fasting is also one of the 5 pillars of Islam, the others being; Shahadaah (declaration of the belief in One God), Salaah (compulsory prayers), Zakaah (yearly charitable giving) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mekkah). 

Ramadan is also the month in which the Qur'an was revealed, therefore an emphasis is placed on reciting and reflecting upon the Noble Qur'an throughout the month. 

 Narated By Abu Huraira : The Prophet said, "Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven; and whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven."

"Few experiences can produce such an intense spiritual and social impact on a Muslim as fasting during the month of Ramadan. Refraining from food, drink, sex, smoking and anger from sunrise to sunset are some of the basic elements of this fast, but at its core is achieving a deeper spiritual relationship with our creator." - Aziz Junejo - Seattle Times

The time that we break our fast is at Mahgrib, here in Dubai it is currently at 7.14pm. Usually we break out fast with water and dates as was the way of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him). At the numerous mosques throughout the UAE, tents are set up and donations of food and drink are given to help feed the fasting mulims, the majority of which are labour workers without family here in the UAE.  Often there are more than 500 people waiting for their Iftar dinner. 

Here are some photos of a Iftar project in Umm Al Quwain. 

May Allah accept the fasting of all the Muslims and reward all those who volunteer, donate and participate in order to please Him, Ameen. 

Friday, 5 July 2013

Lime Slice

Last Ramadan (month of fasting for Muslims), I made (which felt like) hundreds of batches of Lemon Slice, in reality it was less than 5 however crushing so many Marie biscuits is quite strenuous work!

Now, I think it may have become a 'tradition' to eat this tangy slice after breaking our fast as when my husband was fasting just the other day he told me that he had a craving for it. I made it for him and I was so glad I did, I forgot how easy it is to make and how delicious it tastes!

The teacup, saucer and plate belonged to my Great, Great Grandmother, Nanna Lee, which has now been passed onto me. Isn't is a beautiful set!

I hadn't made it since last Ramadan, which is now almost a year ago. Its funny how you just forget about certain recipes until someone has a craving for it! This time I used limes instead of lemons as we had a whole lot in the house and I thought it be a refreshing change, however the taste remained almost the same. Use whatever citrus you have in abundance, I think orange may also turn out well.
I couldn't find Marie biscuits this time, so instead I used Tea biscuits as well as substituting butter for margarine. The base mixture should be a perfect balance of dry & wet, add a little more condensed milk if needed. Also using a food processor to crush the biscuits ensures that there are no bug clumps of biscuits in the base and a lot less arm work. Experiment with the icing, I like mine quite thick so I used quite a lot of icing sugar. If you prefer a runnier icing, use less sugar and increase the juice.

Here is the recipe -


Base -
1 packet of Marie biscuits
1/2  375g tin of condensed milk
125g butter, melted
rind of 1 large lemon or 3 small limes
1 cup desiccated coconut

Icing -
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
juice of 5 small limes

Crush the biscuits until they resemble fine crumbs.
Add zest and coconut to biscuits mixture.
In a separate bowl, combine the melted butter and condensed milk. 
Add biscuit mixture to butter and stir to combine. (use more condensed milk if needed)
Press into a slice tin and refrigerate until firm. 

Whisk all icing mixture in a bowl and spread evenly over base. Allow to set in refrigerator before slicing.

My slice was gone within 24 hours! Be sure to snatch a piece up before everyone else does. 

Perfect with a cup of tea, enjoy!
Melanie xo

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Grilled Haloumi & Fresh Lime

While searching through the fridge yesterday I came across a packet of haloumi, just what I needed to fill the mid-afternoon hole in my stomach. We also had a bowl full of fresh limes as the perfect accompaniment.

Grilling haloumi is so simple, the key to it is eating is fresh from the grill when its hot as when it begins to cool down the texture becomes chewy. There is no need to use any oil or butter just be sure to use a non-stick pan.

I used a flat grill plate and put the gas on medium, I sliced the haloumi about 3cm thick and put into the grill. You will see water coming out from the cheese and when it has evaporated completely, it should begin to brown on that side. Once it feels 'stable' enough to flip, turn the cheese and allow the other side to become golden brown before serving. Dress with fresh lime or lemon juice.

It was so good that I made it as an entree for dinner as well! 

Melanie xo