Chicken and Chorizo Pot Pie for 1

I remember watching Nigella Lawson making a Chicken Pot Pie in one of her shows and she used chicken stock concentrate and it’s an ingredient that I’ve never tried before. But thanks to the lovely team over at Essential Cuisine, I am finally able to use chicken stock concentrate, 10 years after watching Nigella make her chicken pot pie.

This week (5th March – 11th March) is British Pie Week 2018. It is estimated that 75% of us enjoy a pie at least once a month and I am one of them! This Chicken and Chorizo Pot Pie is incredibly hearty, warming and comforting. Chunks of chorizo are pan-fried with celery, diced chicken, frozen vegetables and spinach and coated in a white sauce made in the same pan to not waste any of the flavour. The sauce is finished with the Essential Cuisine Chicken Stock Concentrate for extra flavour and deepness.

The chicken stock concentrate comes in a small squeezy bottle which makes it so easy to use and to store in the fridge. This 150g bottle is enough to make 4L of chicken stock according to the instructions on the bottle. It would be perfect for soups, stews and sauces, as I did for this Chicken Pot Pie. Essential Cuisine stocks do not use any preservatives or MSG and are gluten free. You can find their website by clicking here. Essential Cuisine products can be found in Lakeland and Booths Supermarket as well as many high end butchers, farm shops and delis – or online at this site!

The pie dish I used was a 20cm oblong enamel pie dish which I found to be the perfect size for me. I also use puff pastry (ready rolled for convenience) to top this pie. I cut two thin strips of pastry, brush with milk and place around the rim, brush again with milk which helps to stick the pastry lid down. I decorate the pie with some simple fork crimping to help seal the join between the pastry rim and the lid. I finish with another brush of milk to give the pastry a rich golden colour once baked.

The filling for the pie can be made a day in advance, which is the method I detail below. Cover it well with clingfilm and then cover with pastry when you want to bake it. Alternatively you can assemble the pie completely without piercing holes in the lid and the final brushing of milk and freeze the pie for another time. Make sure it is wrapped well in foil and clingfilm to prevent freezer burn and prepare to bake it for much longer than stated below (or defrost in the fridge overnight).

30g spicy chorizo sausage, diced

½ stick of celery, finely diced

1 medium chicken breast, cut into small chunks

40g frozen peas

40g frozen sweetcorn

Large handful of spinach, washed and torn up into pieces

1 tbsp sunflower spread

1 tbsp plain flour

2 tsp Essential Cuisine Chicken Stock Concentrate

150ml – 250ml whole milk

½ a pack of ready rolled puff pastry

Milk or egg, to brush

In a dry frying pan over a medium heat, cook the chorizo cubes until the oil begins to render out. Add in the diced celery and continue to cook until the chorizo looks crispy. Add in the chicken and season with some salt and pepper.

Once the chicken has began to cook, add in the frozen peas and sweetcorn, stir and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through, checking by slicing open the largest piece. Add in the torn spinach leaves. Once wilted, adjust the seasoning to taste. Place into a bowl and set aside.

Add the sunflower spread to the frying pan. Once melted, add the plain flour and whisk until it forms a thick brown paste – this is the roux. Over the heat, add the milk in slowly, whisking between each addition until the milk has been incorporated and to prevent lumps forming. Continue to add enough milk until it forms a sauce which has a coating consistency and is thick; imagine pouring on a chicken breast and it doesn’t run off completely. Add in the chicken stock concentrate and adjust the season to taste.

Pour the cooked chicken mixture back into the pan and mix with the white sauce to coat. Place into a 20cm enamel pie dish and level off the top. Leave to cool at room temperature for an hour before covering with clingfilm and refrigerating overnight.

When you are ready to assemble the pie, preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut two thin strips of the puff pastry. Brush the rim of the pie dish with milk and stick the pastry strips down. Next cut out a rectangle of pastry big enough to cover the pie with at least 1 inch excess. Brush the strips with milk again and cover the pie with the pastry lid, pressing down onto the top of the filling and taking the shape of the dish.

Use a knife to trim away the excess, working in a downward diagonal motion against the side of the dish. Press a fork all the way around the edge of the pie to crimp the pie. Add some pastry decorations (I chose to have ‘PIE’ on top of mine) and make 4 incisions to allow steam to escape. Brush the pastry with milk.

Bake the pie for around 20 – 25 minutes until the pastry is risen, golden brown and crispy. Serve the pie on its own or alongside some vegetable sides.

As with all of my reviews, I keep the product after reviewing it and do not directly receive payment for this review. I have not been told to write falsely positive comments about the product and everything is my own opinion.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and make sure to check out my recipe for a Giant Chocolate Doughnut Cake!


Restaurant Review: Sushimania Nottingham

Sushimania is Nottingham’s latest restaurant to join the highly competitive and packed Nottingham food scene. With 7 other branches in the south, will Sushimania live up to the expectation? Sushimania is incredibly unique, offering all you can eat sushi. This is instantly attractive to many, given that buying sushi on its own can be incredibly pricey.

What’s more is that the menu has a wide range of items ranging from various sashimi to nigiri, uramaki, futomaki and temaki as well as various noodle dishes, tempura and kushiyaki. This is fantastic for those who want to eat here but may have allergies and likes/dislikes as there are various dishes that can suitable for anyone. Having a fish/seafood allergy, this was very pleasing to see.

The décor of the restaurant is distinctly oriental at the entrance while the seating and table is classy and sleek. The wooden tables provide the classy interior that doesn’t immediately strike you as being for a sushi restaurant. Upon being seated, the waitress came over and explained to us how to order from the all you can eat menu. She explained that we could only order a maximum of 6 dishes at a time which we write on the sheet and hand it to the waiter/waitress who sends it to the kitchen before returning to us.

While this makes sense from a business perspective, it does indeed have its flaw in that for large tables, as we were on the night, being able to only 6 dishes at a time for a table of 6 people wasn’t particularly feasible. Moreover, there are only 3 columns which means if we want to reorder the same dish a fourth time, we would need a new sheet or to be creative. Our order sheet become quite cluttered and hard to fill in by the end so perhaps this is something to reconsider.

We circled the numbers which I assume to be a pretty standard practice, especially in Chinese dim sum restaurants, but they explained to us the circling was done by them to signify that they had sent that order to the kitchen so we ended up with a few things missing in the end, not that this was a problem. However, the waiters and waitresses were all very polite and welcoming which left a great impression on all of us throughout the night.

The food slowly began to arrive. Again being a large table meant that we ended up feeling very hungry because the food arrived so slowly at the start which also meant that we filled in the form more rapidly as the night went on. With just 3 people working in the open kitchen, I felt that this was the main cause of the slow service. But the food was well worth the wait!!

I was satisfied with all of the (cough, 65) dishes that we ordered, well the ones that I could eat at least. The first dish that arrived which I could eat was the Chicken Katsu Temaki (Hand Roll). This was really tasty with the crunchy chicken katsu contrasting to the soft avocado and sushi rice with the crisp nori.


We also ordered the Chicken Katsu Uramaki which was also really pleasing to eat. The Kimchi Uramaki which came with a drizzle of sriracha was something different and unique but also tasty.

The Crispy Duck and Cucumber Uramaki had a drizzle of hoisin sauce and the taste instantly reminded me of Chinese duck pancakes and the fresh cucumber cut through the duck and was well balanced. One of the easiest uramaki to eat was the Sweet Potato Tempura Uramaki, it just worked as a complete mouthful together. Talking of tempura, we ordered various tempura including prawn, sweet potato and oyster. The tempura was warm and crispy and light – you could tell it had been made to order and was freshly prepared.

Besides sushi, we also ordered their chicken teriyaki which we thought would be relatively dry. How wrong we were. The chicken was juicy and moist and packed full of flavour. The teriyaki sauce was so tasty that we were mopping it up from the plate. This was perhaps the biggest surprise dish of the night.

There was plenty of fish too ranging from California rolls to salmon nigiri to salmon sashimi, which is limited to 2 portions per person but with 4 slices per portion, that’s plenty – and you can have my portion too! Obviously I couldn’t comment on the taste/texture of these so just enjoy the pictures!


My overall impression is that Sushimania will do very well in Nottingham. With a high Asian student population, Sushimania will never be short of customers. Its unique all you can eat offer is distinguished from the other buffets and all you can eats in Nottingham in that they are serving up high quality food which makes it a fantastic destination. There are plenty of options too besides the raw fish, giving Sushimania a greater appeal to those sushi-phobes.

For the price of £16.80 per person (plus a 10% service charge), you can more than easily eat your money’s worth, making it even more attractive to students. Be warned though, any dishes that you don’t finish will be charged at full price! If you are going in a large group, I’d suggest splitting up your tables so you don’t get stuck behind the 6 dish limit. But with the very competitive all you can eat menu as well as half price on all a la carte items at lunchtime and after 10pm, Sushimania should be here to stay!

Location: 6A Chapel Bar, Nottingham, NG1 6JS, near the Angel Row bus stops

Price: £16.80 per person (plus 10% service charge) for all you can eat, excluding extras and drinks


Giant Chocolate Doughnut Birthday Cake

Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here hasn’t it…?! I promised on my Instagram account that I would post the recipe for this chocolate cake which I made for my friend Shaun’s 21st birthday and here it is!

I’ve been very active on Instagram recently and I’ve also put a lot of effort into my Instagram. Yes it may not contain your conventional food shots that garner huge likes but it’s still your conventional food porn so if you aren’t following me, click here to follow me and share my page too with friends, family and on your Instagram stories. It would help me out greatly as Instagram is growing so slowly!

This cake really combines a lot of my favourite techniques and recipes into this new creation – which I suppose sums up the process of recipe development. The chocolate sponge is my go to chocolate cake recipe producing a light fluffy and perfectly balanced sponge and the chocolate glaze is one of my most used recipes on the blog. Check out my other recipes which use this chocolate glaze:

Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Mini Rolls

Vanilla and Chocolate Marble Traybake

Chocolate Popcorn Cake

Giant Homemade Jaffa Cake

I had to transport this cake on public transport so I used the leftover chocolate buttercream to adhere the cupcakes and the bottom doughnut sponge to the cake board. The high quantity of chocolate in the buttercream means that it can set too hard and become impossible to pipe. I keep this buttercream at room temperature to prevent it setting too hard as well as adding milk to liquefy the buttercream slightly.

For the chocolate doughnut sponge:

225g margarine

225g granulated sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g dark chocolate

260g self-raising flour

75ml whole milk

For the chocolate cupcakes

110g margarine

110g granulated sugar

2 eggs

½ tsp vanilla extract

75g dark chocolate

130g self raising flour

40ml whole milk

For the filling:

300ml double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp icing sugar

For the chocolate buttercream:

80g margarine

180g icing sugar

80g dark chocolate, melted

1 tbsp whole milk

For the chocolate glaze:

75g dark chocolate

1 tbsp margarine

1 tbsp golden syrup

For the letter decorations:

50g white chocolate

25g dark chocolate


Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease two 21cm silicon doughnut moulds well.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and the granulated sugar until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula between each addition. Then beat in the vanilla extract.

Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over simmering water or in the microwave. Leave to cool for 2 minutes before adding immediately to the large bowl and beating through thoroughly until it is an even colour. Sift in the flour and fold through until just incorporated. Lastly beat in the whole milk until the cake batter is even and well mixed.

Divide the mixture between the two doughnut moulds and use the back of a spoon to level out the surface. Bake the sponges for around 30 – 35 minutes or until well risen and an inserted skewer into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in the mould for 10 minutes before peeling away the mould and leaving to cool fully on a cooling rack.

When the large sponges have 10 minutes left to bake, begin to prepare the cupcake mixture by following the same method but dividing the cake batter between 6 large cupcake cases using an ice cream scoop to easily divide up the batter. Bake these for around 20 – 25 minutes, again until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Once cool, trim the tops if necessary.

Prepare the chocolate buttercream by creaming together the margarine with the icing sugar until smooth and light. Add the melted dark chocolate all at once and beat to incorporate followed by the milk. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.

In another bowl, whisk the double cream with the icing sugar and vanilla extract until it holds a thick but soft peak. Then transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the cake.

Prepare the chocolate decorations by melting the white chocolate. Take a dessertspoonful of the white chocolate and pour onto the parchment into a circle shape; the best way to do so is to keep the spoon still when pouring and once you have all 6 circles, shake the parchment to level out.

Next take the dark chocolate and pour into a piping bag. Cut off a small hole from the piping bag and pipe the letters/numbers you require. Slide onto the base of an upturned baking tin or onto a baking tray and refrigerate until fully set.

To assemble the doughnut cake, trim the surfaces of the sponges to level out slightly. Turn one side over and apply a layer of buttercream to stick the sponge down. Pipe the whipped cream filling onto the sponge covering the whole surface. Place the second sponge on top, pushing down slightly.

Pipe some buttercream on top of the cupcakes. Peel off the set chocolate letters and place on top of the cupcakes, pushing down. Apply some of the leftover buttercream to the base of the cupcake cases to stick them to the cake board.

Lastly prepare the chocolate glaze by melting together the ingredients in the microwave in 20 second intervals mixing well until it is just combined. It should be smooth and glossy. Spread the glaze over the surface of the top sponge and finish with a handful of sprinkles, working quickly before it sets hard.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and make sure to check out my recipe for a Giant Victoria Sponge Donut Cake if you want a non-chocolate version!

My 2017 Reflections

Another year has passed and it’s been another big year for the blog! As the university workload grew in 2017, I didn’t have time to post as much on the blog. I posted 38 times this year but this doesn’t mean that I have posted elsewhere.

This year I launched a YouTube channel. Admittedly it has taken a backseat however I am happy with the content on my channel. I may post again on it soon, perhaps more casual videos as well as food videos but with my hectic schedule currently, food videos may have to wait a while because they take a while to produce and edit!

Instagram has been perhaps my most active social media this year. Whilst I may have not have the number of followers that other bloggers have, the engagement on my posts is still satisfactory to me. I heard that having 20% of your following like your photos is what you should aim for and the majority of my Instagram posts reach that baseline which is great news. Some of them even hit 30% and one of my posts, rather unexpectedly, got 220 likes which at the time was about 70% of my following. Which post was that you may ask? It was my first ever Semi-Naked Cake which I made without measuring any ingredients… check out the YouTube video on how to make it here!

I’ve also been lucky enough to do some more product reviews this year. Harts of Stur contacted me and asked me to review the Smart Bacon Express, which did the rounds on the Internet too. It got a bit of flack on social media for a bit pointless but I certainly understood the appeal of the product, despite being on the pricey side. Backdrops By Lucy also contacted me and asked me to review their Farmhouse backdrop. It made a huge difference to my photos and it elevated my photography to a new level.

Perhaps the biggest standout blog achievement of 2017 was reaching a total of 50K views at the start of December. It’s amazing to see how many views the blog gets even though I have been slightly less active on the blog this year. Another achievement of note is that for the past 3 months, my monthly views have surpassed the previous month before the last day! In December 2017 I managed to reach 3K views in the month, beating November’s record by well over 500 views!

Here are the Top 10 most viewed recipe posts of 2017:

  1. Giant Ben’s Cookies
  2. Recreating Wagamama’s Chicken Teriyaki Donburi
  3. Lidl’s Favorina Spiced Biscuit Spread Review
  4. Romaine Lettuce Kimchi
  5. No Fuss No Alcohol Homemade Mincemeat
  6. Gochujang Fried Rice
  7. Sweet Beancurd Soup (腐竹糖水, Fu Juk Tong Sui)
  8. Carrot and Onion Bhajis
  9. Chinese Coconut Milk Pudding (椰汁糕)
  10. Chickpea Chilli Con Carne

Once again Giant Ben’s Cookies tops the list of recipes viewed. It’s by far the most popular recipe on the blog and it’s hard not to see why, the cookies are so great!! My cheat’s mincemeat recipe did well again with a sharp increase in views as we approached the end of the year. It’s also great to see a couple of Chinese recipes in the Top 10 including my nan’s tong sui recipe (dessert soup) and my Coconut Milk Pudding – definitely check those out!!

Here are the Top 5 most viewed new recipe posts of 2017

  1. Recreating Wagamama’s Chicken Teriyaki Donburi
  2. Sweet Beancurd Soup (腐竹糖水, Fu Juk Tong Sui)
  3. Chinese Coconut Milk Pudding (椰汁糕)
  4. Homemade Salt and Pepper Tofu
  5. Salted Caramel Choux Buns

Here are my personal favourite recipe posts from 2017 that didn’t make it into the most viewed…

  1. Salted Caramel White Chocolate and Lemon Savarin

This was actually a recipe that I first posted last year but this large version was made for a pretty special occasion. This year I went to a recording of An Extra Slice again, the theme of the week being Caramel Week. The bake itself wasn’t tasted or featured on the show however I had great fun developing this recipe for a larger version even though it did take 5 hours to make from start to finish…

  1. Sausage Stuffing Bonbons

My Sausage Stuffing Bonbons were a pretty crazy invention. When I first made them, I didn’t think they were actually going to work but my word, did they work and they were awesome! It’s a glorified meatball essentially but with the added herby and peppery flavour of Cumberland sausage meat and the timeless flavours of sage and onion stuffing in the crunchy breadcrumb coating. It’s slightly mad and yet also slightly genius! You have to give these a try!

  1. Gingerbread Cheesecake Squares

This recipe was developed as a result of a mistake on my part. I originally planned to make gingerbread cutout biscuits but I left the dough in the fridge for too long so it was impossible to roll out but crumbled up beautifully. Then I decided to line a square tin with the crumbled up biscuit dough to make a gingerbread ‘shortbread’ and then I whipped up a cheesecake topping and we have Gingerbread Cheesecake Squares. Definitely give this one a go, not just around the festive season!

  1. Making a Semi-Naked Cake (without measuring any ingredients)

While the recipe itself is nothing particularly special or inventive, this recipe post will always be special since it’s the full recipe of my first food video on YouTube. I talked about it earlier on in the post and you can watch the full video above too.

  1. Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Mini Rolls

A new series of Bake Off on Channel 4 came with brand new presenters and a brand new judge. Prue Leith set the first Technical challenge to make 12 mini rolls with a peppermint filling. I thought peppermint was a weird flavour so I instead went for strawberry and coloured the sponge pink too for contrasting flavour and colour. I developed this recipe from scratch myself and I’m so pleased with how they turned out.

  1. No Churn Black Sesame Ice Cream

Black sesame might be one of my absolute favourite flavours and I was so excited to find some black sesame powder for just £1 when I went to Hong Kong this summer. I played around with it in lots of different recipes but by far my favourite was this no churn ice cream. The bitter smoky flavour as well as the charcoal grey colour is addictive and I even made some at uni and it went down well – it’s something a bit different but something you should give a go too!

Here’s to a brand new year on the blog. I hope that by the end of 2018, I’ll be discussing reaching 1,000 followers on Instagram, 2,000 followers on Twitter and 100,000 views on the blog! Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and make sure to check out my most recent recipe post for Gingerbread Cheesecake Squares!!

Spiced Christmas Tree Cake

Christmas is most definitely on the way… how can you tell? Well I went into Tesco the other day and they played 8 Christmas songs in a row. It instantly put me in the festive mood so what better time to share my recipe for this Spiced Christmas Tree Cake.

I found this Christmas tree pan in TKMaxx and couldn’t resist buying it and baking with it.  The tin needs to be well greased and dusted with flour in order to prevent sticking and to ensure the decorative details can be seen on the cake. The cake is great on its own alongside a hot drink or even with some hot custard for dessert but this time I decide to cover it in green buttercream and sprinkles so it resembles a Christmas tree.

Alternatively if you don’t want to cover the cake in buttercream, a festive dusting of icing sugar snow is just as effective as the green buttercream! In fact this method keeps the definition of the pattern visible, almost like a bundt cake!

Check out some of my other Christmas and festive themed recipes down below!!

Christmas Present Cake

Melted Snowman Chocolate Chip Cookies

Red Velvet Hazelnut Biscotti

White Chocolate Confetti Popcorn

For the cake:

Plain flour, for dusting

125g margarine, plus extra for greasing

125g granulated sugar

2 eggs

125g self raising flour

½ tsp mixed spice

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

Pinch of ground nutmeg

For the decoration:

100g margarine or unsalted butter

220g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2-3 tsp milk

Green food colouring

Pearl sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a Christmas tree shaped tin well and dust with plain flour, throwing away the excess.

In a mixing bowl, cream the margarine with the sugar until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one, scraping down the sides with a spatula after each addition. Sift in the flour and the spices and fold through until incorporated and even.

Transfer the cake batter to the greased and floured pan and spread evenly, making sure it reaches all the corners. Bake the cake for around 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the very centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.


Prepare the buttercream by softening the margarine in a mixing bowl and adding in the icing sugar in 2 additions, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract and enough milk to make a buttercream which holds its shape and is smooth enough to spread. Add a good amount of green food colouring to turn the buttercream into a Christmas tree green.

Place the cake on your serving plate/cake board. Spread the green buttercream over the cake evenly, making sure that none of the cake is visible. Press the back of a knife lightly onto the buttercream and lift up to create peaks across the entire cake.

Use the pearl sprinkles to create lines of tinsel and baubles on the tree.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and make sure to check out my most recent recipe post for Gingerbread Cheesecake Squares!!

Gingerbread Cheesecake Squares

The flavours of gingerbread instantly remind me of the festive season. While gingerbread houses (or even Gingerbread Ovens) might be traditional, why not put a spin on your classic gingerbread by turning it into these Gingerbread Cheesecake Squares?

Funnily enough this recipe was the result of a bit of gingerbread dough that I left too long in the fridge. As I began to knead it between my hands to warm up, it just crumbled away into pieces. It was at this point that I thought it resembled a shortbread mixture rather than gingerbread biscuit dough and immediately I had the idea to crumble it into the base of a tin, bake it and pour over some cheesecake mixture to make little squares.

This recipe is also perfect for making cutout gingerbread biscuits and gingerbread houses. You will only need to chill the dough for 20 – 30 minutes instead of hours in this case. The longer chilling ‘dries’ out the dough, making it crumbly and impossible to roll out but making it ideal for these cheesecake squares. This means you can also make the dough ahead of time!

To add a decorative element, I remove some of the cheesecake mixture and add food colouring to it. This small amount of mixture requires just a single egg yolk. The addition of yellow colouring emphasises the egg yolk colour and helps to create an attractive design. The mixture is too fluid to swirl properly but it doesn’t bleed and run either, allowing you to create a random pattern on the surface.

The backdrops used in these photos was the Farmhouse backdrop from Backdrops By Lucy – read my review of their product by clicking here!

For the Gingerbread Base:

125g margarine

100g granulated sugar

50g golden syrup

300g plain flour

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the Cheesecake mixture:

250g cream cheese

75g granulated sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp mixed spice

1 tbsp plain flour

Pinch of ground nutmeg

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs, 1 egg separated

Yellow food colouring

In a pan over a medium heat, melt the margarine, sugar and syrup until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is even. Remove the pan from the heat, leave to sit for 1 minute before adding the pre-weighed and measured dried ingredients into the pan and stirring until it forms a dough which is aromatic and fragrant, soft but not sticky and a deep brown colour.

On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a ball, flatten into a disc and wrap well in clingfilm. Freeze for 2 hours until very firm and then leave in the fridge overnight or up to 2 days.

When you are ready to make the cheesecake squares, preheat the oven to 190°C. Take a square of baking parchment larger than a 20cm square tin. Grease the tin and flip it over. Fold the parchment into 4 and place the point of the square at the centre of the bottom of the pan and cut from the corner inwards until you feel the pan. Open up, push into the tin and it should line the tin perfectly.

Take the dough from the fridge and crumble it up into a mixing bowl. The pieces should all be various sizes, ranging from large chunks to small pieces to fine crumbs. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and use your hand to press the gingerbread into a single layer, pressing right into the corners until even.

Prick the surface of the gingerbread with a fork and bake for around 20 – 30 minutes or until the base is set on the surface and golden around the edges. Leave to cool completely.

Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C.

Prepare the cheesecake by beating together the cream cheese and sugar by hand until smooth. Sift over the dry ingredients and fold to incorporate. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Remove about 50g of the mixture and place into a separate smaller bowl. To the larger bowl, add the whole egg plus 1 egg white and beat to combine until even. To the smaller bowl, add the egg yolk and some food colouring to make it a vibrant yellow colour.

Pour the non-coloured cheesecake mixture over the cooled gingerbread base. It should be fairly liquid and it may run down the sides of the gingerbread base slightly too – this is to be expected. Slowly spoon over the yellow cheesecake mixture randomly so it creates a nice pattern.

Bake the cheesecake for about 25 minutes or until the surface is lightly browned, golden at the edges and wobbles just slightly in the very centre. Leave the cheesecake to cool fully in the tin before slicing into 16 squares.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and make sure to check out my most recent recipe post for Chocolate Popcorn Cake!!

Product Review: Backdrops By Lucy

Backdrops have never been on my radar before as a blogger. I’d often use what I had around the house to take photos on, whether that be a wooden table, a slate or even some bathroom tiles (not actually in the bathroom, I bought them in the clearance). Whilst these have created nice photos, I definitely wanted to experience using backdrops and see how much of a change they could make to my photography so I was delighted to see that Backdrops By Lucy had chosen me to review their Farmhouse backdrop which you can purchase by clicking here (gingerbread shortbread not included!).

Backdrops By Lucy is a UK based business. The products are created by a professional product photographer for other photographers, crafters and bloggers. The backdrops are all from original photographs taken by Lucy herself and transformed into flexible PVC backdrops which are also waterproof and tear proof.

The backdrop arrived in a tube which has made for easy storage! Some of my other blog props take up quite a bit of space in my already small university room so it’s handy to have it stored away, safely too, inside the tube. What’s even better is that they don’t crease either, leaving the backdrops in perfect condition.

What immediately struck me was the quality of the product. Unlike the bathroom tiles and the slate, I could wipe this clean easily if I got a bit of buttercream on it for example. It felt sturdy too as if it would last me a long time. I couldn’t wait to have a play!

The recipes for the foods pictured below will be coming out over the next few weeks so stay tuned!!


The backdrops have dramatically increased the quality of my photos! My flatmates didn’t actually believe that the photo of the Gingerbread Cheesecake Squares were mine, they thought I’d taken it from a food magazine which I think is a massive compliment! I also had the same thought, I couldn’t quite believe that I had taken that photo either. It’s amazing how a simple backdrop has managed to elevate my photography to a new level.

The backdrops cost £25 for an A2-sized backdrop which seems a reasonable price given the fact that I have no previous experience using backdrops or any knowledge of the going price for other similar products. It is something that honestly I wouldn’t have purchased before because of the price and it’s something that I wouldn’t have thought I needed.

But now having played with the Farmhouse backdrop, I am tempted to purchase more especially with the amazing range of backdrops on their site! Seeing how much it has improved my photography, I may purchase another one in the future (but only when it’s not dark at 5pm anymore, seriously the window of time to take photos now is so small)!

Check out Backdrops By Lucy on Twitter and Instagram and make sure to check out their site.

As with all of my reviews, I keep the product after reviewing it but do not receive direct payment from this review. I have not been told to falsely write positive comments about the product and everything is my own opinion.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and make sure to check out my most recent recipe post for Chocolate Popcorn Cake!!