Shades of spring

It was Mother's Day last week, and with that special day came the first glimpses of spring. The sun shone (briefly), the wind quietened and the daffodils even came out to celebrate!

Our winter here lasts for so long - taking up almost half of the year - and so by this time I've started to long for sunny evenings and hazy days spent outside with a book or cycling round the countryside. Admittedly this year there will be a lot less relaxation time than previously - twenty exam papers in one month doesn't leave much free time - but  perhaps study leave will give me the chance to enjoy the sunny weather that so often comes in May and June. As Carol Ann Duffy wrote in her poem 'Mrs Tilcher's Class', in a "feverish July, the air tasted of electricity" and "you [were] always untidy, hot , fractious under the heavy, sexy sky". Deeper meanings aside, this poem sums up perfectly the last few weeks of summer term.  I've found that there's nothing worse than being stuck inside a stuffy classroom whilst golden rays of sun and warm breezes tempt you through the windows.

Wow, I've gone a bit off topic there. Sorry! Back to the food.

In celebration of our new season (and in gratitude to our wonderful mother), my sister and I offered to make lunch. Roast chicken with honeyed carrots and baby potatoes for main, and lemon cheesecake for dessert.

This cheesecake is so simple. It can be made the day before and left to sit in the fridge overnight, which takes away any stress of catering the next day. Pull it out of the fridge, pop out of the tin and drizzle with extra lemon curd.

I decided to make my own lemon curd for this cheesecake, but unfortunately it backfired a bit - no matter how long I cooked it for, it refused to set. I made do and served it as a lemon sauce, but it did affect the consistency of the cheesecake a bit and so it was softer than I'd have liked. Unless you're fully confident in your curd making abilities, I'd suggest buying a jar of lemon curd as backup just in case something goes wrong! 

Start by making the base with crushed biscuits and butter. Blend until it forms clumps and press into a tin. 

Leave in the fridge for a few hours and then make the creamy topping!
Beat cream cheese in a bowl. Fold in whipped cream and the lemon curd.

Spread into the tin and leave in the fridge until serving time. 

Decorate with a few artistic swirls of lemon curd, chocolate shavings or mint leaves.

Lemon Curd
125g digestive biscuits
75g softened butter

300g cream cheese
250ml whipping cream
60g icing sugar
3 - 5 tbsp lemon curd

lemon curd/chocolate sprinkle/mint leaves, to decorate

1. Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until they form fine crumbs. Add the butter (chopped), and blend again until it begins to clump.  Press into a 20cm loose bottomed tin and leave in the fridge until the topping is made.

2. Beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Whip the cream until it forms soft-ish peaks that hold a shape. Gently fold the cream into the cheese mixture.

3. Spread into the tin and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

4. When ready to serve, remove from the tin and decorate with sauce, chocolate or anything else that takes your fancy. Enjoy!


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