Went to Intermezzo at the Tyneside Cinema for lunch today and had one of those revelatory cheesecake experiences. Normally I'm strictly a Pizza Express cheesecake girl, but this was something equally fine. Italian cheesecake, it called itself - a thin base, cakey in texture, with almonds sprinkled on top. I fell in love.

I've looked for a recipe for Italian cheesecake, and there seem to be loads, but none quite corresponding to mine. Having looked at about.com's Italian food section, mine may in fact be Torte della Nonne. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

If you look up cheesecake on google images, there's some interesting interpretations...


Yesterday's weird tv included The Weakest Link Celebrity Chef special. Not as strange as the Weakest Link USA lookalike special where Anne Robinson lookalikes competed with Anne Robinson to be the nastiest person there. But close.


Saw the BBC's latest cookery programme last night - The Best. It was quite entertaining and engaging stuff with some good recipes. Some of the dishes were a bit complicated - the sort you try and make to impress people, not what you cook when you get home on a Friday night - but they all made it look dead easy (s'pose it was if you were a restaurant chef). Might try some of the sandwich recipes...

Where's the word "cheffy" come from? It's plastered all over this month's BBC Good Food magazine.


The Condiment Packet Museum has to be one of the more innovative uses for a digital camera or scanner. I tried to decide which ones I liked best - I think I'm coming down on the side of the ketchup collection....


Julia Child donated her old kitchen to the Smithsonian last year, when she moved back to California. You can read all about how they coped with (a) recording it (b) working out what all her gadgets were for (c) dismantling it and (d) shipping it to the Smithsonian. It's going to be one hell of an exhibition once they're finished.


An interesting article today from the Guardian, about how celebrity chefs get their recipes. They've got quotes from several well-known figures who differ on whether as a well-known chef you can be entirely original. Does it matter if some chefs get recipes or ideas from other sources? I don't think it does, as long as they (a) credit their source or (b) make the recipe their own by adding some additional value/material. Certainly I don't mind when Nigella Lawson says she got her recipe from Nigel Slater, or vice versa. What I do like to know is whether she's changed the original recipe or not, so when I try to make it I know which version to use.


Granny Smith apples are definitely good at the moment - nice and crispy, with none of that horrible cotton-woolliness you get with some red apples. Not as good of course as my favourite dessert of all time - French apple tart with creme fraiche. Spent far too much time last summer eating that one....


Created a new exciting dish yesterday. Well, experimental anyway.
Spicy chickpea and spinach burritos
Sauteed some chopped onion, chopped pepper, chopped mushroom and garlic for a couple of minutes in olive oil, before adding 2 sliced green chillies.
Stirred in some chopped tomatoes, a tin of chickpeas (no soaking, hurrah!) and some tomato puree.
Simmered for 10 minutes.
Took 4 wraps.
Put a layer of uncooked spinach on each wrap and a dollop of the simmered mixture.
Carefully rolled up to make a long, burrito-like parcel.
Topped (a) with cheese (b) with fromage frais and cheese (not enough time to make a white sauce).
Baked in the oven for half an hour.
Ate while watching West Wing. Was great!


It's Friday. Should really be fish and chips for tea to be truly Newcastle, or at least something fishy. Instead, it's a trip to Tesco to see what's in store. You never know, they may have some sushi on special offer. Their's isn't bad, but not a patch on Sushi on North Beach in San Franciso, where I introduced Rob to the delights of raw fish...


Curry seemed to work on the cold. At least it was something that I could taste!

Watched a programme from Jamie Oliver's last series yesterday. He made a fab onion dish that I need to try (if I can remember the recipe). He boiled some large onions for 20 minutes, hollowed them out, filled the hollowed out bit with chopped onion, cream and grated parmesan, wrapped the onion in some smoked bacon and roasted it in the oven. Looked good...might be even better with creme fraiche and blue cheese? Will try it out and let you know.


Stinking colds. I hate them. Everything I eat tastes like cotton wool, except for the high-strength vitamin c tablets (allegedly orange flavoured but they just taste chemically). I need something with chilli in. Perhaps chilli ice cream will do the trick.


Caught Graham Kerr's Galloping Gourmet programme last Saturday. I'd never seen it in the 70s, so it was a bit of a shock, particularly his orange cardigan! He showed us how to make pizza, that newfangled fast food from Italy...and created the worst bit of pizza dough I have ever seen. Judicious camera cutting and use of 'one I made earlier' was required to salvage his awful technique. It was fabulous - the male equivalent of Julia Child...

Speaking of which, Julia's biography arrived yesterday! Top marks to amazon.co.uk who imported it from the US for me. It's now sitting on my bedside table, waiting to be dived into.


Visited the farmers' market at Monument today, which had a great selection of meat, cheese and cakes (but no Cumberland sausage man). I bought a small Bedale cheese from the Swaledale Cheese people. The bit I tried tasted a bit like a slightly less crumbly Cheshire. More info to follow, after I've had a proper road-test...

I really like farmers' markets. There's one at Tynemouth Station that I go to every 3rd Saturday in the month (no it's not me being bizarre with my shopping habits, that's the only week that it's on) which is excellent too for things that you really can't find in the supermarket like proper smoked kippers, and homemade pies. Along with the whole environmentally-friendly side of things, the stuff they sell really does taste good. There's ones across the country so why not check one out?


I've discovered I really don't like chilli and lime together. There's been recipes I've tried in the past, and not liked, and I've just thought it was the heat that was bothering me. But I'm coming to the conclusion that it's the chilli/lime combo that I don't like. I made Nicaraguan pork salad yesterday (pork roasted in the oven, then mixed with cabbage/tomato/green chillis/lime/onion all marinated together. It was horrible. Rob loved it.
I ended up with lentil curry from the freezer. You can't go wrong with that.


Does anyone else have their collection of cookery books in alphabetical order? Or is that a bit sad (especially when you realise you have every book that Nigel Slater has ever written...)
Celery and onion soup last night, with a swirl of Danish Blue. I always forget how easy soups are to make (and how life is so much better now I have a food processor...).


Still no Julia Child book. Where are you?

Easter egg count:
one Buttons Egg (mine)
one Toblerone Egg (Rob's)
two small marbled white/milk chocolate eggs from Keswick (one each)
two Chocolate Oranges (one each)
and a box of Turkish Delight (a delayed Christmas present).

Do Americans have chocolate Easter eggs, or is it just a peculiarly British thing? And what is it with Cadbury's Creme Eggs? Has no-one twigged that they're horrible?