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summer blues….here’s my fix

Wow! I can’t quite believe September is just around the corner and summer holidays are about to end. For me, that means schools are back next week, flip flops will be packed away in favour of opaque tights and beach towels go to the back of the cupboard.

It also means new berries are coming into season so I’m inviting you round to a little afternoon tea or post-dinner treat with my blueberry cheesecake. It’s amateur baker friendly (if I can, you can.) and blueberries are a superfood, which makes our skin glow, brains alert and tidies up free-radicals. My crop of “pink lemonade” variety and normal blue ones are just ripening up nicely, so mine is for our last picnic over the weekend to share after cycling up a few hills!

First off shopping with you, you’ll need to buy for the cheesecake:
50 g Butter (melted) + bit extra to grease your tin
200g Ginger + Oat flake biscuits (crushed – I like Sainsburys ones)
200g Dark Chocolate (I like Green and Black’s 85% or 90% bars)
1tsp vanilla paste
500 g Mascarpone (I use low fat option)
280g Soft cheese (I use low fat Philly)
125g Caster Sugar
2tbsp Cornflour
Zest of 1 small orange and 1 lemon (I use biggest I can find!)
3 Large eggs
300g Blueberries (I use biggest fattest ones)

Then for extra oomph, for the compote:
200g Blueberries (I use economy/value ones as they get boiled down)
2tbsp Caster Sugar
Squeeze of orange juice

1. Turn your oven on at 180°C, fan 160° or gas mark 5 to preheat.
2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water – go gently and watch out for steam.
3. You need a round tin of about 20-23cm in diameter, which you should line and grease – pop this in the fridge, whilst making the base, to chill.
4. Mix the crushed biscuits and melted butter together. Then press evenly across based of tin and pour over the dark chocolate. Pop back in the fridge to set.
5. Add the vanilla, mascarpone, soft cheese, caster sugar, cornflour and zests. Whisk until combined and then add the eggs, one by one, until well blended. It should increase in volume a little from the whisking.
6. Gently stir in most of the big blueberries and pour the topping mixture over the biscuit base.
7. With the handful of remaining big blueberries, decorate the top – push them kinda halfway in – make a pattern, go random, your choice!
8. Put in the oven for about 45 minutes or until set. It should be a bit wobbly and may crack (hint: hide it with the compote). Leave in the oven with door ajar and let the cheesecake cool completely. (I do this for about 30 minutes and then take it out and put on cooling rack for speed!)
9. Cover and chill in tin until serving (It keeps well overnight in the fridge, if you want to make in advance or can resist temptation)
10. To make the compote, heat the blueberries, sugar and orange juice in a small pan. Simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes.

To serve, remove from tin and either serve with warm or cold compote either on top or in a jug on the side. Enjoy!

I really hope you love this as much as I do – the making, baking and sharing all bring me joy. What do you do to save off summer blues? Do you have a favourite activity, place or recipe?

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