Simple strawberry cheesecake

Simple strawberry cheesecake

Serves: 12

We had a request in the house for cheesecake last week.

Not one made by me, but a limited-time cheesecake at Woolworths from the veritable Cheesecake Factory folk; the people behind the US restaurant chain and some pretty great and outrageous cheesecakes.

Problem was that when I asked an attendant at Woolworths, he drew a blank. And a good walk past the refrigerators also drew a blank.

Plenty of apple pies and orange juice and sushi rolls, though no cheesecake.

Social media was too fast for our local Woolies.

So here is a simple cheesecake alternative.

Nothing like the ‘Factory’ would produce, though a very good – and very simple – cheesecake nonetheless.

This could become a habit.


250gm digestive biscuit
100gm butter, melted
1 vanilla pod
600gm soft (cream) cheese
100gm icing sugar
300ml double cream


400gm strawberries, halves
25gm icing sugar


  1. For the base: butter and line with baking paper a medium-to-large loose-bottom round baking tray.
  2. Put the digestive biscuits in a large plastic food bag and crush to crumbs using a rolling pin.
  3. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl and pour over the butter.Mix until the crumbs are well coated. Transfer to the baking tray and press down firmly to make an even, firm base/layer. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour to set.
  4. For the filling: Remove the vanilla seeds from the pod.
  5. Place the soft (cream) cheese, 100gm icing sugar and vanilla seeds in a bowl and beat with an electric beater until smooth.  Add the cream and continue beating until fully combined.
  6. Spoon the mixture on top of the biscuit base. Smooth the top and allow to set in the fridge overnight.
  7. When serving, puree the strawberries and 25gm icing sugar and sieve.
  8. Un-mould the cheesecake, throw on some berries, sprinkle with more icing sugar and pour over the strawberry puree.

Pecan Torte

Pecan Torte

Serves: 6

She might not be happy with the inclusion of this recipe, though there are a few of them that define my mother and her cooking talents… and none comes more to mind that this torte.

Nobody that has ever had it, has thought anything differently: it is genius.

Every time I have it – and I have had it probably 600 times – I literally gasp at how bloody wonderful it is. It is literally genius.

The origin of the recipe  – according to my mother – is Mexican and my grandmother found it whilst she lived it LA many years back.

Don’t be confused.

Some freshly whipped cream, some fresh strawberries, this is the least contentious, most no-questions, shit-yeah dessert I think you can make.

I vouch my cooking heart on it.

P.S. This was course #5 of #6 at our Long Lunch/Wedding. It was called ‘Mexican Wall’.


6 egg whites
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 tsp vanilla
16 Sao biscuits
Whipped cream


  1. Beat the egg whites with the baking powder until stiff.
  2. Beat in the sugar gradually, and continue to beat.
  3. Fold in the pecans, vanilla and Sao crumbs.
  4. Bake in a large buttered springform pan at 190 C for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool.
  5. Two hours before serving spread with the whipped cream and chill.
  6. Garnish with strawberries before serving.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Serves 6

This is a really simple and elegant dessert and one easy enough that it makes it into my remit; it’s not that I don’t love tackling and serving a great and complex dessert, though the main meal always takes priority for me.

And so this is where this dessert shines; it is quick, easy and looks like half the afternoon was given to it.

And it lasts a few days which makes it triply as good.


1 tsp instant coffee powder
¼ c boiling water
200gm butter, chopped
180hm dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
4 eggs, separated
1 c caster sugar
2 c almond meal (ground almonds)
Cocoa powder, for dusting
Double cream and strawberries to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 160c (180c if not fan forced).
  2. Grease a 6cm deep, 22cm round base spring-form cake pan. Line the base and sides with baking paper.
  3. Combine and stir the coffee powder and boiling water.
  4. Place the butter, chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee mixture in a medium saucepan over a low heat and stir continuously for about 3 minutes until combined and melted. Remove, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Beat the egg yolks and sugar for five minutes until thick and set aside. Separately, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  6. Add the chocolate mixture and almond meal to the egg yolk mixture. Combine and then gently fold in the egg white mixture.
  7. Pour into the pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes and then allow to cool complete.
  8. Dust with the cocoa powder (or icing sugar) and serve with the strawberries and cream.