Blollings cooks: Easiest ever and most delicious mojito lime cheesecake

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Recipe for the easiest ever and most delicious lime cheesecake, that you can make with almost no cooking equipment.

I love to bake at my parents house where there is a wonderful array of electric gadgets and a variety sizes of baking tins (although there is always the very real risk you’ll nip to the toilet and come back to find the cat sitting in the mixing bowl.) There is also an oven. Here in Spain it seems quite common for people to have no oven at all. In our flat we do have an oven, but its more of a modern dΓ©cor art piece as it is falling out of its little hole and doesn’t turn on. To replace it we’ve been provided with a free standing grill/oven that plugs into the wall. Me and the grill/oven got off to a bad start because one of the first times I tried to make toast in it, the bread fell down the back and immediately set on fire. This taught me two valuable lessons – firstly, you shouldn’t let the bread fall down the back and secondly it seems that we don’t have a fire alarm…

Obviously not having a fire alarm presumable should be illegal, but so should not having an oven, because what the hell can you bake if you don’t have an oven? The answer, dear readers, is obviously Easiest Ever and Most Delicious Lime Cheesecake. This is a wonderful recipe to make when you’re living abroad because the ingredients are easy to find, you don’t need any equipment and its so delicious all your new friends will think you’re a god.

The recipe is adapted from the Philadelphia website’s Key Lime Cheesecake Pie. I tried to make it more like a mojito by adding rum and mint, and more lime juice.

Some hints and tips…

Be careful when melting the butter because if you get distracted it might go all frothy and smell weird and you’ll have to do it again.
The one piece of equipment that’s hard to find might be a case to make the cheesecake in. You need a 20cm-ish tin. I found some disposable foil cases in the supermarket so I bought them, but equally you could line a large pan with foil and make it in that. If that won’t work, try making the cheesecake in individual glasses or jars, which also looks really fancy.

Easy and delicious mojito lime cheese recipe

Cheesecake
160g Digestive Biscuits
40g butter, melted
250g Philadelphia Original (or any normal cream cheese)
397g tin condensed milk

To flavour
2/3 limes
Rum
Mint leaves

1. Make the base: Bash the biscuits until they are all crumbs. You will need a blunt instrument like a pestle and mortar, rolling pin or a wine bottle. Mix two glugs of rum in with the melted butter. Combine the crumbs with the melted butter mix and press Β the mixture down, firmly, into the dish/pan/glasses. You might need a bit more melted butter. Pop the base in the fridge to get nice and FIRM!

2. Make the filling: Beat the cream cheese with the condensed milk. It may take a little while to get rid of lumps, especially if you’re using a fork because you don’t have a whisk or other mixing tool, but it’ll be find with a bit of time. Zest the lemons and juice them, and mix that into the cream cheese along with a couple more glugs of rum…be generous, but don’t be too generous or it’ll all be a bit sloppy.

3. Make the cheesecake: Spoon the cheese mixture on top of the base and put it back in the fridge to set. If you’re short of time you can put it in the freezer, but don’t leave it there too long as it’s hard to eat when completely frozen! Garnish with some fresh mint leaves.

While you’re waiting for it to freeze, obviously you should make yourself several mojitos.

Sourcing these ingredients in Spain:
Some tips for finding cheesecake ingredients in Spain πŸ™‚

Butter – mantequilla (Tulipan is margerine)
Philadelphia Original is sold in most supermarkets, I got the own brand version.
Condensed milk is easy to find and is called leche condensada. You could replace this with whipping cream too (nata para montar)
Limes in Spain are calledΒ lima. Now, in some Latin American countries they call limes ‘limon verde’ or even call lemons ‘lima’ so it can get confusing, especially if the fruit shop owner in Spain isn’t Spanish… limes don’t seem to be so common in Seville but I got mine from Mercadona.
Rum – ron. I recommend Negrita because its cheap and good quality.
Mint leaves – mente (or you can use hierbabuena which is sometimes easier to find)

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An investigative essay of Food in Cuba and Havana

After the monumental success of my blog on Cuban Toilets, I thought I would provide the cyberworld with more information about day to day life in Cuba. I have spoken about food a bit but here I shall collate all the information I gathered after months of in depth research!

When somebody asks me how the food was in Cuba, I usually shudder and pretend to wretch. This is purely because at home we suffered from having a cook who couldn’t cook. An unfortunate circumstance. In addition, anyone who’s walked around the streets of Havana will concur that they are dotted with very poor quality fast food joints that sell pizzas, hamburgers and hot dogs that are almost unrecognisable, they are so awful. Cheese and processed meat are not strong points. I would advise you to avoid them.

I have just looked up some of the restaurants we used to love when in Cuba on Trip Advisor, and discovered that Starbien, the restaurant owned by my landlord is #6 in Havana. I think this is more than fair, the food there was amazing, especially by Cuban standards, and compared to prices in the UK it was very cheap. Very often, walking into a restaurant in Cuba is like walking into the 1970s. They simply LOVE prawn cocktails there! But Starbien is very modern and classy.

What I find completely incomprehensible is how my landlords were able to run such a successful restaurant, but were more than happy to leave us with some of the strangest, oddest, most unappealing dishes known to man. I don’t make claims without evidence! Here is a photo of one of our delightful meals, served – as usual – in a dish that looked like a dog bowl.

Hard, mysterious meat; fried, destroyed, dry and tasteless. Our meals were served with rice and a salad made of tomato slices, green beans and beetroot slices. Sometimes we got carrot(!!!!!) Remember, if you ever judge me for complaining about little things, this wasn’t for a day or a week. It was five months! I love tomato salad, but nobody loves anything every day for five months!!

Obviously Cuba suffers from shortages, and food that can’t be easily grown or produced in Cuba is hard to find, expensive and often quite bad. However, Cuban food can actually be very delicious, and other students had a much more positive experience than us. The huge amount of fried food we were given really affected our moods AND OUR BOWELS!!! So don’t get down in the dumps, and remember that there is good food out there, you just need to go out and buy it!

One of the great things about Cuba is that food is very often made fresh on the premises with fresh ingredients. The climate provides lots of strange new vegetables and really delicious fruit. Seafood is abundant and ‘fine dining’ is a lot cheaper than anywhere else I’ve been. When you’re in a new place, it can be hard to work out where will be good to eat. These are my tips!

If you want something cheap and quick for lunch, go where Cubans go, and eat at a moneda nacional cafe. I’ve listed a few below. As a rule of thumb, these cafes are either holes in the wall, and people eat and drink standing up nearby, or they’ll be in peoples porches and front gardens. The best places will have a lot of choice, and serve fruit shakes (batidos) too. I always went for an omlette or tuna sandwich, with onion and tomato if it was possible. Omlettes are made freshly and were much tastier than cheese, as cheese can be of varying quality, whereas eggs are pretty standard. If somewhere only sells cheese and ham sandwiches and cheap beer, I’d look somewhere else!

You know you’ve found a good moneda nacional restaurant if it is decorated nicely with plants and hanging baskets. Make sure you ask for the moneda nacional prices! Pick a nice comida, such as fried pork, chicken or fish with ‘moros y cristianos’ and salad. Moros y cristianos is rice with black beans. It literally means ‘moors and Christians’…it tastes SO GOOD if the cook knows what they’redoing! The fish is usually great, and served with a wedge of lime. Squeeze it on the rice! Mmmmmmmm.

As long as you don’t end up with our luck, and a cook like Ana, the best food can be found in Casa Paticulares. If they offer dinner, accept at least for one night, the prices are good compared to CUC (tourist currency) restaruants. If you are in Vinales and Baracoa, DEFINITELY eat in the Casa. It may well be the best meal of your trip πŸ™‚

Here are some of the places we liked, it’s fun to find your own favourites too. In the words of my good friend Rachel, who gave me many tips in my preparations for Cuba: “Enjoy your rice and beans.”

Places to eat in Vedado/Havana

Lunch time: Calle A entre 29 y Zapata (Street A between 29 and Zapata)
Calle D entre 23 y 25 (Street D between 23 and 25)
Al frio y fuego: Calle 25 entre D y E (or there abouts!)

Star Bien
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g147271-d3700427-Reviews-Starbien-Havana_Cuba.html

Waoo! burgers, brownies and cockatils are great:
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g147271-d3536479-Reviews-Waoo_Snack_Bar-Havana_Cuba.html

Chanchulleros. Best value dinner (and really delicious), prawns and meat dishes, and best value cocktails in Old Havana
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g147271-d2477831-Reviews-El_Chanchullero_de_Tapas-Havana_Cuba.html

Places to eat outside of Havana

Fernan-2 in Vinales does a great meal deal and is very beautiful, we loved it and my sister said it was the best meal of the trip!
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g616288-d2431827-Reviews-Restaurant_Fernan_2_Fernando_s-Vinales_Pinar_del_Rio_Province_Cuba.html

El Barracon, Santiago de Cuba was really good and a good price too!
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/cuba/eastern-cuba/santiago-de-cuba/restaurants/caribbean/el-barracon