Friday, 7 June 2013

A good day for bacon and syrup

Today is a good day for sweet bacon-based products that put my fomer attempt at a bacon & maple syrup cheesecake to shame.

First, Hummingbird Bakery launches it's American Brunch Cupcake of "'Maple syrup-soaked sponge studded with bacon pieces, a caramel centre and maple syrup frosting topped with crispy bacon."

And now Time magazine tells me of Dunkin Donuts new doughnut bacon sandwich!


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Faith stories now online!

Over the last 12 months I've spoken with hundreds of people about their beliefs, identities, spiritual journeys and encounters with people of different religions.

The "Faith Stories" I wrote following these inspiring interview are now available here. You can search for stories by location (I managed to get round more than 30 countries), religious, topic and keyword. 

So if you want to hear from  a Californian Jew who has converted to Hinduism; what it's like to run a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan; why 21st century Indian Hindus still need gurus;  the story of Canadian Muslim who almost became a terrorist; or from a Seventh Day Adventist who bonded with Muslims over basketball in Mozambique; check out Faith Stories. 

I've spoke with everyone from from Rabbi David Rosen in  London, to the Venerable Dharma Master Hsin Tao in Taiwan; and ordinary people from Syria to Tajikistan, and Norway to Ethiopia. It's been an amazing privilege to lead this project, so I hope you enjoy it, too. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Eating and drinking my way around London - the final instalment (for now)

My list of favourite places exhausted for now at least, I give you my Places I Must Try Before Christmas from across London town.

Gordon Ramsay at Claridges, for lunch. Not that I'm a big Gordon fan, he just happens to open restaurants near my current and former places of work. Not as expensive as you’d think for a 2 or 3 course set lunch, and I'm told  the food is just as good, just a slightly shorter menu. Ramsay's Boxwood Café and it’s mouthwatering Roast Suckling Pig is still sadly missed after shutting down a couple of years ago (sad face.)

Somewhere that sells fish tacos. I have happy memories of chomping down on some in a bar in Chicago, all alone on a work trip. Can't tell you what kind of fish it was though, so I'm open to offers.

The Breakfast Club – Hoxto Square or Soho – in my never-ending hunt for good American pancakes with crispy bacon and maple syrup. And bananas. The Hoxton branch is just round the corner from my new office so hoping to get there soon.

The shisha lounge I passed recently at the end of Brick Lane that reminded me of happy holidays in Damascus in 2009.

More cocktail bars. No, I don't want to book two weeks in advance. No, I don't want to pay more than £15 for ONE DRINK. No, I don't want 2 Woo-hoo's for the price of 1 at Weatherspoons. Happy medium, anyone?

The tiny wine and meat bar on a side street off Soho's Wardor Street. A merry Friday eve was spent with friends - indeed, merry enough that I can't recall it's name. 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Eating and drinking my way around London - Part 3

This third instalment is all about my home turf of South West London.

Rick’s Cafe, Tooting - Much loved by Tooting locals, Rick’s confit duck is fab and he has supplied us with haggis, neaps and tatties for the last two Burn’s Nights. Come with removable layers though – near the door is drafty and near the kitchen is boiling, but with up to 30 people essentially squeezed into Rick’s front room it’s hardly surprising.

Sappho Meze Bar, Clapham North - £9.50 (cash only) for a menu-free dining experience of about 20 small home-madeGgreek dishes, lovingly prepared and served by the father and daughter duo at this family-run favourite. Don’t think they’re open Mondays or lunchtime, so worth a call first. Great dining experience with hungry friends.

Gastro, Clapham Common - Best for bouillabaisse (fish soup) with all the extras including home-made garlic mousse, and brutally good coffee.

Harvester, Windmill Road, Mitcham  -  A classic for when you’re very, very hungry at 4pm on a Sunday. Half a spitroast chicken with corn, fries, red devil sauce and a salad cart, please. If you're too snobby to come with me then you're missing out!

Numero Uno, Tooting    Best for pizza – The Four Seasons and their Numero Uno Special with rocket, prosciutto and (gasp!)white truffle, all for only £7.95 each to take away. If eating in then the monster size king prawns wrapped in parma ham and fried in garlic butter are the way to go. But don’t have more than a small glass of house red with it or you’ll need  an entire box of Rennie.

Tram and Social, Tooting Broadway chic interiors, ales, wines, well priced prosecco, hit-and-miss but occasionally brilliant DJs, slouching and dancing, dress up or dress down, sausage rolls behind the bar if you’re quick, art students and ethnically diverse locals. Jumble sales and burlesque on weekend daytimes. Open very late. All in a big old shed for trams. All hail Antic, the saviours of South London and now the proud owner of at least half of Tooting!

The Selkirk, Tooting Broadway - Go on a Monday for their 2 4 1 burger deal and check out the food and drink deals for the rest of the week.

Costas Café, Tooting Bec - Nothing to do with the coffee chain. I love Costas. They feed me toast, baked beans, black pudding and peppermint tea when I’ve had too many lemonades the night before, and charge me anywhere between £2.10 and £4.40 depending on how the Turkish economy is fairing that week.

Tomorrow: My 'Still To Try' list. 

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Eating and drinking my way around London - Part 2

Toady's instalment: eateries and drinkeries in the centre of the town that are worth elbowing your way through the tourists for. 

Gordon's Wine Bar, Embankment Tiny underground bar-come-sherry-cellar. Best at 4pm on a Friday for conspiratorial conversations over a glass of red at the end of a hard week, but tiny and heaving so book a table if you're planning on going at anything like normal drinking hours. Also does a hearty ploughmans of a lunchtime but make sure you get there bang on 12noon.

Muffinski’s, Covent Garden - Fresh muffins, not too big, every flavour and every dietary neurosis catered for (low fat, no added sugar etc). Very dense and not unlike scones – in a good way -  so ask for some butter to go with them. Or get a hot chocolate for dunking.

Navajo Joe’s basement bar, Covent Garden - Restaurant is handy and food is fine but overpriced, but the bar below does a mean gin martini (£10) and it doesn’t tend to be  packed even at 8pm on a Friday.  One of those and you’re basically done for the night so it’s a good investment of a tenner.

The Churchill Arms, South Kensington - I never got the whole English pub serving Thai Food thing until I came here for the first time last month. While I still hunt for a regular Thai haunt this will do nicely. It’s so popular there’s a 1 or 2 hour timeslot per table, but the green curry and pad thai was so good we ate ours in about 15 minutes so it wasn’t a problem. Famous for its hanging baskets outside and vast plethora of random knick-knacks hanging low from the ceiling, it’s a slightly convoluted wander from South Kensington so needs to be google mapped first.

Le Pain Quotidian, London Bridge This place just makes me so happy!! Order a coffee and a bread basket to share and they’ll arrive accompanied by a selection of giant jars of toppings, from exquisitely rich hazelnut spread and heavenly white, milk and dark chocolate spreads, to fig and apricot conserves. Last time I was there 3 big full sized pots of toppings arrived with the bread and I asked if we could have all the other toppings as well, and the lovely waitress was more than happy to oblige. The fruit and nut bread lathered in both hazelnut and dark cholocate spread had me in raptures. Best alternative afternoon tea ever. They salads are excellent also, as is most of the rest of the fresh, varied and reasonably priced menu. All tucked between Borough Market and Vinopolis. Very snug, lovely for both day time and evening, and a great lists.

Giraffe – South Bank, but also Marylebone, Spittlefields etc. - Globe trotting menu means something for everyone and they do a v.good breakfast deal for a fiver. My favourite for breakfast meetings is a sausage, bacon and egg sandwich of extra thick brown bread and a hot chocolate. How every working day should begin. Also recommend the brunch menu and enchiladas.

AMT, Euston / Marylebone and some other national rail stations  -   Best for Chai Lattes. And sometimes free giant gold chocolate coins at Christmas.  they offer to put ice cubes in their herbal teas which no other café ever seems to do (hello burnt tongue.)

Two vegan-friendly hippy raw-food and fibre filled favourites for when your body needs a deep cleanse: InSpiral Lounge, Camden - and My Village Café, Camden  - Raw chocolate brownies, multicoloured salads, stews and quiches: the quickest way to a week's worth of 5-a-day.

Still to come: The mighty South West

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Eating and drinking my way around London

I keep reading and hearing about new eateries and bars to try out around London. Sometimes I even get round to going to them. But with having the memory of a goldfish I tend to forget them almost immediately, even if they were bloody marvellous.  I keep meaning to write them down, but I forget to do that, too.

So I’ve decided to do a brain-dump here, more for my benefit that yours (sorry dear readers), so I no longer have to spend an hour deliberating where to meet friends at 4pm on a rainy Saturday, or keep texting my friends asking for the name of 'that place near the thing where we had that great falafel about 2 years ago.'

Today: West End, Mayfair and East.

 Apostrophe, Grosvenor Street / St Christopher’s place - The Best Hot Chocolate I Have Ever had, and I’ve had a lot. (Apart from the Choco Café in Prague, maybe.) So thick you need to eat it with a spoon. Order it ‘small and thick’ and feel all your troubles melting away.

Maze, Grosvenor Square  - Very swanky and not inexpensive Mayfair establishment, but surprisingly welcoming and happy for you to perch in the bar with one large glass of wine, when you’ve just left your office over the road and deposited your gym kit and bag of Sainsbury’s shopping with their immaculate cloakroom staff.  They give you lovely nibbles, too. It took 4 visits and as many C-list ‘sleb’ spots before I realized it was the Maze. Shows what a long day at work can do to you  - and that high-end venues needn’t be twattish.

Vita Organic, Wardour Street  - – no meat, no wheat, no dairy, no sugar, no additives, nothing cooking above a low heat so all technically raw. But still manages to be delicious.

The Samuel Smiths pub on the way to Marylebone, which I’m told is actually called Angel In The Field and is on Thayer Street - One of the few places near the West End for a seat and a reasonably priced drink in a well lit pub, even on a Friday evening. I am getting old!

Follow this with pitta and hummus a couple of doors down Thayer Street at Diwan before you get on the tube.

A great, kitch and but doubtless deeply inauthentic Lebanese is just behind St Christopher’s place  - Le Comptoir Libanais, Wigmore Street - A real failsafe for lunch or dinner. Lovely, lovely food. If there’s two of you get a big mezze platter and a meaty wrap to share, then extra mezze if you’ve got room.

Little Georgia, Hackney In between Hackney City Farm and Broadway market, it provides amazing winder warmers like pungent, tomato paprika-y mushroom and aubergine stew topped with wondrous gooey cheese. And great big colourful carrot and beetroot salads. I’ve not tried their traditional cheese bread yet (the one I sampled at The Georgian opposite Clapham South tube was like a big hug for my tummy), but as it’s now made it into one of Nigella’s cookbook’s it’s got to be on my to-eat list for next time. Their website doesn’t seem to be working yet and they appear to have opened another branch, so it’s the one at 87 Goldsmith’s Road.

Still to come – Central, North, South West and Places I Still Need to Go.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Christians versus everyone else?

"I am the way , the truth and the life. No-one comes to the father except through me." John 14 v 6

When I first became a Christian this verse was used to explain, excuse and insist that Christians had it right and everyone else had it wrong. That only we in the church were in the lifeboat and would be 'saved' from drowning in eternal damnation. That we could and should be bloody-minded: we had the answers to the meaning of life, death and the cosmos.

I still believe Jesus is both the bees knees and the cat's pyjamas. I still believe his words and in this verse. But as my understanding of God has deepened, my faith has grown and I appreciate more and more the value of mystery, I simple can no longer with any authenticity hold the view that I'm right and everyone else is screwed.

I've read many translations, interpretations and exegesis that try to unpack this thorny little verse that innumerable Christian friends have relied upon as a trump card in our theological debates.  I have pondered, prayed and meditated on it. More and more I am convinced it is utterly true, but that using it to exclude non-Christians from God's 'shalom' wholeness (or salvation, if you'd prefer) is to have got the wrong end of the stick.

Today on the Northern Line, somewhere around Kennington I think, I read a beautifully succinct perspective on this by my dear friend, teacher and occasional guru Noel Moules in his astonishing new book Fingerprints of Fire, Footprints of Peace

In these words Jesus declares that he is the road to God. What he is saying is that only a person who follows him can know God with the intimacy of Abba (meaning 'daddy') and the quality of personal spiritual experience this enables. But he is not claiming there is no truth or life without him, or that God cannot be known apart from him.

'Coming out' as a Christian who believes God is not restricted to Christian's understanding of him was a painful experience, but every time I read a reflection like this my soul breathes a sigh of gratitude as I'm reminded just how big God is.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Why bacon does not belong in cheesecakes

"No Rachel, you were not supposed to put beef in the trifle. It did not taste good."

Such were the wise words of Judy Geller, aka Ross and Rachels 'mom' in friends, which came to mind around about my fourth spoonful of bacon and maple syrup cheesecake.

The first couple of bites actually tasted okay. Syrup-drizzled crispy smoked bacon and cream cheese laced with maple syrup? Good. Syruppy cream cheese with regular cheesecake base? Good. 

All three mixed together? Not good! 

The whole thing was just too salty, and as it began to churn in my stomach I had to wash it down with a spoonful of Nutella to get rid of the taste.

At least it looked pretty...

Given that it was The Husband who asked for this horror to be constructed, it was somewhat ironic that that the same day I made this he came down with a post-festival stomach bug so couldn't eat any. He might have liked it, but the ship has sailed.

Big thanks to the reader who posted an alternative and apparently delicious recipe below, but it's going to be a while before I brave another meaty pudding. 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Bacon and maple syrup cheesecake? Oh dear....

With my main client closing for a week over the August Bank Holiday, I'm hoping to have a spare evening in the next week or so to whip up a new creation. The Husband has been asking for a savoury cheesecake for a while, and inspired by an amazing gelato I has in Sorrento, Italy about 8 years ago I was thinking about ricotta and basil. Delicate flavours, and basil is often served with desserts and strawberry-based edibles, so worth a try.

But my husband really likes bacon. Really likes it.

As do I, and our favourite breakfast is a stack of American-style buttermilk pancakes with crispy rashers and a pot of maple syrup for drizzling (me) or drowning (him). But I have boundaries, and he does not. And the only way I can prove to him the idea is a daft one is to actually make him  a bacon and maple syrup cheesecake and them watch him try to eat it.

I've only found 2 recipes for a bacon cheesecake on t'internet;. One of them includes 3 pounds (!!) of lardons and the other uses bacon dripping instead of butter for the base. So clearly I'm going to have to make up my own.

So come the weekend I may have in the fridge on my first truly revolting and inedible cheesecake.

The things you do for love.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Prayer for Sikhs in Wisconsin and beyond

Tragic new this weekend as six Sikh worshippers were shot dead in their gurdwara (temple) in Wisconsin, US. Too soon to really reflect on and dissect the tragedy, but my thoughts and prayers are with the community there, and Sikhs friends around the world, who are affected by this tragic and necessary attack. 

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Happy National Cheesecake Day!

I've been kindly informed by my fair readers and friends that today is National Cheesecake Day! Well, it is in the US and it's one American import I'm happy to try and get us hooked on here in the UK.

Having only found about about this auspicious occasion an hour ago it's a bit late in the day to launch any proper celebrations this evening, but I've got July 30th 2013 in my diary already and you're all invited to my house for a slice.

So for today, check out for a myriad of recipes and get cooking. Or if that seems like too much effort, and the ready made versions in Tesco or Sainsburys look a bit droopy, remember I make them to order. So if you're hungry, email me at

Or if you live nearer to a branch of The Cheesecake Factory than  SW17, I guess you could go there.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Post-breakfast dessert

Yesterday I made my mum's Victoria Sponge, though with my super hot oven and lack of sponge-experience mine never come out as neat and even as hers. Tasted pretty good though, even without doubling the quality of butter-cream icing as I usually would. I used Stork margarine instead of butter in the sponge which made it  much fluffier and lighter. 

So having got up and had an early breakfast, brisk walk and an hour's work this morning, 9am felt like a good time to have my post-breakfast dessert. Or early Elevensies. 

Saturday, 28 July 2012

I could totally take on Borough Market

Today I wandered through Borough Market and came across two stalls selling cheesecakes of the New York, Blueberry, Tiramisu and Baileys & Chocolate varieties. They looked edible, but I must confess I thought they didn't look as sexy or as tasty as mine. They were baked, so the bases looked soggy and they looked a touch tired even though they probably only came out of the oven last night.

So  there is, in fact, a gap in the Borough Market market!

A distant dream for now, but I reckon if I ever decided to take my 'business' seriously I could get something good going...

Saturday, 21 July 2012

I just ate a lot of cheesecake

The peach and raspberry was a success! Had a lovely Moroccan dinner with friends and we finished off with the very fresh and fruity cheesecake I made this morning. (And half a white chocolate cheesecake that I'd defrosted.) I still reckon it could do with some gelatine to firm it up, and it's certainly not the easy-to-slice variety I'd be able to sell, but it was good enough that I had a second slab after I'd finished the washing up. The raspberry sauce I blitzed up at the end to drizzle on top was fantastically tart, and the whole thing was very fluffy considering it was made with cream cheese rather than ricotta. Freaking expensive with 500g of fresh raspberries altogether, but definitely worth it.

Here's my top shelf this morning....

....and the post dinner view, albeit a bit blurry

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Peach & Raspberry Cheesecake

This weekend I'm making a mango cheesecake for a cafe and a  blueberry one for my friend Jules' party, and so figured I should try something new for the friends who are coming for dinner on Saturday night. Most of my friends aren't fussy and are happy with anything large, round and containing butter, cream and sugar, but my friend's boyfriend is a Real Life Chef.  He's not a food snob (I don't think), but I still want to make something that doesn't come a side order of  "I just made it up, so if it's horrible tell me and I'll get you some Haagen Daz instead." 

Thus, when Good Food magazine caught my eye on the shelf of WHSmiths in a service station on the edge of Blackburn this weekend -  I only hang out in where the cool kids go, clearly - I realised I'd found a new recipe.

So: Peach Melba Cheesecake it will be. But I'm calling mine a Peach and Raspberry cheesecake because I don't know what a 'Melba' is. Not convinced mine will look this glorious, but I'll post some photos once it's done.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Funniest Family Guy moment for a while

It's taken me about 7 years to get into Family Guy but I've finally succeeded. I've learnt to appreciate it's rampant lack of political correctness and every so often am rewarded with an episode that manages to touch on a tricky issue with some (only some, mind) sensitivity.

The episode I watched last night was all about freedom of religion and belief. Until now I thought the Life of Brian's 'Blessed are the cheese makers' and 'Give me your shoe!' scenes were the most insightful comedy moments about the astonishing capacity of Christians to judge and condemn each other's interpretations of faith, but now, 30 years later, there's a  new favourite to add to the list

Judging by some of the YouTube comments about this clip, the word irony seems to have sadly passed by a good number of viewers, but nevertheless this was my absolutely favourite moment.


Friday, 29 June 2012

Goldilocks and the Three Cheesecakes

According to the fairy tale, upon creeping into the Three Bears' house Goldilocks was traumatised by porridge that was first too hot, then too cold, before she chanced upon one that was just right. Now I know how the poor girl felt.

Just recently my previously foolproof Blueberry & White Chocolate cheesecake has either been turning out too grainy - due to over whipping the cream and/or not letting the chocolate cool enough; or too runny -  the result of under-whipping the cream for fear of it going grainy. 

I awoke this morning to find last night's creation was just too gooey and clearly never going to set enough to be sliced neatly, so it went in the freezer for when my mum comes next week. I made another after breakfast (toast, not cheesecake), wondering whether adding a touch of gelatin would help. It didn't. Flavour was fine but it had the texture of sick and went straight in the bin:

I've just finished giving my third and final attempt my full attention, making sure I used an electric whisk for exactly one minute (more reliable) and letting the chocolate cool for 20 whole minutes in the bathroom (my kitchen is sweltering). Et voila! Perfect consistency accompanied by the fattest blueberries I've ever seen.

The knack? Concentration: don't make multiple cheesecakes at the same time. Phew. Another delivery ready for Ahmed in the morning.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

What have I let myself in for?

Last night I created two quite beautiful cheesecakes to trial at Bertie & Boo's coffee shop in Balham. When I got on the bus this morning with my big white cake box, the lady I sat down next to asked me what I had in there. When I showed her, she let out an 'Oooooohh...' and asked if she could take my card because a friend of her's owns a cafe on Clapham High Street. I gave her a spare copy of my menu that I happened to have with me and she wished me well and got off at the next stop. Bless her!

Sadly when I rocked up at Bertie & Boo I was told they couldn't stock them after all, because they don't have refrigerated cabinets on the shop floor. Clearly the staff I spoke to there last week were telling me porky pies. Grr. So I headed instead to the Fat Delicatessen, who were also interested last week, only to be cordially turned away by the owner who told me they made everything in house. Grr again. 

So on I plodded to a little coffee shop (whose name escapes me) next to Balham tube station which I hadn't approached before. I asked the lass behind the counter if she'd like a blueberry & white chocolate cheesecake. She clearly thought I was a bit mad but upon realising I wasn't, she looked at me as though  I'd just handed over a free Mulberry handbag. I do like to make people's mornings..... and if she raves to her boss about it as she promised, I could (could) have another stockist.

One cheesecake still to dispense of, I took the Mango cheesecake to meet Ahmed who owns the Nightingale Cafe on Balham High Road. Ahmed told me last week he doesn't sell  many cheesecakes - it's more a cafe-restaurant than a coffee shop  - but said vaguely that he might be okay with me dropping in a sample. 

After seeing the goods this morning, he said: 'I like the look of that and I like you. You have good energy. Can you bring me in three more on Friday?'

Yes I can, Ahmed.

'I'd like a discount for those three,' he said, 'but if it goes well I'll pay you full price after that and feature you on my website as our cheesecake lady. I did that for another small cake-making business once and now they turn over £50k a year.'

So there you go! Nothing might come of it; and there really are only so many cheesecakes I can make before I risk starting to resent them.  But I had a fun morning.

Friday, 22 June 2012

The wisdom of a dead squirrel

I saw a dead squirrel on my way to the tube on Monday. It has not looked any healthier as the week has progressed, and after walking home in the rain yesterday the Husband noted, 'That squirrel's pretty much just mush now.'

People today, especially in the West, and particularly city dwellers like me, don't really do death. Occasional road-kill is the closest we get on an everyday basis. Any imminent death of elderly or terminally ill relatives or friends is sanitised, wired up, dehumanised, put out of sight and dealt with by medical professionals.

We're no better at coping with the idea of our own deaths. Even people who profess faith in something beyond this life worship youth, fear death, and find talk of it morbid at best. Which is odd, because death is life's only certainty.

I spent Wednesday morning at Trinity Hospice in Clapham, talking with the Michael Savage who leads Trinity's Spiritual Care work. He's a really lovely, wise and grounded man. I've had in the back on my mind for many years that I'd like to volunteer or work within the hospice movement in some capacity, to offer love and care for those going through the dying process, irrespective of their religious beliefs. To listen to folk, to pray with them if they'd like to, but Not to try and 'save' them on their death beds. Frankly I'm not sure if I'm made of strong enough stuff emotionally, but I want to give it a shot at some point in the next few years.

Why have I only done something about this niggle now? Partly because this summer I've had the time, but partly for the purely selfish reason of my own spiritual development.

I had a very inspiring conversation with a Buddhist teacher recently, who has pioneered a lot of contemplative end of life care within the US prison system. Many of his stories moved me but he said one thing that really struck me:

"We should all live with an ever present awareness of our own death."

So that's what I'm trying to do a bit more of, while being deeply thankful for the life I have right now. Some people hear reminders and encouragements from God on their spiritual journeys in dreams or visions as they go through life; but I'll take divine wisdom wherever I find it. Even in a squirrel.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

A not-quite-kosher-enough cheesecake - and a Rocky Road delight

What a successful weekend - the highly experimental Rhubarb Cheesecake & Rocky Road Cheesecake worked out pretty darn amazing.

I realised the husband, an ardent anti-rhubarb activist, had turned a corner on the fruit front when I noticed the crumbs on his chin and the empty plate on his lap. A fine endorsement. It wasn't too stringy as I had feared, though I will try blitzing the baked rhubarb for even longer next time to try and make it super smooth. The downside is it's not the prettiest cheesecake, so will have to think about glamming it up before it's commercially viable.

I also nearly fed a slice to my Jewish friend Danny last night, then had to whisk it out from under him when he asked if it was gelatine free (sorry again fella!). He did inform me that Jews who keep Kosher can actually eat food that is less than one sixtieth non-kosher, but I wasn't confident my dessert quite fit the criteria. 

I've just checked this out and he wasn't winding me up - there's actually a principle called batel b'shishim, which means if a 'forbidden' ingredient is present in such tiny quantities it's barely there, then it's null and void and fine to eat. How wonderfully sensible. So can Jews eat smoky bacon crisps? Don't imagine there's much meat in them. Will have to ask Danny.

Danny and my other non-Kosher friends did also kindly help me to eat my first Rocky Road cheesecake last night. OH MY GOODNESS! Other than the base being a touch on the fat side, it was delicious. Just need to play around with the drizzled milkybar-almond-Oreo cookie-marshmallow topping to make it easier to cut and we're ready to rock & roll.