When I got married 40 years ago, I asked my mother, Gertrude Di Ciacca, to write out her recipes in a book. She fed her ever expanding family but also ran a Caffe and catering business. I still have the book, a battered, spine broken 1970’s book that cost her £2.60.

It has about 20 recipes she had time to write out for me, a lot of blank pages and lots of scraps of paper and cuttings from newspapers and magazines I have collected over the years.

The opening page has her recipes for ‘a catering for 200 ’. In her best handwriting it lists how to make the ‘largest’ pot of Scotch Broth, 200 portions of potatoes and her shortbread recipe which begins with ‘ 5 lbs of plain flour’ !

The rest as they say, is history!

I found this easy cheesecake recipe tucked in one of the pages.

20cm springform cake tin

Easy Peasy Pastry Base

120g crunchy biscuits, anything left in the biscuit drawer

50g melted butter

Easy Peasy Cheesecake

350g ricotta or cottage cheese

2 tablespoons caster sugar

Juice and zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

2 medium free-range eggs, separated

275ml single cream

1 x sachet gelatine powder

For the base:

Pre-heat oven 200C/Gas 6

Grease the sides of the cake tin.

Whizz the biscuits in a food processor.

Melt the butter and mix with the biscuit crumbs.

Press the mixture into the tin and even it out

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes to firm the base.

Remove to cool.

Prepare the Easy Peasy Cheesecake

Add the cheese, sugar and egg yolks in a liquidiser. Blend until smooth.

Add the zest and juice of the lemon.

Add the cream while the motor is running.

Put 4 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle over the powdered gelatine.

Stir, and leave for 5 minutes until the mixture gets spongy.

Place the bowl in a pot of simmering water to dissolve the gelatine.

Strain it into the cheese mixture and mix again.

In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites and finally, gently fold these into the mixture.

Pour over the cooled biscuit base.

Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for about 3-4 hours until set.

Berry Compote

3-4 cups mixed berries, raspberries, blueberries, stoned cherries, fresh or frozen

1 tablespoon water or orange juice

Put the berries and juice into a shallow saucepan and gently simmer for 15 minutes or so until the berries have softened.

Taste and add a little sugar or honey to sweeten.

Cool and store in a sealed jar, refrigerated, till required.