Blog, Cookery

Hadrian’s Wall Gin & Tonic Cheesecake

As you may or may not already know, I am working on a range of recipes with the Hadrian’s Wall Gin company. My first recipe was a Gin & Tonic Granita, perfect as a palate cleanser for a dinner party. 

Today, I am sharing recipe number two. This one is a real crowd pleaser and will cap off a meal in style, it can be made in advance and will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge. 


Hadrian’s Wall Gin & Tonic Cheesecake

Serves 10-12


100ml Hadrian’s Wall Gin

100ml Refreshingly Light Fever Tree Tonic

400g Full Fat Soft Cheese

200ml Double Cream

Juice of ½ a Lime

Zest of 1 Lime & 1 Lemon

5 Leaves of Gelatine, Platinum Grade

150g Digestive Biscuits

100g Ginger Snap Biscuits

100g Unsalted Butter

50g Caster Sugar

75g Icing Sugar

To Garnish

Lemon & Lime Slices

Lemon & Lime Zest

Crème Chantilly


In a food processor, blitz the ginger snaps and digestives (or alternatively place in a food bag and bash with a rolling pin). Decant into a mixing bowl.

Melt the butter over a low heat and once melted add to the digestive / gingersnap crumbs. Mix until crumbs are coated well. Press the crumb into the base of an 8” Springform cake tin. Smooth and level out the crumbs with the back of a spoon or spatula. Chill in the fridge to set.

In a pan on a medium-low heat, combine the gin, tonic and caster sugar and stir until the sugar melts. Whilst waiting for the sugar to melt, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes to bloom. Once the sugar has melted and the gelatine has soaked, turn the heat off the pan, squeeze the gelatine to get rid of any excess liquid and stir into the gin syrup until dissolved. Set aside to cool (keep stirring while cooling).

In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, add the cream cheese, lime juice, lemon & lime zest and the icing sugar. Whisk until smooth then gradually add the gin and tonic syrup. Once all the syrup has been added, whisk for a further minute. Add the double cream and whisk until smooth and soft peaks form.

Pour the mixture over the biscuit base and smooth with a palette knife or spatula. Place in the fridge overnight to set.

Garnish by piping on some Crème Chantilly topping with alternating lemon and lime slices then zest a lemon & lime all over.

Thanks for Reading, I hope you enjoy your cheesecake. 

To keep up to date with what’s going on with Paul’s Private Dining you can follow me on;

Instagram @PaulsPrivateDining

Facebook @paulsprivatedining

Twitter @_privatedining

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Blog, Cookery, Lessons

Working with Alnwick Market

A couple of months ago, Mel Corn, marketing and communications officer for Alnwick Markets got in touch with me to inquire whether I would be interested in providing recipes for Alnwick Markets using ingredients sourced from the market traders and independent shops around Alnwick.

My answer was a resounding yes. The opportunity was too good to turn down. I didn’t even need to think about it. All my friends and most of my family live in Alnwick and it’s where I lived for 17 years.

If you are visiting Alnwick, there are markets throughout the year including farmer’s markets where you can buy great produce, craft markets where you can grab a gift or two and special events.

So each month (at least), i’ll be providing them with a different recipe which i’ll also post here on my blog once it goes live on the blog section of the market’s website which can be found at

The first recipe is below:

Glazed Lamb Kofte with Pomegranate & Tomato Cous Cous

For the Kofte

600g Minced Lamb

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika

1 Large Chilli, seeds removed and chopped finely

1 Tbsp Ground Coriander

1 Small Bunch Mint, chopped (reserve 1 tbsp for dressing)

1 Small Bunch Coriander, chopped (reserve 1 tbsp for Cous Cous Salad)

2 Tsp Sumac

1 tbsp Tomato Puree

½ Lemon, Juice Only

Salt, Pepper

For the Glaze

3 Tbsp Pomegranate Glaze

2 Tbsp Runny Honey

For the Salad

200g Giant or Israeli Wholewheat Cous Cous

¼ Pomegranate, seeds only

12 Cherry Tomatoes, halved

3 inches Cucumber, sliced into thin strips

1 Red Pepper, 1 Green Pepper, diced

1 Red Onion, finely diced

½ Lemon, juice only

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt, Pepper

Mint & Lemon Yoghurt Dressing

150g Yoghurt

1 Lemon, zest and juice



Prepare the Kofte first. Soak 8 wooden skewers in warm water for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine all the ingredients listed under ‘For the Kofte’ up to and including the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.

Divide into 8 balls of even size then roll between palms to make a sausage shape. Insert the skewers lengthways, place on a tray, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for a minimum of an hour.

Next make the dressing;

Combine Yoghurt, reserved mint and lemon juice and zest thoroughly in a ramekin. Set aside to infuse.

Now to make the salad;

Cook the Cous Cous as per packet instructions, drain then cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the vegetables, pomegranate and cous cous with the reserved coriander. Season with a little salt and pepper and dress with the lemon juice and some extra virgin olive oil.

Make the glaze by adding the pomegranate molasses and honey to a saucepan and bringing to a boil for 1 minute.

Heat the grill to medium-high. Line the skewers on a grill tray and place under the grill for up to 12 minutes turning halfway. Once grilled, brush the koftes with the warm glaze.

Serve the Koftes on a bed of the salad and drizzle with the yoghurt dressing. Enjoy with a beer or a glass of wine.

Alnwick Markets Social Links can be found:

FB: Alnwick Markets

Twitter: @AlnwickMarkets

Insta: Alnwick_Markets



Blog, Cookery

Learning Food Photography From A Pro Food Photography Workshop @ San Lorenzo, Gosforth

One of my goals is to improve the shots I’m taking as they are now being used not just by my business but other businesses too.

I recently found out via a Facebook group I’m a member of that, local photographer Chris Ord was hosting a food photography workshop at San Lorenzo in Gosforth.

With that in mind, I booked on the workshop and headed along to San Lorenzo on Gosforth High Street on a hot July morning.

I had never been in San Lorenzo despite previously living in Gosforth for a couple of years. It’s a really smart space inside and every member of staff I interacted with today were friendly, polite and welcoming.

Chris introduced himself and the workshop and he was very engaging from the start. The focus of the course was how best to use natural light when shooting, managing aperture speeds, iso and using light reflectors to get the best shot and a lot more in between.

After a small amount of theory, we got stuck in taking some shots of the food that was cooked by the staff at San Lorenzo, which smelled and looked great. It was good to use our own kit to work with as it meant I could get a better understanding of my camera. (A big thing is to take the lens cap off before starting to take shots, I’ll not make that mistake again… haha.)

The dishes we photographed had different textures, colours, plating styles, shapes, and sizes; so, it was invaluable learning about angling the shot correctly.

We also got to ask Chris lots of questions about software, equipment, props that can be used. No question went unanswered from the workshop and Chris was a great teacher throughout.

Once all the photos were taken, and the workshop was drawing to a close, we got to eat the food; it tasted great. I’d highly recommend Chris for teaching you about photography if it’s something you are interested in as the cost of the workshop today was very reasonable.

Here are a couple of shots I took from today’s workshop, let me know what you think, in the comments below.


Keep up to date with Paul’s Private Dining including my food photography on Social Media, my profiles are:

Instagram: Paul’s Private Dining
Facebook: Paul’s Private Dining
Pinterest: Paul’s Private Dining

Thanks for reading,


Blog, Cookery, Kitchens

Photoshoot Day!

A few weeks ago I had a photo shoot with Adrian Finlay of Adrian Finlay Photography.

We originally connected through North East Hour on twitter, it’s an amazing platform for local businesses in the North East to network.

We had an initial chat followed by a meeting to discuss options of what I could cook on the day to give some good results. Whatever dishes I was going to do were going to be colourful and (hopefully) appealing. Adrian is a really friendly guy and I knew that during our shoot we would work well together.

The photo shoot took place at OutCook in Alnwick, with the use of Outlook also being available for photos. The kitchens they have on show are truly first class and stunning. I must say a big thanks to Ben and Jill from OutCook for being so helpful and accommodating in allowing me to use the space.


After I tried out some tester shots and food for the day, I settled on the recipes I would be using.

They were;

Paul’s Private Dining Steak Sharing Platter

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Tomatoes, Spinach and White Bean Puree

Beetroot & Goats Cheese Salad with Raspberries

Pan Roasted Chicken with Leeks And A Cheddar & Chive Sauce

Barbecued Sea Bass with Garden Treasures

Pear Poached in Mulled Wine with Walnut Brittle

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The shoot was really good, Adrian made me feel at ease and was happy for me to cook and plate at my own pace we worked collaboratively throughout the shoot even getting a couple of action shots. His eye for detail is great and we made some slight alterations to plated dishes to bring the best features out of the dishes on the day.

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There was a tangle with the Chicken dish as I just couldn’t get the placing right for the garnish. It had me pulling my hair out for several minutes until we made the decision to go back to basics. It definitely made the dish look better.

I’ve already used the photos to update my website and over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be updating some of the site content so please keep your eyes peeled for that.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Adrian for contacting me to take part in this shoot and I really appreciate all the help before during and after the shoot. If you would like to know more or check out some of Adrian’s other work please visit; I’m sure you will agree he has an exceptional eye for detail and quality.

For more information on OutCook visit their website at I’ll be hosting some new classes there soon, it’s such an amazing space to work in. Once again, thanks guys for all the support, it means a lot.

Thanks for Reading