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It's Pimm's o'clock! The quintessential taste of a British Summer becomes one of your five-a-day in this sensational seasonal salad. Ideal for picnics, parties and barbecues and of course for watching Wimbledon. Enjoy al-fresco dining this summer with my Strawberry, Cucumber and Mint Salad with a Pimm' s Dressing




Summer is teasing us a bit at the moment, certainly here in the far North East corner of Scotland. We've had some absolutely glorious days but others most definitely hold true to the 'ne'er cast a clout til May/June/July be oot' adage! For me one of the unmistakable flavours of Summer is Pimm's. It makes you think of the Chelsea Flower Show, Henley Regatta, Garden Parties, Punting on the Thames, Polo Matches and of course Wimbledon. The recipe I'm sharing with you is perfect for al fresco dining and makes a great BBQ side dish. It was inspired by Nigel Slater who wrote about a sweet strawberry and cucumber fruit salad in his Observer column. I immediately thought of Pimm's and decided to have a go at a savoury version with a Pimm's Dressing. It turned out to be the perfect taste of summer.



Whilst I know that I like Pimm's I really don't know what exactly it is. Time for a wee bit of research. First surprise - and probably why I like it so much - is that the alcohol base is none other than my good friend Gin. Apparently Pimm's is a 'fruit cup' but may also be considered a liqueur. First produced in 1823 as a tonic to aid digestion it was served in a small tankard known as a 'no. 1 cup'. Over the years other variants were introduced from no. 2 cup right through to no. 6 cup. All had different spirit bases covering whisky, rum, brandy and vodka. Hence what we buy today is known as Pimm's No 1. It's also worth while checking out supermarket own brand versions such as Austin's, Jeeves and Pitchers for Pimm's O'clock on the cheap. 


PIMM'S SUMMER SALAD
Strawberry, Cucumber and Mint Salad with a Pimm's Dressing

Salad 
2 Punnets of British Strawberries
1 Cucumber
Fresh Mint leaves

Dressing
1 Tbsp Pimm's No. 1 Cup
1 Tbsp Runny Honey 
1 Tbsp Olive Oil 
1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar 
1 Tbsp Fresh Mint - finely chopped
Freshly ground Salt & Pepper

Hull and roughly chop the strawberries.
Cut the cucumber length ways and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon. Slice into crescents.
In a jam jar shake together the dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
Stir the dressing through the salad just before serving and sprinkle of few whole mint leaves on top.


It's Pimm's o'clock! For further recipes celebrating this essentially British taste of summer check out the following. I'm also intrigued by the Cucumber Cake from Veggie Desserts but that might just be because of it's Gin icing! 



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Over fifty dog friendly places to eat and drink in Aberdeen City and Shire. Your four legged friend will be made very welcome in this selection of Cafes, Restaurants, Coffee Shops and Pubs. 



Originally posted Feb 2018, updated June 2019

Much to my daughters disgust we don't have a dog. Because of this we are the worst parents ever. As such she takes every opportunity possible to engage with four legged friends and is always happy to doggy walk and sit for friends (or complete strangers!) For her the Long Dog Cafe is all about the dogs and the freakshakes are secondary! Today's post came about due to a series of interrelated events. A couple of weeks ago I received a call from a researcher from the Kay Adams show on BBC Radio Scotland wondering if I'd like to appear on air and object to the proliferation of dogs in eateries. I declined. Despite not being a dog owner, give me a well behaved dog in a cafe over a badly behaved human any day of the week! 


A couple of days later I was having coffee at Hammerton Store with Camilla of mimihammill.com (designer extraordinaire of print, pattern and silk scarves) meanwhile my daughter was walking her adorable pup Tattie round the block before joining us inside. We got talking about doggy friendly places in the city and the fact that we were to be having a Jack Russel called Pippa coming to stay with us for the weekend as our first match via BorrowMyDoggy I already knew of quite a few places and Camilla and Tattie told me some more of their favourite haunts. Back at my laptop I shared those I knew of on my Foodie Quine Facebook page and asked my followers to suggest others. Before I knew it the post had grown arms and legs and had been seen by more than 15,000 people with in excess of 50 dog friendly places to eat and drink suggested in the city and immediate surrounds of the shire. 

Pippa has a pitstop at The Liberty Kitchen 

What follows is the list as it stands. All of which have been recommended to me in good faith but PLEASE double check before making a special outing with your 4 legged friend. In order to make this post a wee bit more exciting than just a series of links to Facebook pages, I asked some of my friends and blogging buddies to share photos of their pooches eating out in Aberdeen. Needless to say they were only too happy to oblige!




Storm eyeing up a Freakshake at The Long Dog (his human is Annabell Rose)



ABERDEEN CITY 




Walter about to tuck into a Doggy Cone at Aunty Bettys 

(his human is Hannah at littleredblog)



ABERDEEN CITY 




Harley visits FoodStory (his human is Christy at Dinner Stories

ABERDEENSHIRE
Cool Gourmet, Stonehaven
The Old Pier, Stonehaven (downstairs only)
Scallywags, Stonehaven
The Stack Restaurant and Bar, Muchalls (bar only)
DogTap, Ellon
Birdhouse Café, Banchory
Potarch Cafe & Restaurant Ballogie Estate
The Craft Bar, Pitmedden
Meldrum House (Cave Bar only)
Ceann Torr, Kintore
Strachans, Inverurie
The Broadstraik Inn, Elrick (bar only)
Grampian Transport Museum, Alford (museum & cafe) 

Douglas ponders over Pizza and Brew Dog at Dog Tap (his human is Sarah Ritchie

In addition to sharing recommendations on the thread a couple of people also suggested a free app called Petlas. Turns out this had recently been developed and launched in Aberdeen. Co-founder Stephanie got in touch with me about it and to complete the circle and prove the theory of six degrees of separation she'd been the guest on the Kay Adams show on BBC Radio Scotland that I would have been up against! It really is a small world. I caught up with her and Harley over a coffee at Grub to find out a bit more about Petlas.

Harley visits Bonobo (his human is Stephanie at Petlas) 

Over to Stephanie... 

Petlas - the pet atlas - is a free app to help people spend more quality time with their pets by discovering and sharing pet-friendly and pet-related locations around the world. There are loads of categories including restaurants, hotels, holiday cottages, parks, vets - not to mention doggy poop bins! It has been so exciting seeing everyone sharing and adding to the Petlas map, not only in the UK, but also across Europe, North America, and even Australia! We have over 100,000 locations in these places and growing. 

The idea for Petlas came from travelling with my dog, Harley. My partner Didier and I travel a lot with Harley. On one of our trips last summer, we travelled across Scotland on our motorbikes with Harley riding as Didier’s passenger. The thing about travelling with a dog - and any dog owner will agree - you’ve got to plan in advance. Anything less turns into a stressful ordeal. 

Everywhere we went, we struggled with finding places to stay and eat - but when we did, it was always a remarkable stumble-upon. Every pet-friendly place was a gem. The people were warm and welcoming, and Harley was always comfortable. Petlas isn’t just about making travel easier for pet owners. It’s about sharing undiscovered treasures, making new discoveries, and spending more quality time with our pets.

Download Petlas on IOS or Android at https://petlas.world

Tattie in a bag at Cult of Coffee (her human is Mimi Hammill)

Cocoa and Hugo enjoy brunch at The Long Dog Cafe 


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Disclosure: This is not a paid or collaborative post. I just want to share all the doggy love that is to be found within local eateries and spread the word about an Aberdeen start up business.

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Post in collaboration with SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham


Barbecued SPAM®, Halloumi Cheese and Avocado Kebabs with Sweet Chilli are the perfect hipster showcase for the iconic meat in a tin. Chopped Pork and Ham brings Sizzle Pork And Mmm™ to any meal and works fantastically well on the BBQ. In addition to kebabs I've got SPAM® recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Hawaiian Style Pizza, Sizzling fajitas, Fries and SPAMBLED™ eggs. 


Summer will be on us before we know it and fingers crossed it will be another hot one! If you’re looking for some new and interesting recipes for the BBQ this year, why not try out iconic meat SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham to make some delicious sizzling snacks to enjoy in the garden or on the campsite. If the weather doesn't play ball these will work equally well on a griddle pan or under the grill. SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham is the perfect quick and easy meat for an alfresco feast that will impress friends and family. It’s already cooked in the can, to seal in the goodness and ensure safety - which makes it ideal for camping and festival season. 



Treat your guests to something much more exciting than the usual bangers and burgers on the BBQ this summer; made from more than 90% shoulder pork and leg ham, SPAM® is both uniquely tasty and versatile. Dice, slice and grill for a variety of quick, easy and satisfyingly tasty snacks. Whether it’s the popular SPAMBURGER™, the SPAM® BBQ Kebab or a chunky toasted SPAM® Tortilla Sandwich, there’s a recipe to please every alfresco diner. For extra convenience in addition to the traditional tin you can now get SPAM® in a lightweight and easy to open tub making it even easier and convenient to enjoy SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham in the great outdoors. 


My love for SPAM® is unashamed. Over the years it has been maligned, celebrated and musicalised. SPAM® Fritters were one of my absolute favourite school dinners back in the 80's accompanied by the obligatory ice cream scoops of mash and spaghetti in tomato sauce. What does SPAM® mean to you? Monty Python? School Dinners? Guilty Pleasure?! 

To celebrate National BBQ Week which returns for a 23rd time from 27th May - 2nd June 2019, I've put a hipster twist on SPAM® kebabs by combining Chopped Pork and Ham with the ingredients of the moment - namely avocado and halloumi cheese. All three work fantastically well on the BBQ and Sweet Chilli Sauce provides a convenient and tasty glaze. Mix up the flavour combinations by including additional items such as mushrooms, red onion, pineapple, cherry tomatoes etc.


SPAM®, Halloumi and Avocado Kebabs with Sweet Chilli 
(makes 12 small 6" kebabs) 

Ingredients: 
1 x 340g can of SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham 
1 x 250g of Halloumi cheese
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into cubes
1 avocado, destoned and cut into cubes
4Tbsp Sweet Chilli Sauce

Method: 
1. Put the kebab sticks to soak in cold water
2. Slice the SPAM® Chopped Pork into four long slices, then each slice in two and slice again to give you 8 x 1” cubes per slice – total 32 cubes
3. Slice the Halloumi cheese exactly the same way.
4. Prepare the pepper and avocado by deseeding/destoning and cutting into chunks.
5. Thread the SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham, Halloumi cheese, pepper and avocado
on to the kebab sticks
6. Brush the kebabs with sweet chilli sauce and place on a hot BBQ griddle to brown and sizzle, then turn over and repeat on the other side. 
7. Serve hot with pitta, salad and extra sweet chilli sauce. 


As part of National BBQ week celebrations SPAM® is giving is giving readers of Foodie Quine the chance to win a SPAM® sizzle pack. The prize includes a sizzle platter, piggy chopping board, SPAM® apron, pig timer, spatula and slicer. 
To be in with a chance of winning the SPAM® sizzle pack enter via the rafflecopter widget below. 
Giveaway ends 9th June 2019 11.59pm Good Luck!



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Disclosure: This is a commissioned post for SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham. As always, all views expressed are my own. 
Thank you for supporting the brands who make it possible for me as a passionate Scottish Food Blogger to continue to share my Edible Food and Travel Adventures with you. I’m super choosy who I work with and promise to bring you only the cream of the crop.
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I'll pretty much always opt for a starter over desert. The exception to this would of course be Cheese. There are however a couple of ingredients that if they feature in dessert menu can lure me over to the dark side. One is Peanut Butter and the other is Rhubarb. Over the years I've had mixed success with growing my own Rhubarb. I barely got enough for a single crumble until a garden redesign meant that I had to uproot and relocate my plant. All of a sudden it began to flourish and there was no stopping it. One of my most popular blog posts combines it with one of my other loves. Yup it's Rhubarb Gin.





The recipe I'm sharing today is a fabulous seasonal pudding, perfect for Sunday Lunch. Traditional comfort food with a twist. Ideal served with Ice Cream, Custard, Pouring or Clotted Cream. Cold leftovers are great for breakfast. Don't judge me. Rhubarb and Ginger is just one of those match made in heaven flavour combinations and my Brioche Bread & Butter Pudding was the perfect Star Bake to try out my gorgeous personalised Pyrex Dish from Becky Broome. Isn't it fab?


Rhubarb and Ginger Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding

500g Rhubarb 
2 Balls of Stem Ginger
75g Caster Sugar
2 Tbsp Stem Ginger Syrup

8 Slices of Brioche Loaf

300ml Single Cream
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
50g Caster Sugar
3 Free Range Eggs

1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

Wash the Rhubarb and cut it into 2-3cm lengths and place in a saucepan.
Finely chop the Stem Ginger and add to the pan along with the Caster Sugar and the Stem Ginger Syrup.
Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until the fruit is soft. Allow to cool slightly.
Preheat your oven to 180c
Place half of the Rhubarb and Ginger mixture in the base of an ovenproof dish.
Spread the remaining fruit mixture over the slices of Brioche and cut each slice into four triangles.
Arrange the triangles of bread, jammy side up, in an overlapping layer on top of the rhubarb.
Whisk together the Cream, Vanilla Extract, Caster Sugar and Eggs together and pour over the dish.
Sprinkle with Cinnamon and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the custard has set and the top is golden-brown.


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Post in collaboration with The Beach Apartment

Luxury self catering on Stonehaven beach front sleeping four. Dog friendly beach apartment located above the award winning Bay fish and chip shop and Aunty Betty's Ice Cream and Sweetie shop. The sea practically touches your toes in this indulgent and eclectic Stonehaven accommodation which most certainly has the wow factor from the moment you step inside. Ideally located for Dunnottar castle, the outdoor swimming pool and of course the Hogmanay Fireballs.


If I was asked to name my foodie favourites in Stonehaven, Aunty Betty's and The Bay would be up there at the top of the list. Both shops situated in a prime location on the beach promenade and both well know for their long queues - which are always worth the wait! The Bay is an award winning chipper serving up locally sourced, sustainable fish and chips whilst Aunty Betty's is an ice cream and sweetie emporium extraordinaire. But what lies upstairs from these delicious destinations? The answer is a hidden gem!



The Beach Apartment is accessed from the rear of Aunty Betty's and even upon approach it's apparent that something special awaits with a quaint garden area and an impressive staircase leading up to the accommodation. You can drop off your luggage at the door and there's plenty of free parking available nearby. Prior to our stay I did wonder if there would be any discernible aromas in the accommodation but throughout our visit the only thing we noticed was a gorgeous smell of fresh coffee as we walked up the stairs. So no, it doesn't smell of fish and chips!


Once through the door a bohemian tardis awaits! The space is bright, largely open plan and sumptuously decorated. A riot of colours, textures, artwork, rugs, objets d'art, opulence and quite frankly OTT-ness. Admittedly the decor and furnishings might not be to everyones taste but they certainly make a statement. In some areas I would have appreciated a little less decadence and clutter to give more room to move about and for our own possessions. However, the overall impression was dramatic, a real design statement and the apartment was spotlessly clean.


The views are to die for. Two huge windows to the front let you see all the way down to the harbour and war memorial to the right and Cowie to the left. The rear and side windows look over the caravan park and outdoor pool. The beach apartment provides the idea location to watch the world go by (and the queues downstairs!). A telescope lets you see just that little bit further (alas no dolphins but a good view of boats and a heron). No surprise that first thing in the morning the light streams into the bedrooms, however in one of numerous thoughtful touches throughout the apartment eye masks are provided next to the beds.


Open plan living encompasses the kitchen, lounge, master bedroom, two dressing rooms, and an office area. There are fluffy blankets and cushions a plenty. Books, maps, games, umbrellas, sewing kit, an abundance of plug sockets and USB points, WiFi, first aid kit, iron and board, washing machine, dishwasher and tumble direr - it's all provided. The attention to detail and added extras throughout is second to none - they really seem to have thought of everything you could possibly need. Four legged friends are made very welcome at The Beach Apartment with a supplement of £10 per dog per night. We spotted bowls, leads and other doggie paraphernalia so would expect that canine visitors also get VIP treatment. 


The kitchen industrial chic kitchen is very well kitted out with everything you'd need to cook up a storm. A welcome basked was stocked with local produce including bread, Mackies crisps, jam, cereals, porridge, oatcakes and some treats from Aunty Betty's. In the fridge was milk, Rora Dairy yogurt, Devenick Dairy cheese, Castleton Farm strawberries, ham and butter. Its always lovely to see local produce being championed in this way. Basics such as oil, salt & pepper, tea, hot chocolate, cafetiere coffee, sugar were also provided and a not so mini bar included full sized bottles of wine, spirits and even Champagne. 


The second bedroom reminded me of a Parisian Boudoir! It has a double bed whilst the master is a king size, the linen and mattresses on both were super comfy. We had no need for them but there are electric blankets should it be chilly. Likewise there was no real need for the state of the art double sided fireplace - but we still fired it up and used the remote control to turn the flames up and down. 


The bathroom is huge both a bath, shower and a TV positioned perfectly for viewing whilst indulging in bubbles. An abundance of toiletries are provided including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, facial wipes, essential oils, cotton buds & pads. Top of my list of room 101 items wold be hotel hairdryers. However I'm delighted to report that the hairdryer and GHD straighteners provided are almost as good as I have at home. I didn't initially spot that there is also a second en suite off the master bedroom. Equally as impressively decorated and kitted out with a fantastic powerful shower.


From the outset there was only one possible meal that we could indulge in at The Beach Apartment - The Bay Fish and Chips followed by Aunty Betty's Ice Cream. The ultimate dining duo was even better eaten under a chandelier and washed down with a bottle of Champagne (it was our 21st Wedding Anniversary the day before our stay). Alas there is no secret passageway or delivery hot line for either shop, so much to my teenagers disgust we had to go out front and queue just like everyone else. But it was worth it and absolutely had to be done.

Such overindulgence was perhaps not the best way to prepare for a 5k run the following morning, hoverer with Stonehaven parkrun on our doorstep it would have been rude to have taken a long lie. Saying that whilst I ran, Foodie Loon marshaled and played his bagpipes. His excuse being he was doing the Baker Hughes 10k the following day. 

Post parkrun breakfast and it was time to check out. We all wished we could stay another night in this indulgent and eclectic sanctuary beside the sea. Alas it's probably too close to home for another family visit - but I reckon it could definitely work for a girlie weekend... 
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!
For suggestions of what to do, eat and visit in Stonehaven check out my post about the Stonehaven Boardwalk Sculpture Trail and visit the Stunning Stonehaven Website. 



Disclosure: This is not a paid post. We stayed as guests of The Beach Apartment. Food and drinks were at our own expense. 
As always, all views expressed are my own. 
Thank you for supporting the brands who make it possible for me as a passionate Scottish Food Blogger to continue to share my Edible Food and Travel Adventures with you. I’m super choosy who I work with and promise to bring you only the cream of the crop.
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Capture the seasonal flavours of Spring in a vegetarian supper dish which combines wild garlic and asparagus. Pan frying Gnocchi turns the Italian potato dumplings into oh so moreish and delicious crispy bites with fluffy centres.



Whilst the wild garlic season is drawing to a close, the asparagus season is only just beginning! As a huge fan of both ingredients I'm really quite disappointed in myself for taking so long to combine them in a recipe, but that is about to be rectified. Say hello to the green deliciousness that is Pan Fried Gnocchi with Scottish Asparagus and Wild Garlic Pesto.


A sure sign of spring is the appearance in the shops of British Asparagus. The official season is from April 23rd (St George's Day) to June 21st but you may find it earlier of later. As for wild garlic it's appearance is again variable dependent on location. It really is one of the most easily identifiable and unmistakable foragable foods. Take a look at the Galloway Wild Foods website for identification and distribution information if you are unsure. This recipe will make a larger quantity of pesto than you need for the gnocchi. Store the remainder in a jar in the fridge or freeze in individual ice cube portions. Great stirred through pasta for a quick meal, served on top of lamb chops, steak or fish or mix some into a soup, risotto or mashed potatoes for a fresh garlicky kick.

Locally to me in Aberdeenshire and Angus I've come across three asparagus growers. There may well be more so please do tell me about them!
Barra Asparagus (which should OBVIOUSLY be renamed Asbarragus)
Myreside Farms, Lunan Bay, Angus
Charleton Farm, Montrose - both white and green




Pan Fried Gnocchi with Scottish Asparagus and Wild Garlic Pesto

250g Asparagus
500g Gnocchi
Splash of Scottish Rapeseed Oil
3 Tbsp Wild Garlic Pesto

Wild Garlic Pesto
100g Wild Garlic
75g Pine Nuts - toasted
75g Parmesan Cheese (or vegetarian alternative) - grated
150ml Scottish Rapeseed Oil
Salt & Pepper


First make your Wild Garlic Pesto...

Wash and pat dry the wild garlic leaves, toast the pine nuts in a dry non stick pan and grate the Parmesan. Place everything in a food processor or blender and blitz until it reaches the desired consistency. The quantities given are merely as a guide, feel free to adjust them according to taste.
(This recipe will make a larger quantity of pesto than you need for the Wild Garlic Pesto Pinwheels. Store the remainder in a jar in the fridge or freeze in individual ice cube portions)

Wash the asparagus and pat dry with a paper towel and break off any woody ends. Pre-heat a large griddle pan, drizzle the asparagus with some rapeseed oil. Cook for 6-8 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus spears are - the thicker ones will take slightly longer. 

Meanwhile heat a splash or rapeseed oil in a large frying pan, add the gnocchi and fry on a medium heat until the gnocchi are crispy and golden in colour. You may need to add some more oil as it cooks.

Once the asparagus is cooked, cut into bite sized pieces and stir through the pan fried gnocchi along with the wild garlic pesto. 

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I've now made several seasonal variants of two ingreedient chocolate fudge all of which have proved to be very popolar. We had Last Rolo for Valentine's Day and Terry's Chocolate Orange & Zingy Orange Matchmaker and After Eight and Mint Matchmaker for Christmas. I wouldn't want Easter to feel left out so I've come up with both a white and a milk chocolate version. The White Chocolate Easter Fudge recipe was commissioned by Chapelton. This is Aberdeenshire's new town and whilsn't I don't live there I've already benefitted from its facilities, businesses an community. Whilst you're on the Chapelton website getting the fudge recipe be sure to check out the variety of properties available to siuit all incomes and needs. The Creme Egg Fudge needs only three ingreedients and along with it's recipe below I've shared other sweet easter treats that I've created over the years. I do hope that Lent hasn't been too painful and that the Easter Bunny will be good to you!


Cadbury Creme Egg Fudge
3 x 89g packs of Cadbury Mini Creme Eggs, chopped in half
500g Milk Chocolate
1 x 397g tin Condensed Milk

Line a traybake tin (aprox 34cm x 20 cm) with baking paper.
Break up the chocolate and put in a microwavable bowl along with the condensed milk. Microwave in a series of 30 second bursts.
Remove, stir and check each time until it the chocolate has melted.
Beat well with a wooden spoon until smooth.
*** At this point you need to work quickly ***
Tip the fudge into the prepared tin and spread it with a palette knife into a smooth and even layer. Push your halved Cadbury Mini Creme Eggs into the fudge.
Place the tray of fudge in the fridge to set for at least four hours (or ideally overnight).
Once hard cut into chunks with a large knife.


With only two ingredients, no tricky temperatures or boiling hot sugar required, this microwave Easter Fudge is quick and easy to make. Once you’ve mastered it you can adapt the toppings to suit the occasion and personal preference. You can make it with white, milk or dark chocolate. I use supermarket own brand which works just fine. More expensive chocolate may be even better, I just haven’t tried it! You can also make it in a bowl over boiling water if you don’t have a microwave.


Malt Easter = Malteaser. Do you see what I did there? Combining a Malteaser Tray Bake with Mini (or micro eggs) takes it to a whole new level of crunchy deliciosness. 


Dentists look away now! When the phonemonon of creme egg recipes combines with my own passion for Scottish recipes you get a seriously sweet Easter treat. Mini Cadbury Creme Eggs are combined with traditional Scottish Tablet for a confection that is seriously naughty but nice.


I've called this Easter Bark but it's probably more of a cross between Rocky Road and Bark as whilst it has marshmallows it doesn't have biscuits. I initially devised it as a way to use up leftover Easter chocolate but it's equally delicious whether eaten before or after Easter. 


When Easter and Shrove Tuesday collide you get Scotch pancakes with the addition of Creme Egg slices. You'll either love them or hate them. The trick with these is to freeze the eggs first - the ends of the eggs are the chefs perks!


Another of my quirky Scottish recipes using the iconic Tunnock's Teacake. A quick and easy assembly job using Tunnock's Teacake along with chocolate buttons and marshmallow tails to make oh so cute Easter Bunny Bums. 


Tunnock's Teacake Easter Lambs
These started off as sheep for Aberdeen Football Club but there's no reason that they can't be repurposed as marshmallow Easter lambs. 




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Preserve the flavour of Spring in Wild Garlic Pesto then use it to create the ultimate cheesy garlic bread. Using a soda bread base, these Wild Garlic Pesto Pinwheels are super quick and easy to make and oh so moreish. 





If brambles are the gateway drug to foraging, wild garlic is surely the next one down the slippery slope of never being able to go out for a walk without keeping your eyes peeled for free food! It's a sure sign that Spring is in the air when it starts to put in an appearance. It really is one of the most easily identifiable and unmistakable foragable foods. Take a look at the Galloway Wild Food Website for further identification and distribution information if you are unsure. It's smell is so distinctive and the taste, particularly early in the season, very pungent. You may very well smell it in the woods before you spot its long lush leaves. Look for it in semi shaded moist woodland areas, river banks are a good place to start. Later in the season it bursts into bloom with white flowers which are also edible. 




Once you've found your 'wild garlic spot' you can return year on year and confidently identify it from the very first shoots of spring growth. My favourite local spot is Dunnottar Woods at Stonehaven where it grows in lush swathes all along the riverbank. Whilst it's in season you can use it in place of garlic, spring onions and chives in a huge variety of dishes. These pinwheels are surely the ultimate cheesy garlic bread. Using a soda bread base they are super quick and easy to make and oh so moreish. Ideal to accompany soup or pasta. Best served warm straight from the oven and sure to keep the vampires at bay! 


Wild Garlic Pesto
100g Wild Garlic
75g Pine Nuts - toasted
75g Parmesan Cheese - grated
150ml Scottish Rapeseed Oil
Salt & Pepper

Wash and pat dry the wild garlic leaves, toast the pine nuts in a dry non stick pan and grate the Parmesan. Place everything in a food processor or blender and blitz until it reaches the desired consistency. The quantities given are merely as a guide, feel free to adjust them according to taste.

This recipe will make a larger quantity of pesto than you need for the Wild Garlic Pesto Pinwheels. Store the remainder in a jar in the fridge or freeze in individual ice cube portions. Great stirred through pasta for a quick meal, served on top of lamb chops, steak or fish or mix some into a soup, risotto or mashed potatoes for a fresh garlicky kick.


Wild Garlic Pesto Pinwheels
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
175ml milk
1 tsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp wild garlic pesto
60g parmesan grated

Sieve together the dry ingredients in one bowl and milk and lemon juice in another.
Bring together by pouring the wet into a well in the dry. 
Mix well and add a wee bit more flour or milk if needed to make a dough.
Knead lightly and roll out into a rectangle approx 1cm thick.
Spread over the pesto and sprinkle with 40g the parmesan.
Roll up like a swiss roll and cut into slices. Sprinkle with the remaining 20g of Parmesan.
Bake at 200 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.


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Originally published in the National Trust for Scotland Spring Magazine

Perhaps one of the best known of Mairi Sawyer’s recipes: many visitors to Inverewe Gardens tell of having tea with her 40-50 years ago, and they always speak of Chocolate Cake with a light in their eyes.  Cherry with it’s fruit and nut flavour is a natural partner for chocolate providing a winning combination that has stood the test of time.


Inverewe Gardens in the far north west of Scotland is one of the jewels in the crown of the National Trust for Scotland. I'm a long time member of the National Trust and my Mum who is now in her 70's had a summer job in the cafe at Inverewe Gardens in the early 1960's! As a highlander, Inverewe is somewhere I've visited a number of times most recently with my own children when we stayed in Gairloch for a family holiday. As such I was delighted to be approached by NTS to recreate three historical Inverewe recipes for the modern day cook. The recipes were devised by Mhairi Sawyer, and collected in two books. One being Highland Fayre (from 1992) and another a folder of recipes which look to have been typed by Mairi herself.


Who was Mairi Sawyer?
Mairi Sawyer gave Inverewe to the National Trust for Scotland in 1952. She'd seen the efforts of her father, Osgood Mackenzie to create a garden full of exotic plants that florished in remote northern Scotland thanks to the proximity of the Gulf Stream. When her father died Mairi continued his work to create a horticultural jewel in the North. 


The Chocolate Cake recipe is etched into the marble top of the table in the main Inveweve house. The room is painted in Mairi Sawyer blue, a colour that was believed to reduce insects in the pantry. The other recipes I'll be recreating for the National Trust for Scotland Magazine will relate to game and seasonal preserves as she was very prolific in not just making them but growing all the ingredients (and shooting and skinning the deer!)


At first glance this recipe looked relatively simple to convert to a modern day kitchen but it still took a wee bit of reworking. Cherry with it’s fruit and nut flavour is a natural partner for chocolate providing a winning combination that has stood the test of time. The resulting bake was a delicious but not overly chocolatey cake with a close texture akin to a gingerbread. Provided you can resist temptation it also keeps well in an airtight tin. 


NTS Mairi Sawyer Chocolate Cake

6 oz. butter
6 oz. melted chocolate
4 oz. ground almonds
4 eggs (separated)
Maraschino flavouring
7 oz. sugar
4 oz. flour
1 teasp. Baking powder
water icing

1. Heat the oven to 350 F. (160c)
2. Beat the butter and sugar to a cream and add the melted chocolate, flour, baking, powder and ground almonds, beating thoroughly with each addition.
3. Beat in the yolks of eggs one at a time.
4. Whip the whites of eggs till fairly stiff and fold lightly into the mixture with a metal spoon.
5. Put the mixture into a well-greased and lined cake tin: a square one gives good results. (24cm x 24cm x 5cm)
6. Bake in a moderate oven for approximately 70 minutes. (My cake was cooked in 55 mins)
7. When cool, ice with thin water icing flavoured with Maraschino.


My scales measure in both imperial and metric so no issues there. A moderate oven of 350F I converted to 160c (fan) but the ‘a square one gives good results’ cake tin proved more tricky to convert! I opted for a 24x24x5cm tin and the cake mix filled it perfectly. I used modern technology to melt the chocolate in the microwave and beat my ingredients with a stand mixer rather than a wooden spoon and elbow grease. 70 minutes baking time seemed rather lengthy to me so I started checking with a skewer at 45 minutes and removed the cake from the oven after 55 minutes. Maraschino flavouring is not something that I’ve ever come across – only cocktail cherries. My first thought was that I could use the liquid from the cherries but that would have given the icing a pink tinge which I didn’t think would be authentic. My modern day solution came in the form of cherry flavouring from a cupcake supplies website but I would love to know about the Maraschino flavouring that Mairi used. Was it perhaps a cheeky tipple of Maraschino liqueur? 

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Where in Aberdeen can you eat at an avocado cafe alongside authentic Thai food, ramen and sushi? Aberdeen Market is admittedly not the most glamorous of dining locations in the city but it is home to a handful of hidden gems namely The Sushi Box, Madame Mew's and AVO. Nuart has given Aberdeen Indoor Market a new lease of life on the outside and the food offerings are doing the same inside.





Unless you are in the know, I suspect that Aberdeen Indoor Market is not somewhere that many would tend to venture into in search of food. Once a thriving shopping hub in the city centre it has become increasingly tired over recent years, even moreso with the closure of British Home Stores. Sushi Box and Madame Mew's Thai cafe have been longstanding favourites of mine serving up authentic cuisine with a warm welcome and offering great value. The new kid on the block is AVO. Aberdeen's very own avocado cafe


In the past couple of years the indoor market building and the surrounding area has enjoyed a vibrant uplift due to the Nuart street art festival. A stunning mural on its circular exterior depicts a girl holding a lighthouse. The piece by German duo Herakut was painted for the 2017 festival and has helped to regenerate the whole area. I've long since thought that the Aberdeen market would make a fantastic Hawker Centre and it would be great if it could be turned over to solely this and become an independent foodie destination. However, according to local press it seems that other plans are afoot. Reinvention of ‘brutalist’ Aberdeen market will be ‘above anything the city has seen’. Lets hope the baby isn't thrown out with the bathwater. 

Do go and give these three eateries a try, their location may not be the most salubrious but in my experience you'll get a warm welcome, great food and fantastic value. They are all places that I'm happy to eat at on my own so no worries for single diners. The market really isn't as 'dodgy' as any preconceptions you may have. Whilst you're there do have a wander around and see what else is on offer, there's a great butcher and lots of other interesting looking units with a huge variety of goods and services.


Located on the ground floor, in the corner right next to the door opposite Carmelite Street. Look out for the red and white Japanese lucky cats.

Open - Tuesday to Saturday 11:30 to 16:30 (17:00 for takeaway)
Closed - Sunday & Monday
Sit in with table service or take away.
Cash Only

Serving sushi, ramen, miso soup and rice bowls in kawaii surroundings. You must try the Ramune Japanese lemonade with the marble in the neck.


This Thai Cafe is located in the upper floor of the market. You'll spot it by it's bright tablecloths and pineapple mugs with table numbers. Always busy with a real mix of clientele from suited businessmen to families. Great reviews on Tripadvisor where it has previously reached the No.1 position for Aberdeen.

Open - Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00
Closed - Sunday
Sit in with table service or take away.
Cash or Card (£10+)

Serving authentic Thai food - starters, salads, soups, main courses, rice, noodles and desserts.



AVO
Located on the ground floor in the back corner. Look out for the recycled pallet woodwork. Plenty of great local producers feature on the menu. The Alexander Smokery (smoked salmon), Sumerhouse Drinks (artisan lemonades), Devenick Dairy (cheese) and Piggery Smokery (epic bacon).



Open - Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00

Closed - Sundays
Sit in (order at counter) or take away
Cash only

All things Avocado - Toast, waffles, smoothies, salad jars, drinks and daily specials with decidedly Instagramable presentation and surroundings.

Where is Aberdeen Indoor Market?
8-10 Market Street, Aberdeen AB11, 5NX.

The market can be accessed from a number of different entrances on Union Street, Market Street and Hadden Street.
Union and Market Street take you in at upper floor level whilst the three entrances on Hadden street, immediately below the Herakut mural, take you in on the ground floor.

Toilets and Baby Changing are available on the upper floor of the Market.






What else is in the vicinity of Aberdeen Indoor Market and The Green?

  • Aberdeen Inspired Nights Street food markets returning for 2019 - April 19th to 21st, May 24th to 26th, June 21st to 23rd, July 26th to 28th, August 23rd to 25th and September 20th to 22nd. Opening times are Fridays 4pm - 10pm, Saturday 12pm - 10pm and Sunday 12pm - 6pm 
  • Painted Doors Aberdeen
  • Eats & Drinks - Cafe 52, Bistro Verde, Contour Cafe, The Draft House, Carmelite, CASC
  • Nuart

Please do let me know if you have any other recommendation of eateries within Aberdeen Indoor Market as there may well yet be other hidden gems for me to discover. I've already been given a tip off about great handmade pizza and lángos from GC's Takeaway







Photo Credits - Thanks to Christy at Dinner Stories, Marcus at CountryWoodSmoke and Kerry at Documenting my Dinner for additional photos.
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