Claire Jessiman is a Passionate Scottish Freelance Food Writer, Blogger and Recipe Developer. Claire is blogging as Foodie Quine since August 2012. The Foodie Quine can provide a range of Food Education, Demonstration and Consultancy services throughout Aberdeen City.
The perfect no bake chocolate treat for Easter. Using the iconic Scottish Tunnock's Teacake along with chocolate buttons and marshmallow tails to make oh so cute Easter Bunny Bums.
It's beginning to look a lot like Easter! I feel I can finally say that now that Mother's Day has passed. I was going to update to my Easter logo last week but held on with the Bitten Heart for a little bit longer to celebrate International Women's Day and Mothering Sunday. I was rather spoiled by my favourite teenage humans with breakfast in bed, flowers, fizz and vouchers. Following this we headed for a walk in Dunnottar Woods with Pippa from Borrow My Doggy and Ice Cream at Aunty Betty's. A late lunch at The Creel Inn was delicious whilst the day rounded off the the final episode of Call The Midwife and a Bubble Bath. Much love to all those who found the day difficult for whatever reason.
So with Easter logo firmly in place we can now start on the Easter Recipes, with of course a Scottish Twist! We all know how much I like to use the the iconic Tunnock's Teacake. My past projects with them have included Rocky Road, Christmas Tree Baubles, AFC Sheep, Christmas Puddings and Scottish S'Mores. Whilst browsing Pinterest for Easter baking inspiration some rather sophisticated Bunny Butt Cupcakes made me think that a Tunnock's Teacake was the perfect shape for a Bunny Bum. I really can't call it a recipe but I've shared the assembly instructions for my Tunock's Teacake Easter Bunny Bums below. Please do tweet me a photo, tag me on Instagram or share on my Facebook Page if you make them. I reckon they would also look fab on the top of an Easter Cake.
Tunnock's Teacake Easter Bunny Bums
Large White/Milk Chocolate Buttons
Regular Milk/White Chocolate Buttons
Black/White Icing Pen
Glue a white and milk chocolate button together with melted chocolate and add paw prints with black/white icing.
Stick the feet onto the Teacake with melted chocolate.
Cut the wide base off the marshmallow and press the top half of it onto the bunnies bum to make the tail.
Breakfast in Bed for Mother's Day just got creative with a selection of quick and easy ideas that can be made by kids of all ages, with perhaps a little help from Dad for the younger ones. Say good morning to Egg in Toast, Bacon and Sausage Croissant Rolls and Bacon and Bagel 'Mum'.
Sunday 11th March 2018 is Mother's Day or Mothering Sunday. I hope you are remembering?! My two better had be!
Traditionally children and young people who were "in service" (i.e.household servants) were given a day off on the forth Sunday of lent so they could visit their families (or return to their "mother" church). The children would pick wild flowers along the way to place in the church or give to their mothers. Eventually, the religious tradition evolved into the secular Mother's Day gift giving as we know it.
In this post I'm sharing some fun quick and easy breakfasts that could be made by kids of all ages, with perhaps a little help from Dad for the younger ones. For additional options take a look at some other breakfast recipes of mine
Use a cookie cutter to make a hole in a slice of bread
Place both pieces of bread on a well greased/lined baking tray
Crack an egg into a a dish and carefully pour it into the hole in the bread
Make sure you get the yolk in first, you may not have room for all the white
Bake in the oven for approximately 10 mins until the egg is set and the toast crispy.
Bacon and Sausage Croissant Rolls
1 Tin of 6 Ready to Bake Chilled Croissant Dough
6 Scotch Beef Sausages
100g Grated Scottish Cheddar Cheese
6 Rashers of Streaky Bacon
Preheat the oven to 200c
Place Sausages on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 20 minutes
Meanwhile open the tin of croissant dough and divide into its 6 sections.
Sprinkle each triangle with cheese and top with a rasher of streaky bacon
One the sausages are cooked place on on top of each and roll up
Bake for 15 minutes
Bacon and Bagel 'Mum'
6 rashers streaky bacon
Mum's the word with my final breakfast idea. Grill 6 rashers of streaky bacon and split and toast a bagel. Cut the bagel into a U shape and spread with butter. Lay out the bacon and bagel to spell MUM ♥
Pinch Punch Slap Kick - we're in March! The saying goes that if March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb. I'm putting all my faith in this following the 'Beast From The East' roaring in to kick off the month! Meantime lets take a quick look back at what you might have missed in February across my social media and on the blog. The algorithms of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook don't always want to let my followers see everything I post so this retrospective monthly roundup is my way of attempting to beat the system. Expect pancakes, avo cuddles, last Rolos, UV lights, coffee and dogs!
The month kicked off with the inaugural Aberdeen Restaurant Week which offered diners a 2 course Lunch for £10 and a 3 course Dinner for £20.18. (2018 - like the year. It took me a while too!) Over 35 restaurants participated. I only managed to make it along to one lunch with a friend at Cafe 52 and one dinner with my family. Topolabamba invited us along to try out their #ARW2018 offering and we enjoyed a veritable feast - so much food! (a doggy bag was required) Will definitely be back to try their regular menu - plus some more cocktails. As for Aberdeen Restaurant Week itself there's mention on Facebook that it will be back in summer.
Aberdeen came alight for four evenings with Spectra Festival taking place in Union Terrace Gardens, Kirk of St Nicholas and Marischal College. It was an amazing event and had expanded a lot from my previous visit 3 years ago. My one gripe and surely a huge missed opportunity was nowhere to get coffee/hot drinks/snacks. Only place we found open was Mackies 19.2 which was understandably queued out the door. Everywhere else slap bang in the midst of the three Spectra locations was closed. Hopefully such issues will be taken on board for the 2019 festival of light as it really is a fantastic event and the crowds certainly seemed to turn out in great numbers to support it.
As usual we completely overloaded on pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and the lead up. To celebrate with a Scottish twist I created a recipe for Cullen Skink Crepes. Taking all the flavours of a traditional Cullen Skink soup - Smoked Haddock, Potatoes, Leeks and Milk - and using them as a savoury crepe filling. Much to good to save only for Pancake Day - I've already made them again, plus a variation on the same theme with a Cullen Skink Pasta Bake.
Valentines day and love was in the air along with bacon, eggs and avo-cuddles! There was a whole lotta love for my Valentine Rocky Road. I'm always so chuffed when folk take the time to share photos of recipes of mine that they've made. It really does make my day!
So chuffed with my kitchenallia charity shop purchase. Lots of nostalgia in relation to Bread and had to explain it's significance in that respect to my teenagers. At the moment it contains neither money or eggs but it does it into my kitchen colour scheme perfectly and at £2.99 was an absolute steal.
My February post as BritMums Food Round-up editor celebrated Chinese New Year. 2018 is the the year of the Dog and I collated a selection of Chinese inspired recipes from my food blogging buddies (Don’t worry there was no dog!!!) As is my want we celebrated with with a Scottish twist in the form of Crispy Duck and Haggis Bao Buns.
Unfortunately I was double booked and missed the opening party for the the relaunched Silver Darling. However the four of us headed there to celebrate Foodie Loon’s Birthday (21 again). I bet they were panicking in the kitchen when he ordered cheese as opposed to dessert. We all loved the new look, vibrant atmosphere and more varied menu (so much more than just fish). The refurb is stunning and full of quirky touches and artwork. Now I just need to visit in the daytime for the views!
If you’re a coffee geek then you need to get hold of a copy of the newly published Scottish Independent Coffee Guide. Its definitely going to earn its place in my glove compartment! Congratulations to the only Aberdeen/shire coffee shops to make the guide - The Cult of Coffee, Spider on a Bicycle, Foodstory, The Coffee Apothecary and Shamrock and Thistle. I’ve had the pleasure of drinking in them all and I've got a wee road trip planned to revisit them all again #watchthisspace
S’mores Tiffin was created by my son and within the post I share a 'proud mummy moment' with regards to his upcoming trip to the World Scout Jambouree in 2019. As for the tiffin itself it's the prefect no bake traybake to take to Scout - or any other Camp - and will undoubtedly will leave everyone wanting some more. Any recipe with 'blow torch' in the ingredients has got to be fun?!
Along with some fellow Aberdeen bloggers I went to check out out the new look Tempo at in the Bon Accord centre which now supports The Archie Foundation. It’s kinda like an airport lounge (without the booze!) help yourself to whatever you fancy and pay 10p a minute for your time. (eg 30 mins £3, 40 mins £4) It’s got breakfast cereal, soup, bread, cakes, biscuits, fruit, crisps, hot and cold drinks, sandwich fillings, toast and more. You tidy up after yourself and load your own dirty dishes in the dishwasher when you’re done. There’s also free WiFi, charging points, a kids play area, toilet and baby changing. Find it on the ground floor opposite Smiggle.
Dog Friendly Places to eat in Aberdeen. A series of fortunate events lead to the creation of what has already been a very popular and much shared post. If you have a four legged friend you need to check this one out. No matter if you don't live in Aberdeen as it also has details of a free app to help you track down pet friendly locations around the world.
Looking forward into March my plans include a Vegan Brunch and Learn run by Jo's Healthy Cupboard, Mother's Day Meal (I hope I'm being treated to something...), The Mixing Bowl Venison masterclass and Afternoon Tea at Gleneagles.
Celebrate the one true and original SPAM Chopped Pork and Ham with a quick family friendly Mac 'n' Cheese recipe that everyone will love. Leeks and SPAM stirred through the Mac, plus a crispy golden cheese and SPAM topping makes the most perfect comfort food.
SPAM. SPAM. SPAM. No, not the annoying stuff clogging up your inbox but the iconic meat in a tin. SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham. What does it mean to you? Monty Python? School Dinners? Guilty Pleasure?! 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. Those were the days!
#SPAMweek2018 The annual official SPAM® Appreciation Week has just kicked off and runs from 5-11 March 2018. It’s the time of year when SPAM Fans across the UK get the opportunity to show their love for the original iconic meat. SPAM Chopped Pork and Ham is made from a minimum of 90% shoulder pork and leg ham and once out of the can or tub, the versatile meat certainly makes more than just a square meal. SPAM Can… be sliced, diced, chopped, grilled and fried to make a huge selection delicious quick and easy meals and snacks. I've previously shared recipes for SPAM Hawaiian Style Pizza, SPAM Fries, SPAMbled Eggs and today it's the turn of SPAM Mac and Cheese. A quick family friendly dinner that everyone will love. Leeks and SPAM stirred through the Mac, plus a crispy golden cheese and SPAM topping makes the most perfect comfort food.
SPAM® Mac ‘n’ Cheese
1x 340g can of SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham - cut into 1/2" (12mm) cubes
(optional) 75g leeks – sliced
40g plain flour, from cupboard
1 x rounded teaspoon mustard powder
1 x egg - beaten
125g mild Cheddar cheese – grated
350ml milk from fridge
130g dried macaroni - cooked according to manufacturer’s instructions
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A little extra butter to grease the dish
Garnish: fresh parsley (optional)
Melt the butter in a saucepan and sauté the leeks on low heat until softened.
Add the plain flour, mustard powder, salt and pepper and stir for 2 minutes to cook the flour
Gradually add the milk, stirring well between each addition and continue to cook until sauce begins to thicken
Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly, then add a little of the hot sauce into the beaten egg, stir well, then add this mixture back into the saucepan and stir well (do not add the egg straight into the sauce or it will "scramble").
Meantime cook the macaroni as per manufacturer’s instructions and add to the sauce and stir well.
Add the grated cheese (reserving a little for the topping and 3/4 of the cooked cubed SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham, stir well to combine
Grease an ovenproof dish with the extra butter and pour the mixture into the dish.
Top the mixture with the remaining SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham cubes and sprinkle on the remaining grated cheese
Cook in a preheated oven 25/30mins until golden
Garnish with fresh parsley and serve
As part of the week-long celebrations, SPAM is giving is giving readers of Foodie Quine the chance to win a limited edition SPAM branded Under Armour jacket (worth £70) plus a SPAM apron for you to proudly wear in the kitchen. To enter, let me know in a comment "What's your favourite way to eat SPAM?" (in more than 8 words to avoid your comment being marked as spam!!!) For additional bonus entries you can follow me on Twitter, Tweet about the Giveaway, follow me on Instagram or like me on Facebook.
Giveaway ends 19th March 2018 11.59pm Good Luck!
You can also head over to www.spam-uk.com for a chance to win a European Weekend Break for two, with shopping vouchers and Limited Edition SPAM® Branded jackets for three runners up.
Disclosure: This is a commissioned post for SPAM Chopped Pork and Ham. As always, all views expressed are my own. Image, recipe and prizes courtesy of SPAM. 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.
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.
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 www.borrowmydoggy.com 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)
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.
The prefect no bake traybake to take to Scout - or any other Camp. S'mores Tiffin is a clever twist on a classic which will leave everyone wanting some more. Any recipe with 'blow torch' in the ingredients has got to be fun?!
Confession time. This recipe is not one of mine. Fear not, there's been no plagiarising, instead it was created by my son. He's now a strapping 15 year old so not sure if I can still refer to him as 'Foodie Boy'. When I first started this blog he was 9 and had aspirations to be a sushi chef. The career goal may have changed (it's now a Lighting Technician and studying for a BA in Production Technology and Management at the Royal Conservatoire) but he still has a huge love of food and will give pretty much anything a try in the kitchen. So when the request came to bring some home-bakes along to a Scouting Jamboree Training weekend it wasn't going to be me that would be making them!
S'mores are a traditional Campfire treat within Scouting, although it is the Girl Scouts who are widely credited with inventing the concept of sandwiching a fire roasted marshmallow between Graham Crackers and chocolate and calling it a S’more. In the UK Digestive Biscuits make a good substitute if you can't get hold of Graham Crackers (pronounced Gram not Grey-ham) in the International Aisle of the supermarket. S'more is of course a contraction of the phrase 'some more'. I'm not really much of a marshmallow fan if truth be told but boy was this creation good. If you can't get hold of the Mega Marshmallows you could of course use regular sized ones however 12 of these bad boys make the whole portioning up into 24 slices a piece of cake and add to the overall effect of the bake.
The reason for the training camp was that my son has been selected to be one of 216 Scottish Scouts who will be heading stateside to West Virginia for the 24th World Scout Jamboree in 2019. This is a huge event (over 50,000 participants) which takes place every 4 years and it is a fantastic opportunity and a real honour for him to be attending. The initial training camp was his first opportunity to meet up with the 4 leaders and 35 other participants who will make up the 40 strong contingent of 'Northern Nessies' flying the flag for Unit 93. I am so excited on his behalf about the experiences he will have, skills he will gain and the friendships he will make. He'll spend 10 days at the Jamboree itself which will be held at The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve plus time before and after to include a Big City Experience and Hosted Hospitality. Part of camp life will include eating new foods so perhaps he'll come back with some more recipes for me to share.
225g Graham Crackers (or Digestives) Crushed
3 Tbsp Golden Syrup
200g Dark Chocolate
100g Milk Chocolate
12 Mega Marshmallows
Line a 24cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
Melt the butter in a pan and mix in the finely crushed Graham Crackers or Digestives
Press the biscuit mixture down firmly into the lined tin.
Chill in the fridge for approx 30 mins (or 10 mins in the freezer if you are a Scout in a hurry!)
Break up the chocolate and melt it in a pan over a low heat along with the butter and golden syrup. Stir constantly.
Once melted and combined pour the chocolate mixture over the biscuit base and smooth.
Cut the Mega marshmallows in half and arrange them symetrically with the cut sude down into the chocolate.
Return to fridge and leave until fully set - 2 hours
Use a blowtoruch to toast the marshmallows to your liking. Alternativey brown under the grill.
Cut into 24 squares.
Fancy s'more s'mores? Plenty more to choose from with these recipes
Celebrate Shrove Tuesday with a Scottish twist. Taking all the flavours of a traditional Cullen Skink soup - Smoked Haddock, Potatoes, Leeks and Milk - and using them as a savoury pancake day filling. Say Bonjour to Crepes with a Scottish accent. Much to good to save only for Pancake Day!
For the uninitiated, Cullen Skink possibly doesn't sound the most enticing of foods but I can assure you that it is. Hailing from Cullen, a small fishing village on the North East coast of Scotland, it's a hearty soup made of milk, smoked fish, potatoes and leeks. If you fancy giving it a go head to my recipe for Cullen Skink - A traditional Scottish Smoked Haddock Soup. I'm a huge fan of savoury crepes/pancakes so with pancake day beckoning and purchases of leeks and smoked haddock made at Stonehaven Farmer's Market I decided to combine them both in my Cullen Skink Crepes.
I LOVE pancakes of all shapes and sizes. I vividly recall the excitement of coming home from school to find my Mum making a batch. The special treat was always the teeny tiny final pancake made with the very last dribble of batter. Bannocks, Scotch Pancakes, Crepes, Blinis, American Pancakes, Drop Scones. Lots of different names and variations in taste, texture and proportions, way too good to save just for Shrove Tuesday.
With this recipe you have a couple of different options when it comes to serving. You can either serve immediately in individual folded pancakes or use the filling within rolled crepes which are then baked in the oven. The choice is yours. Either way if you want to make up the batch of 8 pancakes in advance you can do so and stack them up interleaved with greaseproof paper. If you fancy experimenting a wee bit more with this recipe I reckon bacon lardons and/or sweetcorn would make a great addition and turn the Skink Crepes into Chowder Crepes.
Cullen Skink Crepes
Crepes (makes 8)
100g Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 Free Range Eggs
1 Tbsp Scottish Rapeseed Oil (plus extra for frying)
300g baby potatoes
Approx 500g undyed Smoked Haddock
150g Leeks, sliced
Bunch of Flatleaf Parsley, chopped
Put the flour and a pinch of salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre.
Break the eggs into the well, add the rapeseed oil and whisk to incorporate, gradually adding the milk as you do so.
The batter should be smooth and about the thickness of single cream.
Heat a non-stick crepe pan, and wipe it with oiled kitchen roll.
Pour in a ladleful of the batter and swirl around to coat the base of the pan.
Cook for 1-2 minutes, until golden, then flip the crepe over and cook for another minute. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Repeat with the remaining batter to make 8 crepes.
Cube the potatoes and cook in boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
Poach the smoked haddock in the milk for 5 minutes. Remove with a fish slice, flake and set aside. Reserve the milk for the sauce.
In a large saute pan melt the butter and add the sliced leeks. Cook over a gentle heat for approximately 10 minutes until softened. Stir in the flour to make a roux and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the reserved milk, a little at a time, making sure to combine well so that no lumps form.
Add the cubed, potatoes, flaked smoked haddock and chopped parsley. Season to taste with black pepper.
The Cullen Skink Crepes can either be served immediately as individual folded filled pancakes. Alternatively they can be filled, rolled and baked in the oven for 20 minutes at 200c.
A quick, easy and fun Valentine themed traybake that's ideal for kids to help make. The classic Rocky Road takes on a romantic twist with the addition of Love Hearts, Rolos, Lips and Jammie Dodgers. This no bake Chocolate Tiffin is sure to be loved by anyone with a sweet tooth.
Love is in the air! 14th February is looming so I've got a romantic recipe to share. If I was being a proper food blogger I really should have made and blogged this Valentine Recipe weeks ago but as per usual it's totally last minute. But why restrict your love to just one day of the year? This will taste good at anytime! My Christmas Gingerbread Man Rocky Road was a huge success as is the perennial favourite of Scotland in a Traybake aka Tunnock's Teacake Rocky Road. What could I add to the chocolate, biscuit and marshmallow comb to signify true love?
First up was an obvious one. Love Hearts. Clearly I haven't indulged in these in rather a long time as I was somewhat perturbed to find that in addition to the quotes there are now emojis. I am so not down with the kidz. Rolos were an obvious choice to me although when I mentioned it to my teenagers they had absolutely no clue about the concept of saving your last rolo for someone. Again I feel very old. Next I needed some hearts but I couldn't find any. I'm sure I've seen Heart Shaped Jelly Beans and whilst you do get Haribo Hearts in Starmix I couldn't track them down individually. I did however decide that it was OK to sacrifice the teeth from packs of Teeth & Lips. Last to the party were Jammie Dodger Minis.
Do please let me know in the comments of any other potential sweets that could be included, I'm sure there must be lots of others that would work within the theme. I always LOVE to see your versions of my recipes so be sure to share any photos of your Valentine Rocky Road and tag me on social media. Now for the name. I started and finished with it as Valentine Rocky Road but along the way there were a number of different options suggested. Love is a Rocky Road, Rocky Road of Love, Love's Rocky Road, Rocky Road to my Heart. We event went French - after all it is the language of love! Le Chocolat Boulevard d'amour or Rocky (Valentin) de P'tits Coeurs. Whetever you call it - I guarantee that if you have a sweet tooth you'll love it!
Valentine Rocky Road
Le Chocolat Boulevard d'amour
500g Milk Chocolate (split into 300g and 150g)
4 Tbsp Golden Syrup
200g Digestive Biscuits
75g Mini Marshmallows
3 x packs Rolo
4 x snack packs Jammie Dodgers Minis
2 x packs Love Hearts
3 x packs Teeth & Lips (use Lips only, the teeth are chefs perks!)
Melt the butter, 300g of chocolate and the golden syrup in a heavy-based saucepan.
Put the Digestives into a bag and bash them with a rolling pin. You are aiming for a mixture of crumbs and pieces of biscuits.
Fold the bashed biscuits into the melted chocolate mixture in the saucepan, then add the mini marshmallows and approximately half of your 'Romantic Toppings'
Tip into a greased/lined traybake tin (aprox 34cm x 20 cm) and flatten with a spatula.
Melt the remaining 150g of chocolate in a microwave or over a bain marie and drizzle it over the top of the Rocky Road. (I use a disposable piping bag for this)
Nestle the remaining half of the 'Romantic Toppings' securely into the Rocky Road and top with Sprinkles and Edible Glitter.
Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or overnight before cutting into chunks.
Wasn't January a drag? Whether you were teetotal, vegan, gin soaked or just plain bored, broke and miserable! Let's hope February brings better things - particularly as I spend a lot of January with serious toothache due to an abscess. Fingers crossed root canal treatment next week will put paid to all the aggro. My roundup post last month Edible Scottish Adventures - December 2017 seemed to go down pretty well so I'm going to keep going in a similar vein. Lots of my Edible Scottish Adventures don't make it as far as my blog, featuring only on my social media accounts (find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). However I know that Facebook in particular likes to play hide and seek so sometimes only a small percentage of my followers actually see my posts. Here's what you may have missed that happened in January....
When it came to my logo It was farewell to the figgy pudding and roll out the haggis. As with all the versions of my branding this is by the fantastic Camilla Hammil. Find her at mimihammill.com where she's also rather good at silk scarves. Won't be long until the Easter Egg puts in an appearance.
You must have been hiding under a rock if you didn't know about Veganuary. In my roll as Food Round-up Editor for Britmums I compiled a post with a selection of great Vegan Recipes from Top UK Food Bloggers including curries, stews, nut roasts, pulses, Mexican, Spanish and salads.
January is of course a time for reflection so I took a look back at my most popular recipes posts of 2017 with a countdown of the Top 10 Recipes of 2017 in true Top of the Pops fashion they were of course revealed in reverse order.
First recipe of the year was a revamp of an old favourite to celebrate National Spaghetti Day. Spaghetti Carbonara Frittata is a twist on the Italian favourite. The perfect midweek meal using eggs, ham and pasta (plus any other fridge leftovers). Wonderfully filling and works really well served cold for picnics or packed lunches.
Time for the serious Burns to commence and add to my Haggis recipe repertoire with Wee Sleekit Cheese and Haggis Birls. Only three ingredients in this tasty treat which is perfect for Burns Night, St Andrew's Day or Hogmanay. Haggis and Cheese go burlin in Puff Pastry for an oh so moreish savoury Scottish snack which is super quick and easy to make.
It was clear to see that I was participating in Ginuary rather than Dry January with my visit to the Eden Mill Gin Blending Experience at Rusacks St Andrews. A fun, informative and highly interactive experience that will be thoroughly enjoyed by any gin lover. Located within the historic 4 star Rusacks Hotel with views of the 18th green of the world famous Old Course and West Sands Beach. I really can't recommend this enough!
Prior to the 25th I compiled all my Haggis recipes together for those who fancied something a wee bit different than the traditional Neeps and Tatties. Including Pancakes, Meatloaf, Burgers, Waffles, Birls, Shepherd's Pie, Soup, Scotch Eggs, Toasties and even Chocolate Haggis! My Top 10 Haggis Recipes for Burns Night.
As part of the Chapelton Wellbeing Weekend I enjoyed an Ashtanga Yoga Class and Juice from The Juicing Company at an event located in the gorgeous Elsick House. Chapelton's February events will offer the community the chance to enjoy a tipple with local drinks businesses including Porter’s Gin, Cock O’ the North and Arbikie vodka.
Jumping on the bandwagon of the latest food trend I spent a fascinating Friday night at The Mixing Bowl Aberdeen participating in a fermentation workshop. I’ve now got a jar of sauerkraut and and a jar of kimchee bubbling away in my kitchen.
The final fortnight of the month saw my son undertaking his National 5 prelims. (How on earth can my baby be old enough for exams?!) To celebrate their completion we headed to two of our favourite local eateries. The Sushi Box Aberdeen and Almondine. I really can't recommend these two enough, they never fail to impress me.
A final burns recipe for the season was my Haggis Soda Bread. Traditional or Vegetarian Haggis brings a Celtic connection to this quick and easy bread. No kneading, proving or yeast required in this fuss free bake.
Looking forward into February the inaugural Aberdeen Restaurant Week has kicked off. Running from 1st to 8th February it offers a 2 course Lunch £10 and a 3 course Dinner £20.18. There are 35 restaurants participating and full details can be found at aberdeenrestaurantweek.com If you are in town for this why not combine it with a trip to the Theatre to see Company or a visit to the Spectra Festival.
Irish Soda Bread with a Scottish Twist. Traditional or Vegetarian Haggis brings a Celtic connection to this quick and easy bread. No kneading, proving or yeast required in this fuss free bake.
Burns Night is all done and dusted for another year, however in this house Haggis is definitely for life, not just the 25th of January. As it happens I've hardly seen my husband - aka Foodie Loon - in the last week. As a Piper it's his busiest time of the year! Although not always at the same time, or in the same place, we did manage to enjoy plenty of haggis throughout the week in various shapes and forms and I shared My Top 10 Haggis Recipes for Burns Night in a a roundup post. No sooner had I published it than I had another idea. Haggis Bread. I'm not much of a bread maker if truth be told but Soda Bread is so quick and easy to make and it proved to be the perfect vehicle to incorporate haggis. I used traditional Haggis but vegetarian would work equally well - as would black pudding.
Soda Bread is perfect when you want bread in a hurry. There's no requirement for yeast or proving as the raising agent is Bicarbonate of Soda. This combined with buttermilk (or soured milk) creates the rise. No need to knead either. Just a gentle mix and shape which must be done as fast as possible as the bicarbonate of soda starts work as soon at it meets the acid of the buttermilk. The only thing to be aware of with Soda Bread is that it doesn't keep very well. Ideally eat it still warm from the oven or later the same day. After that it really does need to be toasted. However in all its variants it's so delicious when freshly baked that you shouldn't have any problems finishing it all off in one sitting! The method I'm using of baking it in a Pyrex Casserole dish is one gleaned from Nigel Slater. It works really well to keep the bread in shape and distribute the heat evenly.
Put a large casserole dish (Pyrex or cast iron) and its lid into the oven.
Finely chop the Haggis and set a handful aside to sprinkle on the top.
In a large bowl mix the flours salt, sugar and bicarbonate of soda together and add the majority of the chopped haggis.
Add the lemon juice to the milk and mix together before pouring into the bowl with the flour mix.
Working quickly bring the mixture together as a soft dough shaping it into a shallow round loaf about 4cm thick.
Remove the hot casserole dish from the oven and sprinkle the inside lightly with flour then lower in the dough.
Brush the top with milk and sprinkle on the reserved chopped Haggis.
Cover the loaf with the lid and return to the oven and bake for 40 minutes,
Remove from the oven and leave in the dish for for 5 minutes before turning the Haggis Soda Bread out onto a cooling rack.
If you've been bitten by the soda bread bug, try some of these great recipes from my food blogger friends or get creative and make your own sweet or savoury version. The only limit on flavour combinations is your imagination!