Today is World Whisky Day and there is only one way to celebrate; by having a wee dram (or two) of course!
Today is World Whisky Day and there is only one way to celebrate; by having a wee dram (or two) of course!
For my cake pledge for the Its Good To Eat Cake event, I couldn’t decide what to make. I wanted to make something different, but not too difficult, so I turned to Dan Leopard’s Short & Sweet and this is where I found this tasty recipe for a Coconut Milk Layer Cake (think Pina Colada in cake form!)
Now, I did make a few slight changes to the recipe. Firstly, I boozed it up a little. I just found (on my trial run!) that the small amount of rum he adds doesn’t make any difference to the flavour of the cake, so I added more! In this recipe Dan just fills it and covers it in a Meringue Butter cream frosting. Whilst smooth, silky and tasty, I found it a bit rich, so I added some lime curd and the frosting in the middle and just topped with a layer of frosting and a sprinkling of coconut and lime zest!
I used Dan’s recipe for Lime Curd which is also in the book, it was quick and easy to make!
Dan Leopard’s Lime Curd (Makes a decent size pot!)
5 Large Egg Yolks
1 Large Egg
125ml Lime Juice
150g Caster Sugar
225g Unsalted Butter (cut into small cubes)
Finely grated zest of 3 Limes
The curd should be stored in the fridge. The left over egg whites here can be used to make Meringue Butter Cream Frosting if you want to use this, or you could just make a meringue!
I managed to transport the cake to the venue in one piece (thankfully Stuart gave me a lift I don’t think it would have survived public transport!), and I even managed to get it onto a cake stand without dropping it!
It’s true, it is, especially when it’s for charity, which automatically wipes out every single calorie in each cake, and therefore makes the cakes in this case – diet food!! The latest Edinburgh Bakers event was a fundraiser for local charity Its Good to Give, which helps young cancer patients and their families, run by the lovely Lynne McNicoll.
Our venue for the evening was Cafe Musa (a great little spot on The Mound if you are ever passing and in need of a cuppa!!). I didn’t take many pictures at this event as I was too busy concentrating my efforts on charitable cake eating, but over on Lucy’s Blog you can find fantastic pictures of all the delicious cakes! (I don’t know how she took the photos without digging in!). But here is taster of what there was to choose from
We were entertained by magicians, there was a raffle where the top prize was the fabulous cake at the top of the page by Lou and the odd glass of bubbly floating around. The event was a roaring success with £755 being raised for Its Good to Give! Well done to everyone who made it happen!
Cake eating doesn’t get tougher than this.
While drying my hair this morning I was flicking through my Google reader and spotted this post from Bex at Olive Dragonfly about her favourite spot in her home and entry into a fab competition over on Fashion For Home. Having spent the last 2.5 years chipping back the previous owners last 27 years of DIY disasters, I thought it would be nice to enter myself and tell you about my favourite space!
The renovation on our place is far from over, but my current favourite part of the flat is our hall. That sounds a bit random I know, but firstly, it is the only completely finished part (give or take a few pictures) and secondly, it shows how far we have come in this process. From a dark, randomly decorated flat to a bright airy space. To demonstrate, here are some before shots! (excuse the quality of these, they were taken on an old camera phone!)
When we first got the keys, it looked like this:
Then after some slight demolition it started to look like this:
And this is how it looks now:
I have been slowly picking up pieces to decorate the hall with, my favourite so far is the Teal Nina Simone print by Anthony Peters from Howkapow, I love this print as it is a nice reminder of our wedding day, as My Baby Just Cares for me was our first dance! And this is the picture that I submitted to participate in the Home Love contest at Fashion For Home
I am also looking forward to filling the hall with bright pictures, as its such a large space its going to take a while to fill! But I will start with these vibrant bicycle themed prints (Stuart loves cycling!) from Rebecca J Kaye, an Edinburgh illustrator and designer, I think these will look really good once I remember to buy hooks to hang them on!
Its so nice now to walk into this bright space, a better welcome home after a long day at work than what was there before!
In an (other) attempt at being healthy I decided to give the ‘trendy’ 5:2 diet a go. To be honest I did spend months being sceptical of it. However, the more I thought about it the more I realised that it might actually be worth a shot! The publicity round the book would make it seem like you drop loads of pounds every week on this, I haven’t found that. But what I have found is I am less bloated, I’m sleeping better and I have more energy, not to mention being a few pounds lighter!
The principle of the diet is that you eat what you like for 5 days and ‘fast’ for 2 – which really means you eat 500 calories each of these 2 days. I have found that even on the days I can eat what I like I am still making conscious food choices. My secret weapons for the fast days are loads of water and endless cups of Green Tea!
I love my breakfast, so for me its at the start of the day where I eat most of my calories on a fast day. This little recipe which I found in a newspaper supplement is great and fills me up quite well until lunch!
5:2 Banana and Walnut Yoghurt Pot (Serves ones. Calories: 200)
1/2 Medium Banana
1 Pot of 0% Fat Greek Yoghurt
1 tbsp. Chopped Walnuts
1 tsp. Honey
Enjoy with a steaming mug of Green Tea! Healthy!
Always on the look out for new places to eat near our office, Stuart and I took a quick trip up to Deanston Distillery, a mere 15 minutes away, to grab a bite to eat at The Coffee Bothy. Deanston Distillery’s claim to fame is that the film ‘The Angels Share’ centres around some precious whisky which is being kept at the bond! (The Angels Share is a great wee film set in Glasgow, if you don’t mind colourful language its worth a look).
The cafe is part of the main distillery building close to the bonded warehouse, it looks to have maybe been originally the old distillery canteen back in the day.
The menu is small but very well done, with sandwiches, panini’s, soups and baked potatoes being the staple and other specials such as Stovies and Stew served in a freshly made Boule (Stuart has expressed interest to return soon to try that out!). We just kept it simple with baked potatoes, good old Cheese for me and a rather spicy Cajun Chicken for him.
Of course I did have to accompany mine with a Strawberry Milkshake – the big kid that I am!
Sadly we didn’t have time to do a distillery tour and since we were going back to work we couldn’t even have a wee dram! The Coffee Bothy was a great little find and no doubt we will be back again soon to try their stew and something from their array of home baked goodies!
Whisky is something that I didn’t used to like. But with a husband who loves the stuff I have managed to try enough over the years that I actually do like it now! And a cocktail I do sometimes enjoy is the Whisky Mac, combining Whisky with Ginger, another favourite flavour of mine!
So when browsing through my Google reader I spotted this Domestic Sluttery post for a Whisky Mac Ginger Cake, and I knew straight away I had to make it! Now, I am pretty sure there will be whisky connoisseurs out there who will wince at the fact I have used a 12 year old Caol Ila Single Malt to bake a cake with, but I don’t really care, whisky is made to enjoy and how better to enjoy it than in a cake! (Plus there was only 1 dram left in the bottle!)
This recipe uses a lot of ginger, including fresh ginger, and this give me a chance to christen my new ginger grater that I got from Nishiki Market in Kyoto, it was wrapped and presented so nicely and they even engraved my name on it in Japanese Characters. Unfortunately it does mean that if it ever goes blunt I will need to go back there to get it sharpened (any old excuse eh!)
It was reasonably straight forward to make, the smell of ginger was wafting through the house as it baked and we couldn’t wait to dive in! The recipe only calls for whisky in the cake mixture, but I did add a little into the syrup to pour over the cake to give it an extra kick and depth of flavour. The Ginger and Smokey Islay malt worked well together, and we devoured a slice each while it was still warm, washing it down with a little dram!
Normally we both work over the Easter Holidays, but due to a special birthday in Stuart’s family we were headed en-masse to Wigtownshire to celebrate with his extended family.
The journey down thankfully started out great, clear blue skies – had spring finally arrived?! But then the remnants of last weeks snow hit, plus our sat nav decided to take us off road and up through the highest point in the county!
Saturday seen a surprise early morning visit from the entire family to a very unsuspecting birthday boy! The day was spent catching up, celebrating and feasting on wonderful food (and cake!).
Stuart’s Uncle has a beautiful garden, and with the beautiful weather we spent plenty of time outside, spotting wildlife and talking to pets. Spring had appeared after all!
On Sunday Stuart and I took a wander around Wigtown itself, I love books so this town is perfect for me, well maybe not on Easter Sunday! Though a few were open so we took a look.
Then it was back to Stuart’s Uncles’ for more food, egg painting (for the children of course) and a little Easter Egg Hunt – sadly also for the children! There were squeals of excitement and delight as more and more chocolate was discovered!
It was soon time to leave, say our goodbyes and head back up to Edinburgh, not without stopping first of course at Bladnoch Distillery for a tour and a wee dram (for me, Stuart got to inhale as he was driving!).
Monday saw a lazy day, starting with a long breakfast (finishing off the last of the hot cross buns), and then onto the newly opened The Walled Garden at Archerfield, before walking off all that food and the excesses of the weekend along Gullane Beach. And then rounding the walk off with an ice cream – well why not , the sun was out!
A lovely relaxing and fun weekend, maybe we will take the holidays again next year!
One thing I miss about home (besides my family and friends that is!) is the bread. I love Wheaten Bread, and although Mr Rankin has kindly delivered wheaten bread to the masses across the country, its actually not really like real Northern Irish Wheaten Bread, its more of a brown soda really. Real wheaten bread is solid, oaty wheaty and tasty, and it’s pretty straightforward to make.
This recipe is the more traditional way to make it, and though I would love to be able to say that this recipe has been handed down generations – it hasn’t. This was one my Primary 4 teacher used when she was showing us how to make it! So, I guess it’s at least 25 years old!
Wheaten Bread (Makes 2 loaves)
600g Wholemeal Flour
150g Pinhead Oatmeal
150g Porridge Oats
100g Caster Sugar
3 tsp. Bicarbonate of Soda
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 pint Buttermilk
Wheaten Bread is great to use for a number of things – in a Ulster Fry, toasted with melted cheese, topped with smoked salmon, or how I like it – toasted with lashings of butter and homemade jam. The taste of home!
When deciding what to make for last night’s Edinburgh Bakers Towers of Terrific Tray bakes (Take Two), I had wanted to make Fifteens since they are my most favourite tray bake in the world!! For my second choice I decided on Brigadeiros, which is what I took along – there was another Fifteen lover on the scene!!
Two years ago I was out in Brazil for a month working (hard gig I know!) and one of my colleagues girlfriend made these traditional Brazilian / Portuguese sweets for me, and I fell in love with them! What can be worse than the sweet creamy combination of condensed milk and chocolate?! (Note: Fifteens also contain condensed milk… I quite like it in case you hadn’t guessed!)
They are so easy to make and only contain really 2 main ingredients – Condensed Milk and Drinking Chocolate. Traditionally I believe in Brazil they use unsweetened cocoa powder, but I was advised that Brazilian Condensed milk was a lot sweeter than the UK version so Nesquik (other hot chocolates are available) would be better used instead.
Brigadeiros (Makes about 20 small ones, or 10 bigger ones)
1 tin of condensed milk
3 tbsp. Nesquik (or similar)
1 tbsp. Butter
And there you have it, an easy little morsel to have with a nice cup of tea!