A little thing Stuart and I started on our 1st Wedding Anniversary was to buy each other a novelty gift relating to the traditional (or in some cases modern) items that are said to be for each anniversary. For our 1st Anniversary the ‘theme’ was paper. Stuart bought me notebooks, somewhere for me to continue my love of writing lists! I got him the Stieg Larsson trilogy.
This year traditionally its Cotton, and a modern option is China. I opted for the former, he the latter. I have had my eye on a 1950’s Harlequin Tea Set for some time, and have managed to fail in the final stages of bidding on ebay. However, on Saturday we went to the Flea Market at Out of the Blue, and as I walked in… there it was glistening under the lights – a 5 (ish) set Tea Set.
A blue cup was missing – but that’s OK, a little more plundering and I will get one to fill the gap! The pink set also came with cutest little spoon, so the hunt is on to find matching ones for the other sets!
Knowing that I had been looking for one (and I think he was lacking a little inspiration!) Stuart kindly bought me it… fulfilling the China Theme (more practical than novelty!).
However I went down the novelty route… Cotton – how many cotton things could I buy… well… Cotton Pads, Cotton Buds, Cotton Gloves, Cotton Plimsolls, Cotton T-Shirt and a Cotton Bag. What I failed to get was Cotton Candy and the Cotton-Eyed Joe CD (not even on eBay!!) Needless to say he was impressed at how many items I managed to get relating to cotton, and even though he wont admit it… I think he quite likes the dodgy cotton plimsolls!
Next year the ‘theme’ is for Traditional - Leather and for Modern – Crystal or Glass… better get our thinking caps on for that one!
….Stuart and I finally tied the knot! It only took us 7 years! We had a wonderful day with friends and family around us to help us celebrate. We got married back in my home town of Belfast, it was a cold, snowy but sunny day – we even had photos taken on beach!
Our reception was held outside Belfast at the stunning Clandeboye Estate, where we dined on Hog Roast, and good old Beef and Guinness Stew. We couldn’t decide on which desserts to have…so we had 3! Sticky Toffee Pudding, Lemon Tart and Port and Fruit Jelly for dessert, all topped of with Clandeboye Estate’s own yogurt. I don’t think anyone was hungry for a long time!
Since I love cake, and do enjoy eating and making cupcakes, one thing we had to have was a cupcake tower. After numerous visits to St Georges Market in Belfast we settled on cupcakes from Sarah at Marshmallow Grove, who created us a fabulous cupcake tower with 4 different flavours!
We then danced the night away, our first dance was Nina Simones ‘My Baby Just Cares for Me’ and every time I hear it on the radio it brings back good memories.
Last year to celebrate we went to Copenhagen, which was a great way to finish off our 1st year! This year we kept it low key for various reasons, so we had a cosy night in, with some pizza, bubbly and a cheesy film! Bliss!
Today we ventured out of the North side of Edinburgh and made the trip across town to the South Side…. which really isn’t that big a journey, its just we never go there! One of the reasons we went was to visit Earthy Foods on Ratcliffe Terrace, we have read reviews and articles about it and thought we should give it a visit. And aren’t we glad we made that journey!!
Even though we had unlucky number 13 as our table number, we certainly weren’t unlucky with the food! We had only went in for coffee, but the tempting fresh and yummy looking food which greeted us changed our minds quickly! I went for todays soup which was a Red lentil and Tomato soup, served with granary bread and butter. It was delicious and there was loads of it!!
Stuart went for a ham, cheese and onion marmalade panini, which came with a beetroot, apple and rocket salad. Naturally I had to steal a bite, and can confirm it too was delicious.
After eating all of this we went into the market shop section upstairs, where all the fresh produce is sold. There was piles of fresh fruit and veg, which looked so inviting, and the bonus is – its mainly all local!
We will definitely be paying Earthly Foods a visit again, though hopefully soon we wont have to travel across town as there are plans to open a branch in Canonmills, so only a short stroll away!
”Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.”
― Robert Burns
Its Burns Night here in Scotland, where we celebrate the poetry of Rabbie Burns with some Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, all washed down with a wee dram of Whisky (or you could just ignore the poetry and get stuck into the whisky!)
This year instead of just loading up the plate with a big slab of haggis, my brother-in-law kindly took charge and did something slightly different. He made filo wrapped haggis, which was really tasty. In this case it was veggie haggis as I don’t eat the real thing!
Filo Wrapped Haggis
1 packet of Filo Pastry
- Remove Haggis from packet, and mould into a ‘log shape’
- Lay out layers of filo pastry and spread the redcurrant sauce over it
- Wrap the log of haggis up in the filo pastry, like a present
- Brush with a beaten egg
- Bake in the oven for 30 mins at about 180 degrees.
- Serve with neeps and tatties!
All washed down with a wee dram!
After trading my battered old iPhone in for a new flashy iPhone 4S I thought it was probably about time I got a cover and looked after this one properly. I wanted something a bit different and colourful. I came across a lovely website called Joli Originals which is based in Amsterdam. They hand make leather iPhone cases in a variety of colours with colourful felt inside. The bonus is you can choose what colour of leather and felt you want – kind of custom make your own! I went for purple and pink – my two favourite colours!
They come wrapped in paper and a handwritten letter which is quite sweet! I love cute sweet things! and this one has the added bonus of being practical!
Today is what is traditionally regarded as Epiphany, its the 12th day of Christmas, the day the three wise men visited Jesus, the day to take down your Christmas decorations and the day to sadly end the festive season. And in honour of such a sad day I baked a cake, or rather a Galette Des Rois, which indulges my current loves of all things almondy and cakey.
Galette Des Rois is a French dessert that is served on the twelfth night. Many other countries have different ‘Kings Cakes’ that they eat, but I went with this one – you can’t resist some puff pastry can you?
In England it would be more traditional to have a fruit cake on this day, but to be honest over the last few weeks I have eaten so much Christmas cake, I can’t face any more!
Galette des Rois (recipe from Good Food Magazine Jan 2008)
400g ready-made puff pastry
2 rounded tbsp. apricot jam
100g softened butter
100g caster sugar
1 lightly beaten egg
100g ground almonds
2 tbsp. cognac or dark rum
Heat the oven to 200C/fanC180/gas 6.
Divide the ready-made puff pastry in half, roll out each piece and cut into a 25cm round. Put one round on a baking sheet and spread with the apricot jam to within 2cm of the edges.
Beat together the softened butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg. Stir in the ground almonds and cognac or dark rum.
Spoon the mixture over the jam, spreading it evenly. Brush the edges of the pastry with water, then cover with the second piece, pressing the edges to seal. Mark the top of the pastry from the centre to the edges like the spokes of a wheel or in a zig zag pattern, then brush with beaten egg.
Bake for 25-30 mins until crisp and golden. Serve warm or cold.
You are meant to add a little trinket to the middle of the cake to represent the baby Jesus, I didn’t, partially because I didn’t have anything, and partially because I know that this will be woofed down, and I didn’t want anyone to choke! (how practical of me!)
This is a tasty dish and so easy to make! Though you will notice that mine really doesn’t look like how it should. (Its not that hard to work out which one is which!)
However, tasty all the same. Also, since something hot and spicy is also traditionally consumed on this day… I might wash it down with a cinnamon hot chocolate or something stronger!
My role in yesterday’s New Years Day lunch was dessert, I have my usuals that I do (I make a mean pain au chocolat ‘bread and butter’ pudding!) but I wanted to try something different. There were 9 of us for dinner, so I decided to make 2, Clementine and Prosecco Jelly and an Apple, Amaretto and Physalis Frangipane Tart.
Apple, Amaretto and Physalis Frangipane Tart (From issue 1 of Making Cakes and Bakes Magazine)
1 packet of All Butter Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (or you can make your own!)
100g Caster Sugar
2 medium eggs
1 tbsp. Amaretto
100g Ground Almonds
25g Plain Flour
For the Topping
2 Red Skinned Eating Apples (I used Gala)
Caster Sugar for Sprinkling
50g Apricot Jam
Preheat the oven to 190 C / 170 C fan / Gas Mark 5
Grease a 3.5cm deep 18x27cm baking tin (or a 24cm diameter tin)
Roll out the pastry until big enough to fit the tin. Ease gently into the tin.
Put the tin into the fridge to chill while you make the filling
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one
Add the Amaretto, then stir in the grounds almonds and flour
Spoon the frangipane into the pastry base and level the top
Quarter the apples vertically and core them but leaving the skins on. Cut into thin slices and arrange slightly overlapping on top of the frangipane
Bake for 30mins until the frangipane has set.
Remove from the oven and scatter the physalis halves on top of the tart.
Sprinkle over with caster sugar and return to the oven to bake for a further 10 –15 mins
Leave to cool in the tin
Warm the apricot jam and brush over the top of the tart to glaze the fruit.
Next up was the Clementine and Prosecco Jelly which came from the BBC Good Food website. You will note that the picture on the website is a lot better than the one below, there was no easy way to photograph it – it does look like a giant egg yolk! However, it tasted great (even if I do say so myself!)
Clementine and Prosecco Jelly
7 leaves gelatine
600ml clementine juice (from about 14 clementines or I cheated and bought a bottle!)
- Put the gelatine sheets into a bowl of cold water to soften for a few mins.
- Put 100ml clementine juice into a small pan and gently heat.
- When the gelatine feels soft and the juice is just simmering, remove the juice from the heat and squeeze out any excess water from the gelatine sheets. Drop the sheets into the hot juice and swirl to melt. Make sure there are no visible lumps of gelatine before you move onto the next stage.
- Stir the hot juice into the rest of the juice with the prosecco, then transfer to a jug.
- Pour between 6 small glasses or 1 large bowl.
- Sit the jellies in a small tray or dish, cover with a sheet of cling film and chill for at least 4 hrs. (or up to 48 hrs.) until set.
They seemed to go down well (well there was nothing left of them!) So I think these 2 recipes are definitely winners and will be added to my ‘go-to’ dessert list!
Happy New Year!! I had a lovely evening here in Edinburgh bringing in the new year with some good friends, over tons of lovely food and the odd glass of vino. We managed to leave the warmth of our flat and walk across to Inverleith Park to see the fireworks at Edinburgh Castle, which were fantastic; they looked like planets and flowers, the best I have seen in years. The bonus was as well the foggy,misty rain had cleared and it was a beautiful clear night though with a strong wind!
We all must be getting old, I remember the time when we would have all been up on Princes Street amongst it all! It was then back home for a wee dram to warm us up!
Today the partying will be continuing with a spot of First Footing, which is an old tradition whereby the first people into a home in the new year should bring some gifts with them to symbolise wealth, food, flavour, warmth and good cheer. In ye olde days this would have been a silver, cake, salt, coal and whisky. For modern times there will have to be an alternative. So I have come up with….
Wealth: just going to stick with a coin for this one… might be a foreign one though!
Food: Clementine and Prosecco Jelly and an Apple, Amaretto and Physalis Frangipane
Flavour: Paprika, a little random but we have an excess from when we were in Hungary!
Warmth: My Personality – cheesy I know
Good Cheer: Wine – a box off
Every year a crowd of us get together on New Years Day to have have food, drinks and get up to much merriment, and we take it in turns to host. Its not us this year! So we are loading up the car with our spare chairs and heading down the road to our friends flat – I am so glad I am off work on Monday, I think I’ll need another holiday after this festive season!