Stonehaven Boardwalk Sculpture Trail

Thursday, 17 January 2019
A whimsical collection of steel sculptures adorning the boardwalk at Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire. The artist is mysteriously unknown. Perhaps the 'Banksy of Sculpture'? The fanciful creations include a lighthouse, fishing trawellers and a viking longship - all crewed by fish and crustaceans.

We're all guilty of not always appreciating what's on our own doorsteps and sometime we need a wee bit of reminding. A BBC news story last week about Stonehaven's secret sculptor prompted me to pull together this post sharing details of a collection of fanciful metal artworks that grace the boardwalk in Stonehaven. I regularly walk past these clever creations and often share photos and videos of them on my Instagram account but have never really thought about the where, when, why and how of their existence and the fact that new ones keep appearing to enthrall and delight. 

There are now five sculptures in total on the boardwalk which runs from the Backies car pack at the harbour to Salmon Lane. The most recent one appeared late last year and it's addition seemed to spark a renewed flurry conversation as to who was behind them. They don't seem to be signed in any way and no one seems to know who the artist is. Who is Stonehaven's secret sculptor? Now being tenuously referred to in the media as the 'Scottish Banksy' or the 'Banksy of Sculpture', whomever he/she is they have a fantastic imagination, amazing skill and are making a lot of people happy with their creations. The common theme with the sculptures is a link to the sea but in all of them the traditional roles have been reversed with fish and crustaceans taking the place of humans and vice versa. They are all amazingly detailed and I'm sure I discover something new in each one every time I stop and look. Photo opportunities a plenty with the picturesque town of Stonehaven and the North Sea as a backdrop. 
Could we give them their own Instagram hashtag? #secretstoneysculptor

My Top 10 Haggis Recipes for Burns Night

Friday, 11 January 2019
Fancy something a wee bit different than the traditional Haggis, Neeps and Tatties for your Burns Supper celebrations? I've got you covered with this selection of 10 recipes including Pancakes, Meatloaf, Burgers, Waffles, Birls, Shepherd's Pie, Soup, Scotch Eggs, Toasties and even Chocolate Haggis!

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race! 
Aboon them a' ye tak your place, 
Painch, tripe, or thairm : 
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace 
As lang's my arm. 

2018 - a year of Edible Adventures in Review

Sunday, 6 January 2019
Wishing a slightly belated Happy New Year to all my readers! I hope that 2019 will be good for you and yours and would like to take this opportunity to wish you health and happiness for the months to come. Lang may yer lum reek!

We had a fantastic fun filled festive season and for the first time in 14 years I wasn't hosting Christmas - which felt a wee bit strange. Instead we headed north to my sister's where we enjoyed fantastic Highland hospitality and great fun, food and drink. Twixmas was spent in Edinburgh then back to the North East for New Year at Stonehaven fireballs. After all that gallivanting I'm now looking forward to getting back into a routine and weaning myself off chocolate, cheese and alcohol. With the start of a new year it's time to reflect upon the year gone past and take a look at some of my edible adventure highlights and favourite posts and events from 2018...

Christmas 2018

Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Cracked Black Pepper Oatcake Crust

Monday, 17 December 2018

Post in collaboration with Nairn's Oatcakes

Brussels Sprouts are an absolute must have side dish on the Christmas dinner table. This year take them to a whole new level in a creamy gratin with bacon, chestnuts and garlic topped with a cheesy crust made with traditional Scottish oatcakes. Think cheesy skirlie! 

When it comes to Christmas are you #TeamSprout or #TeamNowt? When I asked on my Instagram stories the lovers outnumbered the haters 73% to 27% which I was somewhat surprised about. Personally I fall somewhere in the middle. To be fair I really only ever eat them at Christmas and even then it's possibly more to do with the fact that I feel obliged to do so. They are the Marmite of the vegetable world with jokes a plenty about mother-in-laws putting them on to boil in August so that they are ready for 25th December. Over the years that I've been cooking Christmas dinners I've found a most palatable way of eating them based on the fact that cream, bacon and cheese improves pretty much anything in the food world. My Brussels Sprouts Gratin is a world away from the unpleasant boiled to death sprouts of Christmas past. Plus its got THE most awesome Scottish oatcake topping. 

Terry's Chocolate Orange and Orange Matchmaker Fudge

Monday, 10 December 2018
Such an quick and easy four ingredient festive fudge to make in the microwave. Zingy Orange additions from Terry's Chocolate Orange and Orange Matchmakers for a real taste of Christmas. No tricky temperatures or boiling hot sugar required.

There are some sweets that really only ever get eaten at Christmas. Two of them I used in a previous version of this fudge - After Eight and Candy Cane Fudge - which has proved to be really popular. This year I used two other festive favourites - Terry's Chocolate Orange and Zingy Orange Matchmakers - to make a version of the fudge with one of my Community Cookery Classes. When I shared it on Instagram Stories I was inundated with requests for the recipe. My teenagers liked the sound of it too and demanded that I make another batch. Needless to say I bowed to the pressure and remade and blogged the recipe.

Christmas Milkshake Straws

Thursday, 6 December 2018
Christmas Milkshake Straws are a great fun no bake festive treat. Ideal for kids to help make - and the perfect homemade edible gift. So simple but very effective and great fun to drink milk through as it turns chocolatey. 

I really can't describe this post as a recipe. It's more of a 'Christmas craft', or perhaps 'edible gift' covers it better. Whatever you want to call it, rest assured that you need absolutely no cooking (or crafting) skills to create these Christmas Milkshake Straws. They would be ideal for kids to help make and would be a fab homemade gift for their friends. I actually feel like a wee bit of a fraud sharing a recipe/instructions as once you've seen a photo of them you'll know exactly what to do. I can't believe that I haven't seen these all over Pinterest, could I really have invented them?! (probably not!)

25+ Quirky Scottish Recipes

Friday, 30 November 2018
Celebrate St Andrew's Day, Burns Night, Hogmanay or any other Scottish occasion with the collection of recipes with a distinctly Scottish twist. Scotch Beef, Irn Bru, Tunnock's Teacakes, Haggis, Scottish Salmon, Tattie Scones, Whisky, Shortbread, Arbroath Smokies, Scottish Gin and more feature in this roundup of more than 25 quirky Scottish Recipes. 

As Scotland's Patron Saint, poor old St Andrew doesn't always seem to get the attention he deserves. Celebrated on 30th November, St Andrew's Day is often overshadowed by the Burns Night celebrations of 25th January. However in recent years, particularly since 2006 when the Scottish Parliament designated St Andrew's Day as an official bank holiday, there has been somewhat of a resurgence in celebrations surrounding the date. In honour of the event I've pulled together a roundup of over 25 of my recipes with a particularly Scottish slant. 

HRH Prince Charles - Groussaka (Grouse Moussaka)

Monday, 26 November 2018
Are you game for a dish fit for a future king? Prince Charles revealed his love of 'groussaka' as he celebrated his 70th birthday. His version of the Greek dish Moussaka, but with grouse instead of lamb.

(Yes I know they are cuddly pheasants - anyone want to knit me a grouse?)

It turns out that I have something in common with HRH The Prince of Wales. When he celebrated his 70th birthday a couple of weeks ago (no I'm not 70!) he shared his love of game and in particular pheasant crumble and grouse moussaka. Game is something that I too love and I'll often choose from a menu when dining out but admittedly it's not something that I tend to cook at home. I've pondered on the reasons for this and there are a number which I suspect others can relate to. Firstly it's really not something that you can easily pick up in the supermarket, then there's the 'Bambi' factor, misconceptions of strong taste and tough texture and lastly worries about plucking and preparing. I suspect that Prince Charles doesn't have to factor in any of these as whilst he may well be involved in shooting he's not actually doing the cooking!

Gin Cranberry Sauce

Sunday, 18 November 2018
We wish you a Merry Ginmas! No festive meal is complete without Cranberry Sauce. This version includes Gin for a modern twist on the classic Christmas relish. Perfect to accompany a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and would make an ideal edible gift for any gin lover.

We wish you a Merry Ginmas! So far I've added the juniper spirit to Gin Butter and Gin Mincemeat, made a Mulled Gin and rounded up 10 Christmas Gin Recipes for UK Bloggers. Today it's the turn of Cranberry Sauce to get the Gin treatment. Most usually made with Port as the boozy component I whipped up a batch of Gin Cranberry Sauce to accompany a pre-thanksgiving turkey dinner. Fresh cranberries are just beginning to appear in the shops so grab a pack when you spot them and get ahead of the game with your Christmas prep. 

Small things make a big difference to Community Groups

Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Advertisement Feature in association with the Aviva Community Fund

Across the UK, community projects work tirelessly with often very little resources to help change and improve their local areas and services. This is something that I have seen first-hand through my own involvement over the years with various groups on both a personal and professional basis. Personally, I’ve been involved in a number of groups as my kids have grown up from toddlers to playgroup, PTA and out of school club, uniformed organisations, sports clubs and more. I’ve also volunteered for wonderful causes including the environment, cancer care, family support and running. Professionally I’ve worked with a number of fantastic organisations on food education projects for adults, children and disadvantaged groups. All of these initiatives help make a lasting difference and bring communities together. 

Ten must try snacks and drinks at Universal Orlando

Thursday, 8 November 2018
Ten items to tick off your foodie bucket list on a trip to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando. Eat and drink your way through Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, Smoked Turkey Legs, Corn Dogs, Dippin' Dots, Voodoo Doughnuts, Cinnabon, Pumpkin Pasties and Toothsome Milkshakes.

Holidays in Orlando are just as much about the food and drink as they are about the theme parks! We're not long back from a fortnight's holiday in Florida and spent our first week staying onsite at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and visiting the new Volcano Bay waterpark. Our accommodation was at the Hard Rock Hotel which comes with the added bonus of early entry to the parks and fast passes. Our holiday kicked off in style with lounge access at Glasgow airport thanks to Holiday Extras

Maple Cinnamon Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Tuesday, 30 October 2018
Don't discard your pumpkin seeds this Halloween! Those slippery little suckers that usually end up in the compost bin are just a couple of steps away from a delicious snack – crunchy, flavoursome and oh so moreish. Roasted with butter, cinnamon and maple syrup they become an autumnal taste sensation that you just can't get enough of. 

Hopefully by now I've harped on enough about using pumpkin for both carving and eating that you know my thoughts on the matter. #lovefoodhatewaste There is so much more potential within them that just a spooky face and a tea light. To clear up any further misconceptions you absolutely CAN eat the flesh of supermarket carving pumpkins, you perhaps won't get as much as from a culinary pumpkin but certainly enough for a pot of pumpkin soup or a loaf of pumpkin bread. But today's recipe isn't about pumpkin flesh, instead it's focusing upon another discarded element - pumpkin seeds.
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