Monday, 12 October 2015

Spiced Apple and Rosehip Jelly with the Superfast Thermapen 4

It's the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. The leaves are turning, the nights are drawing in and the hedgerows are laden with berries. This is the time of the year where my thoughts turn to preserving. The combination of fruit, sugar and jam jars enables you to enjoy the Autumn harvest for months to come. Of course when it comes to jelly and jam making there's the complex process of reaching the correct "setting point". Too hard and you won't be able to spread it on your toast but too runny and it will be dribbling off the edges. 

When I first started making my own jams and jellies I used the tried and tested method that I'd seen my Mum use over the years. Namely the wrinkle test on a cold saucer. I then moved on to a sugar thermometer but the level of the mercury can be tricky to read and you can end up going beyond the point of setting. Both of these methods are far from foolproof in achieving the magic number of 105 degrees centigrade. I've had a Thermapen Cooks Thermometer for a couple of years now but for some reason had never thought to use if for preserving, although I always use it for roasts and BBQ's. However when Electronic Temperature Instruments asked if I'd like to put the new Superfast Thermapen 4 through its paces by developing a recipe, the time of year meant that preserving was top of my to do list. Cooking apples from my Mum's garden and Rosehips foraged from the hedgerows combine with warming spices in this tasty jelly which works equally well spread on toast or pancakes as it does as a condiment in sandwiches or alongside meat dishes.


800g Rose Hips
1.5kg Coking Apples chopped (no need to core or peel)
2 Lemons Sliced
30g Ginger Root - sliced
1/2 tsp Cloves
2 x Cinnamon Sticks
Granulated Sugar - 450g for each 575ml of juice

Wash the rosehips and remove any stalks, leaves and dead flower head remains. Place in a jam pan, or a large soup pan, along with 2 pints of water. Simmer for 30 minutes and then give them a good mash with a potato masher to break them up.
Add the apples and a further 4 pints of water to the pan along with the sliced lemons, ginger, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Bring to the boil and simmer for a further hour.
Strain for at least 2 hours in a jelly bag. Don't be tempted to push it through or you will get a cloudy result. 
Measure the resulting juice and add sugar in the proportions of 450g for each 575ml of juice. (if like me, you still work on imperial measurements at this stage it's 1lb sugar for every 1 pint)
Dissolve over a gentle heat and bring to a rolling boil until you reach setting point of 105°C (220°F)
Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

I was really impressed with the performance of the New SuperFast Thermapen 4 Cooks Thermometer. It is even more intuitive than my existing model. The temperature display automatically rotates through 360 degrees so you can see it at any angle. My left handed son found this really useful as he's normally trying to read the display on our existing one upside down. There's also a handy backlight which turns on automatically. Great for when the light is poor or for outdoor use at BBQ's. If you need a boost of light just cover the sensor with your finger. There's a motion-sensing sleep mode which automatically turns the Thermapen 4 on or off when you pick it up or put it down. It will stay on all the time you are using it, but the sleep mode will save battery life which comes in at 3000 hours in normal use. Close the probe when you’re finished and the Thermapen 4 turns off for storage. 

Its easy to see why the SuperFast Thermapen is the UK’s number one selling food thermometer. High-tech, yet fast, accurate and easy to use over the range of -49.9 to 299.9 °C. The true temperature of a product can be tested in just three seconds, over 50% faster than traditional probes. The stainless steel, penetration probe conveniently folds back through 180° into the side of the instrument when not in use. No stabbing yourself when you rummage in the drawer for it. The Thermapen 4 is priced, at £60 and is available in ten vibrant colours direct from

For further Autumnal Jelly & Jam inspiration take a look at these fab recipes from fellow food bloggers
Fab Food 4 All - Easy Blackberry & Apple Jam
Little Sunny Kitchen - Eggplant Cinnamon Jam
Tin & Thyme - Chocolate Blackberry Jam

Disclosure : This is a commissioned recipe for Electronic Temperature Instruments who also provided me with a Superfast Thermapen 4 for Review. All views expressed are my own.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

BBC Good Food Show Scotland Preview, Discount Code & Ticket Giveaway

I'm delighted to share that this year I'm one of the official bloggers for the BBC Good Food Show Scotland. I've always wanted to attend one of the Good Food Shows and at last I get to do it in style. You can find out more about all 14 of the handpicked Scottish bloggers in the BBC Good Food Show Bloggers Community. In the lead up to the show we'll be giving you the latest news plus exhibitor product reviews, sneak peaks of the on stage recipes and much more.

The show takes place from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th November at the SECC in Glasgow. You can get 15% off advance tickets online by using code BL15
Ticket Code Terms and Conditions:
15% off valid on Adult & Over 65s Standard Entry tickets only. Not valid with any other offer. Not valid on VIP or Gold theatre tickets. Offer valid 02/10/15 – 08/11/15. All admin and transactional fees included. 1 Standard Supertheatre seat included with advance tickets, subject to availability. Gold seats available for an extra £2. Not all celebrities appear on all days, see website for details.

Now for a quick rundown of what to expect over the three days of the event. Check out for full details of who will be appearing where and when and on which day so you don't miss your favourites. With 2015 celebrating the Year of Food and Drink Scotland there will be an abundance of delicious regional flavours round every corner. Treat yourself to a day out at the show and experience a true taste of Scotland in 2015. #TasteScotland

The Supertheatre is the highlight of the show, where you can watch the best celebrity chefs in the business cooking delicious dishes live. The all star line up appearing over the three days are Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Michael Roux Jr, James Martin and Tom Kitchin.

Interview Stage
Discover the secrets of your favourites chefs' success as they take to the Interview Stage with the chance to get your own culinary queries answered as the host invites questions from the audience. 

Book Signing
Not only can you shop for all the latest cook books,but you could also get your copy signed by the authors themselves

Retail Therapy
This is your opportunity to browse, shop and sample from hundreds of exhibitors. Plenty of different areas to explore including 
Producers Village
Bakes & Cakes Village
Eat Well Pavilion
Regional Food Pavilion
BBC Good Food Champions
Drinks Cabinet
There's even a "shop and drop" area where you can leave your shopping for collection later whilst you go and buy more!

Pop-Up Restaurants
Glasgow Restaurant Association are showcasing three of the city's top restaurants over the course of the show. The Pop up Restaurants will offer tasters size dishes. Simply order and pay for your chosen samples at the servery, pick up your food and take a seat to enjoy.

BBC Good Food Show Scotland have provided two tickets as a giveaway for readers of Foodie Quine. Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget below.
The tickets are general admission excluding Saturday. Tickets do not include a seat in the Supertheatre.
To enter, let me know in a comment "Which celebrity chef would you most like to meet?" For additional bonus entries you can follow me on Twitter, Tweet about the Giveaway or like me on Facebook.
Giveaway ends 24th October 2015 12:00am. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Purple Power Juice - Blackberries, Plums, Beetroot, Apples & Fig

When you ponder the colours of Autumn, purple isn't really the one that springs to mind. However when I got thinking about creating an Autumnal juice recipe for UK Juicers I suddenly realised that lots of the ingredients that I was thinking about were at that end of the spectrum. Think Blackberries, Plums, Figs and Beetroot. If you've not juiced with beetroot before you really don't know what you're missing. Its a fantastic addition in both colour and flavour. Grab yourself a handful of autumn's fruit and vegetable bounty and make yourself a delicious and nutritious Purple Power Juice.


2 Apples

1 Beetroot

2 Plums

1 Fig

8 Blackberries

Apples - mine were from my own tree in the garden, can't get less food miles than that! Add one at the start and one at the finish of your juice making. My juicer can cope with them whole, you may have to peel/core/quarter after washing.

Beetroot/Beets - the fresh kind. Not cooked or pickled. I wash and juice whole but you may wish to peel if you're not keen on a more earthy flavour. Slice to fit your juicer shoot.

Plums - Wash, cut in half and don't forget to remove the stone. Lots of antioxidents in them.

Fig - Rinse and pop in whole.

Blackberries (Brambles) - 8 big fat juicy shop bought ones or more if you've foraged for them and they're smaller. Rinse in a strainer and check for bugs.

Ginger - a small slice provides a fantastic warmth. It doesn't produce much juice but go easy on quantity as it has a real kick.

This should give you between 300 and 350ml of juice, depending on your fruit/veg and your juicers capabilities. Pour into a glass over ice to serve.

For further juicing inspiration take a look at these fantastically healthy and colourful recipes from fellow food bloggers.

Cranberry, Squash, Apple & Carrot Juice from Fuss Free Flavours
Apple, Grape & Kiwi Quencher from Fab Food 4 All
Veggie Zinger Juice with Matcha Green Tea from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

Disclosure : This is a commissioned recipe for UK Juicers

Link up your recipe of the week

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Black Diamond Knife Block & Precision Knife Collection Giveaway rrp £169

I've got a fantastic Giveaway for you today in association with Edge of Belgravia, one of the world’s most innovative and edgy chef knife brands. The latest addition to their product portfolio is the Black Diamond Knife Block. Created by London designer, Christian Bird, the Black Diamond will bring a stylish touch to any kitchen. It's more than just a knife block; it's a piece of art. The futuristic design is reminiscent of the angles of a rough-cut diamond and can hold up to 11 knives. Clever use of weighting secures the knives in the block and slight angling allows for their easy extraction. 

The Black Diamond is designed for maximum flexibility and is suitable for most knives. It looks great even with my own somewhat mismatched collection. My previous knife block took up similar space yet only held 5 knives so it's great to have space for 11 within the same footprint. The Black Diamond Knife Block retails at £99.90

To complete the stylish look you can also win the full Precision Knife Collection consisting of the Bread, Chef’s, Deba and Paring knife. These knives are designed for precision in cooking. Made from coated stainless steel; they have a non-stick blade coating and are easy to sharpen. The Precision Knife Collection retails at £69.90

Edge of Belgravia have provided have provided a Black Diamond Knife Block & Precision Knife Collection (rrp £169) as a giveaway for readers of Foodie Quine. Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget below.
To enter, let me know in a comment "What's the first thing you would use your new knives to prepare?" For additional bonus entries you can follow me on Twitter, Tweet about the Giveaway or like me on Facebook.
Giveaway ends 27th October 2015 12:00am. Good Luck!

Disclosure - Edge of Belgravia provided me with a Black Diamond Knife Block & Precision Knife Collection in return for this post. All views expressed are my own. This is not a paid post.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

15 Fabulous Recipes to Reduce Food Waste

I was delighted to be asked by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary to be a guest host for her #NoWasteFoodChallenge in September. A great selection of bloggers linked up 15 recipes with ideas to use up items such as windfall apples, black bananas and stale bread which might otherwise be thrown out. All have been added to the No Waste Food Challenge Pinterest Board alongside those from previous months. Plenty of inspiration to be found! 

The October Challenge is being hosted by Kate at Veggie Deserts so head over and join in with the linky. The theme is entirely open so you are free to share any recipe which uses up any ingredients which otherwise might have gone to waste. #LoveFoodHateWaste

Friday, 2 October 2015

Foodie Parcels in the Post - September 2015

Although the calendar says October I'm sticking my head in the sand about how far through the year we are. Don't even mention the "C" word. There is a definite Autumnal feel in the air, tattie holidays are looming and the clocks will be falling back. October also brings my birthday. No chance of stopping time so I'm just going to embrace it whilst looking back at the Foodie Parcels In the Post that arrived in September.

Foodie Loon doesn't often show much excitement when yet another parcel arrives for me, however his ears pricked up at the mention of a box of brew. Beer 52 is the UK's largest and fastest-growing beer club. For £24 every month members receive a selection of 8-10 beers, a snack and a copy of Ferment magazine. Alas my popcorn crisps had burst open in the post but thankfully all the beers arrived in one piece (if I was a subscriber I'd have received a credit/refund or replacement). Expert tasters choose the contents for each monthly box which enables members to experience beers that they wouldn't normally come across plus providing great exposure to superb small breweries. I was delighted to see a bottle from my local Stonehaven brewery Six Degrees North. There was a good mixture of styles both light and dark in the selection, all were eminently drinkable and the magazine provided an informative read. If you fancy joining the craft beer discover club discount code QUINE10 will get you £10 off your first box at

A fishbox isn't a new concept for me as I already subscribe to one from Coast & Glen, however I was interested to see what Peterhead based Skippers Choice could offer in their recently launched product. The skipper in question is none other than Jimmy Buchan who along with his trawler Amity II starred in the BBC’s BAFTA award-winning Trawlermen TV series. I received a Starter Selection Box priced at £49 which contained 2.9k of haddock, smoked haddock, fish pie mix, and salmon plus an extra 2 fillets of Honey Roast Salmon. It arrived well insulated and vacuum packed direct to my door and was ready for cooking instantly or freezing for later. As well as listing the contents, the delivery note gave detailed instructions of how to keep the fish in prime condition.The haddock fillets were Angel Cut which comes from smaller haddock with both sides of the fish folded out flat. Personally I prefer the larger fish flakes from a select cut, but both the standard and smoked haddock were very tasty. The latter found its way into a hearty Cullen Skink for American visitors. The salmon fillets were huge and my daughter absolutely loved them and said they were the biggest she'd seen. Whilst the rest of the catch comes from boats landing at Peterhead - Europe's biggest white fish port - the salmon is sourced from carefully selected freedom salmon farms on the West Coast of Scotland. I can see that Skippers Choice would be a great option for those who are perhaps less experimental and adventurous in their fishy tastes than I am. If you like top quality fresh sustainable white fish, yellow fish and salmon it's the perfect choice.

Having recently returned from 10 days in Singapore, a box of oriental snacks from Chimasu was a very welcome Foodie Parcel In The Post. I'm always fascinated by the sheer variety and apparent quirkiness of far eastern foods. From £14 - £18 per month Chimasu subscribers receive 12-15 original snacks from countries such as Japan, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. I received a mixed selection but you can state your preference as love, like or no thanks for Biscuits & Cakes, Crisps, Candy, Nuts, Peas and Seeds, Noodles & Soups, Tea, Fruits and Seafoods. I absolutely adored the savoury goodies in particular the shrimp crackers. My kids loved the Hello Pandas. All the products come with English translations of contents and ingredients so you know exactly what you are getting. Use discount code CHIMASU15 to get £5 off your first box at

BBQ season is almost over for the year. If truth be told you could almost say that it hasn't really ever begun. The Grill Mates range from Schwartz means that you can have the flavour of barbeque in your kitchen all year round even if the weather gods aren't shining. They all work equally well under the grill, in the oven or on a griddle pan. As well as the marinades we're absolutely loving the Perfect Shake Chips seasoning blend with paprika, onion and garlic. You can see how I used the Deep South Brown Sugar Marinade Mix in this awesome recipe for Jack Daniels Bourbon Shot Steak Sandwiches.

Regular readers will know that I have a soft spot for vintage kitchenalia. I simply cannot walk past a charity shop without popping in for a sneaky peek at the bric-a-brac shelf. Enamelware is one of my favourite finds however for many reasons vintage items aren't always usable in a modern kitchen. Prestige has just launched a Vintage Kitchenware Collection which unites their iconic heritage and classic design with the features and benefits that we expect from cookware today. The retro collection comes in a red/white or blue/white colourway and comprises of stunning cookware and counter top accessories, crafted from a variety of materials including enamel coated steel and ceramic. The nostalgic 21cm Casserole Dish can be used in the oven and hob (alas not on my induction hob) and its also dishwasher and freezer safe. rrp £29.99 To win the entire range worth £340 in either red or blue share your favourite kitchen memory on the Prestige Facebook Page

I'm a big fan of the innovative Oxo Good Grips range of products and already have a lot of them working hard for me in my kitchen. I've not yet cooked a roast chicken to try it out on but I can already tell how useful the Poultry Lifter is going to be. I've currently got large forks that I use to transfer roast birds but this will be great for a one handed operation without piercing and damaging the skin. As always with Good Grips products there's a comfy ergonomic non slip handle.
The new GreenSaver Collection has been designed to help keep your produce fresher longer. Made from coconuts, an all natural, non-toxic activated carbon filter located in the products absorbs ethylene gas and slows down the ageing process. I'm going to be trying out a Crisper Insert and Produce Keeper over the next month and will report back with my findings. #WatchThisSpace

When a parcel of jelly making goodies arrived from Hartley's including some sachets of their new What's Your Flavour jelly crystals with instructions to 'mix with your favourite drink' there was only one thing for it. Gin & Tonic Jelly. My kids meanwhile were more excited about making Vimto Jelly and Cream Soda Jelly. Of course you've always been able to make a boozy jelly just by adding a slug of alcohol but this no flavour base enables you to get more creative. One sachet of What's Your Flavour, 300ml boiling water and 200ml of squash, fruit cordial or fizzy drink and Bob's your uncle. Really simple to make and fantastic results. The kids swore that theirs actually tasted fizzy - I'm not so sure. My G&T jelly was fab but I think I was perhaps a wee bit heavy handed with the quantity of Gin as boy was it strong. Next up is Irn Bru Jelly, Coca Cola Jelly and Beer Jelly. So much wibbly wobbly fun.

Bacon tastes good. Fact. This is Bacon are a Kent-based producer of traditionally made, free-range, hand-rubbed and air-dried bacon. However they don't just stop at damn fine bacon but also make a range of flavoured bacons and bacon made from animals other than pork. What?! I sampled their Naked Bacon - standard pork bacon from a rare breed pig hand rubbed with a salt and spice mixture, 7 day cure and 4 hours smoking. Beef Bacon - made from beef belly with a 10 day cure and 10 days air dried. Lastly was the quacking (sorry!) Duck bacon which was my absolute favourite. 5 days curing and 1 day air drying. It's healthy too with a third less fat than pork bacon. They're just about to launch a Crowdfunding initiative to enable them to step up production levels and bring more awesome bacon through more UK letterboxes. #thebaconiscoming The crowdfunder will go live on 7th October at

Disclosure : Thanks to Beers52, Skippers Choice, Chimasu, Schwartz, Prestige, Oxo, Hartleys and This Is Bacon for providing the above products. I was not obliged to review positively in return. All views expressed are my own. This is not a paid post. 

If you're a brand who'd like to have your product featured here, please do get in touch

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

River Cottage Edible Flower Butter Roulade

Those who follow me on my Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts may have spotted the #BlogCampRiverCottage hashtag putting in a number of appearances last week. Back in May, Foodies 100 announced that they would be running a food bloggers event at River Cottage HQ in the Autumn. I duly applied for a place and crossed my fingers and toes. When I received the email to say I was on the guest list I'm sure my excited scream could be heard all 600 miles away in Devon. I would definitely be the furthest travelled blogger at this event!

If there was one thing that encompassed for me the whole ethos and excitement of the day it had to be making an Edible Flower Butter Roulade. I've made my own butter on numerous occasions, often in jam jars as part of my children's cookery classes and outdoor food and foraging events. However at River Cottage we went one step further and filled the butter with beautiful edible flowers from their stunning Victorian vegetable garden. Instructions of how to make your own at the end of the post but firstly some photos that sum up a fantastic day. 

Our day comprised of three group sessions alongside networking with fellow bloggers and a sumptuous two course lunch. First up was Food Styling and Photography with the lovely Capture by Lucy of whom it was a delight to finally meet having stalked her online for so long. The Bread and Butter Cookery session was led by Group Head Chef Gill Meller (The bread part will be revealed in future post - I promise it's worth the wait) whilst Head Gardener Will Livingstone took us on a farm and garden tour. 

River Cottage HQ is a 90 acre certified Organic mixed farm. Livestock wise they have beef cattle, large black pigs, sheep, chicken, ducks, guinea fowl and bees. Everything grown on the farm stays on the farm and there is a 30 mile food sourcing policy for their additional requirements. Vegetables are grown in two poly tunnels and the kitchen garden. The Victorian style garden is divided into four plots with a Mulberry tree in the middle (alas there were no takers when I suggested we dance around it). Brassicas, legumes, roots and onions and 'everything else' are rotated annually to help reduce pests and diseases and avoid the depletion of nutrients. The farm aims to be as sustainable as possible with a wind turbine, solar panels, reed bed system for sewerage and biomass generator for heating and hot water. As he showed us around and answered our many questions Will's passion for local, seasonal, organic food shone through, as it did with the whole River Cottage HQ team throughout our day. At last it was time to head to the cook school and get hands on. 

River Cottage Edible Flower Butter Roulade

500ml Double Cream
Sea Salt Flakes
Culinary Herbs
Edible Flowers e.g. nasturtiums, marigolds, chives, borage, pansy, violets. Check the Royal Horticultural Society Guide before including anything you're unsure of 

Whip the cream with an electric whisk until it starts to split and looks a bit like scrambled eggs.
Use a wooden spoon to continue to beat and press against the side of the bowl until you have butter and buttermilk.
Take small balls of the butter into your (ideally cool) hands and squeeze out excess buttermilk.
(At this point you may wish to refrigerate the butter for a short time if it's rather soft)
Wash the butter in iced water to help prolong its life before squishing it out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper to form a rectangle.
Sprinkle with salt if desired and top with edible herbs and flowers.
Run a knife between the butter and the baking parchment before rolling the butter up "swiss roll" style.
Place the butter roulade on a fresh sheet of parchment and wrap it up like a Christmas cracker, twisting the ends to secure.
Refrigerate until solid then slice and serve.

Of course I now had the added complication of requiring to transport my butter 600 miles home. It made it safely back to my B&B, the gorgeous Fingle in Uplyme, Lyme Regis. My landlady Jane kept it in the fridge for me and I enjoyed a slice of it on toast for breakfast on my final day in Devon. Alas by the time it spent the day in a suitcase in the boot of my hire car and onwards to Exeter, Manchester and Aberdeen airports it didn't look quite so pretty!

Thanks to Time To Be An Adult, Lovely Appetite, Supper In The Suburbs, Sophia's Choice and Jen's Food for allowing me share a montage of their beautiful butters above. I'm a wee bit obsessed with this whole idea now and the possibilities are endless. You don't necessarily even need to make your own butter from scratch, just soften and squish out a block of shop bought butter. Fill with edible flowers, herbs, pesto, tapenade, chilli, garlic, lemon & lime zest, wholegrain mustard - my mind is now in overdrive with potential fillings. Its uses are equally plentiful. Beautiful spread on bread or toast but also on top of meat, fish or pasta. The perfect idea to take away from a perfect day. It could only have been better if HFW himself had put in an appearance. However I suspect he has bigger (sustainable) fish to fry than an excitable group of 50 food bloggers

Disclosure - I attended #BlogCampRiver Cottage as a guest of Foodies 100 and River Cottage HQ. All views expressed are my own.

Link up your recipe of the week

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Making Butteries and Pancakes at JG Ross for Craft Bakers Week

The iconic regional speciality food of the North East corner of Scotland has got to be the Buttery. Depending on where you're from you might call it a Rowie or an Aberdeen Roll. Terry Wogan caused outrage when he branded the local delicacy as tasting “like a mouthful of seaweed”. If you've never tasted one and haven't a clue what I'm on about, listen to me and not Mr Wogan. They can best be described as a dense, round, flaky, flattened, buttery, salty kinda croissant! They were originally made for Aberdeen fishermen who needed a roll that would not become stale during the two weeks plus that they were at sea. The high fat content, traditionally from lard, also meant they provided an immediate energy boost.

When I was offered the opportunity to be a baker for a few hours as part of the celebrations for Craft Bakers Week I jumped at the chance to visit the JG Ross headquarters in Inverurie and try my hand at buttery making. The general consensus of most Aberdonians is that they are made purely of lard, salt and calories! Would their secrets be revealed?!

For the past fifty years, craft baker JG Ross has been servicing the bakery needs of the North East of Scotland and beyond with baked goods. Traditional recipes, ingredients, skills and most importantly hand crafted methods are what make them a Craft Baker rather than a mass producing factory bakery. A second generation family business, under the watchful eye of the founder Mr Ross, they produce to quality rather than price and will always work that way. Local butchers and producers supply them with meat, oats and rapeseed oil and they take pride in serving the local community. Throughout my visit I was amazed at how extremely hands on everything was and impressed with the skill, passion and pride that all the staff showed in their work.

I donned my glamorous white coat and shoes and coordinating blue hairnet and gloves (essential due to my nail varnish - you don't want any of that in your buttery!) The dough had already been made and was waiting my arrival. The batch that I was baking were vegetarian so no lard in them. There are no secrets behind the buttery's few humble ingredients – flour, yeast, water, fat, sugar and salt. Alas Foreman Baker Roger Cooper wasn't about to reveal to me the quantities and proportions of each that go into a JG Ross Buttery. Everything is combined by hand in a very physical process to make a soft and sticky dough. It was at this point that I was let loose to form the 2kg lumps of dough into balls ready to go through the hand divider which formed 36 equal pieces.

24 Butteries went onto each tin and were pressed out into their traditional shape. Every dimple on the top of one is created by fingers and knuckles on a human hand. Not something that any machine could ever successfully replicate. Into the prover for 40 minutes so the heat and humidity can work their magic before heading into a very hot oven to bake for 12-14 minutes. The smell at this point was amazing. In fact it was the first thing I noticed when I got out of my car in the car park however all the staff told me that they quickly became oblivious to it. With the butteries cooling it was time for my next task. Large American style pancakes. 

With the pancake batter already prepared all I had to do was cook and flip. How difficult could that be?! Two squeezes on the handle of the batter dispenser deposited exactly the right amount of mixture for a consistent size. I'm going to have to get me one of these for home. Roger demonstrated a batch of 8 pancakes and then it was my turn. But I had to fill the whole hotplate. It really was hot work. 

I reckon I didn't do too bad for a first attempt although I did have a couple that were a wee bit too close together and another spilling off the edge. Flipping was done with what looked to me like a wallpaper scraper. It did the job much better than a palette knife. Something else for my wish list. After a shaky start I managed to get into a bit of a rhythm and discovered that approaching the pancakes from the side rather than the front was the way to go.

The final part of the process requires asbestos fingers. Collecting up a pile of four hot pancakes in one hand and transferring them to a cooling rack. If I'd have known that I'd get the stack of dodgy ones to take home with me I'd have made more mistakes. My next task was to decorate a celebration cake. This was undoubtedly the part of the visit that I was least looking forward to. I'm a reasonably proficient cook and baker but simply don't have the skill or patience for the pretty stuff. This did not bode well.

Confectioner Cheryl Cooper, Rogers daughter, showed me the ropes and let me loose with a piping bag. I simply don't do Birthday Cakes for my children. Supermarket novelty cakes all the way. But with my daughter's 11th Birthday only days away I couldn't miss out on the opportunity to ice her a cake. Pink was my colour of choice although the final hue was somewhat more vivid than the look I was initially going for as I was a bit heavy handed with the gel colouring. 

After attaching my ribbon, Cheryl demonstrated on the work surface how to ice around the base. She made it look so easy. My attempts looked very amateurish in comparison. I decided just to go for it and with the cake on the turntable I managed a full circle of pink and white. Next up the writing. Lets just say that the photos make my efforts look rather better than they did in real life. My hands would just not stop shaking but I managed to fit all the letters in, spelt everything correctly and kept it all reasonably straight. Really glad I gave my daughter a short name. 

More piping round the top to finish it off before being let loose with a lustre spray to make it all sparkly and professional looking. Kinda like a soft focus for cakes. My final job for the morning, before I could actually eat some of the fruits of my labours was a short stint on packaging and labelling section. 

Time to remove the hairnet and gloves and hand back my white coat and shoes before heading down to the Coffee Shop. Over a pot of tea and a warm buttery with homemade raspberry jam Marketing Manager Dianne Smith filled me in on some of my unanswered questions. Firstly the thorny subject of exactly how calorific a buttery is. Clearly not all butteries are created equal, but for JG Ross ones I was surprised (and a wee bit delighted) to learn that they shape up as follows: Buttery 181 calories, Banffshire Buttery (made with locally milled oats, 15% less fat & 20% less salt) 163 calories, Veggie Buttery 152 calories. In comparison a JG Ross oven scone is 212 calories and a Mars bar is a whopping 280 calories. 150,000 Butteries are produced every week on average by JG Ross. This includes their popular Friday speciality Butteries which rotate between Haggis, Bacon, Cheese and Cheese & Bacon. During the upcoming Craft Bakers Week, JG Ross will be highlighting their handcrafted products and using it as a focus week to show the heritage and the traditional methods and tools that they use. From what I saw during my visit they have every reason to be proud of their passion and history. Long may they continue with their slogan Baking for you since '62.

The nation’s bakers are calling on the public to show them some love during this autumn’s Craft Bakers’ Week (28th September – 3rd October). This national celebration will showcase the skills bakers use every day, to make a host of foods including breads, cakes, pies and more. Bakeries have been a feature of many high streets for generations and businesses are often passed down through the family – along with baking know-how, regional specialities and even secret recipes.

Follow @craftbakersweek on Twitter
Like Craft Bakers Week on Facebook

Disclosure : This is a sponsored post commissioned by Craft Bakers Week. All views expressed are my own. Many thanks to JG Ross for facilitating my visit.