Three Ingredient Mincemeat Fudge

Sunday, 13 December 2020
With only three ingredients, no tricky temperatures or boiling hot sugar required, this festive microwave Mincemeat Fudge is quick and easy to make. Add a slug of your favourite alcoholic spirit for a boozy kick. Ideal for a last minute edible Christmas gift.


It's the countdown to Christmas and time to roll out the festive fudge. Lots of you have already been making the previous recipes that I've shared and coming up with your own variations. Today's version is even simpler with only three ingredients. Chocolate, Condensed Milk and Mincemeat. For an extra boozy twist I used my own homemade Gin Mincemeat. You could easily pimp up a jar of supermarket ready made mincemeat with a good slug of something boozy. Whisky, gin, port or brandy would all work well. 

Orcadian Christmas Gift Guide for Foodies

Thursday, 26 November 2020
Post in collaboration with Orkney.com

This Christmas why not shop for a Taste of Orkney online? Treat yourself or someone special to something from the Orcadian larder (or drinks cabinet!) all from the comfort of your own home. Foodie gifts from the Island's many artisan producers and retailers include beer, cheese, gin, oatcakes, fudge, fish, coffee, whisky and more. Or why not combine them all in a Christmas Hamper that's sure to bring festive joy to any recipient. 


Sadly for most of us a trip to Orkney hasn't been possible this year however you can still spread some Orcadian joy this Christmas by sending a gift from the islands to a loved one or by treating yourself. If you have visited Orkney in the past or are planning to visit next year once travel restrictions are lifted why not shop for a taste of Orkney online and support the local businesses that are still producing and creating products in what has been a tough year for the Islands and their inhabitants.

To provide some inspiration I've chosen 10 Orcadian foodie goodies that I would love to find in my stocking on December 25th from the listings within the Food & Drink section of the Orkney.com website. Please do take the time to browse all that these artisan producers and retailers have on offer as there is so much more than my own personal favourites. (Although I have been told - only this morning - that I am the best gift giver ever and missed my calling as a personal shopper!)

Sandman Signature Hotel & Spa Aberdeen

Thursday, 12 November 2020
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Review post in collaboration with Sandman Signature Hotel & Spa Aberdeen

Relax and escape to an oasis of calm in Aberdeen city centre at the newly opened Spa in the Sandman Signature Hotel. Rest, recovery and pampering in stylish surroundings with the full range of Ishga face and body treatments plus a steam room, sauna and relaxation room. Open 7 days a week to residents and non residents.


I promise I am both smiling and relaxed behind my mask. After a week of the stresses and strains of covid, the US election and a house sale falling through it was a delight to escape to the stylish tranquility of the Sandman Aberdeen Hotel and their new Signature Spa. In what is a tough time for hospitality the new Spa facilities provide a much needed boost to the city centre hotel’s offering. 

Have you even been to The Sandman if you don't take a photo of the brollies?!

I'd previously visited, eat and drunk in the hotel but this was my first stay and as with everything in 2020 things were a bit unusual. With a friend as my plus one we each had separate rooms as per current restrictions. Masks were worn unless sat at a table eating or drinking, only one household in the lift at a time, plenty of hand sanitizer throughout, sneeze guards at reception, limited housekeeping, track and trace upon entry to the restaurant with reservations essential for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That's just how the new normal is, for now. We felt safe throughout our visit with all precautions in place, the public areas are ideal for social distancing, large and open and very stylish even with some non essential items removed.


I’m no stranger to The Sandman building having studied there during its previous role as Robert Gordons University School of Computing. Whilst the majority of my Business Studies degree was based within the Hilton Campus we matriculated and picked up our grant cheques (remember those?!) at St Andrews Street and had Quantitative Business Methods classes and exams there. It certainly looked nothing like this on the inside in the 90's. For this stay we both had king suites with kitchenettes and shower rooms on the third floor overlooking the centre courtyard car park. They were a touch stark due to the removal of cushions and soft furnishings, but spacious, practical and comfortable.


Just along the corridor from us on the third floor is the new Signature Spa where were were welcomed by manager Liam Downie and team. Alas covid prevents the use of the fitness facilities, sauna and steam room for now along with facial treatments that would require the removal of masks. But there’s still plenty on offer featuring product from Ishga Skincare - organic seaweed from the Hebrides. Sandman are the only spa or salon in the city to offer the product which in addition to smelling divine, contains a powerful seaweed extract renowned for anti-ageing and antioxidant properties.



The spa space is stylish and relaxing with reception, treatment rooms, nail room, relaxation room and changing rooms. Alas for now the sauna and steam rooms remain closed. I enjoyed a relaxing massage and my friend had an indulgent hand recovery treatment, the perfect antidote to all that hand sanitizer! My therapist Gaby was fully kitted out in PPE and I was required to keep my mask on throughout the treatment. In my mind there is nothing worse than a wishy washy massage but this was the real deal with firm pressure and divine product. Following our treatments we headed to the relaxation room. The stylish wavy loungers were a bit tricky to get in and out of but super comfy to chill in prior the obligatory photos at the flower wall before padding back to our rooms in robe and slippers. 


There are some fantastic welcome offers for the Spa in November and December which can also be bought on gift cards with a 12 month validity so you can treat someone - or even better treat yourself. (go on, you deserve it!) There are also excellent room rates available if you fancy a wee staycation. It was so nice to be able to escape for real life for a short while even with restrictions in place, I highly recommend it.

To book Sandman signature spa call 01224 945554 (during office hours) or email them spa_aberdeen@sandmanhotels.co.uk. Either way - be sure to tell them I sent you.

Dinner and Drinks at CHOP Bar & Grill


Disclosure: This is not a paid post. We stayed, relaxed, ate and drank as guests of Sandman Signature Aberdeen.
As always, all views expressed are my own. 
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.

Volunteering in a Community Larder during a Global Pandemic

Monday, 2 November 2020

I've been involved in The Haven in Stonehaven since it was purely a concept, attended it's opening winter solstice event in December 2017 and even got roped into becoming a Board Member by my good friend, Keeper of the Keys at The Haven, Julia Morton. I've attended yoga classes, sound baths, a pop up cafe, wellbeing festival, a co-working day and more. But in the last 7 months all that has changed and now my involvement is that of a volunteer in a community larder during a global pandemic


Back at the start of May when I was still enthusiastically partaking my allocated once a day outdoor exercise session, I received a call from Julia whilst I was out running. With my board member hat on she asked me what did I think of the idea of setting up some sort of 'covid support food larder thing' in the yoga studio. Apparently I was enthusiastic about the idea as were the other board members, so in an unexpected twist (ain't 2020 just full of those?!) our existing wellbeing remit expanded to include food insecurity. 

Things swung into motion full speed ahead behind the scenes and the doors to the larder opened on the 18th of May. I watched the first week unfold on social media and from afar donated some items. However at this point 10 weeks into lockdown I hadn't left my own village and the neighbouring town of Stonehaven seemed a very long way away despite being less than a 10 minute drive. But I felt as a board member and as someone with strong views that no one in our community should go hungry, the very least I could do was pull on my big girl pants and go visit. 

Peanut Butter and Pretzel Rocky Road

Tuesday, 20 October 2020
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Post in collaboration with SKIPPY® Peanut Butter

No bake Peanut Butter and Pretzel Rocky Road. Soft and squishy marshmallow combined with crunchy peanut, salty pretzels and creamy chocolate for a taste and texture sensation. Pretzels add an extra crunch to this already decadent yet easy to make peanut butter chocolate tiffin fridge cake.


22nd October 2020 is officially National Nut Day, a full 24 hours to celebrate everything nutty (just in time for my birthday on 23rd October!) For the ultimate ‘peanutty’ enjoyment, America’s famous SKIPPY® Peanut Butter is smooth, creamy and delicious. SKIPPY® Peanut Butter is available in Extra Smooth, ground especially fine so it melts in the mouth, or Extra Crunchy which contains large peanut pieces in a deliciously creamy mix. For this recipe it simply has to be SKIPPY® Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter with an added salty kick from pretzels and salted peanuts. Add in squishy marshmallow and bind it all together with creamy milk chocolate. It's an absolute match made in heaven. You don't even need to look up the flavor thesaurus to know the combination is going to taste awesome. 

Plastic Free, Zero Waste Refillery Shops in North East Scotland

Tuesday, 18 August 2020
With climate change and single use plastics high on both the environmental and political agenda, an increasing number of zero waste shops have been popping up in the last couple of years across the county. The North East corner of Scotland is no exception so bring your own own tubs, jars, bags and containers and fill them up to your heart's content at these plastic free, zero waste refillery shops in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Moray and Dundee.

Surely we're all now aware that for the sake of our planet we really should be cutting down on single use plastics. One of the ways we can do this is to purchase goods from a refillery shop where you bring along your own containers and fill them up with products such as nuts, seeds, pasta, rice, pulses, grains, oils, herbs and spices etc. Likewise for refillable cleaning and toiletry products and plastic free homewares. You can buy as much or as little as you wish and you don't need to be a knit your own lentil vegan hippy to shop there. 

Although all shops work slightly differently the basic premise is that you weigh your receptacle before you fill it and again afterwards. Effectively it's weigh and pay without any wasteful packaging. Less food waste as you only buy what you need and a lower price as up to a fifth of our shopping bill in supermarkets goes on packaging. 

Bring your own jar, box, tub, bottle, bag - the choice is yours, pretty much any container goes. If you don't have enough with you or it's an unplanned visit most shops will offer the option to use a paper bag or a recycled glass jar. 

Such shops are popping up all around the country at the moment and the North East corner of Scotland is no exception so bring your own own tubs, jars, bags and containers and fill them up to your heart's content at these plastic free, zero waste refillery shops in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Moray and Dundee. 

Honey Bee Sandwiches

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Bento box honey bees! Get buzzy in the kitchen and create a hive full of honey bee sandwiches for a summer picnic or lunchbox. Kids will love them and they are perfect for any party especially if it's Winnie the Pooh, or bugs and insects themed. 


I LOVE cute food. Always have done. When I was wee there was a double page spread in my Mum's Reader's Digest 'The Cookery Year' cookbook which I used to pour over. It was a birthday party table full of the cutest (albeit 1970's style) kids food. How I longed for pear bunnies on a jelly lawn and a clock cake. A fair few cute foods have made it onto my blog and social media in the past. Oatcake & Cheese Easter Chicks, Olive Penguins, Shortbread Kilts, Tunnock's Teacake Sheep and now Honey Bee Sandwiches. 

SKIPPY® Peanut Butter, Bacon and Banana French Toast Elvis Sandwich

Thursday, 2 July 2020
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Post in collaboration with SKIPPY® Peanut Butter

Celebrate the 4th of July with SKIPPY® Peanut Butter. The iconic Elvis Sandwich of peanut butter, banana and bacon is taken to a whole new level of awesomeness when it's dipped in egg and fried to become the SKIPPY® Peanut Butter, Bacon and Banana French Toast Elvis Sandwich.  #SKIPPY4July 


Q. Are you ready to celebrate American Independence Day in the UK with the USA’s famous SKIPPY® Peanut Butter?
A. Uh-huh-huh 

The King's love of a peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich had become somewhat of an urban legend. Almost to the point where Elvis is as famous for apparently creating it as he is for creating Rock & Roll! How to improve upon such a culinary classic?! Firstly make sure that the Peanut Butter is SKIPPY® and secondly dip the sandwich in beaten egg before frying it so you have an Elvis Peanut Butter, Bacon and Banana French Toast Sandwich. An Independence Day snack fit for the king! 

Black owned food businesses in Aberdeen/shire

Tuesday, 30 June 2020


Black owned food and hospitality businesses in Aberdeen/shire. 
Please share this post, like their facebook pages and instagram accounts, amplify their voices and eat their food.

This list is not exhaustive - please suggest others to add.


Food, Caterers, Restaurants

Produce

Cakes

Events

Quick Cucumber Pickles

Tuesday, 16 June 2020
These super speedy crunchy cucumber pickles are perfect for cutting through rich fatty BBQ meats but you can serve them with literally anything from a sandwich to a charcuterie board. Add some crunch to your plate with this salty, sweet and sour preserve.


My son first made a batch of these pickles for a BBQ get together that we had before he left home to go to Uni last September. They were a big hit then and now that he's back home with us (13 weeks and counting...) he's been making more and I love them so much I'm now making them myself. They are our take on the Damn Fast Awesome Pickles recipe from the epic Grillstock BBQ book. Perfect for cutting through rich fatty BBQ meats but you can serve them with literally anything from a fish finger sandwich to a charcuterie board. 

Microwave Rhubarb Curd

Monday, 1 June 2020
Looking for ways to use up a seasonal glut of rhubarb? When you've had enough rhubarb crumble it's time for Rhubarb Curd. The sharpness of the rhubarb works perfectly as a smooth buttery curd. Enjoy it on toast, scones, meringues, as a sponge cake filling in desserts and more. 


Rhubarb. Rhubarb. Rhubarb. I love the stuff. Literally can't get enough of it. When it's on a menu for desert I can't see past it. For many years I had a small clump in my garden but it never really did very much and only produced a handful of stems, barely enough for an annual crumble. Then we moved it to a different spot and now it flourishes. Another of my loves is curd. For years I thought it only came in lemon however there are a whole range of recipes out there for many more exotic flavours. Here's my Rhubarb version.

Shop Local and Home Delivery in Aberdeen/shire during Covid 19 lockdown

Tuesday, 26 May 2020
16th June 2020 - Stay Loyal Stay Local
After 13 weeks of constant updates, I've just made my final weekly amendments to this listing and won't be updating it further moving forward. 

Many of you have told me how useful it has been but as we ease into a 'new normal' and places reopen it's now served it's initial signposting purpose. However as the supermarket shelves are once again full, do keep in mind who/where was able to feed you when the usual supply chain broke down. Please continue this local support and direct connection with talented food and drink producers and retailers going forward. #StayLoyalStayLocal



We're in the midst of strange times at the moment and one of the things that has become apparent is how well local producers and food businesses across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have stepped up to the mark to offer delivery and collection services.

To try and help folk track down what's available in the area I created a post on my Facebook  page with a list of local businesses selling and delivering groceries etc  This grew arms and legs and escalated in size and sale very quickly. Facebook only allows you to tag up to 50 pages in a post so I had to include lots of unclickable links. My initial list was based on geography and as the situation developed and lockdown commenced it became apparent that may not be the best classification and that the facebook post despite being seen by thousands and shared by hundreds was somewhat unwieldy.


Cue this new blog post where I've compiled an updated list by category of foodstuff of where in Aberdeen/shire you can shop local for your groceries and/or have them delivered. This list is for groceries only not take away or cakes/sweets etc (with the exception of afternoon teas as folk keep messaging me about that) In current circumstances this list is ever changing and is by no means comprehensive. There will be errors, there will be omissions and for that I can only apologies. I'm doing this entirely off my own bat just to try and support local businesses and help both them and those of us who are doing the right thing by social distancing, isolating or shielding.


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