Rhubarb and Ginger Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding

Monday, 20 May 2019
What's better than Rhubarb Crumble or Bread and Butter Pudding? Rhubarb and Ginger Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding! This twist on two classics is the perfect seasonal comfort food pudding. Delightfuly indulgent serve it hot with your choice or custard, cream or ice cream. 

I'll pretty much always opt for a starter over desert. The exception to this would of course be Cheese. There are however a couple of ingredients that if they feature in dessert menu can lure me over to the dark side. One is Peanut Butter and the other is Rhubarb. Over the years I've had mixed success with growing my own Rhubarb. I barely got enough for a single crumble until a garden redesign meant that I had to uproot and relocate my plant. All of a sudden it began to flourish and there was no stopping it. One of my most popular blog posts combines it with one of my other loves. Yup it's Rhubarb Gin.

The recipe I'm sharing today is a fabulous seasonal pudding, perfect for Sunday Lunch. Traditional comfort food with a twist. Ideal served with Ice Cream, Custard, Pouring or Clotted Cream. Cold leftovers are great for breakfast. Don't judge me. Rhubarb and Ginger is just one of those match made in heaven flavour combinations and my Brioche Bread & Butter Pudding was the perfect Star Bake to try out my gorgeous personalised Pyrex Dish from Becky Broome. Isn't it fab? 

Rhubarb and Ginger Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding 

500g Rhubarb 
2 Balls of Stem Ginger 
75g Caster Sugar 
2 Tbsp Stem Ginger Syrup 
8 Slices of Brioche Loaf 
300ml Single Cream 
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract 
50g Caster Sugar 
3 Free Range Eggs 
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon 

Wash the Rhubarb and cut it into 2-3cm lengths and place in a saucepan. 
Finely chop the Stem Ginger and add to the pan along with the Caster Sugar and the Stem Ginger Syrup. 
Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until the fruit is soft. Allow to cool slightly. 
Preheat your oven to 180c 
Place half of the Rhubarb and Ginger mixture in the base of an ovenproof dish. 
Spread the remaining fruit mixture over the slices of Brioche and cut each slice into four triangles. 
Arrange the triangles of bread, jammy side up, in an overlapping layer on top of the rhubarb. 
Whisk together the Cream, Vanilla Extract, Caster Sugar and Eggs together and pour over the dish. 
Sprinkle with Cinnamon and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the custard has set and the top is golden-brown. 

Luxury Stonehaven Beach Apartment Accommodation

Tuesday, 14 May 2019
Post in collaboration with The Beach Apartment

Luxury self catering on Stonehaven beach front sleeping four. Dog friendly beach apartment located above the award winning Bay fish and chip shop and Aunty Betty's Ice Cream and Sweetie shop. The sea practically touches your toes in this indulgent and eclectic Stonehaven accommodation which most certainly has the wow factor from the moment you step inside. Ideally located for Dunnottar castle, the outdoor swimming pool and of course the Hogmanay Fireballs.

If I was asked to name my foodie favourites in Stonehaven, Aunty Betty's and The Bay would be up there at the top of the list. Both shops situated in a prime location on the beach promenade and both well know for their long queues - which are always worth the wait! The Bay is an award winning chipper serving up locally sourced, sustainable fish and chips whilst Aunty Betty's is an ice cream and sweetie emporium extraordinaire. But what lies upstairs from these delicious destinations? The answer is a hidden gem!

Pan Fried Gnocchi with Scottish Asparagus and Wild Garlic Pesto

Wednesday, 1 May 2019
Capture the seasonal flavours of Spring in a vegetarian supper dish which combines wild garlic and asparagus. Pan frying Gnocchi turns the Italian potato dumplings into oh so moreish and delicious crispy bites with fluffy centres.

Whilst the wild garlic season is drawing to a close, the asparagus season is only just beginning! As a huge fan of both ingredients I'm really quite disappointed in myself for taking so long to combine them in a recipe, but that is about to be rectified. Say hello to the green deliciousness that is Pan Fried Gnocchi with Scottish Asparagus and Wild Garlic Pesto.

Three Ingredient Cadbury Mini Creme Egg Fudge

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

I've now made several seasonal variants of two ingreedient chocolate fudge all of which have proved to be very popolar. We had Last Rolo for Valentine's Day and Terry's Chocolate Orange & Zingy Orange Matchmaker and After Eight and Mint Matchmaker for Christmas. I wouldn't want Easter to feel left out so I've come up with both a white and a milk chocolate version. The White Chocolate Easter Fudge recipe was commissioned by Chapelton. This is Aberdeenshire's new town and whilsn't I don't live there I've already benefitted from its facilities, businesses an community. Whilst you're on the Chapelton website getting the fudge recipe be sure to check out the variety of properties available to siuit all incomes and needs. The Creme Egg Fudge needs only three ingreedients and along with it's recipe below I've shared other sweet easter treats that I've created over the years. I do hope that Lent hasn't been too painful and that the Easter Bunny will be good to you!

Wild Garlic Pesto Pinwheels

Wednesday, 10 April 2019
Preserve the flavour of Spring in Wild Garlic Pesto then use it to create the ultimate cheesy garlic bread. Using a soda bread base, these Wild Garlic Pesto Pinwheels are super quick and easy to make and oh so moreish. 

If brambles are the gateway drug to foraging, wild garlic is surely the next one down the slippery slope of never being able to go out for a walk without keeping your eyes peeled for free food! It's a sure sign that Spring is in the air when it starts to put in an appearance. It really is one of the most easily identifiable and unmistakable foragable foods. Take a look at the Galloway Wild Food Website for further identification and distribution information if you are unsure. It's smell is so distinctive and the taste, particularly early in the season, very pungent. You may very well smell it in the woods before you spot its long lush leaves. Look for it in semi shaded moist woodland areas, river banks are a good place to start. Later in the season it bursts into bloom with white flowers which are also edible. 

NTS Mairi Sawyer Chocolate Cake

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Originally published in the National Trust for Scotland Spring Magazine

Perhaps one of the best known of Mairi Sawyer’s recipes: many visitors to Inverewe Gardens tell of having tea with her 40-50 years ago, and they always speak of Chocolate Cake with a light in their eyes.  Cherry with it’s fruit and nut flavour is a natural partner for chocolate providing a winning combination that has stood the test of time.

NTS Mairi Sawyer Chocolate Cake

Inverewe Gardens in the far north west of Scotland is one of the jewels in the crown of the National Trust for Scotland. I'm a long time member of the National Trust and my Mum who is now in her 70's had a summer job in the cafe at Inverewe Gardens in the early 1960's! As a highlander, Inverewe is somewhere I've visited a number of times most recently with my own children when we stayed in Gairloch for a family holiday. As such I was delighted to be approached by NTS to recreate three historical Inverewe recipes for the modern day cook. The recipes were devised by Mhairi Sawyer, and collected in two books. One being Highland Fayre (from 1992) and another a folder of recipes which look to have been typed by Mairi herself.

Where to eat at Aberdeen Indoor Market

Monday, 18 March 2019
Where in Aberdeen can you eat at an avocado cafe alongside authentic Thai food, ramen and sushi? Aberdeen Market is admittedly not the most glamorous of dining locations in the city but it is home to a handful of hidden gems namely The Sushi Box, Madame Mew's and AVO. Nuart has given Aberdeen Indoor Market a new lease of life on the outside and the food offerings are doing the same inside with an increasing selection of Aberdeen Market Restaurants.

Unless you are in the know, I suspect that Aberdeen Indoor Market is not somewhere that many would tend to venture into in search of food. Once a thriving shopping hub in the city centre it has become increasingly tired over recent years, even moreso with the closure of British Home Stores. Sushi Box and Madame Mew's Thai cafe have been longstanding favourites of mine serving up authentic cuisine with a warm welcome and offering great value. The new kid on the block is AVO. Aberdeen's very own avocado cafe

Sizzling SPAM® Fajitas

Monday, 4 March 2019
AD - Post in collaboration with SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham

Sizzling SPAM® fajitas are the perfect showcase for the iconic meat in a tin. Chopped Pork and Ham brings Sizzle Pork And Mmm™ to any meal. In addition to Mexican fajitas I've got SPAM® recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Hawaiian Style Pizza, Fries and SPAMBLED™ eggs.

Sizzling SPAM® Fajitas

It's that time of year again. SPAM® Appreciation Week. No, not the annoying stuff clogging up your inbox, but the iconic meat in a tin. SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham. Running from 4th to 11th March 2019, the appreciation week is now in its 16th year. This is the fourth year I've worked on the campaign and the theme for 2019 is Sizzle Pork And Mmm™. No longer seen as just a cupboard staple, SPAM® products can be sliced, diced and sizzled in a pan or wok, to create quick and easy SPAMTASTIC™ meals and snacks for all the family.

What does SPAM® mean to you? Monty Python? School Dinners? Guilty Pleasure?! Over the years it has been maligned, celebrated and musicalised. SPAM® Fritters were one of my absolute favourite school dinners back in the 80's accompanied by the obligatory ice cream scoops of mash and spaghetti in tomato sauce. 

Glenglassaugh Whisky Smoked Salmon

Wednesday, 27 February 2019
Post in collaboration with Glenglassaugh Whisky and Sutherlands of Portsoy

Portsoy, a small fishing town on the north Aberdeenshire coast, is possibly best known for it's annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, it's ice cream shop and Glenglassaugh whisky distillery. Traditions hold strong in Portsoy with five generations of the Sutherland family smoking the finest salmon for over 110 years. In a neighbourly partnership, Glenglassaugh has paired with Sutherlands of Portsoy to create a luxury smoked salmon infused with Glenglassaugh Peated Torfa Single Malt Whisky. Smoky whisky and smoked salmon - the perfect Scottish pair.

The north coast of Aberdeenshire is not an area that I'm very familiar with. When travelling between Aberdeen and my folks on The Black Isle that corner gets missed out whilst driving the more direct route on the A96. Following on from my recent visit to Portsoy I have a feeling that I'm going to be making plans to explore more of what the Moray coast has to offer. I spent some wonderful childhood holidays at Findhorn, but Burghead, Lossiemouth, Buckie, Cullen, Portsoy and Banff I really don't know at all. I start to get onto more familiar ground once I reach Macduff (where my son participated in the Young Fish Pie Master competition at the marine aquarium) and Fraserburgh (where we've glamped in a Hobbit House and visited Kinnaird Head Lighthouse) however I'm now yearning for a Burghed to Banff adventure.

Things to eat, see and do in Oban

Sunday, 24 February 2019
There's a huge variety of things to do in Oban with attractions and points of interest to suit the whole family. It's a west coast gateway to the islands with ferries from Oban taking you to Kerrera, Lismore, Mull, and onward to Iona and Staffa. Known as the seafood capital of Scotland, Oban restaurants range from Rick Stein recommended fish and chips, a green seafood shack at the harbour and fine dining at Michelin guide mentioned Etive. For whisky lovers an Oban distillery tour is a must as is a visit to Oban Chocolate Company for chocoholics. Oban accommodation options include everything from hotels to hostels and with my recommendations foodies can enjoy a true taste of food from Argyll whether dining out or self catering.

What to do in Oban

February half term saw us heading on a family trip to Oban. This is somewhere that I have fond memories of from an 1983 childhood holiday as an 11 year old staying in a caravan at North Ledaig. We visited Iona on that trip and it must have made an impression as 21 years later I named our daughter Iona. Because of this we visited with her in 2011 and made the pilgrimage to her namesake. Eight years later seemed as good a time as any to return and update the photo album with 'Iona in Iona' photos.

Scottish Rural Luxury at The Grandtully Hotel, Perthshire

Friday, 15 February 2019
Review post in collaboration with The Grandtully Hotel

Highland hospitality combines with style and luxury at the boutique Grandtully Hotel in rural Perthshire, near Pitlochry. Design, decor and attention to detail throughout the 8 bedroom hotel is fantastic, customer service second to none and the food and drink in both restaurant and bar absolutely top notch. A wonderful addition to the Ballintaggart Farm cookschool and restaurant with rooms portfolio, The Grandtully Hotel provides fantastic value and will surely earn a place as one of the best Scottish hotels.

It's becoming a bit of a habit (that I don't want to break!) for myself and my friend Kirsteen to abandon our children and husbands and set off on a new year girlie road trip. January 2017 saw us heading to Ballintaggart Farm for a cookery masterclass while at the start of 2018 we both enjoyed an Eden Mill gin blending experience at Rusacks St Andrews. For 2019 we were delighted to be invited back by Ballintaggart to experience the new addition to their Highland Perthshire portfolio. The Grandtully Hotel by Ballintaggart. A newly transformed (opened September 2018) eight bedroom hotel with restaurant, bar, outdoor terrace and private dining room. 

Last Rolo Valentine Fudge

Monday, 11 February 2019
Do you love anyone enough to give them your last rolo? Such an quick and easy two ingredient Valentine fudge to make in the microwave. Romantic additions of Rolos and chocolate hearts for taste of true love. No tricky temperatures or boiling hot sugar required.

Following on from the success of my Terry's chocolate orange and orange Matchmaker fudge at Christmas I knew I'd need to make a batch for valentine's day. However the 14th of February has crept up on me somewhat so I'm a wee bit later than anticipated in getting the recipe posted. From the reactions on instagram stories to my work in progress it's going to be another popular one. If truth be told it really doesn't need it's own recipe. Once you know how to make two ingreediant chocolate fudge you can basically add what ever else you want. Rolos were an obvious choice to me although when I mentioned them to my teenagers they had absolutely no clue about the concept of saving your last Rolo for someone. Makes me feel very old.
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