A day at Dundee Cooking Academy

Thursday, 24 March 2022
Post in collaboration with Visit Dundee

Dundee Cooking Academy provides a fantastic cookery class experience from start to finish. A brilliant professional set up yet relaxed and fun and suitable for all levels. You'll have an interesting and informative day producing fab food and picking up loads of clever tips and tricks along the way. Expert tuition from Lewis Donegan combined with plenty of refreshments make it well worth a trip from Aberdeen.

I'm regularly asked about cookery classes in Aberdeen but unfortunately there are very limited options currently available. However there is now a solution that's just over an hour down the road in the city of Jute, Jam and Journalism. Dundee Cooking Academy has been on my radar for a wee while now, they opened in October 2019 but like so many businesses their operation has been curtailed by lockdowns. So when Visit Dundee invited me on a press trip to the city which would include a cookery class with them I jumped at the opportunity.

On perusing the sessions on the Dundee Cooking Academy Website I was impressed by the wide range of classes on offer for one, two or three course sessions. These cover international cuisines such as Greek, Thai, Italian, Turkish, Spanish, Indian, Middle Eastern and more. There are also classes covering topics such as steak, pasta making, venison, seafood, risotto, sushi, chicken and kids classes. I was less impressed when it came to availability as so many of the classes were already sold out. However, this only proves testament to their popularity and also reflects the fact they they are working their way through a backlog of rescheduled cancellations and gift vouchers.

Oh so cute Oatcake and Cheese Easter Chicks

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Biscuits and cheese with a seasonal twist. These chirpy Easter chicks are the perfect healthy snack to combat chocolate egg overload. Cute Easter eats that are fun for all the family - it's time to play with your food! 

I really can't call this a recipe. I guess at the most it counts as a serving suggestion. What it really is however is TOO CUTE. And at the moment we all need a bit of cuteness and fun in our lives. Whilst Easter is for many all about the chocolate, for those of us with a more savoury tooth recent years have seen the emergence of Cheester eggs. But which came first - the cheese chicken or the cheese egg?

Scottish Cullen Skink Crepes

Sunday, 27 February 2022
Celebrate Shrove Tuesday with a Scottish twist. Taking all the flavours of a traditional Cullen Skink soup - Smoked Haddock, Potatoes, Leeks and Milk - and using them as a savoury pancake day filling. Say Bonjour to Crepes with a Scottish accent. Much to good to save only for Pancake Day!

For the uninitiated, Cullen Skink possibly doesn't sound the most enticing of foods but I can assure you that it is. Hailing from Cullen, a small fishing village on the North East coast of Scotland, it's a hearty soup made of milk, smoked fish, potatoes and leeks. If you fancy giving it a go head to my recipe for Cullen Skink - A traditional Scottish Smoked Haddock Soup. I'm a huge fan of savoury crepes/pancakes so with pancake day beckoning and purchases of leeks and smoked haddock made at Stonehaven Farmer's Market I decided to combine them both in my Cullen Skink Crepes.

Grandma Monearn's Scotch Pancakes

Saturday, 26 February 2022
My granny’s failsafe and prize winning Scotch Pancake recipe. Also known as dropped scones or bannocks. Ideal for pancake day, breakfast, brunch and afternoon tea.

This pancake recipe which was handed down to me by my Grandma appears in various shapes and forms across by blog but really does deserve a post of its own especially with Shrove Tuesday on the horizon. I've written previously about my Granny Jean Benzie, her baking prowess and her involvement as a stalwart of the SWRI. Hush a bye don't you cry, Mammy’s off to the WRI and I've previously shared her failsafe and prizewinning recipes for ShortbreadMinisters Slices and Cornflake Biscuits.

A dozen of my Haggis Recipes for Burns Night

Sunday, 16 January 2022
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 more than a dozen recipes including Pancakes, Meatloaf, Burgers, Dauphinoise, Gnocchi, 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. 

Gingerbread Men Rocky Road

Monday, 29 November 2021
A quick, easy and fun traybake that's ideal for kids to help make. The classic Rocky Road takes on a festive twist with the addition of mini Gingerbread Men. Run run as fast as you can - this no bake Christmas treat won't hang around for long. 

I've got a bit of a thing for a certain man who isn't my husband. This man is a Ginger.
Nope not Prince Harry or Ed Sheeran or Ron Weasley (although Tim Minchin - it could be you...)
Run, run as fast as you can, you can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man.

Tunnocks Teacake Christmas Puddings

Monday, 22 November 2021
Such a quick and easy yet super visually impressive no bake Christmas Treat. Perfect for kids to help make. The iconic Scottish Tunnock's Teacake topped with white chocolate and red and green icing becomes a Figgy Pudding!

So today is Stir Up Sunday. The date on which you should traditionally make your Christmas Pudding. If that all seems like a wee bit too much hard work I've got an alternative idea to share. Tunnock's Teacake Christmas Puddings. If you want to stick with tradition I've also blogged my failsafe 7 Cup Pudding Recipe along with a boozy pud from Neil Forbes of Edinburgh's Cafe St Honoré. 

Party Ring Christmas Wreath Iced Biscuits

Friday, 19 November 2021
Christmas Wreath cookies for Santa. Turn kids favourite Party Ring biscuits into edible festive wreaths with the adition of icing and sprinkles. A great fun no bake treat - great for kids to help make.

I am so pleased with the festive food idea that I'm sharing with you today. These Party Ring Christmas Wreaths are so so simple to make but very effective. I actually feel like a wee bit of a fraud sharing a recipe/instructions as once you've seen a photo of them you 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!)

Three Ingredient Mincemeat Fudge

Saturday, 13 November 2021
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. 

Drambuie Ice Cream Truffles

Wednesday, 8 September 2021
Post in collaboration with Drambuie

There's only three ingredients plus toppings in these decadent ice cream truffles flavoured with Drambuie, Scotland's iconic heather honeyed whisky liqueur. These showstopping truffles do take a wee bit of time and effort but the result is a perfect 5th course 'sobremesa moment', over which friends and family can reconnect.

What to drink when dinner is done but the night is still young? With restrictions easing and socialising with friends and family once again on the cards I'm delighted to be working with iconic scottish brand Drambuie to champion its place on the dinner table as part of the fifth course, or as the Spanish call it 'sobremesa'. I must confess that the word sobremesa was new to me but it's concept is not. The literal translation to English is 'over the table'. It's the point in the evening when canapes, starter, main and dessert have all been enjoyed, everyone is relaxed and the conversation is in full flow. The spell would be broken by leaving the table so the moment is extended by a 5th course of special treats such as chocolate, cheese, coffee, petit fours, liqueurs or a combination of all of the above. Drambuie is the perfect accompaniment for such a sharing and pairing moment. 

SKIPPY® Peanut Butter S'mores

Thursday, 2 September 2021
Post in smoothly satisfying collaboration with SKIPPY® Peanut Butter

What could possibly be better than s'mores? All the gooey deliciousness of toasted marshmallows, melted chocolate and crumbly sweet biscuit. Add American-style SKIPPY® Peanut Butter to the mix and you've got the perfect creamy and dreamy sandwich. SKIPPY® Peanut Butter S'mores. Smoothly satisfying campfire snacks, a clever twist on a classic which will leave everyone wanting some more.

Peanut butter is well and truly up there at the top echelons of my list of favourite foods. As such I was delighted to be asked by SKIPPY® Brand to team up in a smoothly satisfying partnership and create a creamy and dreamy SKIPPY® Peanut Butter snack. Challenge accepted! SKIPPY® Peanut Butter has a taste like no other peanut butter – creamy, smooth and addictively yummy. But the big question is are you team smooth or team crunchy? I'm crunchy all the way! SKIPPY® Peanut Butter offers both with Extra Smooth ground especially fine so it melts in the mouth or Extra Crunchy which contains large peanut pieces in a deliciously creamy mix.

Sniffing out the best of Fort William with Highland Soap Co.

Friday, 11 June 2021
Post in collaboration with Highland Soap Company

What to do in Fort William when it inevitably rains? Soap making, cinema and good food are at the top of my list. The Highland Soap Co's new visitor centre offers a fragrant retail paradise alongside the opportunity to get crafty and make your own bespoke soap. Local provenance abounds with food from its larder as it does at The Highland Cinema's cafe bar.

My Dad's long standing Dad joke about Fort William is that as you walk down the High Street you can hear all the jackets breathing (feel free to groan). To be fair he does have a point as there are multiple outdoors shops selling a plethora of breathable walking and climbing kit. However there's much more to Lochaber's capital than its position in the shadow of Ben Nevis may have you believe. After an 18 month covid induced lull I was delighted to be invited on a press trip by Highland Soap Co. to sniff out the best of Fort William. I even brought along Foodie Loon to experience their new Visitor Centre and Larder Cafe, although to be fair the pull for him was more likely a trip to Hogwarts on the steam train over the Glenfinnan viaduct.

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