Drambuie Ice Cream Truffles

Wednesday, 8 September 2021
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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
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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
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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.

Aberdeen City Centre Beer Gardens

Tuesday, 27 April 2021
Prior to 2020 should there ever be a glorious sunny day in Aberdeen many of us would rush to try and bag a table at one of only a couple of spots in the city with outdoor seating. Cue covid and the new normal and suddenly if we want to enjoy a drink then certainly for now it invariably needs to be outdoors - whatever the weather! I've pulled together a summary of beer gardens in the city centre - there may well be more - let me know and I'll add them. Some are large and fully covered, others are small - perhaps only a couple of tables - with or without umbrellas so choose wisely and dress warmly!




In Level 3 alcohol is only permitted outside and a maximum of six people from six households can book and be present on any one table. Venues will have to close by 10pm.

Please check directly whether pre booking is required and/or if walk ins are accepted and what each individual venue allows with regards to table numbers as it may not be the same as what the legal limit is. Please follow all social distancing measures, only visit if you are feeling well, stay safe and be respectful of all staff and customers.

Food From Fife #ScotlandLovesLocal

Wednesday, 7 April 2021
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Post in collaboration with Food From Fife

The past twelve months has shown us with absolute clarity that it's more important than ever to shop locally wherever we live. Food from Fife in conjunction with the Scotland Loves Local campaign are working to raise awareness of the fantastic foodie business in the Kingdom of Fife that need our support more than ever as lockdown restrictions ease and Scotland moves toward recovery. With its fertile farmlands, bustling towns and rich coastal waters, Fife is home to a huge range of world-class produce and amazing food and drink businesses. 


#foodfromfife
#scotlandloveslocal

In my recent post where I shared 20 awesome things about 2020, something that came up repeatedly was that Covid has changed our relationship with food and how we shop for it forever. When the usual supply chain broke down across the country leaving supermarket shelves bare, it was local food and drink producers and retailers who stepped up to the mark and adapted their business models to keep us all fed and watered.

If truth be told we've always known that where possible, we should try and shop local for our food, but 2020 has given us a big nudge to continue this vital connection and support going forward. Covid has caused significant challenges for local businesses who have lost out on trade whilst at the same time going to enormous lengths to support the most vulnerable people in our communities.

One of the practical ways in which I tried to help at the height of the initial lockdown was by creating a regularly updated blog post sharing details of local producers and food businesses in Aberdeen City and Shire who were providing doorstep delivery services. Today I'm going slightly further afield to work with Food From Fife and raise awareness of those business in the Kingdom of Fife that need our support more than ever as lockdown restrictions ease and Scotland moves toward recovery.

Sadly due to current travel restrictions I can't go to Fife, so instead Food From Fife came to me via a bumper delivery from Balgove larder. What a fantastic selection of products which showcased much of what makes the area a foodies paradise. With its fertile farmlands, bustling towns and rich coastal waters, Fife is home to a huge range of world-class produce. What I received is only the tip of the iceberg as to what available to Fifers to purchase direct, via farm and local shops and online. 

20 awesome things about 2020

Friday, 26 March 2021
Pandemic anniversary reflections from a Scottish food and travel blogger. Aberdeenshire based content creator Foodie Quine reflects on 20 awesome things about 2020. The UK’s lockdown forced us all to change the way we shop, cook, eat and travel. With supermarket shortages, restaurant closures, stay at home edicts and travel restrictions our relationship with food and travel have undoubtedly changed forever.


When I first started pulling together this post in December I was optimistic that 2021 would be a fresh start and that all that was bad about 2020 could be put behind me. Alas 2021 had other ideas so I'm only getting around to completing it now as we've hit the one year anniversary of lockdown. Fingers crossed that brighter days are now on the horizon both physically and metaphorically. Apologies for the self indulgent nature of these ramblings. I guess I just wanted a permanent reminder for myself that not everything about 2020 was a complete disaster and that there were some positives that will hopefully continue. 



1. SUNDAY LUNCH WITH MICHEL ROUX JR.

As part of a campaign with Albert Bartlett potatoes I hosted a lockdown dinner party with a difference - with one of the guests being none other than Michel Roux Jnr. In addition to the Michelin starred chef were fellow Aberdeenshire foodies Kerry of Documenting My Dinner, Nikki of Nikki Eats the World and Paul Morrison of Tall Pauls Food Life.

We all cooked up a Sunday Roast and sat down together via Zoom where we were somewhat starstruck to have none other than Michel zoombomb us and judge our efforts as part of the Lock-in Cook-off. Our worthy winner as judged by Michel was Paul who scored a perfect 10. Joint second place for the rest of us with none too shabby 9's. A fantastic lockdown experience that I'm not likely to forget in a hurry.

Grandma Monearn's Scotch Pancakes

Monday, 15 February 2021
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.

Haggis, Neeps and Tatties TikTok Wrap

Thursday, 11 February 2021
Now that's what I call serious Burns! Jumping firmly on the tik tok wrap hack bandwagon with a Haggis, Neeps and Tatties version for Burns Night. Instead of rolling all the fillings up, the tortilla is folded into quarters making a compact triangle shaped wrap where nothing can escape. Genius!


It had to be done. A Scottish version of the wrap hack that's taken TikTok by storm. I used a ready meal but this would work equally well with leftovers. Haggis (veggie or traditional), Neep (swede) and Tatties (potatoes) with plenty of Scottish Cheddar. Surely the ultimate Scottish toastie for Burns Supper and beyond. Some awesome serving suggestions from my followers included the addition of a whisky cream or peppercorn dipping sauce.

Haggis are of course small four legged creatures that live in the Highlands. They have two legs shorter than the others so they can run around the mountains without toppling over. Catch one yourself by chasing it the opposite way round the mountain or buy a free range one from your butcher.
Scottish Neeps are Turnips, but not wee white new Turnips but rather the large purple skinned yellow/orange Swede.
Tatties are potatoes and must be of the mashed variety.


Haggis, Neeps and Tatties TikTok Wrap
Wrap
Haggis
Mashed Neeps
Mashed Tatties
Scottish Cheddar (grated)

Place your wrap on a chopping board. Take a knife and make a cut from the top to the centre point.
Heat through your haggis, neeps and tatties in the microwave.
Imagine the wrap being divided up into four quarters (like a 4 seasons pizza)
Put haggis in the top left, neeps in the bottom left, tatties bottom right and finally grated scottish cheddar top right.
Fold the wrap starting from the top left left quarter, folding it down over the bottom left, over to the bottom right and finally up to the top right.
Toast in a frying/griddle pan or in a panini press or health grill until the cheese has melted and the wrap is crispy.

Some awesome serving suggestions from my followers included the addition of a whisky cream or peppercorn dipping sauce.


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The ultimate Scottish version of the TikTok wrap hack. Haggis, Neeps, Tatties and Scottish Cheddar for Burns Night.

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. 
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