Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Cracked Black Pepper Oatcake Crust

Monday, 17 December 2018

Post in collaboration with Nairn's Oatcakes

Brussels Sprouts are an absolute must have side dish on the Christmas dinner table. This year take them to a whole new level in a creamy gratin with bacon, chestnuts and garlic topped with a cheesy crust made with traditional Scottish oatcakes. Think cheesy skirlie! 

When it comes to Christmas are you #TeamSprout or #TeamNowt? When I asked on my Instagram stories the lovers outnumbered the haters 73% to 27% which I was somewhat surprised about. Personally I fall somewhere in the middle. To be fair I really only ever eat them at Christmas and even then it's possibly more to do with the fact that I feel obliged to do so. They are the Marmite of the vegetable world with jokes a plenty about mother-in-laws putting them on to boil in August so that they are ready for 25th December. Over the years that I've been cooking Christmas dinners I've found a most palatable way of eating them based on the fact that cream, bacon and cheese improves pretty much anything in the food world. My Brussels Sprouts Gratin is a world away from the unpleasant boiled to death sprouts of Christmas past. Plus its got THE most awesome Scottish oatcake topping. 


Terry's Chocolate Orange and Orange Matchmaker Fudge

Monday, 10 December 2018
Such an quick and easy four ingredient festive fudge to make in the microwave. Zingy Orange additions from Terry's Chocolate Orange and Orange Matchmakers for a real taste of Christmas. No tricky temperatures or boiling hot sugar required.

There are some sweets that really only ever get eaten at Christmas. Two of them I used in a previous version of this fudge - After Eight and Candy Cane Fudge - which has proved to be really popular. This year I used two other festive favourites - Terry's Chocolate Orange and Zingy Orange Matchmakers - to make a version of the fudge with one of my Community Cookery Classes. When I shared it on Instagram Stories I was inundated with requests for the recipe. My teenagers liked the sound of it too and demanded that I make another batch. Needless to say I bowed to the pressure and remade and blogged the recipe.

Christmas Milkshake Straws

Thursday, 6 December 2018
Christmas Milkshake Straws are a great fun no bake festive treat. Ideal for kids to help make - and the perfect homemade edible gift. So simple but very effective and great fun to drink milk through as it turns chocolatey. 

I really can't describe this post as a recipe. It's more of a 'Christmas craft', or perhaps 'edible gift' covers it better. Whatever you want to call it, rest assured that you need absolutely no cooking (or crafting) skills to create these Christmas Milkshake Straws. They would be ideal for kids to help make and would be a fab homemade gift for their friends. I actually feel like a wee bit of a fraud sharing a recipe/instructions as once you've seen a photo of them you'll 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!)


HRH Prince Charles - Groussaka (Grouse Moussaka)

Monday, 26 November 2018
Are you game for a dish fit for a future king? Prince Charles revealed his love of 'groussaka' as he celebrated his 70th birthday. His version of the Greek dish Moussaka, but with grouse instead of lamb.

(Yes I know they are cuddly pheasants - anyone want to knit me a grouse?)

It turns out that I have something in common with HRH The Prince of Wales. When he celebrated his 70th birthday a couple of weeks ago (no I'm not 70!) he shared his love of game and in particular pheasant crumble and grouse moussaka. Game is something that I too love and I'll often choose from a menu when dining out but admittedly it's not something that I tend to cook at home. I've pondered on the reasons for this and there are a number which I suspect others can relate to. Firstly it's really not something that you can easily pick up in the supermarket, then there's the 'Bambi' factor, misconceptions of strong taste and tough texture and lastly worries about plucking and preparing. I suspect that Prince Charles doesn't have to factor in any of these as whilst he may well be involved in shooting he's not actually doing the cooking!


Gin Cranberry Sauce

Sunday, 18 November 2018
We wish you a Merry Ginmas! No festive meal is complete without Cranberry Sauce. This version includes Gin for a modern twist on the classic Christmas relish. Perfect to accompany a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and would make an ideal edible gift for any gin lover.

We wish you a Merry Ginmas! So far I've added the juniper spirit to Gin Butter and Gin Mincemeat, made a Mulled Gin and rounded up 10 Christmas Gin Recipes for UK Bloggers. Today it's the turn of Cranberry Sauce to get the Gin treatment. Most usually made with Port as the boozy component I whipped up a batch of Gin Cranberry Sauce to accompany a pre-thanksgiving turkey dinner. Fresh cranberries are just beginning to appear in the shops so grab a pack when you spot them and get ahead of the game with your Christmas prep. 


Small things make a big difference to Community Groups

Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Advertisement Feature in association with the Aviva Community Fund

Across the UK, community projects work tirelessly with often very little resources to help change and improve their local areas and services. This is something that I have seen first-hand through my own involvement over the years with various groups on both a personal and professional basis. Personally, I’ve been involved in a number of groups as my kids have grown up from toddlers to playgroup, PTA and out of school club, uniformed organisations, sports clubs and more. I’ve also volunteered for wonderful causes including the environment, cancer care, family support and running. Professionally I’ve worked with a number of fantastic organisations on food education projects for adults, children and disadvantaged groups. All of these initiatives help make a lasting difference and bring communities together. 


Ten must try snacks and drinks at Universal Orlando

Thursday, 8 November 2018
Ten items to tick off your foodie bucket list on a trip to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando. Eat and drink your way through Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, Smoked Turkey Legs, Corn Dogs, Dippin' Dots, Voodoo Doughnuts, Cinnabon, Pumpkin Pasties and Toothsome Milkshakes.

Holidays in Orlando are just as much about the food and drink as they are about the theme parks! We're not long back from a fortnight's holiday in Florida and spent our first week staying onsite at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and visiting the new Volcano Bay waterpark. Our accommodation was at the Hard Rock Hotel which comes with the added bonus of early entry to the parks and fast passes. Our holiday kicked off in style with lounge access at Glasgow airport thanks to Holiday Extras


Maple Cinnamon Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Tuesday, 30 October 2018
Don't discard your pumpkin seeds this Halloween! Those slippery little suckers that usually end up in the compost bin are just a couple of steps away from a delicious snack – crunchy, flavoursome and oh so moreish. Roasted with butter, cinnamon and maple syrup they become an autumnal taste sensation that you just can't get enough of. 

Hopefully by now I've harped on enough about using pumpkin for both carving and eating that you know my thoughts on the matter. #lovefoodhatewaste There is so much more potential within them that just a spooky face and a tea light. To clear up any further misconceptions you absolutely CAN eat the flesh of supermarket carving pumpkins, you perhaps won't get as much as from a culinary pumpkin but certainly enough for a pot of pumpkin soup or a loaf of pumpkin bread. But today's recipe isn't about pumpkin flesh, instead it's focusing upon another discarded element - pumpkin seeds.


Pumpkin Soda Bread

Sunday, 28 October 2018
A quick and easy Autumnal Pumpkin Soda Bread that requires no yeast, kneading or proving. A perfect love food hate waste recipe to use up pumpkin flesh before you carve your Jack-O-Lantern. We really do need to realise that pumpkins are a valuable source of food and not just for decoration.

The second of my pumpkin recipes for 2018 urging you to eat as well as carve these wonderful orange fruits! (yes they are fruits not vegetables) I'm really delighted that my post about where to pick a pumpkin in Scotland has proved to be so popular. I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of the places featured have now sold out so please do double check before any last minute journeys to procure pumpkins. A sheet with a selection of my pumpkin recipes was available to visitors at Udny, Arnprior, Kilduff and Westerton Pumpkins and Pumpkin Soda Bread was one of the recipes included so I'm hopefull that some pumpkin pickers may already have given it a try. 


Pumpkin and Chorizio Soup

Tuesday, 23 October 2018
Soup is possibly the quickest and easiest way to make use of pumpkin flesh and this one is super tasty. Sweet pumpkin and spicy chorizio are a winning combination and this warming soup is packed with intense flavours. A hug in a bowl Ideal for Halloween and Bonfire Night.

'Tis the season for Pumpkins. I've said it before I'd I'll keep saying it but we really do need to realise that pumpkins are a valuable source of food and not just for decoration. There’s more than enough flesh to do both. 1.8 million pumpkins were carved in Scotland for Halloween last year with over 1.1 million thrown away. That’s enough pumpkins to stretch from Edinburgh to Stornoway. A truly frightening amount of food waste. 


Scottish Pumpkin Patches 2018

Wednesday, 10 October 2018
A comprehensive roundup of the best places to pick pumpkins in Scotland this Halloween. Fun for all the family at locations in Aberdeenshire, Fife, Angus, Perthshire, the Lothians and Stirling. Keep with tradition and choose a neep, get lost in a maze, meet farm animals, dig tatties, clamber on bales and lots more. Grab your wellies and warm clothes this Autumn and experience a Scottish Pumpkin Patch.

Halloween has changed a lot since I was wee. Then it was all about homemade costumes, neeps, apple dooking, guising and not a mention of trick or treating and pumpkins. You had to do a proper turn to get your sweetie. A joke would have had the door slammed on your face. However in recent years I too have turned to the dark side and officially become obsessed with all things pumpkin, fall, autumnal, thanksgiving and pumpkin spice! I do still however bow down before anyone who attempts to carve a neep. Those bad boys are seriously hard work. Simplistic carving is the order of the day and it takes time and dedication to create a neepie lantern. Saying that, the smell of a stubby candle burning the inside of a neep is a childhood memory I would rather forget. The examples below are from Mandy at Mud Pies and Isla at Cool Gourmet. I look forward to seeing what both ladies come up with this year.


A Peedie Taste of Orkney

Monday, 8 October 2018
Post in collaboration with Orkney Food & Drink

It's not just its Neolithic origins stretching back some 10,000 years that Orkney has to shout about, there's also a fantastic food and drink scene. Land and sea provides an abundant natural harvest and skilled producers and chefs turn those raw ingredients into fabulous cuisine. 2 whisky distilleries, 3 gin producers, beer, cheese, oatcakes, lamb, fudge, ice cream, bere meal and more. You won't go hungry on an Edible Orcadian Adventure.

Those following me on my social media channels may have noticed that I recently headed to Orkney for a peedie edible adventure. Orkney Food & Drink invited me to travel to the Islands along with a group of buyers and writers to discover a peedie bit about what makes Orkney special both in the food and drink sectors and beyond. Confused? Perhaps I should explain a peedie bit...

Peedie is the most commonly used dialect word in Orkney and means little or small. Go back and read the paragraph again - ideally with a lilting Orcadian accent - and you'll get the gist of what I'm talking about!


Edible Scottish Adventures - September 2018

Monday, 1 October 2018

I can't quite believe that here I am once again doing my monthly roundup (and publishing it on the 1st of the month #polisheshalo). We're definitely into full on Autumn now and with Halloween on the horizon I can officially change my logo to the Pumpkin version. I think this wee chap might be my favourite of them all. As always designed by Camilla at (Aberdeen based designer extraordinaire of print, pattern, funky yoga leggings and silk scarves). 
Time to take a look back to September and share what you might have missed. The algorithms of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook don't always want to let my followers see everything I post so this retrospective monthly roundup is my cunning way of attempting to beat the system. Expect coffee, gin, pumpkins, rice, birthday celebrations and gallivanting to the East Neuk, Edinburgh, Orkney and Dundee.


Banana, Bramble and Almond Traybake - Gluten Free

Saturday, 29 September 2018
This gluten free Autumnal bake is ideal to use up black bananas which otherwise may go to waste. Combined with brambles (blackberries) forraged from the hedgerows it's an economical treat. Moist and moreish, Banana, Bramble and Almond Traybake is perfect served with a cuppa or as a dessert with lashings of custard.

Brambles have got to be the original foraged food. Everyone knows what they are and they're easy to find and identify. I have vivid memories of picking them along old railway lines as a child with my Grandma Corntown - plus the inevitable accompanying purple stained fingers and scratches from their thorns (and the occasional nettle sting into the bargain). There's been a bumper crop this year and its not too late to head out to the hedgerows and take advantage of free food! (for any sassenachs brambles = blackberries)


Scotch Lamb Mac and Cheese

Monday, 24 September 2018
Post in collaboration with Quality Meat Scotland

Lamb Mac and Cheese is Scottish comfort food at its best and then some! Scotch Lamb PGI stirred through creamy macaroni cheese before being topped with lashings of Scottish cheddar and baked in the oven until ooey and gooey. The best bits of macaroni cheese and shepherd’s pie all rolled into one midweek meal which the whole family will enjoy. 

Pastitsio is a Greek pasta bake made with spiced lamb mince, tomato sauce, bechamel sauce and layers of macaroni. As lovely as it sounds, I reckon the constituent ingredients could be made even better by giving them a Scottish twist. How about Scotch Lamb stirred through creamy macaroni cheese before being topped with lashings of Scottish cheddar and baked in the oven until ooey and gooey? Doesn't that just scream out midweek comfort food to you? The best bits of macaroni cheese and shepherd’s pie all rolled into one. What's not to like?


Beetroot and Chocolate Muffins

Saturday, 22 September 2018
One of your 5-a-day in chocolate and cake form. These Beetroot and Chocolate Muffins are quick and easy to make and super moist and moreish. Use beetroot to make a naturally pink icing to finish them off to perfection.

One of the runaway successes this year in our wee garden vegetable patch has been beetroot. So far I've roasted it, frittered it and I've got some chutney plans still to come. It's not so long ago that carrot cake was seen as a wee bit out there however now it's a fairly standard bake. Following close on its heels was beetroot and chocolate cake which is the inspiration for today's recipe. (for more vegetables in cakes inspiration do check out my blogger buddy Kate at Veggie Desserts) My go to for a fuss free bake are always muffins. I've got a fab wee cookbook that I bought from Lakeland years ago which the basic recipe came from and I've adapted it into a multitude of others.

75 International Rice Recipes from Around the World

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Post in collaboration with The Rice Association

Take a culinary journey around the globe in rice with 75 international recipes which showcase the versatility of rice from breakfast through to lunch, dinner and dessert Featuring dishes from India, Mexico, Greece, Asia, Spain, Japan, Thailand and more. Whether you’re looking for inspiration to use up leftovers, rustle up a quick midweek meal, or discover a new go to salad there’s something for you below in this selection of globally inspired rice based dishes.

#RiceWeek2018 National Rice Week is this year being celebrated between Monday 17th and Sunday 23rd September with an exotic journey around the world via rice. Rice is the perfect partner for any dish and is enjoyed all over the globe from risotto in Italy to curry in India. You can quite literally travel the world in rice dishes. In the UK we now eat five times more rice per person than we did forty years ago and consumption is still on the rise as more of us enjoy its taste, versatility and take advantage of convenient microwaveable packs. Surprisingly, as its not grown in the UK, rice is a true British favourite and features in so many of our most loved dishes from egg fried rice and chicken tikka masala to Granny’s favourite rice pudding! Outwith the home kitchen rice based restaurant eating accounts for 21% of all restaurants in the UK – with Indian food being the most popular, followed by pizza then Chinese.


Ultimate visitor guide to the Dundee V&A

Friday, 14 September 2018
The ultimate practical guide for those wishing to visit Dundee's new V&A Museum of design. Located in the regenerated Dundee Waterfront area, open daily from 10am-5pm with free entry. Designed by acclaimed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and built at a cost of £80 million. Exhibits include Scottish Design Galleries, Charles Rennie Mackintosh Oak Room and Touring Exhibition Galleries (Ocean Liners: Speed and Style until 24 Feb 2019). Full onsite facilities with cafe, restaurant, picnic room, accessible for all toilets and gift shop.


Edible Scottish Adventures August 2018

Monday, 3 September 2018
Pinch Punch Slap Kick - just like that we're in September! 'Tis most definitely now the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness with the schools back and the nights fairly drawing in. It will be the C word before we know it! Time to take a look back to August and share what you might have missed. The algorithms of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook don't always want to let my followers see everything I post so this retrospective monthly roundup is my cunning way of attempting to beat the system. Expect opening parties, hungover breakfast, celebratory macarons, the return of BBQ boy, Glaswegian street food, adventures in London and Bake Off shenanigans.


My top 10 quirky places and things to eat in London

Friday, 24 August 2018
A collection of quirky places and things to eat in London from Borough Market to China Town. Avo-lato ice cream, bubble waffles, candy floss, cereal, hotpot, disco fries and more. I'm sharing my personal recommendations for hipster places, meaty places, divine coffee, breakfast to die for and a fistful of Instagram worthy eats.

First off a disclaimer. This is by no means anywhere near a comprehensive guide of quirky places and things to eat in London. Instead it's where we have eaten and enjoyed on our last two trips to the capital. Expect some hipster places, meaty places, divine coffee, breakfast to die for and a fistful of instagram worthy eats. Please do leave me your own recommendations of where we should head on our next visit as I know that there's a whole weird and wonderful selection of food trends out there just waiting to be discovered.

Northern Lights - Aberdeen Airport Lounge

Thursday, 16 August 2018
Review post in collaboration with Aberdeen International Airport

Start your trip in style in the Northern Lights Aberdeen Airport Lounge. Located on the first floor of the main terminal, guests can enjoy a relaxed pre-flight atmosphere with a complimentary selection of proudly local Aberdeenshire food and drinks. Escape the hustle and bustle of the departure gates and chill out in style before you fly. The Northern Lights executive lounge is available to all airport passengers on a paid for basis and the entry price includes free food and drink. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for Aberdeen Airport lounge discount codes and special offers for even better value.

The Northern Lights of old Aberdeen, mean home sweet home to me

The Northern Lights of Aberdeen are what I long to see
I’ve been a wanderer all of my life and many a sight I've seen
God speed the day when I'm on my way, to my home in Aberdeen 

Perhaps best known now on the terraces of Pittodrie sung by AFC fans, my Mum used to sing this traditional Scottish song to me as a lullaby. Alas despite a trip to Iceland I've never seen the Northern Lights so they remain on my bucket list. Something else that many folks may wish to tick off their bucket list is to make use of an airport lounge prior to a flight. Once seen as elite and exclusive, only for those travelling in first class or suited and booted business travellers, many lounges are now available to all airport passengers on a paid for basis. You too can escape the hustle and bustle of the departure gates and chill out in style before you fly whether that be for business or pleasure.


International Sunday Brunch at Fairmont St Andrews

Wednesday, 8 August 2018
Post in collaboration with Fairmont St Andrews

St Andrews, the home of golf, is now home to a brunch like no other. The International Sunday Brunch at the 5 star Fairmont St Andrews Hotel is the only one of its kind in Scotland with an unlimited lavish buffet of continental charcuterie and international salads. A variety of entrees from the land and sea complimented by live cooking and carving stations. An impressive array of desserts, patisserie and ice cream completes the feast.

What does brunch mean to you? For me I'd say it's a late morning meal eaten instead of breakfast and lunch. (Often on a Sunday after a particularly heavy Saturday night...) But what about an International Sunday Brunch? At Fairmont St Andrew's it's SO much more than a late in the day full Scottish breakfast! Instead it's an unlimited lavish buffet spread of hot and cold dishes covering everything from salads to seafood, charcuterie to roasts, global flavours to traditional Scottish with a twist. All rounded off with a sumptuous choice of desserts, patisserie and ice cream. I'd been warned to arrive hungry and in preparation told everyone to skip breakfast in anticipation of the feast that was to come. There were a few dissenting voices and rumbling bellies at this request however upon our arrival in the Squire Restaurant for the start of brunch at 1pm and seeing the immense spread of food available we were all very glad to have complied.

Edible Scottish Adventures - July 2018

Monday, 6 August 2018

I'm sure I say this every month, but how on earth can we be in August?! The heatwave seems to be continuing and there's only 2 weeks left of the school holidays. Time to take a look back to July and share what you might have missed. The algorithms of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook don't always want to let my followers see everything I post so this retrospective monthly roundup is my cunning way of attempting to beat the system. Expect penguins, bagpipes, waffles, SUP-ing, flapjacks, the Rural and lots of cherries!


36 hours in Dundee, the city of Discovery, Design and the V&A

Thursday, 2 August 2018
Post in collaboration with V&A Dundee and Apex Hotels

The city of Dundee on the silvery Tay. So much more than Jam, Jute and Journalism, this UNESCO City of Design is just waiting to be rediscovered. Soon to be home to Scotland’s first design museum and the only V&A Museum outside of London. A redeveloped waterfront area is the gateway to a thriving independent food and bar scene, culture, theatre, museums, parks, street art and more.

For an new updated post with everything you need to know about visiting V&A Dundee head to my Ultimate Visitor Guide to the Dundee V&A or keep on reading for more Dundonian edible adventures...

Dundee has been the butt of many jokes over the years, particularly from Aberdonians. But the boot is very much on the other foot these days as whilst Aberdeen has suffered from the oil industry decline, Dundee has pulled itself up by it's bootstraps and totally reinvented itself. For the most part its been a city that I've passed through onto somewhere else rather than a final destination, however when I have stayed it's always been in the Apex City Quay Hotel and Spa right on the waterfront next to the Tay Bridge. Much of the excitement in the city at the moment stems from the redevelopment of the waterfront area including the opening of Dundee V&A. The first ever dedicated design museum in Scotland and the only other V&A museum anywhere in the world outside London. An invitation to visit the city for an event in conjunction with Apex Hotels, Dundee One City, Many Discoveries and V&A Dundee was one I could not refuse.

Bruschetta with Jerte Picota Cherries, Serrano Ham, and Goat Cheese

Monday, 30 July 2018

Post in collaboration with Jerte Picota Cherries

Perfect for a light lunch or as a canape, crunchy melba toast is topped with salty Serrano ham, piquant goats cheese, seasonal Spanish Jerte Picota Cherries and a sticky balsamic cherry drizzle. Cherry Bruschetta is an ideal quick and easy seasonal nibble for a Summer party.

I'm back with more seasonal Jerte Picota Cherries for which I make absolutely no apology about. These delicious fruity treats are only around for a short six week season so you need to make the most of them whilst you can. Following on from my recipe for Bulgar Wheat Salad with Cherries, Feta and Pistachios I'm once again channelling my savoury tooth and forsaking the traditional cherry and chocolate or cherry and almond combinations. The Flavour Thesaurus tells me that cherry and goat cheese are a perfect match - so who am I to disagree? 

Newtonhill Pipe Band, Pipers for Peace 1918-2018, Amiens

Saturday, 28 July 2018

I've mentioned on both the blog and my social media channels on countless occasions that I am either a pipe band widow or a pipe band groupie. All three of my family play with Newtonhill Pipe Band. Foodie Loon is a piper, boy a snare drummer and girl a tenor drummer. I have the choice to either stay at home in blissful peace or join them on their musical adventures. This usually entails trips to local school fairs, village galas, highland games and suchlike, but sometimes the opportunity arises to venture further afield.


50+ perfect pairings with Jerte Picota Cherries

Friday, 13 July 2018
Post in collaboration with Jerte Picota Cherries

A collection of over 50 recipes using fresh cherries. Perfect for the short but deliciously sweet season of Jerte Picota Cherries. Sold without their stalk, these delicious juicy Spanich cherries are the ideal fruit to snack on this summer. Ideal for bakewell, black forest, cocktails, clafoutis, crumbles, cakes, scones, compotes and so much more.

Better late than never - or so the saying goes. That's definitely the case this year for Jerte Picota Cherries which are officially back in UK stores this week (you'll find them in Sainsburys, Tesco, Morrisons and Aldi). They are usually available for a six week natural growing season from the end of June but a cold winter set them back this year. The Jerte Picota Cherry is a special variety of cherry, sold without stalks, that is native to the beautiful Jerte Valley in Northern Spain, 200km west of Madrid. 

Hush a bye don't you cry, Mammy’s off to the WRI

Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Originally published on the Scottish Women's Institutes website as a guest blog post

My maternal grandmother Jean Benzie was what I’d call a stalwart of the SWRI. Born in 1900 she was an active member for over 50 years. From the 1930s to the 1980s, she sewed and baked her way through Institutes in Turriff, Culter and Dingwall, along with holding various positions and participating in drama and singing events. My Mum vividly recalls her singing a WRI themed lullaby ‘The Goat of The Rural’.

Hush a bye don't you cry, Mammy’s off to the WRI, 
Here am I, what a guy, oh for the wings of a dove to fly
Off she goes powered nose, all dressed up in her Sunday clothes
Left alone, all on my own, I’m the goat of the Rural.

Jean Benzie


Edible Scottish Adventures - June 2018

Thursday, 5 July 2018

JULY. How on earth did that happen? School's out for summer! Hasn't the weather been absolutely glorious - long may it continue, as for us this will be a summer of days here and there rather than the usual fortnight abroad (roll on Orlando in October) Meantime the new seasonal logo has been installed, but before July can start in earnest I need to take a look back to June and share what you might have missed. The algorithms of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook don't always want to let my followers see everything I post so this retrospective monthly roundup is my cunning way of attempting to beat the system. Expect culture crawling, kitchen tables, vending machines, chariots of fire, cranachan and peacocks!


Maggie's Kitchen Table and Aberdeen Culture Crawl

Friday, 29 June 2018

Last Friday I had a fantastic day as a result of a not so fantastic life event. Back in January 2016 my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is now doing really well and has a fantastically positive mindset following a double mastectomy and a tough couple of years of treatment including both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It's only when you are faced with something like this at close quarters that you come to appreciate the network of care that is available outwith the NHS. For our whole family Maggie's Highland provided practical, emotional and social support. It really is everyone's home of cancer care and it felt only right to give something back.


Barbecued Chicken Wings with Nut Butter and Maple Syrup

Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Post in collaboration with Thermapen

A no fuss barbecued Chicken Wings recipe with a tasty marinade of Nut Butter and Maple Syrup. Pop them over indirect heat on the BBQ for sticky, sweet and nutty finger lickin' goodness. Ensure they are cooked to perfection with a Thermapen digital thermometer.

I love a barbecue as much as the next person but had pretty much always gone for the convenience of gas over the (perceived) hassle of charcoal. My 15 year old son appears to be on a mission to change my mind. He's always been a bit of a foodie, will eat pretty much anything (bar bananas and sultanas) and watches a lot of food channels on You Tube. He came across BBQ Champ on ITV and DJ BBQ via Food Tube and got bitten by the BBQ bug. I introduced him to barbecue guru Marcus of CountryWoodSmoke, Auntie Adele (she of the Gingerbread House) bought him the Grillstock cookbook, he joined the UK BBQ Facebook Group and they led him astray even further! To be fair - there are worse hobbies he could have...


Quick Green Spaghetti Sauce with Avocado, Peas and Spinach

Wednesday, 20 June 2018
A vibrant green sauce for spaghetti that's made in minutes. It's packed with goodness, super creamy and it coats the pasta beautifully. Taken from 'Living on the Veg' by Clive Gifford and Jacqueline Meldrum. A kids guide to life without meat.

Whilst I don't have any cookbook ambitions of my own I'm always delighted to support my fellow food bloggers with their successful publications. As such today I'm sharing a recipe from Scottish Blogger Jacqueline Meldrum of Tinned Tomatoes. Jac is based just down the road from me is Dundee and has been vegetarian for over 25 years. Her blog contains over 600 easy vegetarian & vegan recipes and despite the name, they don't always start with a tin of chopped tomatoes! However her co-authored book Living on the Veg isn't a cookbook as such. Instead its a kids guide to becoming vegetarian which includes a dozen recipes to get you started. 

Cranachan Flapjacks with Whisky Icing Drizzle

Monday, 11 June 2018
Post in collaboration with Hamlyns of Scotland

Scottish Cranachan Flapjacks with Whisky Icing Drizzle bring together all the flavours of this traditional dessert in a bite sized oaty snack. The combination of both oats and oatmeal in this flapjack, combined with honey and raspberry jam create both a texture and flavour sensation. Top them off with a drizzle of whisky icing - slàinte mhath!

Whilst Scotland is known for many great dishes and a fantastic natural larder I'm not sure if anything brings them all together quite like Cranachan does. This traditional dish combines honey, whisky, raspberries, oats and cream into a delicious dessert. I've used it as my inspiration for a twist on a flapjack made with Hamlyns Oats and Oatmeal. Raspberries are incorporated in jam form and honey binds the flapjack together. There's just a tablespoon of Whisky in the icing drizzle but if you'd prefer a teetotal version this can be substituted for water. The combination of both oats and oatmeal provided a wonderful texture and is something I'm going to be using in all my flapjacks going forward. 

Edible Scottish Adventures - May 2018

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Can you believe that we are in June? Almost half the year gone already. My teenagers have just moved up to their new classes and I've now got an S5 and an S3. Where have my babies gone?! Time to take a quick look back at what you might have missed in May across my social media and on the blog. The algorithms of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook don't always want to let my followers see everything I post so this retrospective monthly roundup is my cunning way of attempting to beat the system. Expect wedding celebrations, macarons, street food, percy pigs and study break edible adventures! 

BBQ Percy Pig Pork Loin Steaks

Wednesday, 30 May 2018
What better match for the BBQ? Juicy tender pork loin steaks topped with sticky caramelised Marks & Spencer Percy Pigs. Think gammon steak and pineapple - only better! This little piggy went to the barbecue...

I have a feeling that this might be a Marmite recipe. As in you will either love it or hate it. Certainly when I shared it as a work in progress on twitter and instagram the reaction ranged from 'Omggggg so clever' to 'was this a dare?'
Personally I think it's a work of genius but I'm prepared to accept that not everyone might see it like that. In my mind surely there is no better culinary match than Pork and Percy Pig. Pop down to your local butcher for some quality pork and M&S for the iconic gummy sweets and give it a try! Think gammon steak and pineapple - only better. 


Jersey Royals with Wild Garlic and Lemon

Thursday, 24 May 2018
Post in collaboration with Tesco

Jersey Royal new potatoes typically signify the start of Spring and are one of the most warmly anticipated seasonal produce items in the food calendar. In this recipe I've combined them with wild garlic, butter and lemon for a taste explosion of Spring flavours. Serve this vegetarian dish as a hot side or a warm salad. 

My paternal Grandfather Alexander Cameron was a Potato Farmer on The Black Isle. As a little girl I recall nothing better than the taste of his homegrown new tatties served with salty butter. The main varieties he grew were Duke of York, Epicure and Kerr's Pink, much of which was sold to the local chip shop. I don't know about you but when I think of new potatoes the ones that spring to mind are Jersey Royals. So how come my Granda wasn't growing them? Because he wasn't in Jersey is the simple answer! In this instance the clue is in the name and Jersey Royals can only be grown on the island of Jersey. 
(please tell me I'm not the only one that didn't know that?!) 


Cookery Courses & Foodie Experiences in Aberdeen City & Shire

Thursday, 17 May 2018
Looking for a Cookery Class or food experience in Aberdeen City or Shire? Learn a new skill in cooking, baking, butchery, chocolate, BBQ, breadmaking, fine dining, vegan, plant based and more with one of these providers or tutors. Public classes, corporate team building, children's cookery classes, private lessons, confidence to cook, chef for a day, kitchen hire, birthday parties - there's something to suit every taste and budget.

Please do let me know of any other Cookery Courses or Foodie Experiences in Aberdeen City and Shire that I've missed as I'd be happy to include them in this listing.

Cook at the Nook 

CFINE, 2 Poynernook Rd, Aberdeen 

Public Classes 

CFINE's fully equipped modern training kitchen in Aberdeen offers professionally led cookery courses. 

Each class is run by a trained chef/food enthusiast who will guide you in the art of cooking in a number of disciplines including Indian Cookery, Modern Scottish, Fine Dine and Italian Cuisine, sharing their skills and experience in a hands-on environment. 
Trainees will leave ready to impress friends and family with a host of newly acquired skills. 

Corporate team building 
We offer a range of options for your staff team to get involved as part of a team building away-day. The activities can be suited to your needs and are fun and informative, and can prove eye-opening for participants.
The day can be arranged around a number of themes including food waste and food poverty/insecurity.
In the past we have done:
· Ready-steady-cook style competitive games using surplus or 'waste' food
· Creative cooking with an emergency food parcel
· Scenario based challenges like budget planning/cooking on a very low income.

Community Classes
Cook at the ‘Nook are running cooking classes where we aim to use surplus food where possible to make healthy, tasty meals on a budget. Also part of the course is that we work with our partner organisation who could help you or your group whether that be:
· Home Efficiency
· Employability
· Balancing a Budget
What services can we offer the community?
· Join one of our own Cooking on a Budget Courses
· Run your own Cooking on a Budget Course
· Hire Cook at the ‘Nook for a Community Event
· Basic Cooking skills
· Basic Knife Skills 

The Bread Maker
50/52 Rosemount Viaduct, 

£100, 10am - 3pm, max 6 in a class, everything you make you take home

The Bread Maker is a commercially focused social enterprise. Situated in the heart of the city it offers a very unique course taking participants through the bread making process. 
We will give you the confidence to produce bread in your own kitchen, giving you a real talking point of any meal. 
The course covers every aspect of bread making from scratch, including hand mixing, proving, finishing and firing. Breads covered are un-yeasted breads, various whites, wholemeal, ciabatta, foccacia and pizzas. 

Garioch Community Kitchen 
Wyness Hall, Jackson Street

Garioch Community Kitchen is a Scottish Charity that provides practical cooking sessions for members of the local community.
  • Adults Cookery Classes
  • Childrens Cookery Classes
  • Children's Birthday Parties
  • Private or Commercial Hire

The Mixing Bowl

The Mixing Bowl is a community food interest group that meets monthly for talks, tasting, demonstrations and cooking workshops. The events are run by local food enthusiasts.
Meetings are usually held at St Devenick’s Church Hall in Bieldside unless otherwise specified. Costs vary depending on the event content but are generally between £10 to £15. Everyone is welcome but places need to be booked in advance via the website

Cook’s Day Off - Samantha Pack
Samantha Pack, the owner, Italian-British, passionate about food 
I love teaching; my style is “hands-on” workshops hence the groups aren’t more than 8/10 people (depending on the type of class).

Best selling class is Macarons: people will learn all the tricks of the trade and they are able to reproduce this beautiful delicacy. All my classes are open to any skill level.

Classes I am currently teaching:
  • GLUTEN FREE: I finally nailed the right flours combination that allows me to prepare the best fresh gluten free tagliatelle and pizza. 
  • ITALIAN BAKERY: Ciabatta bread and Pizza, restaurant style. 
  • ITALIAN DESSERTS: Tiramisu, almond Biscotti and Amaretti.
  • PASTA PARTY: how to prepare fresh pasta and learn how to use the pasta machine. Preparation of three sauces: tomatoes, basil pesto and Bolognaise.
  • CONFIDENCE TO COOK: open to THREE students only. Allows me to run almost a 1 to one class. It’s perfect to who has a very low confidence on cooking. My program covers all the possible skills. We will start from knives skills and then bakery, pasta and sauces making, puddings.

Angus & Oink
BBQ School

Cocoa Ooze 
New Jasmine House, Greenbank Place, East Tullos, 
2 hour workshop - £38.50 

Come and try our tasty chocolate making workshops with our master chocolatiers. Whether it's someone's birthday, hen party, girls day out or just an excuse to get together and learn the art of chocolate making, Cocoa Ooze can cater to all occasions. 
You and your group will learn how to make truffles & chocolate bars and experiment with flavours. Taste testing is a crucial part in making the chocolates so you will be delighted to hear that we do encourage this. Whatever you make on the day you will be able to package and take home with you. That is of course if you don't eat it all at the workshop.. 

Wark Farm 
Cushnie, Alford, Aberdeenshire
Butchery Experience - half day £75 (Butchery & Meat Cookery) whole day £120 (Butchery, Farming and Meat Cookery) 

Wark Farm is offering vouchers for half and whole butchery and meat cookery days, giving you the opportunity to test your knife skills, learn more about how to cook different cuts and find out what's involved in rearing organic sheep and cattle. 

Eat On The Green 
Udny Green,Ellon 

Chef for the day - half day £100 - includes a light lunch, full day £200 and includes a 4 course dinner 

Offering a unique experience for people of all cookery skills and abilities the Chef for a Day package gives you the opportunity for some one-to-one tuition and the chance to experience the buzz and excitement of a busy professional kitchen; learning new skills and techniques, whilst producing mouth-watering dishes which can be re-created at home. The day starts with a chat with Craig Wilson, owner/proprietor, following this you will meet with the kitchen brigade and then will be put to work helping to prepare for the busy lunch and dinner services. 

Kincardine Cookery 
Kincardine Castle, Kincardine O'Neil, Aboyne 

Group courses start at £75 and include a delicious lunch. Private lessons are tailored to your own foodie interests and tastes, and prices start from £150 plus ingredients. 

Louisa and Rupert were teachers at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London before moving up to Aberdeenshire in 2015. They currently run Kincardine Cookery, a private catering company, that also offers cookery teaching. They run regular courses throughout the year at Kincardine Castle and can provide private lessons for individuals or small groups in your own home. Courses cover everything from how to chop an onion to advanced pastry, bread and butchery skills. 

Brunch & Learn
Classes can be booked at

Nicola and Jo's plant-based classes are held once a month at No1 in Banchory in beautiful Deeside.
The classes are aimed at those who want to learn more about plant-based cooking and desserts.
Nicola has cooked her way around the world bringing international flavours to your plates and Jo runs Jo's Healthy Cupboard and has been making healthy treats and desserts for over 3 years.
Neither are trained chefs but both extremely passionate about plant-based and healthier cooking.
At a brunch & learn workshop you will watch as Nicola and Jo prepare delicious savoury and sweet treats with a different theme each month.
Guests also get to eat their food in a relaxing and fun environment. Everyone goes home with the recipes to make delicious plant-based food at home.

Union Square, Aberdeen 

Learn to cook Tasty Thai at Thaikhun - £59 per head 

Our Cookery and Cocktail classes run every Sunday at 10am and can hold up to maximum 15 people.
Course includes - One cocktail (Coconut Mojito), two courses, recipe cards and a Thaikhun apron. 

1 Union Terrace, Aberdeen 

Escape your home kitchen for a session learning how to master Thai food with us here at Chaophraya. 
Sessions run every Sunday at midday. £69 per person. 

Cooking classes feature: 
  • Welcome fruit punch on arrival 
  • Introduction to Thai ingredients and where to source them 
  • Watch a short demonstration by our Chef 
  • Try your hand at cooking two dishes 
  • Tasting session 
  • Chaophraya Apron 

Shirley Vass Venezuelan Cooking

Originally from Venezuela Shirley has lived in Aberdeenshire since 2003. 
Cooking workshops are held mainly at Number One, Banchory AB31 5SE. 
Workshops usually last 2 hours and the cost per person is £30.

I am not a trained chef, just a Mum who loves to cook and enjoys teaching others. I just want to initiate people into the world of the Arepa, perhaps the most famous and loved dish of the Venezuelan cuisine. During the workshop, participants will have the chance to learn more about the origins and evolution of the Arepa and actually prepare it along with the 3 most popular fillings. We would also enjoy a traditional Venezuelan homemade lemonade and time permitting we'll learn how to prepare some quick side dishes/tapas. After the workshop, we would all enjoy the product of our efforts. At-home cooking sessions, hen parties and Birthday cooking parties are also available. Arepas are gluten-free, and very versatile, which allows you to adapt it to a vegan or vegetarian diet. 

Little Buddha Bakes
Debbie Thornton
Raw & Vegan Food Workshops

North East Scotland College (NESCOL)

Aberdeen City Campus, Gallowgate, Aberdeen

Part time courses to help you master the art of recreational cooking and baking.

Subjects include breadmaking, cake decoration, can't cook need to cook! fine dining, Thai, Japanese, Indian, Itallan, Scottish, gluten free, vegetarian, home baking, desserts and more.

Bothies & Bannocks – Calum Lockerbie 
£85pp for a morning trip to the market, cookery class and 3 course meal (drinks not included). 

Bothies and Bannocks has been set up by myself, Calum Lockerbie, a local lad with a passion for top quality, seasonal local produce. My aim is to provide chauffeur driven food tours and experiences in Aberdeenshire. 

Our monthly “Market Day Cookery Class” is a cookery class with a difference. With a maximum group of 8 we will meet in Aberdeen in the morning for a brief introduction before I drive us out to one of the many fantastic local Farmers Markets Aberdeenshire has to offer. 

Here we will get a chance to chat with producers and learn about seasonality and what makes their product so special. As a group we will decide, based on seasonality and availability, what to buy for our cookery class. Obviously, we will have time for nibbles, coffee and a yap before we head back to the bus. 

On the way back to Aberdeen we can stop at a speciality drinks shop and choose some, wine, beer or soft drinks to go with our meal. We will then arrive back at the cook school where we will meet our very energetic, fun and talented chef. Using a good balance of hands on cookery and chef’s demos we will produce a three-course meal to enjoy with some drinks. 

Expect a fun, informative casual day out where we will meet great people, hear stories and eat some excellent locally produced food. 

Kids in the Kitchen

Lynne Cartledge
Kids in the Kitchen Aberdeen
Tel No: 07764 852101
Visit the website:
Facebook: kids in the kitchen Aberdeen

This post was originally published in December 2016 and revised May 2018. 
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