All you need to know about Aberdeen Restaurant Week July 2019

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

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ation with Aberdeen Inspired


I'm delighted to again be partnering with Aberdeen Inspired as an official ambassador for the July 2019 Aberdeen Restaurant Week. I think that it's a fantastic initiative for the city and it has been great to see both restaurants and diners taking the opportunity to embrace it wholeheartedly during the two weeks that it ran in 2018, it's week in February 2019 and now in its fourth appearance from Monday 15th - Sunday 21st July.


What is Aberdeen Restaurant Week? 
The idea of Restaurant Week was born in New York City in 1992 and has since spread throughout the world arriving in Aberdeen in 2018. It's a week long event where restaurants offer unique fixed price menus, so customers can try many different types of food that may normally be out of their price range or comfort zone.

When does it take place? 
Monday 15th - Sunday 21st July 2019 

Which restaurants are involved?
There are currently 37 restaurants in Aberdeen city centre participating, offering everything from street food to fine dining. Cuisines encompass Scottish, Mexican, Indian, International, Italian, Spanish, French, Thai, Malaysian and American. You can quite literally travel around the world as you travel throughout Aberdeen.

See the full list of participating venues at

How does it work? 
Diners to choose from two affordable set menu's. At lunchtime it's two courses for £10 and dinner is three courses for £20. 
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Kitchen Table and Culture Crawl for Maggie's Aberdeen

Thursday, 4 July 2019

I had so much fun last year when I held a Kitchen Table Day and participated in Maggie's Aberdeen Culture Crawl that I decided to do it all over again for 2019. In January 2016 my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is now doing well and has a really 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 provided practical, emotional and social support. It really is everyone's home of cancer care and it feels only right to give something back.

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Bulgar Wheat Salad with Cherries, Feta and Pistachios

Thursday, 27 June 2019
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Post in collaboration with Jerte Picota Cherries


A fresh and colourful bulgar wheat salad recipe that's sure to be a crowd pleaser. Sweet and juicy Jerte Picota Cherries combine with salty feta cheese, peppery rocket and crunchy pistachios for a flavour explosion. Edible flowers provide the finishing touch to this oh so summery dish.



Cherry season is here! The sweet and juicy stalkless Jerte Picota Cherry is now available on supermarket shelves for six weeks only. To help you make the most of these seasonal delights I posted a roundup of over 50 perfect pairings using Jerte Picota Cherries. Of the fabulous fresh cherry recipes I rounded up from my fellow food bloggers the vast majority were sweet in nature. Cakes, pies, smoothies, gateau, cupcakes, jam, crumbles, cheesecakes and more. There were a couple of nods to savoury with a salsa and a salad but no sign of any pairings with the savoury suggestions of lamb, goat cheese or smoked fish as hailed by the Flavour Thesaurus.

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Strawberry, Cucumber and Mint Salad with a Pimm's Dressing

Sunday, 16 June 2019
It's Pimm's o'clock! The quintessential taste of a British Summer becomes one of your five-a-day in this sensational seasonal salad. Ideal for picnics, parties and barbecues and of course for watching Wimbledon. Enjoy al-fresco dining this summer with my Strawberry, Cucumber and Mint Salad with a Pimm' s Dressing




Summer is teasing us a bit at the moment, certainly here in the far North East corner of Scotland. We've had some absolutely glorious days but others most definitely hold true to the 'ne'er cast a clout til May/June/July be oot' adage! For me one of the unmistakable flavours of Summer is Pimm's. It makes you think of the Chelsea Flower Show, Henley Regatta, Garden Parties, Punting on the Thames, Polo Matches and of course Wimbledon. The recipe I'm sharing with you is perfect for al fresco dining and makes a great BBQ side dish. It was inspired by Nigel Slater who wrote about a sweet strawberry and cucumber fruit salad in his Observer column. I immediately thought of Pimm's and decided to have a go at a savoury version with a Pimm's Dressing. It turned out to be the perfect taste of summer.

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Dog Friendly places to Eat in Aberdeen

Sunday, 2 June 2019
Over fifty dog friendly places to eat and drink in Aberdeen City and Shire. Your four legged friend will be made very welcome in this selection of Cafes, Restaurants, Coffee Shops and Pubs. 



Originally posted Feb 2018, updated June 2019

Much to my daughters disgust we don't have a dog. Because of this we are the worst parents ever. As such she takes every opportunity possible to engage with four legged friends and is always happy to doggy walk and sit for friends (or complete strangers!) For her the Long Dog Cafe is all about the dogs and the freakshakes are secondary! Today's post came about due to a series of interrelated events. A couple of weeks ago I received a call from a researcher from the Kay Adams show on BBC Radio Scotland wondering if I'd like to appear on air and object to the proliferation of dogs in eateries. I declined. Despite not being a dog owner, give me a well behaved dog in a cafe over a badly behaved human any day of the week! 
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SPAM®, Halloumi and Avocado Kebabs with Sweet Chilli

Tuesday, 28 May 2019
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Post in collaboration with SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham



Barbecued SPAM®, Halloumi Cheese and Avocado Kebabs with Sweet Chilli are the perfect hipster showcase for the iconic meat in a tin. Chopped Pork and Ham brings Sizzle Pork And Mmm™ to any meal and works fantastically well on the BBQ. In addition to kebabs I've got SPAM® recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Hawaiian Style Pizza, Sizzling fajitas, Fries and SPAMBLED™ eggs. 


Summer will be on us before we know it and fingers crossed it will be another hot one! If you’re looking for some new and interesting recipes for the BBQ this year, why not try out iconic meat SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham to make some delicious sizzling snacks to enjoy in the garden or on the campsite. If the weather doesn't play ball these will work equally well on a griddle pan or under the grill. SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham is the perfect quick and easy meat for an alfresco feast that will impress friends and family. It’s already cooked in the can, to seal in the goodness and ensure safety - which makes it ideal for camping and festival season. 

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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.

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Luxury Stonehaven Beach Apartment Accommodation

Tuesday, 14 May 2019
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Review 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!

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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.

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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!
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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. 

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NTS Mairi Sawyer Chocolate Cake

Thursday, 28 March 2019


Originally commissioned by and 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.
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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

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Sizzling SPAM® Fajitas

Monday, 4 March 2019
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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. 

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Glenglassaugh Whisky Smoked Salmon

Wednesday, 27 February 2019
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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.



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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.
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Scottish Rural Luxury at The Grandtully Hotel, Perthshire

Friday, 15 February 2019
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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. 
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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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Scottish Pork Mince Keema Curry

Thursday, 7 February 2019
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Post in collaboration with The Scotch Kitchen

A pork mince curry recipe many not be the most authentic Indian keema but this Scottish spicy minced pork recipe is full of flavour and makes an ideal fuss free and family friendly midweek meal. This pork curry in a hurry is a healthy dish that will keep you from reaching for that takeaway menu. Go places with Specially Selected Pork. 


Indian Pork Mince Curry



Weather is the one thing you just can't plan for. I was supposed to spend last Friday cooking Specially Selected Pork with celebrity chef Phil Vickery. Alas snow intervened and he couldn't make it to Aberdeen. Bet that's never happened to him on Ready Steady Cook or This Morning! Luckily The Chester Hotel head chef Kevin Dalgleish stepped in as a last minute substitution and along with Rebecca (Mrs Meldrum) and Gemma (The Lifestyle Hunter) we cooked up a storm making and tasting adventurous new pork dishes which are perfect for mid-week family meals.

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Valentine Rocky Road

Sunday, 3 February 2019
A quick, easy and fun Valentine themed traybake that's ideal for kids to help make. The classic Rocky Road takes on a romantic twist with the addition of Love Hearts, Rolos, Lips and Jammie Dodgers. This no bake Chocolate Tiffin is sure to be loved by anyone with a sweet tooth. 






Love is in the air! 14th February is looming so I've got a romantic recipe to share. If I was being a proper food blogger I really should have made and blogged this Valentine Recipe weeks ago but as per usual it's totally last minute. But why restrict your love to just one day of the year? This will taste good at anytime! My Christmas Gingerbread Man Rocky Road was a huge success as is the perennial favourite of Scotland in a Traybake aka Tunnock's Teacake Rocky Road. What could I add to the chocolate, biscuit and marshmallow comb to signify true love?
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Haggis, Neeps and Gnocchi in a Whisky Cream Sauce

Friday, 25 January 2019


I can't believe we've got to Burns night and I've not yet posted a Haggis recipe. I'm dissapointed in myself. I had three in planning for this year to add to my top 10 haggis recipes for Burns night, but I'm not sure I'm even going to get around to publishing the other two. (Although in my book Haggis is most definitely for life and not just for Burns Night) 

Gnocchi - pronounced N(Y)OK-ee - are one of my daughter's favourite foods but lots of people don't seem to know of them and what they are. A good description would perhaps be 'thick, small and soft dough dumplings of Italian origin made of potato and flour, cooked and eaten in much the same way as pasta'
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Stonehaven Boardwalk Sculptures

Thursday, 17 January 2019
Top of your list of things to do in Stonehaven must be a visit to the whimsical collection of steel sculptures adorning the beach boardwalk. The artist is mysteriously unknown. Perhaps the 'Banksy of Sculpture'? The fanciful creations include a lighthouse, fishing trawellers and a viking longship - all crewed by fish and crustaceans. What else to do on your visit to Stonehaven? Dunnottar castle is a must, plus the outdoor swimming pool, land train, a drink at one of the harbour pubs and of course at Hogmanay the Fireballs.



We're all guilty of not always appreciating what's on our own doorsteps and sometime we need a wee bit of reminding. A BBC news story last week about Stonehaven's secret sculptor prompted me to pull together this post sharing details of a collection of fanciful metal artworks that grace the boardwalk in Stonehaven. I regularly walk past these clever creations and often share photos and videos of them on my Instagram account but have never really thought about the where, when, why and how of their existence and the fact that new ones keep appearing to enthrall and delight. 



There are now five sculptures in total on the boardwalk which runs from the Backies car pack at the harbour to Salmon Lane. The most recent one appeared late last year and it's addition seemed to spark a renewed flurry conversation as to who was behind them. They don't seem to be signed in any way and no one seems to know who the artist is. Who is Stonehaven's secret sculptor? Now being tenuously referred to in the media as the 'Scottish Banksy' or the 'Banksy of Sculpture', whomever he/she is they have a fantastic imagination, amazing skill and are making a lot of people happy with their creations. The common theme with the sculptures is a link to the sea but in all of them the traditional roles have been reversed with fish and crustaceans taking the place of humans and vice versa. They are all amazingly detailed and I'm sure I discover something new in each one every time I stop and look. Photo opportunities a plenty with the picturesque town of Stonehaven and the North Sea as a backdrop.
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My Top 10 Haggis Recipes for Burns Night

Friday, 11 January 2019
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 10 recipes including Pancakes, Meatloaf, Burgers, 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. 

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2018 - a year of Edible Adventures in Review

Sunday, 6 January 2019
Wishing a slightly belated Happy New Year to all my readers! I hope that 2019 will be good for you and yours and would like to take this opportunity to wish you health and happiness for the months to come. Lang may yer lum reek!

We had a fantastic fun filled festive season and for the first time in 14 years I wasn't hosting Christmas - which felt a wee bit strange. Instead we headed north to my sister's where we enjoyed fantastic Highland hospitality and great fun, food and drink. Twixmas was spent in Edinburgh then back to the North East for New Year at Stonehaven fireballs. After all that gallivanting I'm now looking forward to getting back into a routine and weaning myself off chocolate, cheese and alcohol. With the start of a new year it's time to reflect upon the year gone past and take a look at some of my edible adventure highlights and favourite posts and events from 2018...

Christmas 2018
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