Friday, 7 November 2008

It's all in the wrist

Recently I was victim to a knitting injury-yes, knitting induced! These mittens were harmless enough but when I enthusiastically began the next purple pair I sprained my dear right wrist. So I will just have to wait until part two of the mitten ensemble and make do with mittens-one, a lovely autumn sky blue colour. And they really do keep your paws toasty.

Has anyone noticed the sky recently? I havn't been out in the afternoons as much as I would like, which is everyday :) but I have been out and about often enough to see a few good skies. The Sidlaws is a secret hilly haven for walkers. I discovered them last Sunday where I found this:

A wispy, mitten blue sky with a bit of fire thown in. It sounds like a bad wine, or a dulux gloss...? Nevertheless you should try and stumble across one, good for the soul no doubt...

Monday, 22 September 2008

Gone Boating

We LOVE Autumn!!

I'm a bit of an autumn geek, I love the food and colours this time of year. Chris and I went to Faskally woods yesterday near Pitlochry and took it upon ourselves to have a 'boat-out', which I won :)

He who builds the best boat wins and it must be from natural materials. Here is Chris' 'Majesty'. His re-fashioned and more successful version. You may note that he copied my vertical sail idea!

My little boat was christened Chopper, after the rabbit we met later that day. It was such a relaxing way to spend a sunday, although our peaceful but competitive walk was followed by pretty mangy food from Pitlochry, those chips were ming! And the fudge was even worse!

However, this morning I baked a cobbler for a friend at work who has never lived (having never tasted let alone heard of a cobbler). It's similar to apple crumble but instead of the crumble topping you make simple scone like dollops with ground almonds, resembling a cobbled path. Apples are used mainly but brambles, blaeberries, rhubarb and plums would taste yum in this too. As soon as this photo was shot the whole plate had been devoured! I love stewed apples, mmm.
It's another of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipes so if anyone wants it let me know and I'll send it on...

Never ever use elderberries! I was so excited about baking with them as there heaps of them around about my flat but my word they are bitter. I was so dissappointed as they looked so pretty with their little garnet coloured berries. I later read somewhere that they are best used for jams and cordials etc, typical!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Go Forth and Make Jam!

Tis the season of the harvest, so I have made an enormous batch of plum and cinnamon jam. I had no idea it would make such a ridiculous amount, be warned!

But look at the colour-Mmm! This time of year is my absolute favourite, the colours of late summer/autumn are too beautiful. In the countryside the fields are maturing to a deep, relaxed ochre and the trees are beginning to turn their annual ambers and crimsons. It's enough to turn a girl romantic!

I am certainly mostly looking forward to the stodgy food of autumn, and the excuse to make plenty of fruit pies. Chutney is next on my list, a first timer to making it I hold no high expectations :)

Before I go, here is an image to remind us of the fading summer days before Autumn is completely upon us...Aaah Harris. This is Horgabost where we spent a few days camping on the dunes. This view is sorely missed as it was so refreshing to wake up to. Go to Harris!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Delia Sucks!

At last I have returned. Never again will praise for Delia's 'cheaty ways' be promoted on this blog. Chris (and most males his age) don't need any encouragement from a lazy old cook on how not to use any fresh ingredients.

So I have rebelled completely and created a freshness monster, a cake so large I had to cradle it between a large bowl and plate all the way home on the train. Now ladies, if ever you were needing a compliment pick me up try outdoor cake carrying. It's a bit like walking a dog, so many people (men) stop to compliment your prop and yourself :) I smiled all the way to Montrose.

This cake was taken from the far too mourish Divine Chocolate book that dear old Eliza gave me for christmas. It's a fresh strawberry (marinaded in orange and sugar), whipped cream, white chocolate cake. Strangely the white chocolate and butter were melted then added to the sponge, mmm. It was so generous and yummy I managed to sneak a corner home with me this morning. If anyone wants the recipe for this one just ask and I'll e-mail it to you. Well worth it.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Delia's dirty little cheat

Today was always planned as a quickie, as I had to nip off to play football in the eve. And so to one of my favourite quickies - tortillini filled with something (pesto on this occassion, it was meant to be spinich but I picked it up by mistake. Realised it doesn't matter though as this one tastes just the same). This was then mixed up with some kindly pre made tomato & mascarpone sauce. True to Delia's word the whole experience was over in under 10 minutes, including the eating part.

Some thought was put into the presentation however, you'll note the cheekily placed parsley (I think, could be some other herb) nestled on the side. Again, as with the butter yesterday this was merely a pose for the cameras.

Monday, 30 June 2008

A week and a day - Day 1

Hi, my name is Chris, and in Fe's absence I am hijacking this blog (it's ok, Fe knows) with my own tales of success and woes in the culinary world. From the content of this blog you would be right in assuming I don't have much influence on what goes on in the kitchen - but alas, with Fe away in London for a week I've been left to my own devices with full decision making authority.

So it is to Day 1 of my adventure. With little ingredients available until I went shopping later I was left with just the basics. I was however able to source an important item from the cupboard - potato, which was later to be mashed. Accompanying this was a hooped version of tinned spaghetti which I've been keeping spare for this very situation, and some peas. Please note the wedge of butter resting upon the peas - this was done purely for its photographic qualities.

Had I had fish fingers and gravy available, my all time favourite meal would have been before me (another time perhaps).

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Flowers Please!

Hurray for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall! You know I have never had a recipe of his turn out anything short of fantastic. Maybe it's down to my impeccable recipe choice, but probably it's because he is the best cook in the world!

This Thursday I have been inspired to conjure up some elderflower fritters which I thankfully shared with Chris and Alyssa (they're delicous but very filling). They are quite easy to make really. Once you have, like me become obsessed with noticing and memorising every local elderflower bush, you then need to make a batter:
125g Plain Flour
25g Caster Sugar
Pinch of Salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Rum or Kirsch
150ml water
2 egg whites
8 Large, fresh and fragrant sprays of elderflowers
5cm groundnut or sunflower oil for frying
mix the flour with the salt, sugar, olive oil, rum/kirsch. Whisk in water stopping when it looks like very thick paint and thick enough to hold 2 egg whites. Cover and leave in a cool place for at least 30 mins.
Give your flowers a quick bug check but be careful not to lose too much pollen as this is the tasty bit. In a large, high sided pan or deep fat fryer. Heat until small cube of bread goes brown within a minute when thrown in. Lower heat to a simmer.
Meanwhile whisk 2 egg whites until they form soft peaks and gently fold them in to the batter. Dip your flowers in to the batter and lower them gently in to the pan. Turn them once or twice until puffed up and golden brown. Keep in low oven to keep warm.
Serve with sprinkled sugar and lemon-honestly they are sooo yum!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Strawberries for Celebration

As you can tell from our Harry Potter/ Wiccan gowns it was our graduation yesterday afternoon. And ofcourse how could an alchemist celebrate without ones champagne and strawberries?!

Viv Westwood herself was even in attendance looking more like a High Preistess than any body else there. What hair that woman has, I'd love to be able to carry off 'carrot' in my old age.

There was even a spot of general course reunion in the garden party (below). I cannot quite belive just how quickly four years has gone, warning to all those still at uni! I've been very lucky however and made some fantastic and often truly peculiar (in a good way) friends. Who I hope to bake for on a regular occasion. Speaking of which I really havn't been very creative this past month following the degree show. I must be all arted more day of realxation can't hurt!

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Spring is Fun!

Degree Show night has been and gone, as you can see from my two amigas here they had a thoroughly brilliant time. The stress of fourth year has now thankfully surpassed, hence the huge grins of glee, but I will miss my girls.

The week itself was a success with all my comrades having a gallery support them and selling the odd bit or two. It was a great excuse not to have one of us bake weekly, but daily!! This accounts for not losing any weight to stress throughout fourth year, a good nutritional tip to potential graduates. Eat home baked cake as much as your stomach will allow, it's good for you!

After all the glamour of degree show week I thought it best to take some time out in nature. This Spring has been exceptionally kind in terms of its sunshine. So generous infact I have been able to dine alfresco three days in a row, for Scotland this is a rarity. One of these occasions took me to Dunkeld where I found these happy scenes:

I had no idea Dunkeld had a bluebell wood! Incase you want to find it, it's behind the cathedral next to Papa Larch, the daddy of all perthshire larch trees. The wee chap on the left was a keen duck feeder despite them being a bit rough and beaky.

I hope spring is inspiring you all!

Friday, 18 April 2008

Saving Grace

At long last! I've been meaning to make this great weight of a tea bread for weeks. This is a Welsh tea bread called amusingly Bara Brith, what a gorgeous name! It means 'speckled bread'.

I dizzily didn't realise I had to soak the raisins and sultanas for over six hours in strong tea-honestly! So I had to make it the following week when I was fully briefed on the recipe, which is actually very simple. It makes a lovely heavy, elasticy loaf which should be left for 2 days to mature, but I couldn't help have a sliver today with some Chai...

Recipe time:

500g mixed dried fruit and peel

300ml strong hot tea

250g self raising flour

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 egg forked to blend

1. Soak the fruit and peel in a large bowl in the tea for at least six hours (don't forget this bit), or overnight.

2. Sieve the flour and spice in to the soaked fruit, don't drain, stir in the sugar and egg. Beat altogether until smooth.

3. Heat the oven to 150 C or gas mark 2. Tip the mix in to a prepared loaf tin and bake for 1 1/2 hours when it should be well risen, firm and brown. Cool and store for two days (if you can) until rich and gluey (Mmm). Use salty butter to spread on to thin slices with a hot cup of tea.

NEVER think you can get away with baking cookies with Flora omega 3 marge, just because it was buy one get one free at Tesco! Utterly Butterly marge works very well actually, but that's not the point.

I thought it may be okay to try making some chocolate pecan goodies without decent ingrediants, what a mistake. Hence why this jar is remaining empty and the blackbirds shall have a feast today. They were tasteless and cakey. They were even described as 'offensive' by a budding cookie fan who tried them warm from the oven! Alas.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Busy Busy Bee

Cream and Brown are two colours that I love to mingle together. I actually had been trying to make pieces that could use both these colours but didn't see it happening for this project. So this was a very happy accident. This piece is a neckpiece (not completely finished), and if I had time I think i would have enjoyed making a few more pieces in this style, oh well!
The list just keeps getting longer and longer (degree show must do's) however I'm going to reward my hard work(?) with some baking come sunday as I have the whole place to myself, and therefore all the baking results must too be all for myself, mmm. That thought presses me on to get in to uni this morning and make some stuff! Must go...

Sunday, 30 March 2008


The countdown has begun - five weeks to go until degree show 2008. I'm hoping to have all the work I planned finished by this time, which seems to always take me a lot longer than I had anticipated. I think I must work at the rate of a sloth.

This here is my postcard image, which unbelievably took a lot of tweaking and probably will still print very differently. I chose this image as it's one that I did at the beginning of fourth year, but eight months on with a splash of strawberry tartan it has much more character.

After Uni I would like to keep this theme going and apply it not only to traveller imagery but to themes such as history, flora, fauna, baking, and unsurprisingly tea drinking. Preferably they would be related to Scotland, requiring many a mini break to an isolated west coast island.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Easter - another baking excuse!

Who doesn't love easter related sweets? To make a change from chocolate eggs I decided to make these little gems and force feed my family when I go home this weekend. I'm sure they won't mind overly?

Traditionally eggs were used to represent fertitility, which the Christians adopted to symbolise their saviour's resurrection. In Germany eggs are painted green and eaten on Maudy Thursday. Meanwhile they are painted red in Greece to represent Christ's blood. In Britain the practice of painting eggs bold colours dates back to the middle ages to celebrate the reurn of sunshine in spring!

I however have chosen to celebrate sweet-tooths, and free weekends. Although I always welcome the resurgence of colour that springtime brings. Happy Easter!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Sundays = Indulgence Days

I seem to be indulging myself more and more these days with my two friends, cake and tea. In fact I'm indulging more than is humanly safe to do so! My teeth are going to regret my youth...
Well spring is beginning to stir it's sleepy head at last, I was even able to pinch a few plum blossom sprigs for my flat-bonus! Thus inspiring me to enhance the smell of the flat with banana loaf cakiness. Unfortunately this means I have to eat the cakiness, but I'm sure I'll manage, somehow.

Friday, 29 February 2008

Cake for a friend

Blue and cream, they go together as well as blueberries and soft cheese icing. I made this hearty tea time stomach bulger for a beautiful travelling lady called Jess Smith. She and her man Davie were great hosts, and made me feel really relaxed and welcome.
I've suddenly realised, quite late actually that fruit and baking are my favourite things to create in le kitchen and this area is teeming with hedgerow pickings in the autumn. This could become quite an addictive past-time...

Friday, 15 February 2008

Baking and Making

Cake Fridays at uni require a willing classmate to donate a yummy cake for us all to gorge on, this week was my call. I went for a fresh recipe-a bit of a gamble- but it all turned out well, thank goodness. There's a lot of pressure with 12 hungry faces awaiting the first piece!

It's a cherry cake, as you may have guessed, with a crumble like top, I love it when baking goes well! As does my stomach.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Tis windy up north

Recent example of some illustrations I'm using for my fourth year work. I really enjoy drawing, in fact I realy really enjoy doodling when it goes well. I've been trying to draw this image for weeks and all of a sudden I managed, and no red wine involved!

Thursday, 24 January 2008


Salut! My name is Fe, I make Jewellery and enjoy creating many things that make me and my friends happy. Here is a brooch I made for the Christmas fair, a cute tea cup enamelled a delicious shade of duck egg blue. Hydrangea's are so good at that time of year...