Looking for food for thought?


Monday, 14 April 2014

Happy Easter

When was the last time you had a chocolate crispy? Probably longer than it should be.

I made these with E last week and every time I passed the cake tin, I was tempted. So, in my opinion, they certainly shouldn't be reserved for children's parties and school baking sales, in fact bring them back and bring them to me. Easter gives a great excuse for a slight variation from cornflakes or rice crispies with ever so moreish mini eggs and a way to make shredded wheat desirable rather than obligatory. I remember making these with my Mum in our Easter break so it was fun to make them as the next generation of Mummy and daughter in the kitchen.

E and I crushed, bashed, crashed and mashed our way to these Easter nests and they didn't last long. She loved it and so did I. 

Because it was so simple it doesn't really warrant a recipe - melt chocolate, stir in shredded wheat until mixture is stiff and cereal coated, spoon into cupcake cases, make a small indent with the back of a teaspoon and top with mini eggs. 

E managed this almost completely alone, which gave added satisfaction to her current craving for independence. Apart from the mini eggs and taste testing, she took great care separating and arranging the cupcake cases. And, such is her three year old ingenuity, she politely surprised me with, "look Mummy, this is your nest, your bird has one baby and look, at my nest, my bird has triplets!" Thank goodness she's not yet aware of quintuplets and a very happy Easter to you all.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Simple Pleasures

It's been a long week and a hectic one. We've been working hard, thinking hard, playing hard and  sleeping less than we'd like. As the weekend rolled around, we found ourselves with some family time at last and a need to celebrate our recent magazine appearance and life's simple pleasures. We imagined a place we could go together, where E could feast on chips and maybe a bit of bread bun, where A could try her first burger (made of good stuff) and where we could, quite honestly, gorge ourselves and have a glass of wine. We imagined the Edinburgh, independent version of Byron. And, as we continued to drool about it, we'd like to enjoy all of this in bright, clean and vibrant surroundings with staff who care about providing a great welcome and don't roll their eyes when they see a family. Tall order indeed. Only the best kind of burger place would satisfy.

Of course, I wouldn't be writing all of this if we hadn't found just the right place. In fact, it came highly recommended and it didn't disappoint. It's called Burger and that's all it does but it does them so well you'll be licking your lips and smiling with satisfaction. Before you even finish you'll be planning on telling your friends and coming back.

It's only been open just over a week but there was a queue the whole time we ate in, the service was friendly and efficient, the food fast but cooked to order and with care, the ingredients simple but tasty, family friendly but not family focussed. It served up exactly what it promised here. And it was totally affordable.

Go and enjoy a simple burger (or hurry to get your hands on one of the limited daily specials) and greedily gorge on the crisp, skin on Russett potato chips. And if that's not enough to make you want to visit right now then you're simply missing my point!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Beautiful Kitchens, To Dine For

Today started with blue skies and a rare child-free breakfast with a wonderful friend here and ended, after the very successful party of our nephew with two happily exhausted girls. Then, there was chance to sit, quietly, turn the pages of our first copy of the new Beautiful Kitchens magazine and wonder if our kitchen will ever be this tidy again.

Perhaps you are considering ordering some of our delicious, home-cooked, prepared meals or hoping to come along to a supper club soon, this is your chance to see where the cooking happens in advance and even if you're simply here to be nosey, please, come in, we hope you enjoy this look into our home, you're very welcome. If only you'd actually all fit, I'd put the kettle on and make some rock buns.

The stunning photographs are by the very talented Douglas Gibb and the interview by his curious and very charming wife Alison. If you are even vaguely into interiors then you must start reading her blog and daydreaming, a lot. If you have any questions about our kitchen, please ask away and check out this reminder of how it looked before we started taking walls down...

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The Very Hungry Caterpillar First Birthday.

Our very hungry caterpillar turned one. We still can't believe it but we were delighted to celebrate with lots of our favourite people and a feast. We hosted a bright, balloon-filled party with a family lunch followed by cakes galore and the happy chaos of a full house and little hands clutching at cupcakes and tucking into as much garish icing as they could manage. We're still recovering! Hip hip horray.

Balloon caterpillar.

 On  Monday, he ate through one apple. But he was still hungry.

On Wednesday, he ate through three plums. But he was still hungry.


Irresistible crackling.


 Apple, carrot and red onion coleslaw.

 Wilted chicory, orange, blood orange and hazelnut salad. 

 Shredded pork stack, still warm.

Tuck in.

Home made apple and rosemary jelly.

 The edible Hungry Caterpillar.

The Table.

Super soft, Italian white rolls, buttered.

I managed to resist this unattended plate...

On Saturday he ate through one piece of chocolate cake...

Beautiful butterfly cupcakes with cheesecake and buttercream topping.

 Big sister hiding another cake in her frills and caught red handed!


"It's my party." 

"Yes, MY party (and you just blew out my candle)."

First cake face.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Lovely extra nutty granola (Valentine's edition).

There must be something about blue skies that inspires granola making for me, my last granola post was a sunny one. This is a variation. It's easy, therapeutic in the sense of using up oddments of nuts and slowly mixing it all up, packed with good energy and the perfect gift for family, friends and Valentine's. 
This batch was extra nutty. It works well as a light breakfast with yoghurt and fruit, simply in handfuls as a pick me up snack or made into flapjacks for a sweet treat.

You will need:

500g porridge oats (I keep the amounts of oats and seeds equal but vary it if you fancy)
500g nuts and seeds (here I used cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, poppy seeds, hazelnuts, coconut, pecans, pine kernals, sesame seeds)
5 tbsp sunflower oil (1 for every hundred grams)
5 tbsp set honey (1 for every hundred grams - using a heather or floral honey adds a new dimension)
200g dark brown sugar
100g light brown sugar (it's not essential to use two types of sugar it's just what I had)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Liberally oil a baking tray (I used a brownie tray or roasting dish) otherwise it's impossible to remove. Mix together the oats and seeds, add the oil, honey and sugar. Stir happily or bash if the mood takes you, until the mixture is a sticky, glossy, coated one. Arrange on a baking tray (or two). Toast in the oven for around 20 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on it and stir every ten or so minutes as some nuts burn easily. Remove the soft mix from the oven. Do an obligatory taste test.  It will harden as it cools. Leave it to cool and then break into small pieces and store in an airtight jar or jars if you're planning on giving some away.

Going nuts with nuts. 

Stocked up.

Gifts for my Valentine...

 ... and friends.