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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A golden Christening celebration.

Even by our standards, last week was an epic one with a near perfect conclusion. A very special gathering to celebrate our beautiful baby daughter's life and the love and light she brings. There were Autumn touches, helping hands and a warming, seasonal menu. We are so blessed.



 





 





 


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Divine Double Chocolate Brownies



These brownies were a gift for special friends who had just welcomed an adorable new daughter. They also represented a challenge, letting E loose with cocoa (and coincidentally a white t-shirt). The friends/soon to be brownie recipients had previously explained that whenever they bake with their own wonderful toddler, not only does the recipe yield far fewer biscuits than it should because of tasting but the enitre kitchen and family are quite literally, caked. They even asked how we managed to stay clean to which I jokingly replied with my easy "how to bake clean with a toddler":



1. Don't make anything with chocolate/cocoa except when you fancy a challenge. Go lemon sponge, oat and raisin cookies, flapjacks, light coloured ingredients.
2. Dress toddler in colour similar to that of whatever you're baking (of course this is only ever a happy or unhappy accident...)
3. Focus the camera on the bowl, ingredients, kitchen, blur toddler  to disguise actual mess. 
4. Make smaller biscuits so as to deny the truth about how much the toddler ate/spilled/painted with.
6. Create a toddler who likes to be clean. See below where E, determined to have the cloth close by at all times rocks it as a ribbon in her hair!  I blame her Dad.

These brownies may be a challenge for messy toddlers but they are made to a very simple recipe found here to which we added a whole bar of chocolate in divine chunks for added goo and indulgence.





 Measure out the ingredients


Squish the butter


 Melt butter and sugar together


Measure out cocoa


 If in doubt use the whole lot


Add cocoa to the butter/sugar mixture


Mix


Mess


 Next, add flour


One egg


 Two eggs


Three eggs


Four eggs


I'll just see what this feels like...


...or even better what it tastes like. 


Add the eggs


Uh-oh! Dirty hands


and a cheeky chocolatey face




 Add the chocolate chunks




And always have a cloth close by for cleaning up


 Give it a big stir


Have a final obligatory taste test


and bake until slightly wobbly, first cracks appear. Cool, slice, package and post to a friend in need.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A Late Summer Lunch

Last weekend was filled with nervous excitement for our return to catering for more than just our family and friends with a fabulous Christening party. 

One of the major things we have learned to date is not to make a menu or logistics unnecessarily complicated and to let premium quality ingredients and our personalitites shine through. With this in mind and working with like-minded parents (their beautiful daughter is just weeks older than our new addition) we offered a selection beautiful oak boards filled with delicious meat, fish and cheese all served up with jars of flavoursome hummous, pates, our classic chutneys, crunchy green salad and Herbies baguettes. For pudding, we made vast meringues and smashed them together with sweet Fife strawberries and cream individual Eton or "Martha's Mess" as we renamed it in honour of the little lady's special day.


 Rosemary hummus in the making.



 Ready to go.


 Strathdon blue mousse.


 Mackerel soon to be pated.


 Spiced and roasted root vegetables for the ultimate cous cous.


 

The Ultimate cous cous.


 Roasted vegetables.


 Prawn, feta cucumber and mint skewers.


 

Labels.


 Jars of Martha's Mess.

 


The boards taking shape.




 Blue skies and balloons.


Waiting for guests.


 For carnivores.


 For vegetarians.


 Sweetcorn pickle hiding behind a stack of roasted vegetables.


 Sun dried tomatoes, grissini, roasted veg, rosemary and Moroccan spiced hummus.


Hot smoked salmon with dill.


 Super smoked salmon pate and rye bread.


 Cold smoked salmon with fennel and smoked mackerel pate.


 Baguettes.