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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Christening day

With the pain of loss heavy in our hearts, we gathered with our family and close friends to celebrate the joint baptism of our baby and our new nephew, her cousin. We may have hired a venue but we wanted to provide the light lunch for guests ourselves, of course. So it was another late night and early start in our kitchen.

My late Nana's 90 year old Christening gown.

We chose a menu which included highlights from the wedding picnic with a couple of additions:

Rosemary spiced nuts (recipe coming soon).

Grissini with Parma ham.

Chicken liver pate or hummus.

Selection of three cheeses.

Horseradish cured salmon.

Armstrong’s home smoked trout with shaved fennel.

Bower’s rare roasted beef.


Baguette by Herbies of Stockbridge.

Courgette and lemon salad.

Potato salad.

Mango and spinach salad.

Roasted cherry tomato and feta salad.

Charlie and Evelyn’s House Chutney selection: courgette, cucumber pickle or onion jam.


Christening cake, cupcakes and strawberries.

With the exception of some delicious left over beef, there was very little remaining once the guests departed. Clear plates were the only evidence we needed that the food had been enjoyed.

Bunting (first made for a wonderful wedding) on loan from a good friend in Jersey who couldn't make it but was with us in spirit.

Sunny handmade pinwheels for the children (tested but not waterproof)!

Delicate lace hydrangea.

A jar of rosemary spiced nuts on the table.

A selection.

My plate (carefully arranged for the photo) and a menu.

Mini E cupcakes.

Sleepy Eva's Christening cake.

Lavender cupcakes with Christening wraps.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Honey, rosemary, lemon and lavender

This cake has become my cake of 2011, second only to this one. I made it on holiday for summery afternoon tea and then for cake club and then for my late Nana's 90th celebrations and again and again at home. It's sweet, dark, fresh and comforting. I mostly followed Tessa Kirros's recipe from her book Apples for Jam.

It goes a little something like this:

150g butter
116g dark or light brown sugar
175g runny honey
200g plain flour
2 heaped teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
2 free range eggs, beaten
Lavender flowers and chopped rosemary to decorate (Tessa uses rosemary flowers which are also purple, so you could use them if you have some. I prefer the fragrant lavender).
250g icing sugar
100g soft (but not melted) butter
Zest from two lemons, juice from one half (about three tablespoons)

Grease your cake tin (ideally 22cm) and pre heat oven to 180'C.
Melt butter, sugar and honey with 1 tablespoon of water in a saucepan over a gentle heat. Allow sugar to dissolve. Cool this mixture for 10-15 minutes.
Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a mixing bowl, add rosemary, honey mixture and eggs. Beat until silky smooth.
Pour into your tin and bake for 30-40 minutes. Test with a skewer which should be dry after spearing the centre of the cake. Leave to cool in the tin.
Next sift the icing sugar into another mixing bowl, add butter, lemon zest and gradually the juice and stir until smooth. Spread liberally onto the cake. Sprinkle with chopped rosemary and lavender flowers to finish.

As you can see, this cake also works as a layer cake if you make double quantities of everything, divide the cake into two tins and sandwich and top with icing!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A wedding picnic

It still hasn't sunken in. We did a wedding. Yes, we did.

It took many hours of preparation (including three dedicated to peeling quail's eggs), it lasted seven hours and took us over two weeks to recover! Words don't often fail but for now, the photos can tell the story.

The aim, the menu.

The first layer.

Scottish blue cheese mousse.

In the kitchen.

Prawn, cucumber, mint and feta skewers.

Quail's eggs.

Perfect baguettes.

Courgette chutney.

In a pickle.

Wedding day cucumber pickle.

Teaspoons (for the chutneys).

A Fortnum (the collective noun for hampers of course).

The second layer.

New potatoes.

Courgette and lemon salad.

Stacks of salad.

Green beans and Parmesan.

The second layer of the hamper.

Spinach leaves with mango.

All set for the feast.

The hall.

Wild, homegrown flowers.

Sweet smelling.

Top table.

A hamper...

...or two...

or 33!

Pretty table setting.

All ready.

The dashing couple.

Main course.

Horseradish marinated salmon.

Monkfish and smoked bacon skewers.

There's more.


The children's party.

Jelly cups.

Monday, 15 August 2011

My kind of clubbing

These days, the closest I get to clubbing is Edinburgh Cake Ladies and I couldn't be happier. This post is more than a little overdue but it's been a busy few months, so excuse us.

Imagine being surrounded by more cake than you could eat. Here I present the evening in pictures. I had a mini cake club member with me (mesmerised by cake) so wasn't as thorough as I'd hoped in noting down cake names and creators (sorry).

If you'd like to identify your cake from this cake identity parade, please do so and I can credit/link to you or better still please share the recipe/baking tips! Leave us a comment or email.

The biggest carrot cake I've ever seen, thanks to Harbour Hussy.

The creator of this cake is just thirteen years old. WOW, Helen, your future is cake.

Berry nice Summer fruit drizzle by Chiara

Wickedly hot double ginger spectacular by Becca, who makes amazing cakes and furniture.

Ms Red Velvet, find out more about her here.

My first plate of cake... and E's milk!

Pretty sure this tower of goodness was created by Lea.

The End.

The next cakey gathering here in Edinburgh is on October 13th or check out CCC for nationwide cake club get togethers.
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