Month: December 2015

Happy Hogmanay

We have several traditions surrounding Hogmanay, or New Year’s Eve, in Scotland, many of which revolve around food or drink. One such tradition is the consumption of Shortbread. I suspect it was made available at The Bells at midnight to soak up the whisky being knocked back. But, as a nation, we are known for our buttery, short biscuit the world over. Who hasn’t been given a garishly coloured tartan tin of the stuff from someone who has visited our dear land? I don’t really like the stuff. Well, the stuff in the tins and packages. Homemade is an entirely different beast, and everyone has their own recipe and preferences. Most Scots will add rice flour or corn flour to their shortbread mixture. I am not one of them: I find it makes the biscuit too claggy when I eat it and it sticks to the roof of my mouth. My shortbread contains only three ingredients: One of the things that got me into making shortbread was coming across the prettiest of Shortbread moulds that …

If It Ain’t Broke.

I have a confession to make. I am one of those mums. Yes, the mums that make and bake gifts for their kids’ teachers. But please don’t think for a second that it is because I want to show off or compete with other parents: it’s just what I do. I make and bake for everyone and anyone that I feel gratitude or friendship or love for. And I always feel an enormous debt to my children’s teachers and to all the other support staff at their school because I think they do a wonderful job teaching, caring for, guiding, supporting and encouraging my three, very individual, offspring. Maybe the teachers would prefer cash in hand, or a shopping voucher, but I can’t bring myself to do that. Perhaps it is selfish of me to indulge in my own passion when it should really be about what they would like. But I enjoy planning, baking and packaging these gifts, and my kids have come to expect it too. Last year, I was very short of …

Cool, Pale and Festive

I think that the last thing anybody needs to be doing just before Christmas is designing and executing an elaborate Christmas Cake. If, like me, you find yourself spending lots of time with all other manner of christmas preparations, including exquisitely fiddly home made treats for the kids’ school Christmas Fayre or as gifts for their teachers, then run out of quality time to enjoy making a beautiful centre piece cake for your own family, you need to have an easy and quick design up your sleeve. I am a firm believer of less is often more, especially when it comes to cake design. Simple and elegant is often the way to go and, although that doesn’t always mean quick, in this case it does. I have come up with a cool coloured and pale silhouette cake design that really is very simple to carry out. If you have a warmer or bolder colour scheme, this design could easily be adapted to blend in. I coloured the icing a pale blue/grey using a combination of …