Monday, 19 April 2010

Accies Girls Get Together- March 30th

At the end of March it was my turn to host the Accies girls get together. As it was Easter the following Sunday I went for an Easter theme and decorated the house a few days early.
I loved my little decorated tree. Wendy had given me the twigs from her and Ed's garden in their new house.
I had a bird theme for my food. I made coconut chicken, duck with cucumber, spring onion and homemade plum sauce. Then for dessert I made merguine nests with raspberries and also rocky road with mini eggs.
I had intended to decorate cupcakes but ran out of time and so I came up with the plan for the girls to decorate their own cupcakes. This went down really well and they all enjoyed putting the butter icing and sprinkles on and I had a little fluffy chick for the top of each cake!
Vicki, Loreen, Zara (who was just newly engaged and heading off to NYC the next weekend to celebrate with her fiance, Mark- congratulations to both of them!) and Emily, whos bump is looking healthy!
Loreen decorating her cupcake.
Emma, Wendy's sister- Lisa, Wendy, Emily and Lesley.
Zara, Emma, Vicki and Leona.

Foodie at Holyrood Cupcake class

You will have heard me mention my friend Pete before. He runs Foodieboxes and Foodies at Holyrood. Well they are doing loads of great evening activities out of their cafe and so Hills, Julie and I went along to one of the cupcake classes run by Liggy's Cake Company.
Hillary with 2 of her 4 cupcakes before they were decorated.
Julie at the start of the class- in good spirits!
We were each given 4 cupcakes to decorate. There was blue and green butter icing and 4 colours of fondant icing.
There were about 20 people in the class and the skill level ranged from beginners to people who had done some decorating before. There were a number of Ligg's customers attending who wanted to know her secrets!
Jules with her rolling pin at the ready!
Liggy showed us how to decorate in 4 different themes for Easter. We made roses (my favourite) daffodils, a nest of eggs and small rabbits (my rabbits looked a bit weird!) We used edible glitter too... so much fun!
At the end of the night we got to take home our cupcakes. It was so much fun and I will definitely be going again... anyone want to come to the next one with me?

Sunday 21st March- Murrayfield Wedding Show

On Sunday the 21st of March Hillary and I along with Nathan's Mum, Lily went to Thee Wedding Show at Murrayfield stadium.

We had been given free tickets by my friend Herculine, whose husband has set up his own photography company. Have a look at his website here.

Their stand was by far the most proffessional there. I wish them so much luck for the future and knowing the type of hard working people they are they are going to do so well.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Mothers Day Afternoon Tea- 14th March

Ingredients for Banana and Walnut Bread.
I used my new French (converted into English) cookbook that I bought in Avoca in Ireland to make one of the cakes. It was really tasty although I am not sure the original recipe I use of this may be my prefered one.
Chocolate Cookie Ingredients. (yes, all that butter goes in!)
Nigella Christmas Chocolate Cookies (that worryingly seem to be becoming a staple in our diets!) There is so much butter in them but they taste DIVINE!
Bannana and Walnut Cake, left over Guiness cake, Chocolate Cookies.
Nathan opening his pressies from Becky and Dougie.
Nathan and my family sat round our livingroom.
My Mum was up for the weekend which was so nice to spend Mother's day with her as usually she is down in London or travelling. We invited everyone in my family round for afternoon tea so that we could catch up. There was more rugby on the TV so everyone enjoyed watching France vs Italy. 

We had such a nice family weekend and really enjoyed being in their company and entertaining. I am missing cooking and baking. I need to get back into cooking more as we have been very bad recently. 

Happy Birthday Nathan

Nathan and I with his Birthday cake.
Nathan's Dad- Neil, Nathan and his Mum- Lily. 

As it was Mother's day on the Sunday it was great to spend the afternoon with them both.

Nigella's Guiness and Chocolate Cake


250ml Guinness
250g unsalted butter
75g cocoa
400g caster sugar
1 x 142ml pot sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 1/2teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
300g Philadelphia cream cheese
150g icing sugar
125ml double or whipping cream
Serving Size : Makes about 12 slices

This cake is magnificent in its damp blackness. I can’t say that you can absolutely taste the stout in it, but there is certainly a resonant, ferrous tang which I happen to love. The best way of describing it is to say that it’s like gingerbread without the spices. There is enough sugar – a certain understatement here – to counter any potential bitterness of the Guinness, and although I’ve eaten versions of this made up like a chocolate sandwich cake, stuffed and slathered in a rich chocolate icing, I think that can take away from its dark majesty. Besides, I wanted to make a cream cheese frosting to echo the pale head that sits on top of a glass of stout. It’s unconventional to add cream but it makes it frothier and lighter which I regard as aesthetically and gastronomically desirable. But it is perfectly acceptable to leave the cake un-iced: in fact, it tastes gorgeous plain.

1.Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C, and butter and line a 23cm springform tin.
2.Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter – in spoons or slices – and heat until the butter’s melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
3.Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
4.When the cake’s cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsieved icing sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.
5.Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.

This cake tasted DELICIOUS and so moist! I will definetly be making it again. 

On the Saturday night I went out to meet the girls and Nathan had some of the Rugby boys round for drinks. When I returned there was a note under, what remained of the cake, from one of the younger rugby boys- who had apprently had 2-3 slices telling me that my cake was '****ing tidy'- so I guess he liked it! ;-)

Saturday 13th March- Six Nations Scotland vs England

On the Saturday after Nathan's birthday we invited his parents round for lunch and to watch the Scotland vs England rugby on the television. We did have tickets but decided to sell them on and save our money. So we made the best of being at home and made a feast!
Our friend Kristin sent us this BBQ sauce from Hill Country BBQ in NYC. She took us there when we were over and we LOVED it! It was a great Christmas pressie.
Nathan made pork in the slow cooker with the BBQ sauce- it smelled amazing when you opened the lid!
He also made homemade coleslaw- it worked really well.
Nathan then pulled the pork so we could make pulled pork sandwiches- delicious!
The table for lunch. A joint effort as I made dessert- Nathan's birthday cake.

Bill McLaren Tribute Evening- 11th March

Thursday 11th of March was Nathan's birthday and he had his pick of things to do. He decided he wanted to go to the Bill McLaren memorial evening at Murrayfield

At first I thought this was a bit strange but it was his day so along we went. I was so impressed with the proffessionalism of the SRU and how well they respected Bill McLaren's memory. The evening was spent listening to music, hearing stories from Bill McLaren's friends, collegues and family. There was so much Scottish rugby history entwined in all the tales that I then understood why Nathan had wanted to come along. Not only that but at the end you left feeling a great sense of pride in your country and a testimony of what it is to be truely respected, admired and well thought of. It is not about being famous or proffessional achievements it is about family and having pride in what you do, being good at everything you do - even if you have to alter your goals. Giving back to others, being encouraging and being honest in your assessments too. The evening was truely moving.

Bill McLaren was known for watching all the rugby boys at training so he would know who was who on the field when he was commentating on their game. Nathan said he would stand at the side line and you felt honoured if you thought he was taking notes on you. He always carried a bag of sweeties from his home town, Hawick Balls and Nathan told me with great pride that a number of times after training at Edinburgh he had been offered a Hawick Ball sweet from Bill.
Ronnie Brown singing Scotland's national anthem. Dougie MacLean also sung Caledonia via video link- there was not a dry eye in the house at that point. Caledonia always gets me, everytime! So much national pride!
Bill McLaren had always enjoyed listening to the Welsh Mens Choir so they sung a number of songs as a tribute to him. They were amazing.
Rory Lawson, Bill McLaren's Grandson spoke very well on behalf of the family. It was really fitting that he joked that his Grandfather would be wondering what all the fuss was about as he was a very modest man. A truely great man and I am so glad that we went along to pay our respects.

Edinburgh vs Ospreys- 7th March

Nathan and I at the Edinburgh vs Osprey's game. Nathan used to play for the Edinburgh Gunners and as a former player has just discovered that he qualifies for 2 free tickets to every game. 

One of our best men Andy Kelly still plays at Edinburgh and this game give him his 100th cap for the Gunners.

It was a nice balance to spend the Sunday morning doing wedding stuff and then the afternoon watching rugby. I think Nathan was glad he had sport to enjoy!
What made it even better was that Edinburgh won 33- 17. Well done to all the boys!

Wedding Show @ The Corn Exchange- 7th March

On Sunday 7th of March Nathan and I had free tickets to go to the Corn Exchange Wedding Fair. There were 100+ exhibitors so we thought it would be worth a look. To be fair after being to the SECC wedding show there was nothing that we hadn't seen already. The only difference was these were east coast vendors and so more in our neck of the woods. 

I did get a few ideas and especially loved these all white flower decorations. I am not so sure about the glass vases but liked the fact they were sqaure.
I liked that each vase had one type of flower in it. A vase of white tulips and a vase of white sweet peas.
Small bouquets of white roses on a mirrored plate looked very romantic.
I loved the candle light. It made it look stunning. 

We enjoyed watching the fashion show although there weren't many dresses that took my fancy. Although it seems to be that they try and show the extreme dresses on the catwalk.
Hills and Becky came along, at the last minute to have a nose round. Their favourite was the fudge stand!
Nathan and I outside the Corn Exchange.

4th March- Girlie Catch up and Birthday Evening

I made Hills and Hannah a  lemon drizzle cake. I drizzled it with lemon sugar and stars so it looked a bit more like a Birthday cake! It tasted very good and really moist.
The table laid for the evening. Corinne brought a really tasty salad, I made coconut chicken and we had lots of nibbles that everyone chipped in and brought round.
Singing happy birthday! 

My house has not been very tidy recently due to the amount of hours I have been working but I knew these girls wouldn't mind a few boxes sitting around. It does however make me sad when I see the mess in the background!
Hannah and Hills blow out their candles.
Becky and Corinne.
Hannah, Hillary, Emma, Me and Corinne.
Hannah, Hills, Emma, Corinne and Becky.
I love this photo. Later on in the evening I was showing the girls some of my wedding plans and we had a good look through the magazines that I have collected and bought (I have an entire box that is sitting in our livingroom (more mess, as Nathan would say!) I love that they are all looking through the magazine together and discussing it in great detail.

It was so good to catch up with everyone and have a giggle. Just what the doctor ordered. I love these ladies!