5 sweet treats you have to bake this weekend

As you might already know, I contribute to the fabulous AO at Home blog. This week, one of my recipes for AO at Home made it into MSN Food‘s pick of 20 creative cupcake recipes. There was quite a bit of excitement when I found out, followed by some thoughts on what sweet treats I should fill my weekend with.

So here are five wonderful sweet treats I recommend you bake this weekend. They are from some of my favourite blogs, and I think you’ll agree, each and every one of them sounds delicious.

1.My Darling Lemon Thyme made my mouth water talking about her flourless banana, cinnamon and dark chocolate muffins. I made these for friends a couple of weeks ago and they can’t stop talking about them.

2.Lucy over at Supergolden Bakes had me salivating over her walnut cake with yoghurt and butterscotch sauce. It looks incredible!

3. I was so envious when Kathryn from Kat Got the Cream posted these homemade cinnamon buns. My plan is to get up early tomorrow and make them for breakfast.

Image credit: Kat Got the Cream

4.I absolutely love Oddly Lovely’s balsamic strawberry tart. I’ve made it a few times now, and it is such a treat.

5. Lastly, here’s my recipe for white chocolate and raspberry muffins for AO at home, which made it onto MSN Food this week.

Happy baking everybody! Have a great weekend.

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The perfect blend

It’s true that as you get older your tastes change. I remember my first experience of whisky, which ended in a much younger me vowing to steer clear of its amber hues for life. That all changed around two years ago, when I started working for Hot Rum Cow magazine and working on one issue in particular meant that whisky was par for the course. And boy am I glad: I’ve been saved from a lifetime of missing out on Scotland’s national drink.

Being a newbie to the world of whisky means I have so much to discover and so when I was invited to an event at the Scotch Whisky Experience, I was never going to say no. The night centred around how to blend your own whisky. So, pipet at the ready, I let my nose and my taste buds decide how to mix four different drinks into one uniquely blended whisky. It was so much fun.

Not only did I take away my own blend, but during the night I learned so much about whisky. If you are a whisky fan, it is well worth looking into doing a Blend Your Own session at the Scotch Whisky Experience.

Posted in Drinks, Edinburgh, Whisky | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Tales from the weekend #2

Autumn is definitely on its way, but before it takes hold entirely, summer gave it one last push this weekend, with a Saturday that made us re-think all of our plans and head straight for the beach.

We played in the sand, ate lobster and chips and enjoyed the beautiful seaside town of North Berwick. It might be the last time we get to feel the sand in our toes this year, but boy did we make the most of it. What did you do at the weekend?

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Project Mercury

This post is a bit off topic for me, but since this is a lifestyle blog, I was hoping you would indulge me a little in my love of music. I’m one of those people who always has music with me. I have my full library on my iPhone, I listen to carefully curated playlists while I work and if I’m in the house alone, music trumps TV every time.

Today, the nominations for the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize were announced. I pretty much have the date marked in my diary. So now begins a process I do every year; I listen to each of the 12 nominated albums from start to finish on Spotify. I may not like each one, they might not all be to my particular taste, but listening to every single track has almost become a ritual of sorts. In previous years, it has introduced me to artists I never knew existed. I’m hoping this year will be the same.

Are any of you music lovers?

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Chocolate heaven

You guys all know how much I love chocolate. If there’s ever a lack of chocolate in my house, I have no qualms of getting out the Nutella jar and a spoon. So when the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School invited me along to one of its cookery courses, I couldn’t see past Chocolate Heaven. A whole day spent melting, baking and most importantly, eating chocolate, sounded like my idea of a perfect Saturday. And it was.

Techniques that I thought were going to be really difficult were made easy by the expert instructors. In other words, I am no longer afraid of pastry. One too many soggy bottoms on the Great British Bake Off left me worried about any future partnership with the flaky stuff, but that has now past. Queue many pastry-based recipes to follow.

Souffles have always been something I’ve avoided cooking. Fear of the dreaded rise has meant that I have shied away from this delicious dessert, unless it was being served to me by a qualified chef in an upmarket eaterie. Now, I know that it’s really not as difficult as it seems. Armed with the right technique, you can have this glorious dessert at home.

We also made some seriously chocolaty cookies and macarons. I must confess, I think I found my Achille’s Heel in piping. The shape and consistency of my macarons left a lot to be desired, but they still tasted mighty fine. Those around me had greater success on this front, as I cursed my unsteady hand.

A break for lunch allowed us to sample two beautiful tarts made in-house, with salad, bread, wine and a delicious chocolate roulade served with raspberries.

I would wholeheartedly recommend doing a course at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School. The tutors were knowledgeable, professional and friendly and I learned a whole new range of techniques that I didn’t know before. I’m already looking into which course I’d like to try next.

Have you ever taken part in a cookery course? What did you learn?

Posted in Cakes, Chocolate, Edinburgh, Reviews | Tagged , , | 19 Comments