Saturday, 30 April 2011

A Picture A Day: Week 17

Another busy week, with lots of lovely sunshine and bank holidays! So far I've been back at work for 3 weeks, and 2 of them have had Friday bank holidays, so have been 2 days weeks - which has made meeting deadlines harder, but on the plus side meant more family time at home with all three of us. As I'm writing this, the sun is still shining - hopefully this isn't all of our summer allocation being used up in April!

Saturday 23rd April
There's a temporary funfair at Ocean Terminal for a week or so - this is the big wheel as the sun was starting to set

Sunday 24th April
We had an Easter Sunday walk along the beach at Aberdour, and Mini-M had a strawberry picnic. And yes, I am still awful at taking pictures with all 3 of us in!

Monday 25th April
Lunch at Ocean Terminal with the lovely Auntie L

Tuesday 26th April

Wednesday 27th April
A sign saying "Dan Lives" on a small island in the Water of Leith at Warriston. I have no idea why - but it seemed bizarrely worthy of a picture.

Thursday 28th April
Horse Chestnuts in flower on the Water of Leith walkway on our way home from Mini-M's nursery parents evening.

Friday 29th April
Today was the royal wedding. Folk were glued to their TVs and attending street parties nationwide. Instead, we were cleaning out the Borders Exploration Group equipment store. Just that I forgot to take any pictures - so this is of a shelf in the kitchen!!!!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Daring Bakers April 2011: Maple Mousse Fail!

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at!

Well this month's daring bakers' challenge was a bit of an epic fail. Specifically and epic double gelatine fail! That's what I get for using a packed of gelatine that has been festering at the back of my cupboard for a while.

The maple mousse went weirdly textured, and made maple gelatine 'couscous' which was so disgusting that we couldn't bring ourselves to eat it, and that is saying something - it's a rare occasion food in our house goes in the bin.

Then my edible container, which was supposed to be spiced apple jelly thickened rather than setting, so when I tried to unmould it, it was most definitely not bowl-like.

So in the end, I made some freestyle almond, pecan and date tartlet cases which were an unexpectedly delicious success. I filled them with the failed apple jelly - so this month's challenge ultimately ended up being and edible container fail, in an edible container, drizzled with maple syrup, and with no mousse in sight. Still delicious tho :o)

Friday, 22 April 2011

A Picture A Day: Week 16

Here's this weeks pictures. It's been another hectic one - most of them seem to be! We seem to have a great skill at filling all of our available time with 'stuff', which makes life very interesting, fun and logistically challenging at times.

Saturday 16th April
Letters for posting - RSVPs and "thankyous" all written and sent :o)

Sunday 17th April
We spent the day at the Borders Exploration Group Cuba 2012 leader selection day. The weather was stunning. These are the wind turbines at Soutra off the A68 on the way back.

Monday 18th April
Mini-M looking super pleased with her newly developed sitting up skills.

Tuesday 19th April
Another Mini-M shot - my view whilst pushing the buggy home - and her favourite way to travel is apparently with her socks off, one foot out in the open, chewing her teething rings.

Wednesday 20th April
Nursery means... labelling possessions.

Thursday 21st April
An awful photo - this was supposed to be of cherry blossom 'snow' that was swirling around in the wind - just that every time I got my camera our, the wind dropped.

Friday 22nd April
Martha's 9 month birthday today! And a lovely visit from Claire (not pictured) and Kat (looking very shifty in this photo!). We made a pile of paper decorations from old trashy chick lit novels.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Strawberry Marzipan Galettes

I think that these are my current favourite culinary discovery. Which is a bit weird, since normally I don't even like marzipan! But in these, I very much do :o)
The recipe came from the BBC Good Food Magazine and for once I followed it fairly closely, with only a few tweaks. I'm sure there will be many future incarnations of this recipe, as it is so easy and so good - and potentially very versatile, depending on what fruit you have to hand.

Strawberry Marzipan Galettes (makes 6)
  • 1 pack of ready made puff pastry, thawed if frozen (250g)
  • approx 250g strawberries, washed, hulled, & dried
  • approx 200g marzipan (a bit less than half a packet)
  • 1tbsp mild olive oil
  • 25g sugar
Preheat oven to 200C, and get out one large or 2 small baking trays. You don't need to grease them as you're putting puff pastry on them, which generally doesn't stick.
Slice the strawberries lengthwise into fairly thin slices (a couple of mm is good).
Roll out the pastry on a floured worksurface until about 2mm thick. Try to keep it roughly rectangular in shape as you do so.
Cut the pastry into 6, and carefully transfer each piece to the waiting baking tray. With a sharp knife, run around each piece, about half a cm in from the edge, taking care not to cut all the way through. This will help the pastry puff up around the edges.
Brush the pastry lightly with the oil.
Cut the marzipan into slices not more than half a cm thick, and place a couple in the middle of each piece of pastry.
Next layer the strawberries over the pastry so that the marzipan is covered up. You can be as artistic or haphazard as you like here, it won't affect the flavour!
Finally, sprinkle over the sugar and pop into the preheated oven for about 15mins until the pastry is risen and golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly on the tray before serving. Apparently a dollop of nice thick double cream finished it off nicely, but they also taste lovely 'neat'!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

What a Sweetie Part 2: Marzipan Chocolate Cherries

This is the second "sweetie" combo post - a homemade sweet recipe and a cute picture of Mini-M.

It's another magic 3-ingredient recipe today - for marzipan chocolate cherries - and to be honest 'recipe' is quite a glamorous title for such a simple set of instructions.

Marzipan Chocolate Cherries (makes about 40)
Take a 200g tub of glace cherries. Set aside 5 or 6 of them for use as decoration. Take a 250g packet of marzipan, and open it, then cover in clingfilm. Break off about a tsp worth of marzipan and roll into a ball, then flatten. Put a glace cherry in the marzipan and gently fold over the marzipan, and pinch to seal, then roll between palms to create a good round shape. Repeat for all of the cherries. Melt 200g milk chocolate (I did it in the microwave) and using a fork, dip each marzipanned cherry into it. Place on a sheet of greaseproof paper to dry. Chop the remaining cherries into small pieces. Whilst the chocolate is still wet, place a little piece of chopped glace cherry on the top of each one. Be patient and allow them to set properly before eating :o)

And to finish off with, here is Mini-M eating the enormous crocodile. It is apparently very good for chewing. Hopefully she won't try this with a real thing when she's older!

Friday, 15 April 2011

A Picture A Day: Week 15

This week has been a bit of a momentous one - I went back to work! Only part time, and so did my better half, so we can juggle child care with, a little bit of nursery time thrown in too - and we all survived it :o) Woop.

Mini-M was good despite having a horrible cold, and had fun blowing bubbles and playing in the swing at nursery, it turns out Mr E is some kind of amazing super-parent, who can look after a baby, zoom about all over town, put on washing, wash dishes and make soup, all in one day (puts my parenting skills to shame), and as for me, I managed successfully not to blow raspberries or talk to anyone at work like they 9 months old. Wins all round.

Here are this week's pictures:

Saturday 9th April

Pretty lights and reflections in the mirrors at the lovely Turkish "Empires" restaurant where we ate lots of delicious food, drank bubbly, and laughed a lot to celebrate the lovely Claire's hen do.

Sunday 10th April

Mini-M lounging on a blanket in Pressmennan Woods, whilst on her first Duke of Edinburgh's Award Expedition... which also led to her first tick bite, but that's another story!

Monday 11th April

"Now let me tell you about rice cakes..."

Tuesday 12th April

Having a super happy time with Aunty Em, and Aunty Kate :o)

Wednesday 13th April

Recycled drinks can butterfly magnets on our living room radiator

Thursday 14th April

The Water of Leith taken from Junction Bridge on the way home from work.

Friday 15th April

Allotments at Warriston starting to look quite green and spring-y

Thursday, 14 April 2011

What a Sweetie Part 1: Chocolate Cake Truffles

Last week, I did a LOT of baking. More specifically I did a moderate amount of baking, and dipped a LOT of things in chocolate for a fundraiser for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Group we're involved in - which was gladly very successful :o) So I've got a whole series of homemade sweet posts waiting in the wings. And since I also have a LOT of cute pictures of Mini-M looking very sweet, I thought I'd create some double whammy 'Sweetie' posts...

First up, chocolate cake truffles, which are super easy to make. This is more a method than an exact recipe, and it makes about 24.

Take 1 plain shop bought Madeira cake, and blitz in the food processor to make cake crumbs. Add 1/3 of a tub of Betty Crocker's ready made chocolate icing. Mix well until it forms a slightly sticky dough, then take teaspoonfuls and roll into balls. Place on greaseproof paper and leave to dry out a little over night. Once they are no longer sticky on the outside, dip in melted chocolate and put on greaseproof paper to dry. Whilst still tacky, add sprinkles for decoration. Job done!

And here is the other "sweetie" - Mini-M looking both cute, and skeptical of the camera! She was probably wondering why the food had stopped being spooned in her direction.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

A Picture A Day: Week 14

Posting late this week due to an epic but ultimately awesome weekend!

Saturday 2nd April
Sunset on the A68 driving back to Edinburgh after a trip down to Hawick.

Sunday 3rd April
Martha on her first trip to the swings looking quite pleased with herself

Monday 4th April
Stone frieze on Constitution Street, Edinburgh

Tuesday 5th April
Sunshine at the Shore, Leith

Wednesday 6th April
Mini-M and the blueberry yoghurt

Thursday 7th April
Cakes for the DofE bake sale

Friday 8th April
Immediately before Mini-M's first trial day at nursery

Friday, 1 April 2011

A Picture A Day: Week 13

Another week has flown by, and my photo taking has been a bit less than inspired - sorry folks! Glad it's Friday night though - phew.

Saturday 26th March
They new baby backpack. Which we have to send back because it's wonky. But we went out and got a slightly different non-wonky one to replace it.

Sunday 27th March
Panorama of Cockenzie harbour

Monday 28th March
Old cranes at Leith Docks

Tuesday 29th March
Catkins overhanging the Water of Leith walkway

Wednesday 30th March
Mini-M has some fuzzy hair at last!

Thursday 31st March
A weird experimental night time window reflection shot from our living room looking out

Friday 1st April
Mini-M practising having milk from a bottle for when she goes to nursery next week (gulp!)


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