Pumpkin Picking

Pumpkin picking isn’t exactly something you hear about much in Scotland but randomly something I have always wanted to do. For some, this sounds mad because why not just go to the supermarket and grab one for a pound, which I do every year. But after my recent trip to Arnprior, pumpkin picking is now something I will be doing yearly!

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On driving home from university in Stirling last Friday, my sister passed Arnprior Pumpkins on its opening day. Strangely I had been talking about wanting to visit a pumpkin patch just the week before, so right away we knew we had to go.

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The patch itself was picture perfect, with hand painted signs guiding us up to the farm. Although clearly well loved by many visitors over the past two days, there were still loads of pumpkins available in many shapes, sizes and colours! (yes there were white pumpkins and I got just a bit over excited). On first entering the patch we were told about all the different activities they had going on including picking your own tatties and turnips, wood carving, facing painting for the little ones, a kale maze(!) as well as a food and hot drinks stand which served fresh soup, coffee and cakes. Adorable. There was no entry fee and you could buy as many beautiful pumpkins as you wished, each priced by size. Obviously buying from the supermarket is much cheaper, however, the whole experience thrown in with the fact it is a small family run business makes you happy to pay that bit extra.

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For me, Autumn and Winter are just thee best seasons. Wrapping up in layers of clothing,  walking in the cold air .. add some pumpkins to the mix and you have the perfect Autumn Sunday. Top tip though – WELLIES are a must! Although picture perfect and adorable we do live in Scotland … and that means rain … which in a field means mud!

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Eggcellent Easter Chocolate Nests

Easter is heree! How has this happened. Christmas was seriously 2 weeks ago and now .. it’s Easter .. huh?

I’ve realised that my blog seems to be very baking orientated recently, I promise I will mix things up soon! But it’s Easter which is the perfect time for some baking so I couldn’t not.

Every year I decide to challenge myself by giving up something for lent. This year I choose chocolate. I have a serious chocolate addiction. I’m just obsessed. So to combat this I thought that going cold turkey on it for 40 days would help. It hasn’t. I can not WAIT until Easter Sunday comes and I can consume my body weight in the stuff. Resisting licking the spoon at the end of making these cakes was one of the hardest things but I powered through.

Every Easter for as long as I remember my mum made up these little Easter nest cakes. They are so easy and quick to make as well as tasting amazing!

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What you will need

600g chocolate (I went for dairy milk but choice is yours)

10 biscuits of Shredded Wheat cereal

Mini eggs

Carrot Decorations (Asda)

Mini Chicks (Waitrose)

Instructions

Break the chocolate into chunks and put in a large mixing bowl. Melt the chocolate then gradually add the shredded wheat, crushing in your hands until finely shredded .. see what I did there .. yup moving on. Mix this together well ensuring all the chocolate has been adsorbed.

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You then want to spoon the mixture into cake cases before topping off with your choice of decorations. It’s best to add your decorations whilst the mixture is still wet to ensure they stick. Place your finished cakes onto a baking tray and leave in the fridge for an hour to set.

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Simple. Hope everyone has a lovely Easter!

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Pancake Day!

HAPPY PANCAKE DAY! What better than a day dedicated to making and eating pancakes. And I like to go all out. My favourite type of pancakes are big fluffy American style ones, perfect for breakfast! I have posted about these before back in December – American Style Pancakes. It is such an easy recipe to follow and makes the best pancakes!

You will need:

3 large eggs

115g plain flour

1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder

140ml of milk

a pinch of salt

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  1. Separate the eggs, with the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another
  2. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl, adding the baking powder, milk and yolks in too before mixing them all together into a batter
  3. Add salt to the egg whites and whisk until stiff. Fold this into the batter mixture.
  4. Heat a non-stick pan on a medium heat and ladle the mixture into the pan, frying for a few minutes until it looks golden and firm. Use a spatula to loosen the pancake before flipping over and continue until both sides are golden.
  5. Pile your pancakes onto a plate and add your toppings!

YUM! Enjoy!

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Homemade Granola

At the weekend I heard from someone that this week is breakfast week! I’ve never heard of it before but it’s basically a week long campaign to highlight the importance of eating a healthy breakfast.

So with that in mind I decided to make up one of my favourite breakfasts, granola! I find it can be hard to buy a good one as so many are now full of refined sugars and flavourings so it can be difficult to tell how healthy it actually is. So why not make up your own! It’s really easy to make and it’s good for you. Oh and most importantly it tastes great!

Ingredients

2 cups of jumbo oats

1/2 cup each of almonds and pecans

1/4 cup of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

1 and a 1/2 cups of mixed dried fruit – raisins, cranberries, dates, goji berries, apricots

1/4 cup of maple syrup

1/4 cup of coconut oil

The best thing about granola is that you can add whatever you like to it. The nuts, seeds and fruit I have used here are just my own choice, you can of course change it to your taste.

Instructions

Firstly, preheat the oven to 170 oc then melt the coconut oil in a pan over a low heat until it is completely melted. In a large mixing bowl, add the coconut oil and maple syrup before mixing in the oats, almonds, pecans and seeds.

Once this has all been mixed together place it in a baking tray, flatting it down with the back of a wooden spoon until it is evenly spread.  This should now be baked in the oven for 15 minutes.

I haven’t added the fruit just yet because if it was baked from the beginning it would go really hard and chewy. The best way is to bake it for 15 minutes, take it out and give it a stir, then mix in the dried fruit before baking for a further 5 minutes.

When it is ready allow it to cool for around half and hour to an hour and place it in an airtight container. The granola will last up to 4 weeks … that’s if you haven’t eaten it all by then!

And that’s that! An easy breakfast you could make up on a Sunday and your sorted for the rest of the week!

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Weekend Brunch

I think everyone should add – eat more brunch – to their list of resolutions this year. I definitely got my fix this weekend whilst through in Edinburgh. The city has an abundance of lovely places to eat, especially when it comes to brunch, so there are loads of different options.

On Saturday morning we decided to head to Montpeliers, situated in Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield. Montpeliers has the perfect atmosphere for a chilled morning brunch along with amazing food and service. Both starting with a refreshing mint tea, I then went for the pancakes with bacon and maple syrup whilst Michael opted for the potato stack with black pudding, haggis, bacon and homemade potato scones with a fried egg. Yumm. We were both very impressed and will definitely be back!IMG_335512401010_10205828170358598_8801874082359646664_nIMG_3351IMG_3358IMG_3360IMG_3359

When it came to Sunday morning, it was dark, cold and snowy so we felt we deserved a nice filling meal by going for yes, another brunch. This time we went to TriBeCa, a restaurant I have been familiar with in Glasgow, which has fairly recently expanded itself, opening a restaurant in Edinburgh. Also situated within Bruntsfield, TriBeCa has a completely different felt to that of Montpeliers. The restaurant is themed on all things New York with a menu aiming to reflect that. We lucky arrived just as a table were leaving so were seated pretty quickly however a que quickly formed out the door shortly after. The restaurant was packed with a buzzing atmosphere, not everyone’s cup of tea on a Sunday morning but I enjoyed it. When it came to ordering there was so much option it took us a while to decide. I opted for the Varick Breakfast which came with french toast, bacon, sausages, hash browns and eggs (I’ve never been a great egg fan so they were slid to Michael’s plate). He went for the Eggs Benedict, also adding bacon, sausage and hash browns. Its safe to say we were full for pretty much all day, the portion sizes are massive! Again we were both very happy with our meals and although not managing to finish it all, were fully satisfied. If your in need of a good feed then this is your place!IMG_3427IMG_3401IMG_3402IMG_3408IMG_3416IMG_3418

I will need to stop writing now as this is making me hungry but if your looking for a good brunch in Edinburgh I would definitely recommend either of these places. No doubt we will be back at both again soon.

… Diet starts tomorrow …

Festive Gift Wrapping

By this time in the month your presents should be bought and ready for wrapping. But lets be honest, this probably won’t be the case for most! The week of Christmas is full of last minute Christmas shoppers, rushing around the shops, which is normally where I find myself. However, this year I have manage to get it all done and wrapped before the week of Christmas even began! Not bad if I say so myself.

Wrapping presents has always been a highlight of Christmas for me. Pop on a good Christmas playlist and your good to go! I thought I would share some of my wrapped presents with you for some wrapping inspiration and where to get some nice finishing touches to make your presents just that little bit more special.

 

Wrapping paper – Next

Gift bows – Next

Mini bauble present toppers – Marks and Spencer

Ribbon – Next

Gift tag – Next

Alphabet gift tag – Marks and Spencer

Pine cone present topper – Marks and Spencer

 

Good luck with the shopping!

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