Travels in Scotland – Aviemore

Once a year, in May, we pack up and head up to Aviemore.

My boyfriends family have done this for 16 years now and i now get to tag along. The weather sometimes is hit or miss, i’ve been told one year it was so hot that had to go to the shops and get shorts and t-shirts as no-one brought summer gear! this year it was ok, bit windy, bit rainy and a bit sunny and there was still snow on the mountains! Nothing new really in Scotland to be fair.

We headed up on the Tuesday and after a 3 hour drive made it early afternoon. We all stay in a cabin and its tiny but its nice and you don’t need much else, well maybe another bathroom! There’s 6 of us and my little niece who is 3.

We pretty much do our own thing during the day and then meet back up at night time.

On the first full day we headed to the Highland wildlife Park as you may or may not know the UK’s very first baby polar bear was born at the beginning of the year and i very much wanted to see him!

My boyfriend kept saying he probably wouldn’t be out and that we would miss him, so this did make me slightly anxious. But lo and behold he was out playing in the pool – ladies and gentlemen i give you Hamish:

PB

Hamish and mum Victoria

The wildlife park is great for a day out but this is the 3rd time i’ve been and when you’ve done it once and seen it all it gets a bit repetitive, after taking far too many photos of Hamish we walked round the park and saw the other polar bears and then headed to see the wolves who we didnt see last time as the enclosure was closed. They are gorgeous animals.

wolves

Wolves

After this we went to Ruthven Barracks i noticed this on the wayhome last time and vowed to go and see what it was. They are the best preserved of the four barracks built in 1719 after the 1715 Jacobite rising. Set on an old castle mound, the complex comprises two large three-storey blocks occupying two sides of the enclosure, each with two rooms per floor. The barracks and enclosing walls were built with loopholes for musket firing, and bastion towers were built at opposite corners. Destroyed by Jacobites following their retreat after the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the Barracks ruins are maintained as a Scheduled Monument by Historic Scotland. (Thanks Wikipedia!)

 

We just spent the next few days driving around, going to Inverness and generally just chilling out. The highlands do offer some lovely scenery.

carrbridge

Carrbridge

Cm

Cairngorm Mountain

 

cairngorm mountain

Cairngorm Mountain

Rothiemurcus

Rothiemurcus

Also check out this wee cutie loving life!

Lilly

I wish something made me this happy as bubbles make her!

Only 50 weeks until we’re back…. but before that Orlando in September!

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Oh hey not spoke to you in a while… here’s some cupcakes i made earlier!

Ok, i haven’t been on here in well over a month. Soz.

I’ve just not been doing anything overly interesting or been doing any baking, shocking i know. I’ve just been existing, which is the worst and it’s incredibly boring, working, home, dinner, bed.

I made cupcakes for my brother in laws birthday a few weeks back so thought id post this!


Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

Cupcake Recipe:

  • 175 g Stork
  • 175 g Light Brown Sugar
  • Eggs
  • 140 g Self Raising Flour
  • 35 g Cocoa 
  • 12 Reese’s PB Cup Minis

Buttercream:

  • 150 g Unsalted Butter
  • 175 g Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 350 g Icing Sugar

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 180c/160c Fan
  • Beat the Stork with the light brown sugar until light and fluffy and well combined.
  • Stir in the eggs, flour and cocoa  with the butter/sugar mix until well combined
  • Dollop a wee bit into the bottom of the case and pop a Peanut Butter Cup Mini and pop some more batter on top to cover.
  • Bake in the oven for 18-22 minutes or until they are cooked and a cocktail stick comes out clean!

Buttercream method:

  • Beat the unsalted butter with a mixer for a couple of minutes to loosen it until it’s pale and creamy.

  • Add the peanut butter and half of the icing sugar on a slow speed until it is mixed in then mix for a few minutes until thoroughly combined and smooth.

  • Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat again, if its too thick add some milk or boiling water to loosen it.

Since it was his birthday and i had never used fondant before i decided to do a wee fondant topper.

I piped the buttercream onto the top of the cupcakes and then i rolled out some yellow fondant to about the thickness of a pound coin, some were thicker some were thinner, for a first time i thought this was not bad. I bought a little letter set off eBay and pressed the message onto the top of them, let them sit for a wee while to harden up then popped them onto the top of the cupcake. I was really pleased with these and was buzzing i managed to do it. They aren’t perfect and it requires some fine tuning but hey for a first time i was chuffed and i was told they were amazing, so yay for me!

PB Cupcakes

Mary Berry Banana Loaf

Not a lot happened over the weekend, all i knew was i was going to the cinema to see Ready Player One (go see it, its amazing!!) and that i was going to use up the two bananas left in my fruit bowl.

What i didn’t know was that i would wake up on Sunday morning my back as stiff as you like and a weird pain going down my leg when i pressed into the side of my hip, it eased off though so i’m putting it down to lying funny in bed, then i had a sore head and my vision went blurry and i had too much caffeine and i had heart palpitations. All in all Sunday wasn’t a good day for me. SO i’m writing it off!

Before the headache and heart palpitations i managed to make the banana loaf. I love this recipe its so easy and Mary Berry never lets you down.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. You’ll need a 900g (2lb) loaf tin and liner paper.

You will need:

  • 100g softened butter/stork
  • 175g caster sugar (i used light brown sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 over ripe bananas, mashed
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk (if it looks a bit thick) I used water as i had no milk.

Basically mix all the ingredients together until they are combined. I had some left over Chocolate Easter egg so i popped that in and it turned out pretty well.

Spoon into your loaf tin and level the top off.

Bake for 50 mins to 1 hour until a skewer inserted comes out clean. I did 50 mins and it turned all well.

Leave to cool before you slice and enjoy!

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2018 Afternoon tea showdown No 2 31.03.18

So continuing with the 2018 Afternoon Tea Showdown, my sister and myself went to  Three Sisters Bake in Quarrier’s Village on Saturday for their Easter Afternoon Tea.

Quarrier’s Village is near Kilmacolm / Bridge of Weir and used to be homes for orphans back in the 19th Century. Fast forward 100 hundred years it is now run by the charity Quarrier’s and aims to help disadvantaged / disabled young people, i think they still operate here but i’m not too sure.

So onwards with the review!

Location: **** I have never been to Quarrier’s and it’s very quaint. I would like to come back in summer, because it was freezing on Saturday and i just wanted back to the car.

Service ***/* It took a while for us to get our tea, but i think that was because they were busy and there was lots of kids and families in before they did their easter egg trail. So i’m giving 3/4 stars. Other than that they were lovely.

Sandwiches ***We never got any! It was a savoury plate. I’ll add a link to the photo because i never took one i was mildly hungover and ravenous so just went straight in. There was, a lamb slider (divine!), coronation chicken (not my favourite, it was nice, just couldn’t eat that on a full sandwich) hot smoked salmon with beetroot pate on soda bread (meh, the beetroot didn’t do anything) pork and fennel sausage roll (i don’t like fennel i have now realised) and a black pudding scotch egg ( i ate half and gave my sister the other half, we weren’t keen) I’m giving it three stars because although i ate everything, it wasn’t to my taste, the lamb slider was amazing though i could’ve ate that on a whole sandwich!

Scone **** so tasty! Fruit scones aswell, could’ve done with being a smidge bigger, lol.

Cakes **** Now i took mine home as i couldn’t face them (the hangover was creeping in at this point) i ate the mini hot cross bun, but its not worth it if you can’t toast it and cover it in butter! I ate mine on Easter Sunday with a cuppa and they were lovely! We had a creme egg brownie, rich and chocolately, mini egg carrot cake, very moist with a cream cheese frosting, victoria sponge was lovely and i’m not a big fan of this sometimes it can be too sickly, but this was great!

Tea/Coffee **** I had a jasmine green tea and my sister opted for a soft drink. The tea was lovely and came in a wee tea pot.

Overall **** This was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, the cafe is busy and our table was a bit small but we are definitely coming back for lunch one day maybe when its not so busy! The girls have a cook book which you can purchase and lots of other little nick nacks which are lovely.

IMG_0348

Our last afternoon tea is here.

 

 

Fakeaway-salt and chilli chicken

We’ve been trying to eat a little better, we don’t eat a great deal of takeaways (monthly Domino’s is a must tho!) when we do we just don’t feel great afterwards.

This is a great alternative! What you will need is:-

1 pk of chicken fillets

Panko breadcrumbs

1 tbsp Sea salt

1 tbsp Dried chilli flakes

1 beaten egg

1 onion

2 chillis

Mix the salt, chilli flakes and breadcrumbs together.

Cut the chicken into small pieces and dip it into the egg and then the bread crumbs.

Place on a baking tray and bake in oven at 180deg for around 20-25 mins.

Meanwhile fry onion and chilli together with some garlic granules until soft.

When chicken is cooked add this to the pan and coat.

You can have this with rice, noodles anything you like really.

We like it with salt and chilli chips!

Also for a sauce we like to have curry sauce not the healthiest but you’re being good mostly so I think it’s ok 😉

Enjoy!

I ❤️ Scotland

Just a quick one. It’s currently 8.50am here in sunny Scotland and look at this weather. It’s actually minus 0.5 but the sun is warm and it’s quiet and peaceful. I love where I live.

Can you see Ailsa Craig in the distance in the last pic?

How lucky am I? 🙂

Spring baking- Creme egg brownies

Another spring snowy day calls for a baking day. Today was brownies, Creme egg to be more precise!

I use my basic brownie recipe and then halved the Creme Eggs and popped them in. *disclaimer* the eggs just melted and didn’t go gooey I’m not sure if I should’ve kept them whole, used mini ones. They still taste amazing though 🙂

These will make 12 brownies. Oven at 160 degrees.

You will need:

275g butter/stork

375g caster sugar

4 eggs

75g cocoa powder

100g self raising flour

100g chocolate chips, optional

All you need to do is mix all your ingredients in one bowl until well combined and pop into a 30x23x4cm tray that has been greased and lined for 40-45 mins. I froze my Creme Eggs and cut them in half and popped them on to brownies and plopped some more batter on top to cover. Like I said the eggs melted into the batter. But they still taste great and you get a wee chewy bit which will be where the fondant has oozed out. I’ve already had two, the brownie part is so light and moist that I couldn’t resist. Brownies and cookies are my downfall. Give me your ideas on any easter bakes you’d like to see next!