13 January, 2015

Ginger Bread / Parkin

My favourite thing at the moment is Ginger bread, otherwise known as Parkin.  There is something deliciously comforting about a warm slab of it with a cup of tea.  I’m not a big tea drinker, but it does go with this well!  It’s also nice heated in the microwave for about 20 seconds, drizzle a little golden syrup over and serve with ice cream.

I like it very gingery, so I use about 2.5 teaspoons of ground ginger, and sometimes add a teaspoon of cinnamon as well.  When you tip the mixture into the loaf tin, sprinkle some sugar over the top before it goes into the oven.  When you take the tin out of the oven, you need to leave it to cool for ten to fifteen minutes before trying to tip it out.

Edited to add - if you run out of bicarbonate of soda, baking powder will NOT work instead! Lesson learnt this morning!

Curried Parsnip Soup

At my cousin’s wedding back in December, the hotel served us all bacon butties and delicious curried parsnip soup half way through the evening.  Since then I have been trying to perfect the recipe myself and I think I have – well, to my taste buds anyway !

The recipe above is a pretty easy way to do it – it does rely on your own taste for the amount of spiciness though, so make sure you taste as you go.  I used fresh chicken stock that I made after a roast dinner, and kept back the leftover meat, diced it finely, and then added it to the soup once it was ready.  Gives a nice chickeny chewiness to each mouthful.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year.  We had a good one.  Opened presents at home in the morning, and then down to the in laws in the afternoon, and home the next day.  Hogmanay was spent with friends – just a quiet one as we’ve all got kids, but it was nice.

It’s taken me until now to get the house sorted out after Frazer and Isla went back to work and school.  They are so messy!  It took me 4 hours to do the ironing last week, and I had to do a thorough house clean as well.  This week should be easier thank goodness.  It’s certainly a lot easier to get everything done.

We’ve had a few good outings together over the holidays – we’ve been out exploring areas to move to later this year, and have been out for lunch a couple of times.  We’ve just had a really nice, family orientated holiday.  

20 December, 2014

Family Wedding

We had a wonderful weekend last week.  My cousin got married down in Dumfries and Galloway – at the Cally Palace Hotel near Gatehouse Of Fleet.  We arrived on the Saturday lunchtime, and met up with my parents and my cousin’s family.  It was really lovely to see my parents for a couple of days before Christmas.  At least we got to exchange presents without the postage, and I saved on all my Christmas card postage to France!

The hotel was beautiful.  They had a massive Christmas tree put up in the main function room, and my cousin and his wife were married in front of it.  It was a lovely service, and the Christmas decorations made it really romantic.

There was a Champagne reception straight after the wedding, with sparkling rosé wine from a vineyard close to where my parents and my aunt and uncle live in France – it was the Tuilé from Chateau Monluc – the same as we had at our wedding.  The meal was excellent, although we were all starving by the time the speeches were finished.  I’m really glad we didn’t have any – it made it a lot less formal and more relaxed.  

I caught up with people I hadn’t seen for 20 years or more, and my mum and dad got to spend a little bit of time with Isla and Jamie.  They hadn’t seen Jamie since he was 4 weeks old – he’s now 6 months and a monster baby!  He’s huge!  They had lots of cuddles, and got to see him doing all his newly learnt tricks.  It was just a shame we didn’t get to spend more time together.  Roll on next summer, when hopefully we’ll be able to get to France for a fortnight.

Family Pre Christmas Dinner

As we’re not going to be at home on Christmas Day I thought I would do a nice Christmas meal for us all tomorrow as it’s the last Sunday of Advent.  So, I’ve got a nice beef joint to roast, with all the trimmings including home made Yorkshires.

The beef is in the fridge at the moment, marinading in some red wine with a little pesto and garlic.  When I cook roast potatoes, I always par boil them, and then rattle them around in the pan so that the outsides are nice and fluffy.  If you have sausages for your Sunday breakfast keep the fat, as roast potatoes cooked in sausage fat are absolutely delicious. Cook them until they are golden and crispy on the outside – normally 35-45 minutes.

I have another crumble cooked for dessert – we seem to eat crumbles all the time at Christmas time!

18 December, 2014

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Well, we’re all just about ready for Christmas here.  Cards are made, written and posted, presents are bought and wrapped, and I’ve made the Christmas Crumbles.  I don’t have anything else to prepare for the big day, as we are going down to the in-laws’ after breakfast and present opening.  I’ve done the last 4 Christmases, so it will be nice to take a back seat this year and let someone else do the hard work of Christmas dinner.  Plus, I also have a baby to take care of this year.

The Christmas tree went up at the beginning of December – Jamie loves it, and can spend ages just gazing at the lights.  We have a mini fibre optic tree as well in the bedroom near his cot, and he’s fascinated by the lights changing colour.  He’s only just 6 months old, so not exactly aware of Christmas yet, but he’s loving all the lights and bright colours.  I also made him some Christmas purée – stewed apple and mincemeat blitzed.  He loves it!  I figured he had to have something Christmassy to eat.  I’m going to take the little blender with us on Christmas day, and blitz the Christmas dinner so that eat can eat the same as us.  Will be interesting to see what he makes of sprouts!

 It’s actually been a real treat this year to have had the time to prepare for Christmas, as I’m still on maternity leave.  I’m really looking forward to Frazer and Isla finishing work and school.  Every other year, I have had to work while they have been off – it will be lovely this year to have the time to spend all together as a family.

Next week we’re going to go to the German Christmas market in Edinburgh for a wander.  Mulled wine and suspiciously large sausages feature prominently in the plans for the day!  It will also be the first time we are taking Jamie into the middle of town, so could be interesting.  At least he’s in a buggy now, and not the big bulky pram.  Looking forward to it :-)

Christmas Crumble

I know I’ve posted my crumble recipe before, but it’s worth posting again.

I make a variation of this recipe every year for Christmas.  None of the family are fans of Christmas cake or Christmas pudding, so I make a Christmas Crumble instead.  Stew some apples, Granny Smiths for preference, and add mincemeat to the mix.  Cook it through and leave to cool.  Add a pinch of ginger and a pinch of cinnamon to the crumble mix.  In fact, this year I had a small amount of oatmeal left over from making oatcakes, and added some of this to the crumble mix as well, giving it a slightly crunchy texture.

It’s delicious served with either vanilla ice cream or custard.

23 September, 2014


The last time I wrote about my pregnancy, we were on our disastrous weekend away up North in the caravan.  Since then, at the beginning of June, our little boy Jamie was born 3 days after mine and Isla's birthday.  He was born by caesarean section, and we were only in hospital for 2.5 days before they let us home!

It was lovely to be home with him, and he settled in very quickly.  The dog and the cat have accepted him brilliantly - the cat simply ignores his existence, and the dog just wants to love him!  It's very cute.

Frazer had almost 3 weeks off - 2 weeks paternity leave an an extra week from annual leave.  It was lovely to spend all that time together.  He is totally bowled over by fatherhood, and Isla is a doting big sister.

My mum and dad came over once Frazer went back to work and stayed for a week.  They arrived on my dad's birthday (the second time in 2 years he's spent it here), and we had a really nice week.  We didn't go out and about much, for obvious reasons, just stayed close to Peebles.  When they went home, they took Isla with them for the holidays.

I did write a post about twice the length of this one, but the app crashed on the ipad and I lost the lot!

Anyway, Jamie's 16wks old now, and cute and cheeky.  He's been sleeping through for just over a week now, which makes life a lot more pleasant!  He's into 6-9 month clothes already, and costing us a fortune in sleepsuits!  I wouldn't change a thing.  

Homemade Pizza

17 September, 2014

Domestic Goddess Strikes Again

With all this being off work, I'm bored.  I had a bit of a cooking day yesterday - I made some more oatcakes (I seem to be addicted to them at the moment - try adding some marmite to the recipe for marmitey oatcakes mmm) and a big pot of chicken soup to put in the freezer for my daily lunches.  Nice and healthy!

Tonight's dinner is Punjabi Butter Chicken, which i haven't made for ages, so looking forward to that :-)