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 :-)

29 August, 2014

Kat's Traditional Scottish Oatcakes

I've been dreadful at blogging recently, and I do mean to get better at it, as I have so much to tell you!

In the meantime though, I have a new recipe for you for delicious oatcakes.  If you want to jazz them up a little, you could add cracked black peppercorns or grated cheese, but they are excellent just as they are.

30 May, 2014

Lemon Cheesecake

Really delicious, fresh lemony cheesecake - obviously recipe can be modified to whatever flavour you fancy.  Last year, for Burns Night, I did a Drambuie Cheesecake (be generous with the alcohol!), tops with raspberries and grated chocolate - delicious!

01 May, 2014

1st May - Home Again

Ok, well we had a slight change of plan on Sunday.  Frazer got up and oh so casually suggested that we pack up and go home.  This suggestion was met with unanimous approval, and we were packed up and in the car within half an hour!

It was still misty and foggy when we left, but by the time we reached Inverness the sun was shining, so we decided to drive down the other side of Loch Ness as neither of the girls had seen it before.  We didn't spot the monster, but we did pop into the Loch Ness centre to buy a cuddly Nessie for Scooty Puff Junior!

It took a little loinger to get home, as my calculations were slightly wrong, but we got there eventually, having picked up dinner from the Chinese on the way.  We all agreed that we had made the right decision!  We had a lovely relaxing day on Monday, and then on Tuesday Frazer was back to work, and Isla was back to school.

I went up to Edinburgh to meet my friend Ailsa for lunch, which was lovely - we had a good catch up - and then did a little bit of shopping, and went home to wait for my Tesco order to arrive.  In the meantime I made Frazer some mini quiches for his lunch, and Isla some mini pizzas.  I'm a domestic goddess me! 

27th April - North Sea Haar

It finally stopped raining yesterday, but remained misty for most of the day - to the point where visibility was afffected.  This is apparently called a North Sea Haar and is pretty common along the east coast.

We explored Dornoch a wee bit, although it was still misty there.  We had a nice lunch at Luigi's in Dornoch, and then we let the girls go off by themselves and we had a wander too.  We went to the jail, which is just a big shop now.  There ar some gorgeous clothes and boots in there, but the prices were ridiculously extortionate!  The castle is a hotel, and the cathedral is a small church.  Apparently it has the title of cathedral because a bishop moved his administration to Dornoch centuries ago and this entitled it to be called a cathedral.  Eventually we got a text from the girls saying they had exhauste all the delights of Dornoch and were bored!  We met them back at the car, and headed into Tain to find me some new walking boots as my trainers had fallen apart that morning after my walk on the beach.  We found Mr Shafi's shop, which was a bit like a market stall with masses of shoes, and loads of old people clothes.  Got some boots though, for a reasonable price.

We came back to the campsite and made use of the wifi at reception for a bit.  We booked a table in the restaurant for dinner, and then went to sit in the bar for a couple of drinks.  The girls went back to the caravan to give the dog a walk, and then they went out to amuse themselves for a while, complete with some money to get a takeaway for dinner and money to spend in the wee amusement arcade.  We came back to the caravan for an hour or so, as i needed a snoozy.  One of the frustrating things about pregnancy is that i have no stamina at the moment, and if I do too much my stomach muscles start to ache and I need to lie down!  It's very annoying.  Anyway, I had my snoozy, and then we went back out for dinner.  

The menu was pretty good in the wee restaurant - sort of Wetherspoony.  I wasn't starving after quite a big lunch, so I decided I only wanted some prawn cocktail and maybe a bit of garlic bread.  After a lot of umming and aaahing we decided against main courses completely, and shared 6 starters between us, kind of like tapas, Scottish style.  We had prawn cocktail, cheesy garlic bread, chicken goujons with Jack Daniels bbq sauce, scallops, french onion soup and breaded mushroom with garlic sauce.  Frazer got a dessert too - he thought he'd ordered a chocolate fondant, as that's what the menu said, but it turned out to be a chocolate fondue, so naturally I had to have some with stawberries!

We came back to the caravan, where we met back up with the girls, talked about baby names, and went to bed!

This morning has started off better than yesterday - it's not raining for a start.  It's not sunny though - hoping for a bit of sun later.  The dog woke me up at about 7.30, so I took him for a quite a long walk (well, long for me these days) down to the beach.  He had a lovely time paddling and chasing seagulls.  We're off for a swim in a little while, and then possibly up to Golspie for an explore.

26th April 2014 - Grannie's Hielan' Hame

Hello blog readers, if I still have any left, which i highly doubt!  The first big news is that I am pregnant, the second is that I'm over 7.5 months along, and the third is that I'm already on Maternity Leave.  This means I now have time to resurrect my old blog!

The wedding and honeymoon seem a long time ago now, and we started trying pretty much as soon as we got married.  We found out in October, just before we went to France for my mum's birthday - perfect timing for telling them face to face.  They're really excited, as are Frazer's parents, who will be grandparents for the first time.

So, to start my Maternity Leave, and because we won't be able to go away easily once Scooty Puff Junior (the baby's nickname) arrives, I suggested a nice weekend away.  A work colleague had been to a caravan site in the North of Scotland last year and raved about it and the surrounding countryside.  I suggested it to Frazer, he duly booked it, and off we set yesterday complete with Isla and best friend Aimee, and the dog.  In the mist and drizzle.  We arrived last night, in gale force winds and the rain lashing down.

So, in typical Scottish fashion we are away for holidays in weather that would be best suited to a freezing November.  We are in the North East, almost as far as you can get, in Embo, near Dornoch, on the North Sea.  We are staying in Grannie's Hieland Hame, a Parkview Caravan site, right by the beach.  If the weather was good this would be great.  Unfortunately it's shit!  We arrived last night in lashing rain, booked in, got our key, let ourselves into the caravan and realised that we has signed ourselves up to a long weekend in a large tin can on the North Sea coast.  It would be funny if it wasn't so fucking cold!

Luckily, the gas fire in the caravan works very well, so it heated up quite quickly.  The water was off, but a quick call to the maintenance team sorted that out.  We ventured out at about 8.30 to see what was available in the form of food and entertainment.  The restaurant was closed, and the entertainment...well we were expecting something along the lines of the entertainment in the comedy Benidorm - nope, nothing that good!  Think Rod, Jane & Freddie from Rainbow - but shitter!  We left pretty sharpish!  We got the girls a takeaway - we had already eaten some niblles and weren't particularly hungry - went back to the caravan, watche some crappy tv, nicked some of their chips, and went to bed pretty early.

Frazer and I are used to a super king sized bed - we like our own space for sleeping.  We're in a double bed here, which normally probably wouldn't be a disaster, but I have this large stomach containing a baby, and rolling over involves a good minute or so of careful manoeuvreing - neither of us got much sleep, which explains why I was walking the dog on the beach at 6.45 this morning!  I think the dog probably slept better than the rest of us, as he was up on the caravan sofa within about 5 minutes of us going to bed - I know this because I forgot to take my phone charger through, and he was already up there when I came back through for it!

It looks as though the weather is going to cheer up later - fingers crossed.  We're going into Dornoch for a wee explore as it has a castle, a cathedral and a jail! Should be interesting!