Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Nova Scotia Oatcakes...something a little different for the holidays

Not a lot of Christmas Baking going on here this year...actually there has been zero Christmas Baking going on here this year.  No florentines, no mince tarts, no cream cheese cookies no nothing.  I haven't changed my name to Ebenezer...we're just not going to be around for the holidays this year.  We're off to spend time with David's family and the travelling means no baked goods, although I suppose I could have just made billions of treats like normal and gorged on them prior to Christmas risking fitting into my plane seat...

I still wanted to give my colleagues something baked as their Christmas giftie so I whipped up a half batch of an old family favourite of mine.  Nova Scotia Oatcakes.  

These oatcakes are a cross between a Scottish Oatcake (savoury and crispy) and an oatmeal cookie (soft and sweet).  I love them with a slice of cheese or a smear of creamed honey.  

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

An Afternoon Tea Baby Shower

I hosted a baby shower for a fellow cake lady over the weekend.  It was small and intimate...but there were loads of goodies.

We had organised it so that everyone invited would bring something along...a pot luck tea party! It was, of course, a great excuse to use my tea set...and a fantastic way to while away a Sunday afternoon.  

My contribution was a platter of savouries...my mum's artichoke bites (recipe widely available), small egg salad sandwiches, David Lebovitz's Gougeres, and tomato and basil puffs.   I had halved both the artichoke and gougere recipe and in the end I wished I hadn't...they were both so perfectly savoury I wished I had left overs.  

This was a seriously perfect pot luck Afternoon Tea...we had the savouries, and then large fresh fruit scones (with all the trimmings) followed by rhubarb and cream cheesecake, bakewell tarts, Malteser traybake and my Scandinavian apricot sponge cake.  

To finish I picked up some shortbread moustaches from Pinnies and Poppyseeds a local shortbread biscuit producer.  We needed something a little bit masculine...our friend is expecting a wee boy.  Not only were these mos a little bit of fun, they were being sold to raise money for Movember...bonus.  

Check out my friend Alison's blog for pics of all the goodies...I was too busy making and pouring tea to snap any decent pics.  

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Gingerbread Moose and Acorns

Now that the clocks have turned back and the days are getting noticeably shorter by the...well...day, I find myself craving comfort.  I love this time of year...saying goodbye to the cream and berries and welcoming all those lovely deep spices like cinnamon, ginger and allspice...not to mention baking with pumpkins, parsnips and beetroot.  The run up to Christmas is possibly my most favourite baking season of the year, I love the smells, I love the tastes, I love the feeling of festiveness, and I love the anticipation.  Saying all that, sometimes I think that the Christmas is Coming hype leads to Autumn being brushed aside in favour of preparing for the C-word.  

This year I thought I would celebrate Autumn with some cute little acorn and Canadian Moose gingerbread biscuits.  Although I usually only make gingerbread in the run up to Christmas I think that it is a perfect autumnal  recipe...spicy and warming.   

I like my gingerbread to be crisp, not chewy, so I use a recipe meant for making gingerbread houses. I like that there is little spread or rise in this dough, meaning that the biscuits keep their shape really well (and have a great bite).  

I wanted to makes these Autumnal Gingerbread a little bit different so added some extra spice...ground cloves, allspice and cinnamon...in with the generous measure of ginger, and swapped out 1/3 of the golden syrup for good old Canadian maple syrup.  

Gingerbread isn't just for Christmas.  

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Beetroot Tart...Eating Cake Underground

I attended a brilliant event last night, hosted by the cake-tastic Edinburgh Cake Ladies deep down under the streets of Edinburgh at The Real Mary Kings Close, literally under the Royal Mile.  The event was aptly themed "Spooky Bakes" to compliment our totally creepy venue and the cake ladies certainly did not disappoint.  Being underground and historic and atmospheric and all that the lighting didn't really lend itself to fab photographs, but there was a professional photographer on hand and you can check out the totally gory bakes on the Cake Ladies blog and on the STV Gallery.

My own offering wasn't exactly spooky...but it was flipping scary! For some sadomasochistic reason I decided to make pastry rather than a cake and chose a tart I had never made not to mention tasted before.  How's that for suitably scary?

Before halloween I spied a link to a beetroot tart recipe on my twitter feed and thought that it would be perfect for this event...earthy, bright red and something totally different.

To me this tart is an alternative to pumpkin pie.  It has the same warming spices...mixed spice, pimento (all spice) and ginger but with the earthy flavour of the pureed beetroot. The filling itself is very light, not as heavy as some pumpkin pies can be and has a nice blend of savoury and sweet.

I called it an Exhumed Beetroot Tart for the night in an attempt to make it more frightening...but really it wasn't going to win the best costume prize (not that it is a competition at all).

I loved it, I loved the night and I loved the bakes I tasted.  The Edinburgh Cakes Ladies have done it again!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Union Jack Bar...Jamie Oliver @Gatwick

We went on a flying visit to Essex over the weekend and flew back up to Edinburgh from Gatwick instead of Stansted.  I've not been to Gatwick for a while...years in fact. At first glance it seemed the same, but once we were through security I soon spotted Jamie Oliver's Union Jacks Bar.  I am way behind the times...and apparently no longer on Jamie's mailing list...I had never heard of Union Jacks (check them out...flatbread pizza chain) and have still yet to visit Jamie's Italian...or any other Jamie backed restaurant.  

We had loads of time to kill so decided to treat ourselves to a few small bites and fill the Jamie Oliver Dining Experience void in our lives.  

Located on the upper level of Gatwick's North Terminal it is the perfect place to go for the ultimate people watching.  We sat at a table by the glass over looking the duty free below and watched and watched and watched and watch.   The menu isn't huge...it is all about snacks, coined British Tapas, and the drinks...but the prices are reasonable for the airport.  

We shared a giant sausage roll with fresh mustard and pickles, a crunchy salad with red leicester, walnuts and apple, and a charcuterie platter and also had a ginger beer and an apple and cinnamon soda.   We both enjoyed our tapas, it wasn't too filling to make us uncomfortable before our flight and was something totally different from our normal bag of crisp, sandwich and a coffee.  

Sure it cost more than the coffees and sandwiches (£17.95) but it was definitely more enjoyable.  We sat down at our own table, we didn't feel like we had to rush out or fight over space with the million other people, we talked about what we were eating, we talked about our weekend shenanigans, we actually enjoyed eating at the airport.  

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Choux Buns for Grandma Mary

David's Grandma Mary came to stay with us this past weekend. We planned lots of Grandma friendly things to do over the weekend, including a stroll through the Botanics, a concert at Usher Hall, a walk down (and up) the Royal Mile, lunch at a fancy restaurant, an afternoon movie on the couch with a late afternoon tea. 

We haven't spent nearly enough time with David's Grandma over the last couple of years because of the whole not living very close thing so we wanted to make our weekend really special.  I wanted to make her a little tea party to celebrate our time together...but also had to plan it carefully (around all of our walks and reservations and events).  I woke up early on Saturday and made a quick chocolate zucchini loaf for the cake bit, I had some scones in the freezer already for the scone bit, I reserved a chicken breast from Saturday's dinner for the sandwich bit and then whipped up a batch of choux buns for the pastry bit.  

Grandma Mary was a Home Economics teacher before she retired, so...even though I shouldn't have...I did feel a little bit nervous when I was mixing up the batter.  I halved a recipe I often use and managed to squeeze 6 buns out.  

To make them extra special I smeared them with pistachio cream and then filled with whipped cream. 

Dusted with icing sugar they were the perfect ending to an excellent weekend.  

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Harvest Time Mac n Cheese

You all know how much I love a good mac n cheese (not that I've ever come across a bad mac n cheese) and that I could pretty much eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a few snacks in between.  I've met the odd person over the past few years who can't stand the stuff...but for the most part I think that people just love mac n cheese.  I don't know what it is about a warm bowl of cheese covered pasta but it just warms my heart, like a big comforting hug.  Mac n Cheese just does it for me.  

This week my MIL and SIL were up visiting and on Monday while I was at work (sob sob) the wonderful David treated them to an afternoon on the beach at North Berwick. Keeping in mind that this is Scotland and it is October I planned our meal wisely...what better to come home to after a day of walking in the wind and rain than a steaming dish of mac n cheese.  

I wanted to make this mac hearty, filling, rich, creamy and above all different.  Ages ago I made a mac n cheese with chunks of roasted butternut squash, which was a big hit...so I thought I would tweak that a bit.  Added veggies must negate the calories in the cheese...right? The chunks of squash in the mac I made before were great, but I wanted something silkier...I wanted a really smooth and creamy dish.  

I cut a butternut squash in half length wise, scooped out the seeds and put it cut side down into a baking dish and then into the oven (180f ish) for about 40 mins.  I wanted the squash to be soft enough to just scrape it out of the skin.  While the squash was roasting I put a huge pan of water onto boil and then cooked and drained 500g of elbow macaroni (I feel very strongly about only using elbow macaroni for my mac).  

I like to make my cheese sauce right in my shallow Le Creuset casserole because it can be used on the stove top, plus it saves on washing yet another pot and I can generally tell if there is enough sauce for all the pasta.  My basic cheese sauce is 50g of butter melted until bubbling and then 2 tbsp of flour whisked in for a couple of minutes.  I then add 300ml of milk and stir until nice and thick.  I usually add a pinch of cayenne and mustard powder and a good crank of pepper and salt.  For this mac I used a extra mature cheddar, but sometimes I use a mixture of cheddar, edam, gouda, mozzarella...whatever is on hand.  About 200g grated (a handful reserved for the topping) goes into the white sauce.  To make the sauce creamy I added 150ml of creme fraiche (full fat), and then scraped out the squash (once it was  really soft) using a fork and added it to the cheesy mixture.  

Then in with the pasta and mixed it all up.  If the pasta wasn't really covered I would have added a bit more creme fraiche or some more milk...but luckily this time I had made just the right amount of cheese sauce.  I topped the dish with the cheese I had saved, a naughty sprinkle of store bought breadcrumbs (I just happened to have in the cupboard) and a quick drizzle of olive oil to help the bread crumbs brown.  Into the oven it went (180f ish) for about 20 mins until it was crisp and golden on top.  Between 4 greedy adults there was barely a scoop left.  

I have to say this was hands down the best mac n cheese I've had for a long time.  I christened it my Harvest Mac since pumpkins and squash are in abundance at the moment, but seeing as I can get butternut squash all year round at the supermarket I think it might just become my not-so-boring  standard.  

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Perfect pairings

Red Jacket paired with 
Ginger Cupcake from Vanilla Cream Bakery

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Scandilicious Cinnamon Bun CAKE

I am supposed to be on a cake break...there is a dress I need to fit into at Christmas time and all the incredible Edinburgh cakes I've been eating and making lately are not going to make it easy.  That said, we have 2 weekends of house guests staying over the next fortnight and it would be rude not to have something for them to nibble away at...right? 

I loved the look of this cinnamon bun 'cake' the moment I set eyes on the picture in Scandilicious Baking.  It reminded me of buying sticky buns back home in Canada, and the time I was at a friend's cottage and we got up extra early to go to 'the best' bakery out in the middle of nowhere to buy a circular tray of sticky buns (devoured with tim hortons coffee down at the dock).  

The recipe is easy to follow, made even easier by using the dough hook on my stand mixer.  Instructions are given for using plain flour as well as spelt flours.  I used a mixture of white bread flour and wholegrain spelt flour.  Initially the dough was very sticky, but after the first proving it was soft and easy to work with and although the spelt flour gives the dough a sweeter flavour I feel more virtuous using it...it is wholegrain after all.  Just ignore the fact that it is the slathered in a buttery sugary cinnamony paste, rolled up tightly, cut into rounds and squished into a tin only to be glazed and topped with more sugar! 

The buns hold together really nicely.  It is advised to let the cake cool before eating but it is truly satisfying ripping right into the buns while they are still super soft and slightly doughy.  If you can manage to wait until cooled try cutting into slices using a bread knife...either way...yum! 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Lemon Squares for an Afternoon Tea Party

I went to a lovely little afternoon Tea Party at a friend's house today. It was perfectly gorgeous and dainty and everything a tea party should be.  I took along some lemon squares that I whipped up Saturday afternoon.  

These lemon squares take no time at all and a really easy to make.  The base is a shortbread mixture pressed into the tin and baked until just starting to turn golden.  The topping is a combination of eggs, sugar, baking powder, and lemon juice.   They really are that easy.  

A little dust of icing sugar finishes them off...but best not to dust before transit.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Belleau Kitchen Random Recipes #21 Store Cupboard Finds

I daren't look at the back of my cupboards.  I have no idea what might be lurking there.  Once in a while I will build up the courage to get the step stool out, clamber up and peer into the deepest darkest corners of the cupboards.  I usually find something like mincemeat or condensed milk or something else bought with the best of intentions (like the tube of chestnut paste recently purchased in Paris), this time I found...Sardines.  I remember purchasing them for lunch a month or so ago and then changing my mind and having an egg or something else instead.  So there the lonely tin of Portuguese BONELESS Sardines have sat...waiting.  

Thank goodness Dom from Belleau Kitchen challenged his readers to randomly select an ingredient from the cupboard for this month's Random Recipe.   Who knows how long the poor tin would have sat there, unloved, unopened, unused. 

I didn't use a cookbook recipe this month.  I used a trusty old quick school night supper standby instead, so forgive me Dom.  

I like to think of this as my version of Pasta Puttanesca...the whole dish takes the time it takes to boil the water and cook the spaghetti.  The recipe (for 2) goes a little something like this: 

Rush in the door and before you have taken off your coat put a large pan of water onto boil.  Take off coat (hang up coat) and get down to business.  While the water is boiling heat a generous glug of oil in your largest sautee pan and add to that 1/2 red onion finely chopped, 1 clove garlic pressed, and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.  Once the onion is soft toss in 200g cherry tomatoes, quartered and softly cook until the tomatoes break up.  By now the water should be boiled.  Salt the water and add enough spaghetti for 2 greedy people.  Add a couple of Tbsp of the pasta water to the tomato sauce when it looks like it is getting a bit dry.  When the pasta is almost cooked add 1 Tbsp (minimum) capers, rinsed if too salty and the sardines (minus the oil) from one tin.  Use a spatula to break the sardines up a bit.  Before draining the pasta I reserve about 1/3 of a cup of the pasta water.  Drain the pasta, add it into the sautee pan with the sauce and toss to coat.  Add a little bit of the cooking water if you feel it is needed.  I'd normally toss in a handful of chopped parsley or basil and lots of black pepper.  

Pile high in bowls and devour.  

Saturday, 6 October 2012

we baked and then we shaked (shook) at the Aga Store

Last week I took my mum along to The Bake & Shake event at the Aga Store in Edinburgh.  The plan for the evening was simple...we would learn to bake in an Aga and while the cakes were baking we would build up and appetite learning some belly-dancing moves.  I'll admit it sounded a bit scary at first...two new skills in one evening, but it was so so so fun.  

I've never dared step foot in the Aga Store before...In my real life I am, sadly, not in the market for an Aga...in my dreams I am.  In the past I have only managed to stick my nose to the glass and sigh so it was a real treat to step inside and touch.  

There were about 12 participants and with the help of Aga Champions we baked 4 different traybakes. Under the tutelage of the champions we discovered the differences between baking in an Aga and a conventional oven, the different functions of the various compartments and the role an Aga can play in other household tasks...ironing, drying, heating.  I found myself thinking through the finances while I mixed the brownie mixture. 

Sigh...there is something so romantic about the thought of the Aga being the heart of the home.  I caught myself daydreaming about a lovely cosy kitchen with a gorgeous ice blue Aga...sigh.  

With the cakes in the oven we were invited into the main section of the shop where we shaked (shook). We learnt a handful of belly-dancing moves...attempted to put them together into a little routine...and had a good laugh while doing so!   

Chocolate Brownies, Banana Chocolate Chip Cake and a Fruit Cake appeared while we were still shaking (the champions were keeping an expert eye on things).  

The staff at the Aga store and the champions were very welcoming, very friendly, very helpful and very encouraging. After baking and shaking we had a chance to taste the goods and chat.  The evening was a resounding success, I'd say, and I hope they become a regular feature at the Aga store.  These evening will quite possibly be the only opportunities I will have to use an Aga.  

(mum's favourite) 

If you are in Edinburgh and interested in attending a future event subscribe to the Edinburgh Cake Ladies' Blog.  

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Chocolate Connoisseur Class at Coco

On Friday night my mum and I became Chocolate Connoisseurs...seriously.  We were very kindly given a voucher for a tasting evening at the gorgeous Coco of Bruntsfield (but at the Broughton Street location).  

The evening was designed to demonstrate the process of making proper chocolate from the cocoa bean right through to it's finished form.  We learnt the history of the cocoa bean, the introduction of cocoa to Europe and the process of industrialisation that makes chocolate what we know it today. 

We started the evening with a warming shot of hot chocolate...the proper stuff...and then went on to sample chocolate in various forms of production.  

I am not a big chocolate lover.  After my evening at Coco I might be converted...unfortunately my conversion will come at a cost.  I can now appreciate why people love GOOD chocolate.  It is smooth, it is silky and it tastes like chocolate (not sugar).  

So good.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Brew Lab Coffee...the coffee house redux

I've been following the progress of artisan coffee enthusiasts Brew Lab on twitter for the last year or so and was temporarily miffed upon hearing that I would stuffing my face with pastries in Paris during the weekend that they opened in Edinburgh.  Two weeks later I have made my inaugural visit and can tell you the wait was well worth it.  

These guys are doing something different and different is good. 

Located on South College Street Brew Lab appears to be an instant success with the university types.  When I visited the place was buzzing with conversation, people catching up over lunch, students clicking away on laptops, and the ever present staff delivering orders to tables.  It was busy, but it felt good.  Exposed brickwork, old features (like an awesome wrought iron litter bin), reclaimed wooden furniture and a floor from an old gym exude a hip, fresh, and social atmosphere. 

I was so happy when I read that Brew Lab wasn't just going to be celebrating amazing coffee, but also the best of Edinburgh with sandwiches made with breads from Le Petit Francais, soups and salads from Union of Genius and cakes from lovecrumbs...celebrating Edinburgh's local producers.

The coffee is single origin and drinks are created through a process I can only describe as alchemy.  

I'll be back.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Edinburgh Cake Ladies...A Taste of Home

On Wednesday night Katey from Edinburgh Eats and I hosted an Edinburgh Cakes Ladies bake night at the lovely Cafe Musa on the Mound.  It was fantastic! The theme this month was A Taste of Home.  We challenged  bakers to recreate a family favourite or something that reminded them of home.  The selection was fantastic and I loved listening to the stories, memories and personalities behind the bakes.  

Apple Creams, Empire Biscuits, White Chocolate Poppy Seed Cake and Cherry Cheesecake

Top Row: Norwegian Success Cake, Date Cake, Chocolate Hazelnut Coffee Creams 
Middle Row: Pumpkin Pie, Fruit Scones, Coconut Lemon Slice
Bottom Row: Mustard and Cheese Scones, Caramel Shortbread, Peanut Krispies

And my Butter Tarts.  Most of you will know that I tried many many many butter tarts when I was visiting my folks this summer, so there wasn't really anything else that screamed "home" to me.  I used a recipe from the Great Canadian Basics Cookbook (well worn, well splattered, well loved), and I just love them.  

Monday, 24 September 2012

Mini Madeleines...inspired by Paris

One of my must visit shops in Paris is the fabulous E.Dehillerin.  This cook shop is a mecca for professional chefs and home cooks alike. I've been daydreaming about my visit for ages...constructing my list of NEEDS and my list of WANTS.  The lists weren't long, and for the most part they were realistic. I was looking for all sorts of things...financiers tins, mini madeleine tins, brioche moulds, tart rings (sans bottom)...and a copper milk pan.  

I had to choose.  It was tough. 

Yesterday I put one of my new purchases to the test and made what seemed like a billion mini madeleines.  I used my basic recipe and added lemon zest, poppy seeds and a lemon glaze.  

I wish the madeleines had browned a bit more...but in time the tin will season and my madeleines will be lovely and golden.  Bite sized madeleines make me happy.  

Saturday, 22 September 2012

L'As du Fallafel, Paris...falafel at its best

L'As du Fallafel is widely recognised as one of the (if not THE) most popular Falafel joints in Paris.  Mum and I first survived the crowds lining the streets of the Marais on a Sunday to feast on a gigantic  pita stuffed with falafel and toppings ages ago...and have agreed that a trip to Paris wouldn't be complete without hungrily devouring a L'As du Fallafel falafel.  

This is not the place you want to go to if you are impatient.  Located on the Rue de Rosiers, the cue outside the take-out window is often long and although the service is very quick it can be difficult for even the most seasoned cuer to stand patiently while watching falafel after falafel walk by.  There is a reasonably large seating area inside the restaurant where, for a couple extra euros, you can sit, relax, soak in the atmos and devour you falafel slightly more daintily.  

The falafel gods must have been smiling down on us when we trekked over to the Marais last Sunday.  The sun was shining and there were very few people out and about (yet). We visited a few must stop shops (Marriage Freres for tea) and the slightly hidden Musee Congnacq-Jay before wandering along the Rue de Rosiers.  

We arrived at around 12:30 and although we weren't starving we agreed that it was almost time to eat and that we should take advantage of the uncharacteristically short cue.  A millisecond after that decision was made mum turned to me and said...or we could sit inside.  I didn't have to think about it.  

Any internet search for Paris Falafel will return reviews and posts about L'As du Fallafel.  They will tell you all about the falafel and the toppings and the other items on the menu.  They will tell you that for 5 euros your falafel will be filling enough to get you thorough your afternoon walking around Paris.  

What I'll tell you is that it is worth the extra couple of euros to sit inside.  There aren't many places to perch outside to eat your falafel (if you can hold off long enough to walk 5 mins there is a sweet little square off the Rue de la Verrerie between the Rue Moussy and Rue de Vieille du Temple) and finding a public toilette in Paris is like Russian Roulette.  Sitting inside means resting your feet for 30 mins, not spilling your falafel on your clothes or on the street, and you can make a quick toilet break (if only to wash your hands of the tahini sauce).  

Oh, and why do I love this falafel?...it comes topped with huge chunks of grilled aubergine.  

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Colorova Patisserie...hip pastries in Paris

I took a little jaunt over to Paris for a long weekend break this past weekend.  4 whole days of wandering the streets and stuffing my face with any pastries I could get my hot little hands on (these hands are made for eating...not making...pastry).  I was in heaven.  Armed with Amy Thomas's "Paris my Sweet" and recommendations from David Lebovitz's blog I couldn't go wrong.  Our days were planned around breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks to maximise the patisserie stops, I gorged myself on croissants, macarons and madeleines.  I devoured a perfectly formed Paris Brest.  I ohhed and ahhed my way around the 1st-11th arrondissements.  

My favourite stop was recommended by the lovely Rachel Khoo of Little Paris Kitchen fame, Colorova Patisserie a stone throws away from Au Bon Marche Department Store.  

We arrived around 2:30 looking forward to sitting down to a tart and a cup of tea.  The place was pretty full but the staff kindly sat us at a table for 4 (there were only 2 of us).  It was comfy and in full view of one of the two pastry counters! 

Everything was very clean, very stylised and very hip... three words...mint green SMEG.  Although it was the middle of the afternoon there was still a great variety of pastries to choose from, even though we seemed to be the only party only ordering sweets, and a large selection of Lov Teas to choose from (Scandinavian inspired Organic teas...very clean and very fresh).  

Most of our fellow diners seemed to be finishing lunch and from what I spied the savoury dishes looked perfectly put together.  We overheard customers reserving tables for Sunday brunch only to be told that the tables were fully booked.  

I had to restrain myself from devouring this small strawberry and pistachio tart (adorned with gold leaf) accompanied by a mint green tea.  The pastry was crisp and not too thick, slathered with a strawberry jam and topped with sweetened little strawberries and a flourish of pistachio cream.  

My mum chose the raspberry and mascarpone tart and a pot of Ginger and Lemon tea.  I have been assured that the pastry was equally as crisp and the filling totally exquisite.  

Colorova is a lovely patisserie and something completely different from the numerous patisseries found in more touristy areas.   If you are in Paris and thinking about checking it out, they offer pastries and cakes to carry out but I would recommend making a reservation and relaxing over tarts and tea for an hour or so.  

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Road Tripping for Cake...Afternoon Tea in the Scottish Borders

Yesterday a handful of the Edinburgh Cake Ladies took to the road in search of cake.  2 cars of giddy ladies headed south into the Scottish Borders to Cammerlaws Farm where we were warmly welcomed by fellow cake lady Pam and her mum, Anne.  

photo courtesy of Alison
Pam and Anne have been thinking about opening up their farm house for Afternoon Tea and decided to road test it on some Cake Ladies...make sense.  

We were welcomed with a glass of prosecco and nibbles in the sitting room where we gabbed away until it was time for the main event.  In the dining room we were met with the most glorious site...cake stands piled high with dainty tea time treats PLUS 3 whole cakes on the side board! 

A selection of savouries including ham, cheese and celery, and cucumber sandwiches along with a cute little croissant filled with ham and camembert.  The scones were perfect, and the raspberry jam (award winning) and clotted cream were plentiful (very important).  I am ashamed to say I couldn't finish all my sweets, but the choux buns (filled with honeycomb cream), the shortbread and brownies were delicious, and I have it on good authority (David ate the leftovers I brought home) the meringues and rocky road were perfect.  

Before we tucked into the 3 large cakes on the side board we had a little walk around the farm (mainly to oooh and ahhhh over the newly born calves) to take in the countryside and make a bit of room for those cakes.  A Victoria Sponge, Maple and Pecan Tart and a lovely Clementine Cake were waiting for us when we returned from our walk.  More tea, more chat and more cake...how perfect. 

The day ran so smoothly you would have thought that Pam and Anne had been hosting tea parties on a regular basis.  Afternoon Tea at Cammerlaws Farm gets two sticky thumbs-up from me.  

For more information check out the Cammerlaws Farm Facebook page.