Monthly Archives: January 2013

Picnic Scone

Hello my dears, this message was written on Saturday but weekend frolicking delayed its publication. Ah well, you know me by now!

image

This beautiful sky was a welcome start to the weekend. It may not have lasted long but it put a spring in my step and a smile on my face.

Indeed, I have been shrouded in feeling of cheerful contentment all day as it has been a pretty perfect Saturday. Hubby was not working so this was time and included a highly enjoyable trip to the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon.

image

Everytime we have passed the sign on the M40, hubby has always mentioned how much he wanted to visit. As I had finally got round to ordering the Tesco tokens we were able to make his wish come true!

image

The museum is a vast, circular building that houses row upon row of sparkling cars from motoring’s 120 year history.

image

Hubby was in his element, exclaiming with delight as he peered through the windows and admired various wing mirrors and other such things. I prefered looking at all of the pretty colours and reading about the history of motoring and the motor industry.

image

I did feel that the collection would benefit from a few more cars like this but you can’t have everything!

image

The Little Man had a marvellous time, not least because he got to drive around in his very own Mini Cooper. Bless! May have to go on his birthday list!

image

The decision to take a trip out was somewhat last minute so, when it came to packing a picnic, we realised that we had no bread. Obviously a conventional loaf was out of the question but a soda bread could be mixed and baked before the Little Man woke from his nap.

The basic recipe came from Weight Watcher’s ‘Fabulous and Filling’ cookbook but I jazzed it up a bit to make it a handy meal-in-one, hence the name! So, without further ado…

image

Picnic Scone (Soda Bread)
200 g self raising flour
0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
a pinch of salt and lots of black pepper
1.5 tsp dried rosemary (thyme, oregano or mixed herbs would work well)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mustard powder
30 g (about 10) black olives
5 sun dried tomatoes
150 g grated cheese (a good, sharp cheddar works well)
100 g natural yoghurt

Place the dry ingredients in a bowl and season.

Roughly chop the olives and Sun dried tomatoes in a mixer or by hand and add to the flour.

Stir in 100 g of the cheese and fold in the yoghurt.

Bring the mixture into a ball, adding more water if necessary.

Place the dough on a lightly oiled baking sheet (or a warmed pizza stone), flatten and Mark out 6 or 8 segments using a knife.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and some more rosemary and black pepper.

Bake at 200 degrees celcius for 20 – 25 mins until golden and the base sounds hollow.

Voilà, a picnic for the family in one loaf. Lovely served on its own or with cream cheese. We took some oranges and a flask of tea and it was marvellous.

Enjoy the recipe, let me know if you have a go! Maybe you’ve got a different flavour idea? x

Advertisements

8 Comments

Filed under Food, Trips and outings

Magic Moments – 4/52

Oh I do enjoy these posts, scrolling back through photographs and reliving so many magic moments. So here is what has been making me happy this week…

image

A gift from my father-in-law, my beautiful birthday tulips have been making me smile all week. Dazzling white when the sun shines, I just love their simple beauty.

image

On Sunday, I made hubby and I the most amazing sandwich. The remaining haggis (from our Burns Night supper) sprinkled over 1/3 of a baked camembert (the local store selling off Christmas stock) all sandwiched between two pieces of seed-filled bread and toasted on a hot griddle. Incredible!

image

This pile of delights is the result of a shopping trip with my mom and the Little Man. See that charming peacock to the left there? I bet you cannot guess what that box is.

Give up?

That is my newly acquired musical soap box, and I mean that literally. How wonderful is that?! The soap is less than incredible but I am thinking of removing that and using the box as a musical earring chest. There were, however, many intoxicating soaps that we spent far too long sniffing, the best of which I bought to place in my drawers.

image

This week has been full of milestones for the Little Man. All of a sudden he can now crawl (nothing is safe!), pull himself up to standing (he is desperate to walk) and kiss people (awwww!). So many changes in such a short space of time. The first time I looked around to see him standing by the sofa was a truly unforgettable moment.

Wishing you all many moments of happiness this week, xx

6 Comments

Filed under Baby, Magic Moments

Burns Night

image

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.

Greetings to you all as this Burns Night draws to a close. For those of you who do not know, Robert Burns was Scotland’s most famous poet and he is remembered every year on his birthday, 25th January. As a testament to hubby’s Scottish heritage and our mutual love of haggis we celebrated the occasion with the traditional supper. We don’t quite go to the length of reciting Robert Burns’ poetry but we do enjoy our haggis, neeps and tatties with the traditional blessing, the Selkirk Grace (see above).

Many years ago I experienced my first supper in honour of the bard when hubby served up fried scallops and black pudding with garlic butter as a starter. So good! However we are on a tighter budget now so, this year, I decided to just concentrate on perfecting the main course. The potatoes need to be creamy, buttery and well seasoned but, for extra flavour, I also included a large parsnip in the mixture, which was delicious! The ‘neeps’ (turnip or, as we had, swede) should be roughly mashed with plenty of butter and black pepper so they have a chunkier texture than the tatties. My mom always used to add carrots to her mashed swede so I also threw a couple in for colour and sweetness.The haggis looks after itself but, this year, I decided to push the boat out and make a whisky sauce to top it all off.

image

After trawling the internet I found that many recipes were essentially whisky and cream, which I did not have. However, as I wanted a sauce not a gravy I decided to combine various ideas to make up my own version. This turned out to be a triumph, even if I do say so myself!

Whisky Sauce
1 small onion, finely minced
25 ml whisky
1 tsp sugar
1 level tbsp plain flour
150 ml milk

Put the onions in the pan, season with salt and fry for as long as you can (the more caramelised they are the tastier they will be). Add the sugar after a few mins. Stir regularly and add a little water if they are sticking.

Heat a different pan up. Take off the heat and pour in the whisky before lighting to burn off the alcohol. Take care as the flames are impressive!

Spoon the flour into the onions and cook for 2 mins. Add the milk a little at a time whilst stirring constantly.

Pour in the whisky before bringing gently to the boil. Add enough vegetable water to make it into a thick sauce.

Season to taste with plenty of black pepper.

Enjoy!

There always seems something special about our Burns Supper – something warm and cosy in the midst of chilly January. If nothing else, I feel that any poet who  compliments a haggis’s honest, jolly face deserves to be celebrated.Wishing you all a lovely weekend I shall leave you with the opening of Burns’ ‘Address to a Haggis’.

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

3 Comments

Filed under Food

Snowy Snapshots

image

Hello my dears, it has been lovely to see so many of you around here lately. Firstly, thank you so much for your kind birthday wishes. I am still celebrating with tea and cake of an afternoon!

image

Like so many people at the moment I am spending an inordinate amount of time gazing at the snowy landscape. On Sunday that was the view out of what was once my bedroom window at my parents’ house. So much snow! A Winter playground!

image

It has been a dramatic week weatherwise. We began with Monday‘s brief smattering of snow but that lasted no time at all.

image

For the rest of the week there was a hard frost underfoot whilst grey clouds hung in the sky. I revel in the ever changing view across my lake but, it has to be said, it was looking pretty grim.

image

However we did have this rather charming fellow to brighten the view and accompany us on our afternoon stroll.

image

Things changed as the week progressed and, by Friday morning, the snow had begun in earnest and, soon, the ground was covered.

image

Exciting as this was, I have to admit, the view was still looking a trifle dull.

image

Those of you for whom Winter usually means several months of snow covered ground may be slightly bemused by the sudden explosion of wintery pictures flooding the blogosphere but here such weather is infrequent, short-lived and met with great excitement.

image

The Little Man has loved his trips out in the snow. Everything stands out against the white backdrop so he can easily see the dogs bounding around and the geese hissing at his ankles demanding food. He has also spent a lot of time marvelling the swirling flakes through the window.

image

Sunday saw even more snow fall and everywhere was now covered in a thick, icy blanket.

Surprisingly I have found it rather difficult to snap the views across the road this week. I have come to discover that my lake photography revolves around two things: the sky and light, especially how the light plays upon the water. With the dense cloud cover my favourite vistas appeared dull and flat.

image

By Monday, I have to admit I was feeling a little low.

image

Imagine my excitement when I looked out of the window to be greeted by this:

image

Sunshine!

image

Light!

image

Sky!

image

Slinging the Little Man into the Ergo I practically ran across the road to soak up the rays.

image

My view was back!

image

This charming fellow came to say hello, probably excited that the lake was thawing before our very eyes.

image

Forgive me for the excessive number of photos but this is the only sun we have seen for over a week and it only lasted one, precious hour. I am trying to drink it in!

image

The reflections on the water were wonderful to see…

image

and the light illuminated snow, making it glisten as the shadows stretched across the ground.

image

Thank you for indulging my snowy snapshots. See you again soon! x

image

7 Comments

Filed under Snapshot, Trips and outings

Magic Moments – 3/52

image

Greetings! Apologies that this post is a day late but yesterday was my birthday so celebrating took centre stage! As ever I shall stick by the trusty adage ‘better late than never’ so here are my magic moments for week 3 of 2013:

image

As you know, I do not usually show face-shots on this blog but this photograph just had to be shared. This was minutes after my gorgeous Little Man returned from his first ever trip to the barber. It brings a lump to my throat just thinking about how my darling baby is growing up. Truly magical.

image

This week has been all about the snow, all the more special because it was the Little Man’s first experience of the white stuff.

image

The cold weather makes snuggling up of an evening for a bit of hooky all the more pleasant. My hexighan (see here and here) is temporarily on hold as I have started a new project that has an important deadline. More about that soon!

image

We end with my birthday which was just full of magic. The weather meant that celebrations with friends had to be postponed so it was a quiet affair with the family but none the less enjoyable for it. I had requested fish & chips and cake and was delighted to receive a delicious carrot cake made by my sister as well as those adorable cup cakes from my mother. It was perfect and I felt very special. 🙂

3 Comments

Filed under Baby, Magic Moments

First Snow

image

Good evening all! As you can see, we have experienced our first snow of the season here today. Much as I love snow it was not really the sort to overly excite. Although the flakes were thick and fluffy the temperature’s too warm for it to stick around so the overall effect was generally grey and slushy – the sort of snow that will wet your feet and make you fall over rather than dazzle you with its beauty.
image

We returned from Edinburgh yesterday and it is lovely to be home, however wonderful our holiday was. Going away so soon after Christmas has made it seem like an extended festive period. We never had the whole ‘going back to work’ around New Year as people only went back for a day or two so it seems like ages since we’ve just been bumbling along in our normal little routines.
image

Even though there are bags lining the hall we did have rather a lazy day, lots of cuddles with the Little Man who has become used to being the centre of attention lately. I am secretly pleased to have him to myself for a bit, although everybody has been amazing and I’ve loved being able to leave the room knowing that there would always be somebody there to entertain him!
image

In fact, my only real achievement today has been to bake a rather marvellous new loaf – Pesto Bread. I usually make my own bread using the little packets that involve pouring the contents into the machine, add water and press go. All good and very predictable but I feel a desire to branch out a bit.

When I was a teenager I used to make a range of breads by hand but I don’t think that is going to happen at the moment. I am therefore going to expand my repertoire of machine loaves. Today I made a white loaf flavoured with 2 tbsp of red pesto and the results were delicious! Soft and tasty with so much flavour in the crust. As usual I made the smallest loaf on Rapid Bake, because I like the soft, light texture that this gives (although a longer bake would not be a problem). The recipe was:

400 g strong flour
1 sachet rapid dried yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp red pesto
Add to your bread machine in the order suggested and bake!

May have to make it with green pesto another time, just for fun!

What’s your favourite bread recipe?

Abigail x

3 Comments

Filed under Food

Magic Moments – 2/52

Hello all, lovely to see you here on Rosy Hill. This post has been on my mind a lot lately, whenever I’ve done a little sigh of contentment or laughed merrily at life. How do I choose just 4 special moments in such a fun filled week?

image

1. A spectacular sunrise on our first morning at the loch. Yes, I admit it heralded an atrocious day weatherwise but it started with a moment of peace and awe. I was up early with the Little Man and we were snuggling in the enclosed balcony when my mother joined us with a cup of tea. It was quiet, tranquil and beautiful and we watched for 25 minutes as the sky slowly lightened, the grey becoming tinged with pink until the whole sky was dashed with vivid pinks and oranges.

image

2. Savouring a slice of toffeelicious cake in the adorable Treats Cafe, Kinloch Rannoch. Feeling tired but virtuous after climbing the mountain, the cake tasted all the more amazing for being earned for once.

image

3. A proud moment as the final piece was fitted. It has been a long time since I did a jigsaw and we really got the bug this week – 3 completed in record time. Roll on our 3,000 piece epic journey when we return home!

image

4. Enjoying the feast at Khublai Khan’s Mongolian Restaurant. After 8 years of hearing about how much we love this place, the pressure was on taking my parents and sister there for the first time. We need not have worried – they loved it! So much so we visited on the way to and from Loch Rannoch. We had a fabulous time, as always, with delicious food and wonderful service on both occasions but the real highlight was seeing the Little Man chomp away on wild boar, venison, mixed game, zebra, ostrich, springbok and kangaroo. Not a bad selection for a 9 month old!

I hope you have had many magic moments this week, x

4 Comments

Filed under Holidays, Magic Moments, Snapshot

Schiehallion

image

Greetings from the Central Highlands of Scotland or, more specifically, from the shore of Loch Rannoch. We are currently holed up here in a rather wonderful lodge enjoying a week of good food and lazy living. It’s marvellous.

I shall share my general holiday news at a later date but now I would like to talk to you about that mountain to the left of the picture above. That is Schiehallion and yesterday we set out on an adventure to climb it.

image

The name Schiehallion originates from Gaelic and has the rather wonderful translation of ‘fairy mountain of Caledonia (Scotland)’.
Schiehallion is one of the most wellknown of the Munros, which is basically any mountain in Scotland over 3,000ft (nearly 1,000m). People spend a lifetime trying to climb them all.

Now I enjoy a walk and even a little climb from time to time but scaling rock faces with pick axe and crampons is not my idea of fun, especially when I am hideously unfit and have a nine month old baby in tow. However, for the main part, Schiehallion is not exactly a tough challenge as mountaineering goes. It is only 3,500ft to the summit and there is a single path for most of the ascent. Even so, there was never really any question of my making it to top.

image

In preparation for the holiday we decided to splash out on an Ergo baby carrier. I still love my second hand Moby wrap, which I have used with the Little Man since birth, but it is too much of a faff to get him in and out now we are venturing out for longer and is not really practical for outdoor exploring.

The other advantage of the Ergo is that hubby can carry the Little Man without suffering from backache. We therefore shared the load – hubby going up and me coming down, teehee!

image

For a relatively isolated and seemingly insignificant hill Schiehallion is surprisingly notorious, not least for its involvement in an ambitious 18th century experiment to estimate the mass of the Earth. It is just about the central point of Scotland, lends its name to a lager, a dance and an oilfield and also happens to be a particularly enjoyable spot for a bit of amateur hill climbing.

image

The climb began easily as we meandered along a windy path but it soon became steeper. We had all been somewhat dismayed when the view from our windows that morning was obscured by mist but, having studied the weather at length online, hubby assured us that it would be clear on the mountain and he was right. As we walked we could see the mist hanging over Loch Tummel and Dunalastair Reservoir.

image

Can you spot the tiny people on the ridge there?!
My zippy little sister and soon to be brother-in-law sped off whilst we (hubby, the Little Man, my father-in-law and myself) continued at a somewhat more leisurely pace, some of us huffing and puffing more than others.

image

The weather, being dry, mild and relatively bright, was about as kind as you could wish for considering it is early January. However we did come across a couple of patches of icy snow, which we were very excited about.

image

After just over 90 minutes climbing we came upon a flat bed of heather which provided a suitable place for lunch. The path disappeared soon afterwards and I was very aware that the Little Man’s interest in the expedition was not going to be unlimited and we still had to make our way back down. I had packed a banana and a hot cross bun as a handy lunch for him but he did manage to snaffle a fair few chunks of my sandwich as well.

Unfortunately, as we were finishing our picnic the mist descended, shrouding us in freezing fog. Having had word from the others that they were really close to the peak we decided that it would be prudent to begin our descent.

image

Luckily the fog was temporary, as hubby had assured us it would be, and the view soon lay spectacularly below us.

image

Given the circumstances we decided that it would be easier for me to also carry the Little Man on my back. It was very comfortable and the best choice on this terrain but I missed being able to kiss and cuddle him and will continue to carry him on my front usually for a while yet.

image

The massive head start did not deter my sister and they caught up with us in an embarrassingly short time. However this meant we could enjoy an amicable descent together as a group whilst they told us what lay beyond the ridge of the mountain!

4 Comments

Filed under Baby, Holidays, Trips and outings

Edinburgh

image

I love this picture. Not because it is particularly good or interesting but because it holds so many memories. Not only does it remind me of our lovely stroll around Edinburgh last Friday but it also represents all of the other times we have visited the city over the last 8 years.

This time was particularly special as it was the Little Man’s first trip to Scotland. We were visiting en route to our holiday destination of Loch Rannoch but decided to break the journey here. My lovely father-in-law was particularly obliging as we (hubby, me, the Little Man, my sister, her fiance and my parents) took over his home.

image

Over the years we have done many of the tourist attractions in and around Edinburgh but it has been a long time since I just wandered around the streets admiring the architecture and soaking up the convivial atmosphere. This time, however, we did just that.

image

We walked along the Royal Mile where the statues and spires were framed by a beautifully blue sky. Above is the particularly striking St. Giles Cathedral, with its crown topped spire that can be seen for miles around, and below is the former ‘Tron Kirk’.

image

No longer used for worship I believe that it served as a venue for last Summer’s Fringe Festival.
image

This is another picture that brings back fond memories. Soon after hubby and I began dating he returned home to celebrate Christmas with his family. As requested, he took some photographs of his travels, one of which was very similar to this. Unsure as to what it actually was I labelled it as ‘House on the Hill’. Imagine my surprise when hubby informed me that this was actually Edinburgh Castle!

image

Of course, the castle does look somewhat more impressive from the other side, standing sentinel over the city, but we do share a giggle whenever we see it.

image

In the centre of town the Christmas Fayre was still in full force, having remained for the Hogmanay celebrations. We took the opportunity to stop for refreshment in the form of a hot mulled cider.
image

Nearby, Scott was sat on his plinth, imperious as always, although looking somewhat incongruous amongst the flashing lights and fake snow.

image

The Scott Monument is one of my favourite structures in Edinburgh, standing proud and tall in all its Gothic glory (according to here it is the tallest monument to a writer in the world). We climbed it on my first ever trip and the views from the top are amazing, even if they were accompanied by gale force winds.
image

The sun was setting as we ambled back to the car and the city skyline was silhouetted before us. So quiet, so peaceful. A lovely stroll in a lovely city. x
image

Eta the photographs which had disappeared!

1 Comment

Filed under Holidays, Trips and outings

Magic Moments – 1/52

Happy New Year! Hope 2013 has started well for all of you, my lovely readers.

After seeing Heather’s and Jacquie’s recent posts I have decided to embrace the current craze running through the blogosphere which involves appreciating the magic moments in life. Every week I shall choose 4 snapshots that represent happy times during the last 7 days. The challenge for me shall be limiting the post to only 4 photographs but I shall do my best, so here goes!

image

The New Year was heralded in with a decadent trio of chocolate mousse made by my lovely sister. (The recipe came from this rather delicious book). The ‘big night’ was spent at her soon to be brother-in-law’s house where we enjoyed a relaxed, friendly evening with yummy food, games and plenty of Christmas sock appreciation.

image

I cannot tell you how much I love my new dresser. Having been struck down with serious furniture envy after seeing reading about Jacquie’s recent acquisition, my wonderful husband helped me acquire this fabulous piece from Ebay. Hours of pleasure have been spent bringing out my husband’s family china, decking it out with tinsel and baubles and generally just gazing in adoration at its splendour.

image

Every week is full of magic moments courtesy of the Little Man and this week was no exception. Having suffered from a tooth explosion recently he is now the proud owner of 5 1/2 pearly white pegs. This week he put these weapons into action by devouring a whole apple. I could have exploded with pride as I watched my beautiful boy (9 months yesterday) nibbling away curiously at attacking this exciting new food. Bless.

image

Finally, a moment of peace and tranquility as the sun began to set over Edinburgh. More about that next time. xxxx

2 Comments

Filed under Baby, Magic Moments, Snapshot