Travel Diaries: Isle of Mull September 2016

Loch Beg in the rain

As alluded to in a couple of recipes recently, I went up to the Isle of Mull to see my parents in September. I have been many times, and every time try to do something different. This time included popping to the idyllic island of Iona (twice, due to poor weather stopping ferries the first time) as well as a walk from Loch Buie to Carsaig (which includes a using a rope to climb down some rocks) and a number of other shorter walks. The trip also featured a 3 day period where we had no running water, as my parent’s pump on their private supply broke. This meant we had to carry about 1000 litres of unfiltered water from the stream up to their house, and we could only really use that for flushing toilets and running a dishwasher. Fortunately we managed to get a pump sorted in a few days, but it was a harsh reminder of why living on an island isn’t necessarily for everyone. This was also the first time I got to meet my parent’s new dog; Meg. She will feature heavily here.


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Blackberry Sloe Gin Tart & Gin Explorer Box

Blackberry Sloe Gin TartGin is good. If you’ve ready any of my other posts on the matter you’ll know my feelings about it by now, but if you’re unsure then go look at them here and here. It’s obviously best when drinking, but every now and then it’s fun to cook or bake with it. It lends itself best to go alongside citrus or floral flavours, like lemon or earl grey, but in this recipe I wanted to go for something more autumnal, and wanted something to partner with the sloe gin from my Gin Explorer Box.
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Honey & Rye Cake

Honey & Rye Cake

As alluded to previously, before I popped up to Leeds for the Bloggers Blog Awards, I went to my parents in Scotland and due to the weather on a couple of the days, I ended up doing a good amount of baking. Ingredients up there can be slightly more awkward due to a need for things to keep. My dad also has a bread machine, and because of this he has a large stock of different flours. We unearthed a bag of rye that he practically begged us to use as he had no plans to and didn’t want it to go to waste. After raiding the cupboards we worked out that honey was probably the best ingredient we had at our disposal for doing something cake-y. Some quick (by my parents island internet standards) googling took place and we found that honey & rye cake is actually a particular french special.

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Officially An ‘Award Winning Blogger’

Balloons at the Bloggers Blog Awards
Balloons at the Bloggers Blog Awards

This weekend in Leeds was the Bloggers Blog Awards. Somehow, I’d ended up shortlisted in the Food Blogger category, so I found myself sat in the car on the way up to Leeds early on the Saturday morning, a bag of smart clothes all packed up and full of nerves. We grabbed an airbnb so we’d have some space to ourselves and allow a chance to get changed after the journey up. An obligatory trip to Bundobust and a spruce up later we were (late) in a taxi to Canal Mills where Hayley had organised this year’s event. Over the course of the next few hours I had the pleasure of finally putting faces to names who I’ve chatted to over twitter and through my blog for a while. I never expected to be shortlisted, let alone have what happened next occur. Somehow it was my name read out as the winner and I found myself on stage swearing and mumbling something about this being ‘pretty cool’.

It still hasn’t really sunk in that I’m now an ‘award winning blogger’ or that something I’ve only ever done for fun has taken me to this point. I just like baking cakes (mainly brownies), and to think that people think my rambles about doing that are enough for me to win an award is pretty humbling. So thank you to anyone who voted for me, it means a hell of a lot, and hello to anyone that’s new here because you saw my name being thrown about on twitter before, during or after the awards. It was so good to meet so many amazing people who all help inspire each other. Congratulations to all the other nominees and winners, who all work so hard to make their blogs successful.

Thanks for making me Best Food Blog 2016 and I’ll see you all again next year for another night of getting drunk and talking complete crap.

Travel Diaries: New York Pt. 2

Brooklyn Bridge

As you’ll have seen from Part 1, I recently travelled to New York. If you want to see what happened on our first couple of days, or even how the trip came about, then go read that. This post picks up on Day 3 and runs through to our journey home.

Jack's Wife Freda

The Sunday morning wasn’t quite as early, but we were still up at about 7am. First up for the day was breakfast at Jack’s Wife Freda, which even at 9am on a Sunday was bustling. We took advantage of their bottomless drip (coffee) and while Maddie had a Rosewater Waffle I tucked into a Madame Freda (Pressed sandwich with duck prosciutto, cheddar béchamel, gruyere & a sunny side up egg). Out of the two main breakfast spots we tried this trip, this one was the better. The setting is charming, service friendly, polite & quick and the food was spot on. We’d booked in a slot to visit the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center) so this was our next stop. As someone who has been to the city before, and done the Empire State, I can safely say I prefer the view from the Rock. Coming out of the elevator after a, very short, queue you instantly get a view across central park, something the Empire State doesn’t offer, and the view the other side has the Empire State and the southern end of Manhattan. After 25 minutes of indulgent selfie taking and view admiring we went back down in the lift and walked from the center down towards Grand Central(via Sephora so Maddie could look at make up she couldn’t afford). We deliberately zigzagged on this walk so we could soak in the noise and sites of Manhattan. Next was a walk over to Time Square.
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