It’s that time of year where I put squash, or pumpkin, in pretty much everything. For some people pumpkins are only relevant for Halloween, or as the word in front of ‘spiced latte’, but for me it’s an ingredient I look forward to all year. It’s a great change from sweet potato, offering so much colour, a level of nuttiness and an incredible versatility. Last year I put up recipes for Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns (I’ll be putting up a new glaze recipe for this soon), a pumpkin & nutella pie & pumpkin jam and the year before that it was a pumpkin cinnamon loaf cake. This year, thanks in part to Maddie buying the Ruby Tandoh cookbook it was into savoury muffins. The original recipe actually called for sweet potato, but as just that morning I’d raided our local shop for as many squashes as I could carry it only felt appropriate to make them Pumpkin & Feta Muffins. Read more
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.
Gin 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. Read more
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.
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.