Saturday, 28 September 2013

Round Up Of Summer 2013.

It is almost time to look out my gloves and the heating has already been put on so really time for me to admit Summer is over.

I have mentioned here before that I think Autumn is my favourite time of year.  I have already started making chutneys and making more comfort food but I thought I would take a look back over the Summer before I move fully into Autumn. 

Adam is 6 now and very capable in the kitchen.  My parents give them Innocent Smoothies to drink when they are round at their house and, in early summer, Adam saw an idea on the back of one of their cartons for making a caterpillar out of salad ingredients.  We got the supplies and he made tea for us. Looking forward to more meals made for us by the kids. 

Cute, eh?

We've had brilliant weather this summer. The first week of the holidays, my Dad looked after them the days I was working and took them paddling at the park.

At the end of that week we had a very special treat and had two nights at the Legoland Hotel.  This was partly for Rufus' 5th birthday but also just because Steve and I have always wanted to go and we felt the boys were at the right age for it.

We had just an amazing time.  It will always be a very special memory.  

We then had my Marie Curie Tea Party

And we headed off to Aviemore for a week.  We have a timeshare there so do this every year.  In fact, my Mum and Dad owned the timeshare before us so I have been going for about 25 years.

One thing that started to get to me on my holiday was how awful food on children's menus is.  I guess if we are going out for a meal, it is not very often so I don't mind too much if they just have chicken nuggets and chips.  However, we cooked very little on holiday so I really started to notice how bad the food is when my kids were getting it every day.  Every single place we went to, no matter how different the adult food, had the same awful choice on the menu for kids - basically fried, frozen stuff - chicken nuggets or pizza.  And most places don't even offer vegetables.  I asked for vegetables every time and everywhere were happy to provide it, but why on earth is it not on the menu?

So, one place I was impressed with for their children's food is The Mountain Cafe.  We go there now and again when up in Aviemore.  The adult food is good and there is a huge selection of cakes.  Unfortunately, though, the service when we went this year was terribly slow.  Really ridiculously slow and that is after taking into account how busy they were (you always have to queue dow the stairs for a table at lunchtimes during school holidays).  We only went once this year because of that which is a real shame as they do make a much appreciated effort with their children's menus. It's a shame I hadn't thought to take a photo.  They do some of the boring stuff - chicken strips, pizza, etc but it does come automatically with loads of salad.  They also offer things like falafel with hummous and lots of vegetables.  The thing my kids like the best, though, is their Kiddies Special. They get a sandwich (on malted bread), chunks of different fruits, a yogurt and a small cake.  They also have a lovely selection of fruit smoothies.  We'll go back at Easter and hope the service is a bit quicker (you know that way when you see perfectly pleasant teenagers waiting the tables who haven't quite mastered multitasking heading back to the kitchen without thinking to take some of the dirty dishes back with them?).

I didn't take any photos this year but here is one from last Summer with Adam and his giant slab of chocolate cake!

And, yes, I'm a Mummy who gets on her high horse about her kids getting enough fibre, fruit and veg but also lets them have lots of cakes, biscuits and sweets!!  Oh well.

Recently Steve and I also went to the launch of Rock And Oyster - new seafood restaurant in Aberdeen.  Aberdeen is a place where we bring in masses of amazing seafood but we actually do not have many decent seafood restaurants so another opening is definitely a good thing!

We haven't yet been to eat at Rock and Oyster with our own money so I'm just telling you about the food we got free at the launch so just a heads up!

The restaurant is on Union Terrace in Aberdeen and we met up with Chris from Mince and Skirlie and Claire from FoodieQuine at the launch. See cheesy photo of the three of us.

Head chef, Ryan Fowler, brought out a steady stream of food - oysters, whitebait, fishcakes, fish pie, mussels...  It all tasted good and I was actually pleasantly surprised by the prices - all very reasonable - it's quite informal so you can come in and just have a small plate of oysters for £8.50 or a starter - around the £5 mark and mains £10 - £18 ish.

And now, we're in Autumn!  Autumn is the best time for eating so I am going to pig out as usual.  I have already been stuffing my face with Steve's amazing doughnuts - need to buy some bigger clothes.

Random Recipes 32 - Puddings, Cakes And Baking.

I'm coming in at the end of the month again but I have a good reason this time.  I was invited to a neighbour's MacMillan Coffee Morning today so I left baking this month's entry til now so I could bring some along with me.

I had randomly chosen the bake at the start of the month and it was Lemon Bars from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.  They were very quick and easy to make (although need refrigerated overnight so need to make them the day before).

I quite enjoyed them but they weren't just tangy enough for me even though I had put in more zest than the recipe called for.  I think if I make them again I will probably try a lime version.

They are really a shortbread base blind baked in the oven then the topping is put on - eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest and baked again.  Easy and simple. 

I also made a pumpkin and chocolate loaf - mentioned this here.

My neighbour had done a lovely spread - cupcakes, pancakes, meringues, millionaires shortbread. She had done a raffle and a 'guess the birthday of the teddy' too.  She had made about £300 by the time I left halfway through so she has done amazingly well.

Go to Belleau Kitchen to find out more about Dom's Random Recipes