Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Getting Tarty with the Edinburgh Cake Ladies

A couple of weeks ago I spent a lovely evening with the now infamous Edinburgh Cake Ladies, at Mimi's Bakehouse at The Shore.  For those of you who are not familiar with the Cake Ladies, they are basically a group of  ladies who love to bake, chat and eat cake.  Simple and fabulous. 

The theme of the evening was "getting tarty" and, as a nod to my Canadian quarter, I decided I'd make a maple and pecan pie.  Easy right?!  Considering I didn't even own a tart tin and had never blind baked a thing in my life, this was a considerable challenge for me.

The hardest part was finding a recipe!  I trawled the internet for a while until I decided to pretty much make it up as I went along so I combined a couple of recipes together.  I needed to test it out though before I dared brave The Edinburgh Cake Ladies!  So I made a test tart using a pastry recipe from an episode of Rachel Allen 'Bake'.  She gave me a great tip: roll out the pastry between 2 sheets of cling film then take the top layer off, pop it into your tart tin (with the cling film side up) and pop your baking beans in, wrap the cling film around the beans and blind bake.  The clingfilm will not melt, I promise!  So to my surprise making pastry was actually pretty easy with no mess and no floured work surfaces.

Here's my first attempt at the maple and pecan tart...

It tasted good but my family were in agreement it was just too chunky! For my final attempt the evening before the event, I couldn't find pecans anywhere so ended up with walnut and maple tart which actually wasn't bad at all!  You will find the recipe for this in the 'Recipes' tab.

I had a really lovely evening with the cake ladies, met some extremely nice people and ate a LOT of cake!  Thank you Edinburgh Cake Ladies for making me feel so welcome and for encouraging me to make pastry!  Here's a pic of the AMAZING display of cakey-goodness.

Since then I've gone a bit pastry crazy and made this yummy potato, stilton and spinach tart with a walnut pastry.  It's just so easy!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Mother's Day at Mimi's Bakehouse

I've had a rather lovely cake-filled day today.  I got up early this morning to pop along to the Dough Re Mi bakery on Viewforth for some Mother's Day cupcakes and some yummy freshly baked bread.  I was served by the cutest girl who did a great sales job and talked me into buying one of each cupcake variety; carrot cake, vanilla, chocolate ganache and lemon.  Hubby was most pleased with the onion bread and made himself a whopper of a ham sandwich when I got home!

As a Mother's Day treat I decided to take my mum to Mimi's Bakehouse at The Shore.

We were welcomed by a very friendly young man who showed us to the table we had reserved, by the window.  The decor is just fabulous and the place was packed!  By the time we ate, there were literally people queueing out the door.  We were sitting amongst lots of groups of women chattering away over cake, pink cava and tea, families with children and couples enjoying a lazy weekend brunch.  There was real buzz about the place, an atmosphere that we were all part of something very special indeed...

And special it was.  The menu features an array of scrummy breakfast/brunch options as well as a lovely lunch menu all at very reasonable prices.  I saw several plates whizz past all of which looked amazing, and large! But we were there for the main event - Mimi's Afternoon Tea.  We were presented with a vast choice of teas to choose from, so I went for the Jasmine and mum opted for traditional English Breakfast.  Our tea arrived in cute little teapots and we were told by our very friendly waitress that we could ask for top ups at any time.

Our food arrived and to say I was delighted by what I saw is an understatement, given I was placed in full view of a display cabinet featuring the most amazing cakes I've ever seen!  I took a particular fancy to a chocolate number covered in Oreo cookies...Oh don't worry, I will be back for some of that!

So, our three-tiered vintage style tower of loveliness consisted of sandwiches, with beautifully soft bread, made up of classic smoked salmon and cucumber, egg and chive and ham and mustard.  The next layer - meringues with thick clotted cream and berries drizzled with a berry sauce, malteaser cake, the lightest mini cupcakes and a scrummy coconut tart.   

Crowning the top of our tower was two varieties of scones, still warm from the oven, light and fluffy with a generous pot of clotted cream and Mimi's homemade jam.

Wowzer!  It was all just perfect. Thank you Mimi - I will be back...hopefully for a massive slab of chocolate Oreo cake!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Moo-ve over! There's a new favorite restaurant in town!

After many reviews and lots of Twitter chatter, I finally got to check out new Edinburgh Steak establishment, Kyloe at The Rutland, for myself.  And I was not disappointed.  Firstly, I was very impressed to have been sent the menu via Twitter this morning when I mentioned I was visiting - a nice touch.  

From walking up the stairs amongst the cow-themed Andy Warhol-style artwork hanging from the wall, I got a good feeling about the place.  The girl that welcomed us and showed us to our table was very friendly and even complimented my dress, which, given I was having a "fat day," made my evening and for that I was grateful! 

The restaurant itself is fabulous, with cow print wallpaper and big comfy cow print booths - this is definitely a place to relax and be well fed and watered.  Our waitress started us off with a nice Friday night G&T which never fails, and some beautifully warm homemade bread straight from oven.  As me munched our way through that while perusing the menu we were shown the now infamous steak board.  This is not something for the feint hearted I have to admit!  A big board covered in raw Aberdeen Angus meat from Hardiesmill was explained to us by a very knowledgeable waitress, who took her time to tell us about all the different cuts of meat, their flavours and textures, how they should be cooked and which ones she recommended.  Being in the company of farmers, I can confirm she was spot on!

We opted not to have starters given the size of the steaks on offer and we had it on good authority that the side dishes were not to be missed.  So myself and mum chose the fillet which was the most tender piece of meat I have ever tasted - perfectly cooked medium-rare - my knife slid through it with ease.  It was accompanied by a red wine and blue cheese sauce.  Dad went for the rib eye which he assured us was very tasty and his pepper sauce was superb - nice and fiery. Well it would have been rude not to sample it with good old chip dunk!  (I should note at this point that hubby was sadly not able to join us, and after reading this, will be gutted!) For sides, we went for the beef dripping chips - beautifully crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they reminded me of roast potatoes on Christmas day.  We also went for the creamed spinach, huge light onion rings and deliciously garlicky portobello mushrooms.  We were all in agreement that it was just perfect and paired nicely with a bottle of Merlot.

We were all completely stuffed, but it didn't take much persuasion, after seeing a family next to us sharing the chocolate fondue, to order one of our own.  And boy was it good!  Roasted marshmallows, warm madelines, macaroons, profiteroles, cookies, shortbread, poached pear and a warm pot of milk chocolate to bathe it all in.  I think the photo below speaks for itself! It was such a generous portion that even between the three of us we couldn't finish it. 

All in all it was a real treat.  Adding to the experience, the staff were fantastic, the restaurant itself is really interesting (ladies, check out the very black and stylish toilets!) and we had plenty of time between courses that we didn't feel rushed at all.  And most importantly, the food was just amazing.  I will definitely be back.

All that's left to say is thanks to mum and dad for treating me, and sorry to hubby for missing it! 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

My weekend of eating

Just a quick post today to share some foodie photos from my weekend of eating!  On Friday night we went down to the Borders to visit my family and had a lovely meal, cooked by my mum.  We started off  with my mum's speciality "Cheese Bomb" (cream cheese, cheddar, shallots and LOTS of garlic) - it's yummy and my mum serves it with crackers and nibbles. 

We then had amazing roast lamb (home-grown from Cammerlaws Farm) which was deliciously tender.  To finish, my mum's home-made Orkney fudge ice-cream which is to die for! 

And not to be outdone, my dad sorted us all out with espressos from his fancy coffee machine!

Sunday: Feeling a little ropey today after a night out with the girls!  It was my friend Lindsay's birthday and, as always, she put on an amazing spread.  Hubby also a little delicate as the football team he manages won 4-1 yesterday!

Sadly for my head today, this also included several very boozy (but yummy)cocktails!

Hubby just made me a sausage roll though, so all is well with the world!