Friday, 31 August 2012

Project 366 244/366

Well that is us two thirds of the way through the year. Tomorrow is the first of September, a day I am going to be attending my first ever blog conference. This one is a food blog conference and they have even been kind enough to bring it to my home town.

Anyway my lovely friend, Kay from brinkofbedlam is on her way up to stay with me for the weekend, Ive dusted me corners and cleaned the places I have been threatening to clean for a month or three, but more importantly I have made her a cake, cos she said she wasn't coming if I didnt.

Ladies and gentleman I give you Kay's Matchmaker cake;

A simple eggless sponge with vanilla flavour butter icing and surrounded by matchakers

I am also entering this onto Helen's Foodie Foto Friday - love the title - it is exactly what it says a foto of some food I have made this week. Hows this for economics -  a multi purpose cake.

The Crazy Kitchen

Please come and join in  @ The Crazy Kitchen 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Project 366 243/366

Had to take a run to West Kilbride earlier as had to pick something up for daughter No3 so took a walk along the pier at Portencross. To say it is old and past its best is an understatement but people still use it for fishing.

Look at the hole as you walk along- scary suff

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Project 366 242/366

Thank goodness for the river to walk along, it allows me a lot of photographic opportunities. Right place right time to see this marvellous creature.

The heron just before he flew away. 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Project 366 241/366

Went walking round the paths at the back of the new uni tonight and saw this sign, so OH had to go the other side - and yes the tree attacked him.

Anybody walking by must have thought we were nuts.

Agenda for food blog conference

As you will all no doubt know I am going to a food bloggers conference this Saturday, in case it is something you might be thinking about going to I thought I would share the agenda with you to help you make up your mind.

The select event is being held at Ayr Racecourse in one of their function suites on Saturday 1st September. Please feel free to take a look at their website for more information on the venue.

The full day event will feature a spectacular local food tasting lunch with lots of opportunity to network with fellow food bloggers. We are on schedule to attract 25 participants, including food bloggers, restaurateurs and hotels reps all interested in food blogging. This is Scotland's first Food Bloggers conference and we are capping the number of people attending to 25 to try and keep the conference as small, informative and intimate as possible. Attracting Food Bloggers from across the UK, the inaugural Taste Ayrshire's Food Bloggers Conference will herald the beginning of the Taste Ayrshire week long Food Festival.

The agenda for the day is as follows:

9:30am:                              Arrival and registration
10.00am-11.00am:           Finding the best Produce and Showcasing Food for your Blog with Justin Galea.
11.00am-11.15am:           Tea/Coffee Break
11.15am-1pm:                   Using Social Media to Promote Your Blog with Colin Kelly.
1pm-2.30pm:                     Tour of the facilities followed by a cookery demonstration from Ayr Racecourse's talented and entertaining Executive Chef, Donald McInnes.                                             Followed by a delicious plated lunch using the freshest and finest Ayrshire                                      local produce.
2:30pm-3.30pm:               Fine tune your Food Writing with John Cooke.
3.30pm-4.30pm:               Food Photography Masterclass with Darren McKean.
4.30pm - 5.30pm              Food Promotion with Christopher Trotter.
5.30pm-6pm                      Networking and Close

Some more information on our speakers:

A native Australian, Justin Galea was raised by his food-loving family who originate from Malta. He trained at Melbourne’s leading school for food, tourism and hospitality training gaining experience in the large range of restaurants in the sprawling city. In his early twenties, Justin gained his first Michelin experience at the Lynch’s Winter Garden Restaurant in Melbourne where he was one of the youngest sous-chefs. This is where Justin learned the Escoffier classics that continue to inspire him today. At the age of 23, Justin left Australia to travel and whilst in Scotland was recruited to join the world’s first golf resort, Turnberry. Starting as Chef de Partie but quickly promoted to saucier and later the fish station in the bustling Turnberry kitchens, he was then promoted to Sous Chef. After four years, he returned to Australia to rejoin his family, but he soon missed the creative buzz of Turnberry. He returned in 2008 as Chef de Cuisine and oversaw the hotel’s re-launch of its kitchens, recreated the food offering and preparing for the return of The Open Championship in July 2009. Now Turnberry’s Executive Chef, Justin oversees the full food and drink offering at the resort.

Colin Kelly is a broadcaster and journalist regularly seen and heard discussing gadgets and technology on television and radio. He's best known for his time as resident gadget expert on STV's 'The Hour' and has previously presented programmes on BBC Radio Scotland, Real Radio and Clyde 1. He's been a newspaper columnist and is a regular blogger through his own website. Much of Colin's work these days is with Hillington based digital consultancy NSDesign where Colin travels the country delivering social media training to a wide range of businesses and public sector organisations.

Hailing from Cape Town, but now resident in Edinburgh, John Cooke is a professional writer. John is one of the lead reviewers and section editors for The List Magazine’s Eating and Drinking Guide. John also writes regularly for The Larder magazine and its regional offshoots, covering a variety of Scottish foods and specialist producers, farmers and fishermen. John has been a judge at the Great Taste Awards and the One World Chutney competition and is part of Slow Food Edinburgh, promoting food that is ‘good, clean and fair’.

Darren McKean is a professional food photographer based in South West Scotland. A lifelong foodie, he is now on the final countdown to his 40th birthday. Together with his wife Fiona he runs Fiona McKean Photography. Darren's interest in food photography was sparked whilst photographing weddings with Fiona. Says Darren, 'some of the food was so impressive and I found myself drawn to photographing it'. He took the decision to concentrate solely on food early in 2011, with his first commercially styled shoot for an artisan bakery and he has never looked back.Darren has now worked with a range of food producers, suppliers and restaurants along with supplying a leading food imagery agency with his mouthwatering delights!

Christopher Trotter is a well known Food Writer and Consultant, with 5 books on cooking and food under his belt including 'The Scottish Cookery Book' and 'The Whole Hog'. An acknowledged expert on cooking and Scottish produce Chris is currently working on his Food Tours, Cooking Classes and team building programmes using food and cooking in workshops. Chris has researched for major Food Guides and written for a variety of media including the List's Fife Larder and the Fife Diet and is a regular on the BBC Kitchen cafe on radio.
For any fellow bloggers it sounds like a fabulous day.

Want to join us? Find all the information you need here 

Monday, 27 August 2012

Project 366 240/366

Not been out and about today due to the weather, Bob was quite tired and nearly sleeping snuggled in on the couch watching tv just after 4pm. But we toddled off to make pancakes for the tea and this woke him up a bit. Not had the camera out much while we played the wii and then ludo but snapped these half an hour ago.

out for the count and not a care in the world. 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Project 366 239/366

It is all becoming so real now, and Kay and I have been on the phone to each other very very excited. Only 6 more sleeps.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

A matchmaker cake

I have a lovely friend coming to stay next weekend, and one of the provisos of her coming was that I baked her a cake. I had an idea for a cake and so thought I would try it out to see if it looked as good as I visualised it on my head.

I used a basic Victoria Sponge but changed the eggs for ground flaxseed, added chocolate powder to half of it and  leaving half of it plain. But this would work just as well with a normal cake recipe.

Cooked the cakes in two rectangular cake tins and once cool cut each piece onto four width wise. Placed them on top off each other as in a chess board design and stuck together with dairy free butter icing to which I added vanilla extract and some red and blue gel food colouring, hoping to achieve a nice purple colour but ended up with a sort of mucky bluey grey colour. Wont be adding the colouring next week.

I then spread butter cream round the edge and cut a combination of orange and mint matchmakers in half and stood them upright round the edge of the cake.

Looked very nice indeed, and of course tasted light, fluffy and delicious.

Smoked pork sausage, cheese and onion bread

Gluten free bread is notoriously difficult to make tasty and interesting, and even the expensive bought stuff leaves a lot to be desired, so I invent new types to appeal to the grandson.

I used the basic recipe as I have done before, see post here.

I added to it 1/2 chopped smoked pork sausage
1/2 red onion finely chopped
4 oz dairy free cheese

mix  in, rise and cook.

the rolls

and to stop his sister feeling left out I also made ordinary bread the same. I loved this as I eat dry bread and this was so flavoursome.

1lb bread flour of choice - I used einkorn
1.5 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoon yeast
1.5 teaspoon sugar
340 ml water

add to bread maker in way recommended by manufacturer. When machines beeps for adding ingredients add

1 chopped red onion
the pieces of sausage are visible
1/2 chopped smoked pork sausage
4 oz cheese grated

cook and slice, lovely on its own or just with butter.

Capture the colour

I was tagged by Emma over at The mini mes and me to join in with a competition.  It is called Capture the colour and is being run in conjunction with One lucky winner wins £2000 cash to spend on travel and the five colour category winners will receive an iPad3.

As a getting there photographer I love the idea of this.

They say a picture paints a thousand words. Well, rather than asking you to write a five thousand word blog post, we're inviting you to produce a blog post with up to 5 photos that really do 'Capture the Colour'.
We're looking for bloggers to publish a blog post with a photo that captures the following 5 colours - Blue, Green, Yellow, White and Red.
Ideally each blogger will submit a blog post that includes photos for each of the above colours but if you haven't got a photo for each colour, just submit a post with images for the colours you do have photos for - it's that simple.

On your blog post, tell us where the photo was taken and try to include any other additional information about the moment the photo was taken, what you could see, smell, hear, feel and perhaps a witty caption about that photo or trip in general. If you've written a post about that trip on your blog in the past, be sure to link to it so people can find out more! 

Competition closes 29th August.

Now I dont travel much so may struggle with the originality of the locations,but here we go


We went for a wander round Glasgow, not quite a holiday but a nice day out and whilst we were there we went to the Kelvin Grove art Gallery, did a blog post on it here.

Loved these white face masks, part of an expressions exhibition. The lights were bright, a lot of background chatter from various members of the public, and an organ recital had just finished.

They were actually quite spooky the way they were just sort of hanging in the air.


Again we were out for the day, this time we had been down to Culzean Castle, did a blog post on it here. It is nice to highlight how beautiful my area is and give some of you ideas if you are coming to Scotland of a few places to visit.

This bee was busy making his legs bulge, its a real wonder he could take off. The whole gardens just overloads your senses with smell, colours, some of the plants were very tactile and it is amazing to watch the abundance of wild life in the garden.


As I say we are spoilt for park and country estates virtually on my doorstep. I pick up the children from their home and we pass Auchencruive Estate coming back to my house. So during the holidays we would stop off and let the children run and play, explore and learn. We can watch the wild life along the river, splash in the river, pick apples from the trees, blackberries from the bushes and just enjoy the tranquillity of the place. It is a working estate and is home of the Agricultural College and therefore you often here the tractors working.

This is Bob looking for baddies in the bushes that he is going to use his super powers on, to protect me and his sister. This is done in a very noisy fashion, from the rustling of the bushes to the yelling of the child.  Ooooh for the imagination of a six year old.


We live right on the West Coast of Scotland, and I was tempted here to give you the sea meeting the sky with a boat or a buoy on the horizon. Or the sky reflected in the river along with the trees to give a beautiful mirror image. But I thought that a lot of other people would have used water, seems the logical choice somehow.

So instead I have dug out one of my favourite pictures that I have taken for my Project 366 this year. It came about because the sun had been streaming through the window in early January and these were still sat on my windowsill from Christmas day. This is a photograph of the reflections of bottles of Radox bubble bath. Not quite a holiday theme but using the contents is relaxing and required the sun to help create it.


Well again this was taken during the school summer holidays, so in theory is a holiday picture. We had been out to the local park, which has now been turned into a building site, and Bob had decided he did not want his picture taken.

I like this photograph for its depth of field, from the red bars of the climbing frame, past the hand of the grandson to the beautiful sky beyond. He had decided this day I was not to take his picture, and we spent ages laughing and giggling whilst I chased his feet with my hands. Did a  blog post about it here

Now I need to tag five fellow bloggers, though time is running out.

Claire at Its ups and downs 

Jessie at  The Crazy Kitchen

Sonia at This Mummy Loves 

Wendy at Little Mans Mum

Donna at Mummy bird 

Project 366 238/366

I was making a cake as a try out to see if it works before I make it for a very special friend coming to stay next weekend. The other half my husband decided to decorate. The butter icing was suppose to be purple not grey, but then next week it will not be purple so lesson learnt.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Project 366 237/366

Today is just another example of how my photographic eye sees weird things the old me would have ignored.

This is the metal strengthening inside a half burnt tractor sized tyre on the beach, been washed up and filled with sand and a fire set near it to try and burn it.


Did see a seagull bring a crab up onto a rock to try and open and eat it, stopped to photograph it but it was dropped before I could focus and click. Ah well the crab survived this time.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Project 366 236/366

Bored tonight, energy-less and could not be bothered going out for a walk, so decided to play with my supper instead.

mini weetabix and cherries

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Gallery - sky

Not joined in with the gallery for longer than I care to admit. but saw this weeks theme as sky and had to join in.

We live on the west coast and we get stunning skies around here.

from sunrise

to sunsets

and totally blue skies with a new moon during the day

why not come and join in for yourself. over at Sticky Fingers gallery

Project 366 235/366

OH and I met up with daughter No2 for a walk with her and her dog tonight, was a pleasant walk along the river at Auchencruive.

He is a daft lab that just loves the water, and it is only a good walk in Jack's book if he comes back muddy and wet.

jack in river at Auchencruive

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Project 366 234/366

Ours went back to school yesterday, well as those that follow me know one has one hasnt, but here is Fifi looking all to grown up. her school jumper does have the school name on it but I cloned it out. Took this this morning when I dropped her at home to pick up her lunch money.

Smencils gourmet scented pencils review

We received a pack of five Fruit Shoot Smencils from Learning Resources through Blog Match

So what are Smencils? 

Everyone loves Robinsons® and now you can get best-selling Smencils® scented pencils in the five familiar Fruit Shoot™ flavours!

Smencils brought to you by educational toy manufacturer Learning Resources® are the world’s only scented pencils made from 100% recycled newspaper! 

The world’s only scented pencils made from 100% recycled newspaper.

So what did we think of them? 

I like the environmentally friendly aspect of these pencils, made from recycled material. I like the price at £5.99 for a pack of five. 

The grandchildren loved them for  a few different reasons. They liked the fact they all had their own tube for storage, this is to keep them smelly for longer. They loved  that they gave off their scent when they were writing with them and when they are doing their homework it makes the whole kitchen smell fruity. 

They were able to distinguish the scents just by smelling them so they were a good likeness. 

We love them. 

They also make coloured Smencils and Smens

Why not take a look at  Learning Resources Facebook Page and enter the competition to win a set of your own. All you have to do is leave them a comment telling them what new flavour you would like to see. 

Back to School with Stuck on You - Competition

We all know that going to school, or back to school, requires an awful lot of equipment, from clothes, to shoes, to gym kits, bags ans stationery to name but a few.

One company that can help out with this is Stuck on you

Now personally I am not a lover of names on public display on children's bags but plenty of people are, be it a back pack, a lunch box , library bags , book bags or pencil cases, Stuck on You offers them all.

If your child has a fairly common school bag, many slightly older kids want what every body else has, make it easier to spot by adding a bag tag, or why not buy them their own water bottle, never need to go hunting for a sports top style bottle again.

They do a huge variety of  labels, iron on for clothes, shoe labels, book labels, in a huge choice of styles, something suitable for both sexes and all ages.

I was offered to chance to pick some items from the back to school range for the grandchildren. So first off we let Fifi loose on the website where she spent over an hour looking at the huge choice of colours, styles and items available. She already had her heart set on a bag she had seen on the town so she decided to go with other items.

She choose The Tool 4 School pack, the pack contains a pencil case, 12 coloured pencils, 10 double ended felt tip pens, a ruler, a pencil sharpener, an eraser, 2 writing pencils and a pair of scissors with a blade cover on. The pencil case comes in a choice of 43 different designs each in a choice of 3 colours, thats 129 different options. The pencil case can have one name on, but the accessories that are  included in it can, if you wish as Fif did, have your middle name as well as your surname on, just add your middle name in the surname
box.You also get to chose a small picture to add to these accessories.  She chose the pink colour with birds on, and a cat as her small picture.

She liked the fact you could chop and change on the website and you can see a preview of the finished item before you confirm the entry. Half the fun for her was using the website.
The accessories seem to be of a very high standard, I love the double ended pens, one end think, one thin for both colouring and writing. The blade cover on the scissors is a nice safety feature, and as the name is on this they are less likely to loose it, or more likely to put it back on. The sharpener is inset into a small container so the sharpening's are not dropped on the floor. My only negative point on this was the ruler was slightly too long for ease of getting in and out of the case itself and I recommended to Ffif she did not put it back in as I feel over time it may damage the zip end on top of the pencil case.

She also chose a water bottle to match her pencil case as her school do not allow juice to be drunk in school only water so this is ideal, at evenings and weekends she could use it out and about playing with juice in.

Next off we got Bob some items, he got The Artist series Activity Pack . What we liked about this was depending on what design you picked the inside of the book is different, so technically you could buy a different set for each child with a different pages inside.
Bob has got the rocket set that has robots in and he has been working his way the puzzles, I would say they are designed for 5-8 years depending on the ability of your child, but that an older child would still enjoy doing them.
You also get a set of double ended felt pens and a set of pencils. These do not have a name on them, but you do get a sticker sheet that allows you to personalise the pencils if you wish and you can also use them on books, jotters etc.
The pencil case is a good size and will hold a jotter which is why we chose it for Bob as he is being home schooled and this will allow him to carry his jotters to home schooling group.

As his sister has personalised pencils we chose a set for Bob as well. You can buy just a set of pencils and double ended pens , would make a novel birthday or Christmas present.

Not to be left out I chose for me, well I deserve a treat and take juice and a snack to work with me, I chose a lunch pack set. The lunch box is insulated so keeps the food cool, and the juice bottle is aluminium BPA free so no worries about it. At  500ml the flask is probably big enough to give a drink at playtime as well as lunch time. The lunch box easily holds the flask a box with a few sandwiches with plenty of room for fruit or a cake. Has a nice handy elasticated pocket on the inside as well.

If you have a slightly older child that does not want a picture on their bags but would still like their name on  you can also get very nice embroidered ones .

Now I am running a competition with this, and you get to choose which you would like as a prize. You can pick from the three items either the lunch bag and water bottle set, the artist series activity pack or the tool for school pack.

To enter just let me know which prize you would like to win and  which colour and design you would like. Please leave this information as a comment along with a means of contacting you if you win. If the comment does not have all the relative details in then your entry will not count.  Once the winner has been confirmed I will ask you for the personal details you would like on it as well as you address and pass the information to Stuck on You for delivery.

Competition closes September 11th at 8pm GMT. The winner will be contacted and has 7 days to reply before I choose another winner. Competition  is open world wide.

Good luck.

For an extra entry please tweet " I have entered to win a personalised item from

@StuckOnYouTweet you can at with @pooohbear2811" and come back and leave a separate comment to say you have done so. 

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

Monday, 20 August 2012

Project 366 233/366

Our children went back to school today, well Fifi did anyway, Bob started his home schooling. After their tea we went down to the beach park for a change. Fifi was tired but I thought it would get her out and give her some fresh air.

I give you a college of fun. 

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky Have chosen this one to link up this week as it shows the huge amount of pleasure I get out of having my grandchildren every week. They bring such fun and joy into my life and I love the relationship I have with them.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Project 366 232/366

Not been out for a walk today, could not be bothered, but meet 2 of my bakewell tarts, my icing never stays thick or on and only had light coloured icing pens to make the pattern with, but taste very yummy no the less

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Project 366 231/366

Took a walk further along the coast, nearly to the end of Prestwick tonight as we had seen an old church ruin when we went to Glasgow on the train the other week, so went off to explore it. A lot of very interesting grave stones, some of which help to tell the history of the area.

Took this picture of one of the gravestones, The graveyard was up a hill approx 1/5 a mile from the coast. The buildings you see in the back ground were the other side of the golf course on the coast.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky linking this one up as a change from the children.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Project 366 230/366

Checking up at the allotment again this evening we may actually get something other than potatoes as a crop, look we have cobs on the corn, not te biggest yet  I will admit, but it is only August, another 6 weeks of sunshine to go yet, and a second cob coming on a few of them.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Project 366 229/366

Strolled along the beach just before sunset tonight, got some sunset pictures, some soft sand pictures and this one. Along the shore there are a lot of rocks piled to stop erosion, and I quite liked the pattern on this piece.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Healthy Supplies August parcel

 First off I topped up on some healthy sugars, my favourite coconut sugar and my new friend Fruit sugar. Just find these a much better alternative to white sugar.

Next off have some ground almonds and ground hazelnuts to try them out in brad and cakes of different types. Some sultanas as we use them in cakes, pancakes, as well as fruit bread and on cereals. They also go great in coronation tofu.  Trying the almond extract and also fancied trying sunflower seed spread

Topped up with bread flour and wholemeal flour, spelt flour and yeast

On a savoury note got more tofu to use in savoury recipes and also to try as an egg replacer. 

Trying some noodles to see what I can come up with, soba noodles are a traditional Japanese noodle, black rice noodles which go well with tofu and brown rice noodles to make a nice contrast with colour. These all cook very quickly and so are great for a quick meal.

If you want to see what I did with some of last months items you can do here 

These items are chosen by me but any recipe ideas are purely my own. 

Using my products from Healthy Supplies - August

Last month I made a variety of stuff, as usual

Cholesterol Free Chocolate Muffins

Creamed Coconut cake 

Chestnut Flour shortbread

Chestnut flour cake

Quinoa Pancakes

Cakes and rolls with Bob

Bobs cakes
recipe here took out the haribo and topped with carob

Blueberry Muffins
adapted this recipe, took out the chocolate and added blueberries

mince with onion powder doughballs

the dough balls, or dumplings as they are called in other parts of the country, are made using 4 oz flour, 2 oz suet, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt and cold water to mix.  

lemon pancakes with golden syrup
recipe here 

kamut, spelt and rye bread made into a  tomato sandwich
recipe is here

gluten free potato scones
recipe here 

coconut cream chocolate cake
recipe here 

chicken stew with gluten free pasta and tomato dough balls

these dough balls are made using 4 oz flour, 2 oz suet, 1 tablespoon tomato powder 1 teaspoon salt and cold water to mix