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Celebrating cupcake week 2010

9 Sep

What a lovely week to celebrate, I hope that you discovered Kelly’s red velvet cupcakes?

Alice Rose Cakes and Cookies

Alice Rose Cakes and Cookies

I am always curious as to why people start up a business and how they found their passion, so  I asked some cupcakers (is there such a word) to share their experiences. In this post, Alice Rose who is starting up a new business distributing cupcakes across the UK (yum!)

Like many great people, Alice’s inspiration came to her in the bath. Three years ago, she’d left university with a business degree but wasn’t sure what she really wanted to do. Her Ah Ha moment was to become a cake decorator. The first cake she made was for her own birthday whilst she was doing up her own house. She had to contend with a really old cooker the previous tenant had left behind and the only work surface available on top of the fridge! She wishes she had taken a photo of that first effort, to see just how far she has come. Night classes at college followed to learning basic royal icing skills then more modern sugar paste techniques.

Tennis theme cake and cupcakes

Tennis theme cake and cupcakes

Cupcakes have become increasingly popular amongst her customers but she also makes an equal amount of large celebration cakes combined with cupcakes as well.

Cupcake Canapes

Cupcake Canapés

Alice explains “Cupcakes are so flexible, you can add them to a children’s party bag or customise them with a company logo. The range of flavours are also endless – traditional puddings are now lending their flavours to cupcakes including black forest gateaux and banoffee pie. I have also  just started creating cupcake canapés which are bite size and are in an edible case for easy eating”. Not surprisingly, her favourite pastime is creating new flavours and of course, sampling them!

An alternative wedding cake?

An alternative wedding cake?

I was keen to hear more about the cupcake delivery system. Alice explains “My partner and I are setting up a delivery system working with a team of independent cupcake makers and decorators across the country. Once we receive an order on our Direct Cupcakes website, we commission the bakers to create the order for us and deliver. We are planning to launch it in the next couple of weeks.

If you are interested in getting involved, visit the website, or send Alice a tweet @arcakescookies

Seafood at Ondine Restaurant Edinburgh

30 Aug
Shellfish at Ondine

Shellfish at Ondine

It’s always a bit of a challenge eating out during the festival.  You’re either trying to work out whether you can fit a decent meal in between shows or are reluctant to try somewhere as it will be overwhelmed with all the visitors in town. We ended up with a booking at a very precise 5:45 pm as the table had to be back at 7:15. Having  just seen the Korean show Chef (think kung fu mixed with beat box) we were ready for a delicious meal. Continue reading

The Peat Inn at Foodies at the Festival

26 Aug
Geoffrey Smeddle of the Peat Inn

Geoffrey Smeddle of the Peat Inn

Foodies at the Festival Part 2

What would you say are the perfect elements of a good cookery demonstration?

I’d suggest the following:

  • Articulate presenter
  • Passionate about their craft
  • A sense of humour
  • Engages with the audience
  • Is entertaining
  • and of course most importantly, cooks delicious food.

Geoffrey Smeddle of the Peat Inn in Cupar is self-deprecating and very down to earth and most worthy of his Michelin star. He is obviously passionate about seeking out the best local suppliers. (Mr EF and I were all for driving to his restaurant straight away). We were delighted to have secured a ticket to watch his demonstration at the festival and were in for a real treat. The audience (many of whom had been to his restaurant) hung on every word …

Geoffrey cooked a wonderful dish of halibut and heritage tomatoes in tomato essence. I was lucky enough to try a little at the end: intense, tomato-y heavenly goodness.  Those of you who have the Foodies at the Festival Brochure will have the full recipe but I thought I’d share the tomato essence with you here using the notes we took as he cooked as they are a little different to the printed version.

It’s really important to find ripe tomatoes – J M Craig at the Edinburgh Farmers’ market sell ones for soup which are ideal. Add some of their Claree variety cherry toms, and the mixture will be perfect!

Preparing the tomato essence

Preparing the tomato essence

Tomato Essence (for 2)

  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 6 large soup tomatoes
  • 10 gr fresh basil and coriander torn roughly
  • 1/2 tsp each of black peppercorns and fennel
  • Strip of orange zest
  • Pinch of salt and sugar
  • 100 ml water

Make the essence at least a day before you need to use it.

Chop up the tomatoes, place in a metal bowl with the remaining ingredients. Stir well then crush slightly with a potato masher. Cover tightly with cling film and leave in a warm place. Geoffrey explained that he puts the bowl above his cooker which warms the mixture. We tried the airing cupboard, then the greenhouse as the sun was shining. Leave for about 8 hours.

Place a sieve over a bowl. Now either line with a tea towel, or put a  jelly bag into the bowl. Put the tomato mixture into the sieve or the bag if you are using it. Using a plate or other suitable item, place a weight on top of the tomato mixture and leave to press overnight. Transfer the juices into a clean container and set aside until needed.  To use gently reheat.

The essence was served in a soup bowl with slices of  heritage tomatoes, olives and torn coriander and basil with lightly cooked halibut.

Tomato Essence

Tomato Essence

He told the story of where he was when he heard about his Michelin star – in Our Dynamic Earth eating a cheese and tomato sandwich. Somehow that anecdote summed up the man.

Food Lovers’ Festival Guide (Pt 2)

9 Jul

Ever with food on my mind, I started thinking about foody things to see and do at the Edinburgh festivals and I am pleased to provide tasty offerings that might tempt your palate.  I am going to have to be very brave to dine at 100 feet up though ..

If you know of any must see foody shows, events, happenings, let me know!  @edinburghfoody. Do read  Part 1, in which I suggest great places to eating during the festival.

Edinburgh Festival City

Edinburgh Festival City

Book Festival

Astonishingly, there are still tickets available for Anthony Bourdain – 28th August (remember Kitchen Confidential),  Prue Leith 24th August and Mary Contini – 15th August.

Festival in the Sky

Dare you dine 100 feet up? Join 21 other people and menus that have been created to suit the Festival in the Sky experience by the Cook School Scotland prices from £32.50 per person depending on meal you choose.

Foodies at the Festival

Scant details as yet, but this takes place on 13th and 14th August in Inverleith Park. Cookery demonstrations and tastings are promised. Tickets £10


Taste Whisky and Taste Ale at Leslie’s Bar

Tutored tasting events throughout August with Stewarts Brewing (beer) and ten or so whisky distilleries at this bar which dates back to the 1890s. 45 Ratcliffe Terrace, Edinburgh £10

Whisky at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

28 Queen’s Street and The Vaults, Leith. Usually for members only, discover the delights of single cask whisky. £17, 6 dates only at each venue.

Wine in the City

Edinburgh Wine School on the Royal Mile for beginners and those more experienced.

Wine School at the Fringe

Wine tasting on a barge at Edinburgh Quay, Fountainbridge.

Festival Shows

Each year Mr EF and choose a random show to go to, so I’m including some shows chosen purely and simply on their write up in the Fringe programme – could be interesting!

Faulty Towers

The Dining Experience,
Best Restaurant, 16 Drummond Street – do  you dare?

Chat Masala

Hardeep Singh Kohli cooks curry and talks shop with festival guests. Guilded Balloon

Magic Porridge Pot (for Kids)

Interactive porridge anyone?