Lemon & Poppy Seed Shortbread for Maison Blanc

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Happy Easter everyone!  I hope everyone enjoys their day and has an Easter weekend filled with loveliness.  As long as you have plenty of chocolate I would say you’re good to go for a fun time.

My weekend has been lots of fun so far, very much helped by the gorgeous weather we’ve been having.  I was down in my old ‘hood (Glasgow) to see McBusted at the Hydro.  Let me tell you, it was SO MUCH FUN!  McFly shows are always a good time and leave you grinning from ear to ear, the Busted factor just added to the craziness and increased the jumping factor.  On Saturday I had a barbeque with friends in a beautiful spot in Killin, the Falls of Dochart. I’m weirdly obsessed with any natural water feature, weirs and water falls in particular so these falls were like heaven for me.  That combined with a barbie..what more could you ask for!

As for Easter baking, after my speckled egg macarons I was desperate to speckle something else.  So, when I was invited a few weeks ago by Maison Blanc to enter their Easter ‘Blogger Biscuit Challenge, I thought speckled shortbread would be perfect.  The competition is to design an Easter themed biscuit to become part of their 2015 range.  The entrants will be whittled down to 3-5 designs which will then be voted by their customers, and the winner will have their biscuit sold, get a tour of the patisserie and meet their head Patissier Sebastian Boulanger.

maison blanc

The biscuit will be judged on its appearance and flavour profile, and although they didn’t ask for a recipe I’ve included one below as always, I hope you guys like the sound of them enough that you’ll want to try them!  I wanted to keep my design simple but striking.  I chose sweet spring pastels, speckled like eggs, with a white swirl along the centre to give them a lift and to ensure they were as eye-catching as possible. Read more

Homemade Nutella

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If forced to chose only one food to eat for the rest of time, I’d have to choose Nutella…probably.  I mean, it’s just the most delicious thing ever invented.  It is equally enjoyable on plain white bread as it is baked in to muffins, or even straight from the jar (you know you’ve done it too).  Sometimes when you get home from work you need a little pick me up before you start dinner.  Spoon.  Jar of Nutella.  Heaven.

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Usually homemade versions of things are superior to the shop bought variety.   Now, I’d love to own that accolade and say this Nutella tastes even better than the real thing, but that’s simply not possible.  The homemade version is something different.  Also supremely tasty, with a strong hazelnut and deep chocolate flavours with a hint of sweetness from honey.  Maybe it’s the more grown up verson…either way it tastes amazing, it’s just not going to replace your trusty jar in the cupboard.  Think of it as an alternative. Two types of chocolate hazelnut spread certainly can’t be a bad thing! Read more

Currently Loving

APRIL SHOWERS
(source)

I’m currently working my way through the A Beautiful Mess crash course ‘How to Write & Pitch a Book Proposal’.  There is a lot of good info in there and for £5 it’s a steal!  I know a book is a bit ambitious but you gotta dream big and be prepared!

As I mentioned in this post, I’m loving the Easter baking speckled egg trend.  This cake is beautiful.

Coconut and chocolate is ALWAYS good.

Spring time means new dresses.  This one and this one are on my shopping list.

Love this site and this article.  I look forward to living alone!

Reason number 2873 I wish I lived in California…Avocados.

Easter Egg Macarons

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Happy Sunday!  I hope everyone has had a lovely relaxing weekend so far.  My Saturday was unexpectedly full of my favourite things – family, friends and baking.  After an abrupt end to my working day I found myself at home with a free afternoon which was quickly filled with a family gathering, baking for the gathering and then dinner with friends.  So what started off a very bad day turned out to be pretty good.

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I’d been desperate to try out the speckled egg technique for ages, so when I found myself at a bit of a loose end yesterday it was the perfect opportunity, and now I can’t wait to speckle everything! (Some pastel coloured Easter cookies will be make this week, I think.)  Also I feel like I’m on a bit of a roll with macarons after last weeks success, and luckily my new found recipe didn’t let me down. Read more

Macarons

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Today was a pretty exciting day for me.  As you know, I gave up my job and moved back to Inverness last month.  It was a big change but I’m settling in and starting to enjoy living up north again.  That feeling in my stomach has gone.  That one of constant worry, expectation, fear.  It has been gradual but there is now a sense of relief that I’ve made a big change to my life which will hopefully lead to great things.

Today I took the first step towards those great things.  The feeling in my stomach is now a little bit of anxiety but I think that is normal with any new job.  It is for me anyway!  I’m excited to be working as part of a Pastry Team, albeit for a trial period to begin with, but I’m going to work hard to get the most out of it as possible.

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On the subject of learning, I’ve been trying to master macarons again.  I’ve been hit or miss, the last attempt wasn’t great, but before that I made these delightful chocolate and peanut butter babies.

This time I stuck to a plain macaron mix, filled with different types of ganache, and others with shop bough dulche de leche. They were a success.  So much so that I had to fight with my family to let the rest in the fridge overnight…and to be honest, after a few hours some had been eaten already!  Light, sweet and chewy with a satisfying crunch just as you take a bite.  Perfection. Read more