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2nd place!

While all has been quiet on the blogging front, it’s been far from quiet in real life.  Moving house, expecting my first baby, meeting my new born niece- stuff has been happening.  Good stuff.  Just not blog appropriate stuff.

After a few terrible years, 2012 seems to be looking up.  Long may it last.

Right now I am sitting in remotest Sutherland on a day that would not go amiss in the depth of winter, at a hotel which combines the charm and warmth of the hotel from The Shining, cross with a bit of Faulty Towers. However, there is minimal wifi connection, which has given me the chance to jot a few overdue words.  I should chose these word wisely- if our initial impression of our hotel is anything to go by, they may be my last.

….I am not feeling full of wisdom today, so instead I will just have a wee gloat- that photography competition, the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year at The Mall Galleries in London….

Woo Hoo!

And here’s the picture:

And here it is, hanging on the wall of the Mall Galleries and me, trying to look cool calm and collected after the winners were announced:


Feeling pretty chuffed.  And, it’s available to buy!  Here:  

Next stop, National Portrait Galleries!


2011- A Food Odyssey

It’s been a good year….for my belly.  I feel I should pay homage to the last 12 months of eating and the 12 lbs gained as a result.



Some I made. Some I had made for me. All delicious and memorable and so more-ish.

2012 has a lot to live up to.



Highland photo journal, part 5- Isle Ornsey, Skye

Our journey from Applecross to Isle Ornsey seemed relatively short compared to other journeys we have done recently.  We arrived nice and early.  It’s easy to see why the Sleat peninsula it is called the garden of Skye.  It is so green and lush compared to the moorland that covers much of Skye.

We arrived early which allowed us to take a long, long walk around a remote and unknown coastal area.  Stopping only to get lost and to have to backtrack over clifftops, rocks and boulders, and through ferns and nettles and grasses.  It was pretty though.


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Highland photo journal, part 3- Knoydart

So, Knoydart….


Being a regular visitor to Applecross, I thought I understood ‘remoteness’.  I didn’t.  Not until visiting Knoydart did I really appreciate how far removed from the outside world you could get.  There are two ways of getting here.  Walk, a journey that takes several painful hours across 17 miles of mountain, or sail.  We caught the 2.15 sailing of Bruce’s boat from Mallaig.  We were blessed with a relatively calm sea for the journey.

On arrival we took a stroll round the bay and found this…


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Highland photo journal, part 2- a stroll round Mallaig

This is just a quick post of a few things I spotted while strolling along Mallaig harbour, waiting for the boat to Knoydart.

There must be a story behind this, but I can’t think what it could be…

Who knows when I will next have internet connection, but watch this space for tales from Knoydart, and beyond…

Highland photo journal, part1- Arisaig

Our first few days have been pretty spectacular. Arisaig has been beautiful.

Ok, we got rained on, a wee bit, bit the clouds overhead created a stunning sunset.

And, when I turned round, the combination of rain and sunset created this…. 🙂


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Home Sweet Home-Lochwinnoch and Cumbrae on two wheels

Apart from eating, I talk a lot about Glasgow and travelling the Highlands of Scotland.  Yet, I am guilty of neglecting the places on my very doorstep.  Alas, no more!  Over the last few weeks I have been taking advantage of the clear blue skies and warming sunshine, and I have rediscovered the lovely places right under my nose.

First, I have to share with you just how lovely the Lochwinnoch war memorial looked under a blanket of pink blossoms on the nicest day of the year so far.  Incidentally, this happened to be the same day as the Royal wedding.  The blossom floating through the air and landing in the ground reminded me of confetti.  It was really beautiful.


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Sun, soup and cycles-a wholesome Easter weekend

It’s been a good week.  A wholesome week.

I have been a busy girl.

First, I feel I should really mention my first whisky tasting experience.  Wednesday night I attended Tam’s Drams’ whisky tasting dinner at MacSorley’s bar in Glasgow. I was worried I was going to be a bit out of my depth.  I had visions of old men with beards and Aran sweaters, scowling at the young pretender.  I was wrong.  It was fabulous.  Informative but unpretentious and nobody was taking themselves too seriously.  Now, I would normally have photos, but please bear in mind there were 6 whiskies to get through- 2 before the starter, 2 between courses and 2 after the main dish.  After the second whisky, thoughts of photos went out of the window, but you can probably imagine….

I have to mention the food, of course.  Brilliant.  Really really brilliant.  The menu is amazing and I can’t wait to go back.  It’s definitely worth checking out the website using the link above to get a sample of how imaginative and tempting everything sounds.  And, they do stovies!   This pleases me lots. Not enough places serve stovies.

Anyway, on with the wholesomeness…

Soup.  I make it all the time, but I was feeling a bit experimental this week and I was so delighted with the result of my Sweet potato and Squash spiced soup with lentils and coconut milk, I have added it as my first recipe in my Small Kitchen Diaries.


Today involved more food, but it was well earned.  Once more I took to my bike and ventured out along the local cycle paths.  It was a beautiful day.  Not too warm, not too windy.  Perfect cycling conditions.  We peddled for hours through the countryside stopping only to do some shopping and eat ice cream.  We finally made it home where we sat on the picnic blanket in the garden and ate olives and drank red wine out of tumblers so not to spill it everywhere, as I so often do when trusted with a wine glass outdoors.


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exciting possibilities…by boat and by bike

Today, I am pretty excited.  Plans for our next adventure are coming together and, I think, they are rather special.

We will be covering Arisaig, Knoydart, Sleat and Trotternish on Skye and, of course, Applecross.  Arisaig, Skye and Applecross will be repeat visits.  I know what awaits me there and I can’t wait to get back.

Given the remoteness of most areas this involves some careful travel and accommodation planning.  Passenger boats, car ferries, bikes and kayaks will all be making a contribution to our journeys up and around Scotland’s west coast.  I think it sounds amazing!  I can’t wait to get paddling again, it’s been too long…

However, I am actually starting to see the appeal of canoeing instead of kayaking- It’s a bit more flake advert and a bit less Bear Gryls.

I am particularly looking forward to experiencing Knoydart, totally inaccessible by road and can only be reach by rather lengthy hike through mountains.  Alternatively, and this is our preferred route, by boat from Mallaig.

As well as seeing these stunning places, I am excited as this trip will give me the opportunity to eat at some fabulous food establishments.

1. I can’t wait to try the Knoydart prawns!  I here they are a major contender to the infamous Applecross bay prawn I am so partial to.

2. The possibility of eating at The Three Chimneys.  I’ve done this once before and it was outrageously good.  I would love to repeat it and hopefully we can get a table- better book now- it can take 2-3 months for a reservation!

3. Jann’s cake shop in Dunvegan, Skye. You have not had a muffin until you have had one of Jann’s muffins, topped with home made chocolates!

4. The possibility of eating at Kinloch Lodge, Claire McDonald’s restaurant.  Another michelin star restaurant on Skye (in addition to The Three Chimneys).

5. Prawns at the Applecross Inn! -an oldie but a goodie.

6. Dinner at the Potting Shed in the Applecross Walled Garden.  It’s been too long!

7. Dinner at the Shieldaig Coastal Kitchen again, hopefully outside on the roof terrace.

8. Cooking big pots of squat lobster on the camping stove or steaks on the barbecue and eating them al fresco (the weather will, of course, be amazing and there will be no midges).

With all this eating I have in mind it’s a good thing we plan some serious outdoor activities.  I was unfortunate enough to have my bike stolen from under my bedroom window in the middle of the night just a month or two ago.  The cheeky so and so’s wheeled it right by my front door at 4 in the morning.  What’s worse, is the noise of the wheels squeaking actually woke me up but I couldn’t figure out what it was and didn’t until we found the cut security chain dangling lamely from the drainpipe a few days later.  Luckily it was insured and I now have a shiny new bike which I have been getting some practice on recently.

It’s easy to forget what you have on your doorstep and this is something I have been guilty of lately.  I should really make good use of the cycle network my house sits on and since the weather took a turn for the better I have been doing this when I can.

Until I journey off next, I have a feeling I am going to be getting quite familiar with the cycle network and I am looking forward to it.  Since I must be burning off at least ten thousand calories an hour I already feel justified in the extra food intake of late.  I do need my fuel after all!  Speaking of which, the picture of Jann’s cake has put me in the mood…I’m off for a rummage in the fridge.

Applecross revisited

Jeez, sitting in a Glasgow city centre cafe with the rain pouring down the window during a quick break from work sure does make Applecross seem such a long time ago.  I wasn’t going to post anymore photos, but given how popular they seem to have been elsewhere and how I am feeling a wee bit in need of a reminder that it was not all just a dream, here are a few more…

Now, that’s better already.

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