Today I have a bit of a treat for you – CoffeeMuffin’s first guest post! This guest post is from Simone Gribble author of Grrr. Cupcake. (cupcakes for men). As you may know I hate the craze for cupcakes with huge amounts of frosting. Thankfully now Simone has people like me covered with her latest ebook.
The cupcake craze has been raging since the 1990s and hit Edinburgh a few years ago with the opening of a few specialist cupcake bakeries in the city centre. I’ve been baking my own cakes ever since I was a little girl and resisted additive and preservative rich store bought cakes. My icing skills weren’t as good though so when these speciality shops opened, professing to sell handmade cupcakes, I thought I should give them a try, for research purposes, you know.
I bought two. One was a banana caramel cupcake with two inches of icing and a dried banana chip on top. It sure looked pretty. Imagine my disgust when I bit into the cake only to find that the banana and caramel flavour existed only in the icing – the cupcake itself was pretty bland. The second cupcake, whose flavours I don’t even remember, fared no better.
As a disease that has affected both my grandmothers (thankfully both in later life) this research is something that I am particularly interested in. While the research is in its early phases, by eating more foods rich in B vitamins – what is the worst that could happen? It may have no affect on memory, but it’s still good for you!
Matt and I were very lucky to receive vouchers for the Nick Nairn Cook School as a wedding gift. From the large selection of classes I chose Thai because it was spicy (always important to me) but also fresh and suits the sort of spring time cooking I am really looking forward to!
Of course on the day we chose to go to the class it was actually snowing in Edinburgh. However it was a lovely day over Stirling way, and just as well if it had been snowing on some of the one lane roads (with passing places) I would have been pretty scared we would get stuck in the middle of nowhere!
When we got to the cook school we were greeted warmly by staff, then given coffee and shortbread while we waited till the class began. Which really set the tone for a day of a lot of cooking, eating and fun memories.
This weekend I bought a pie dish with a fluted edge. I wanted my first homemade apple pie to be just a little bit special.
In fact there were a lot of things I wanted from this pie. I wanted it to be the perfect end to my Sunday lunch. I wanted it to be perfectly warm after a cold walk out in park. I wanted it to be just like my Gran’s Apple Pie. As much as I love cinnamon I didn’t want this to be an American Apple Pie and I wanted this to be different from the pies you get in the supermarket.
Oh dear I was expecting a lot from this pie.
There is an inherent difference between men and women, or at least between Matt and I. I want fuss and time and effort, Matt wants anything for the easy life – the less stress version.
This is most obvious by looking at what I made each of us for a birthday cake. I wanted a stunning three layer brightly coloured cake, lots of time, lots of effort, lots of stress and essentially (in this case) disappointment.
Matt however wanted… nothing, he wouldn’t be drawn on what he wanted at all as his birthday cake this year. For a while I thought about making a lemon torte, but I have tried umpteen different recipes and none of them worked, none of them were really even tasty. In the end I gave in to what he wanted which was the least stress option.
My main memory of empire biscuits, isn’t as you might think of being a young child picking off the sweetie on top and licking off the icing. I am sure I did do that, it certainly sounds like me, but no. My overriding memory of Empire biscuits is much more recent and in fact within the past 6 years.
It has entirely happy recollections of early romance, when Matt and I would sit in the Boyd Orr cafe drinking coffee and eating Empire biscuits. Not too much later on I realised how the Empire biscuit was perfectly suited to giving you a much needed sugar high at 10 o’clock at night when you have a Uni deadline the next day.