Lauren Gemmell

Food, Fitness, and Technology

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Thai Cookery Course: Nick Nairn Cook School

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.

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Books you should read: An Everlasting Meal

I don’t really have a New Years Resolution this year, but eating less and being more efficient with the food I do buy is something I have been thinking about over the Christmas period.

Part of the reason for this was that I was lucky enough to get a copy of An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace for Christmas. It’s not a recipe book per se, it’s more a book to change the way you think abut food. I started reading it one afternoon, where like only some of the best fiction, I sat transfixed reading cover-to-cover until I was finished.

An Everlasting Meal

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Red Wine Beef Pot Roast

For the second year in a row I have made a beef pot roast for New Years Day Dinner. I like that it’s simple when realistically you are going to wake up late, and most likely a little bit worse for wear.

Red Wine Beef Pot Roast with Red Onion Marmalade

This morning when I eventually woke up, I went straight into making it.

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Christmas Cake: Iced

In the run up to Christmas I did eventually find the time to ice my cake, but only just enough time. In the end I went for a very simple Christmas tree decoration.

Iced Christmas Cake

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Christmas Leftover Fried Rice

This is a recipe I first made at the start of December but it is so perfect for Christmas leftovers that I wanted to leave posting it till now.

Christmas Leftover Fried Rice

Using leftover turkey (or maybe even ham), rice, a couple of eggs and some Chinese 5 spices you can whip up a very quick taste Christmassy dinner.

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Christmas Cake: Feeding the cake

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while.

Every couple of weeks I have been feeding my Chocolate Christmas Cake with Amaretto.

Feeding the Christmas Cake

Of course I can’t tell you much about how it tastes, but it smells wonderful – deep, rich and christmassy. Every time I unwrap the cake the aroma fills the kitchen.

Feeding the Christmas Cake

Tomorrow I will ice the cake, however I still haven’t quite decided on how to decorate it, my options so far on this iced Christmas cake pinboard.

Then once I have taken like a billion photos, I will chop it up and eat it.

I’ll let you know how it tastes.

Knitted Boot Toppers

If you use Pinterest then you may have seen this image before. For a while it was everywhere.

I’m not exactly a skilled knitter, and I also don’t really have the patience to do long simple patterns – I need to feel like I am pushing myself. After looking at the notes on the project on Ravelry for Boot Candy Boot Toppers, this looked like the perfect pattern for me. It is quick to knit up, knitted in the round (new to me) and with cables.

Knitted Boot Toppers

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Chocolate and Cherry Christmas Cake

At the end of December I wrote a post about how I had stopped cooking and baking during the stress of planning a wedding. How I had resolved to get myself back into it using a list of techniques and dishes I wanted to create by the end of 2012. Needless to say I can’t strike a single thing off of that list.

My first year as a married woman has not been spent as a domestic goddess, with apron on, baking delicious treats and warming homely dinners. While it is extremely unlikely I will ever be that woman, I can always hope (and pursue) more of a life/work balance for the next year.

However there was one thing that shines out above all others on the list, to bake, marzipan and ice a cake.

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Rhubarb Muffins

Last summer I was growing a whole host of different veggies in my garden, but in the end I never got much of anything. Unless 3 cherry tomatoes counts as a glut.

Towards the middle of last summer my Mum brought me up a rhubarb plant, by this point I had very low expectations of anything in my garden.

However I planted it, not really believing that it would last the winter. (With new rhubarbs you are meant to leave them a year to bed in before picking).

Surprisingly not only did it survive but it’s doing amazingly well!


With my homegrown rhubarb I knew I wanted to something a bit different – not something I could buy in the shops like a pie or crumble and something so good I would have to blog about it.

It’s been a while since I have made the staple of this blog – the muffin – so the decision was easy.

I also have plans for Rhubarb Vodka and Rhubarb Ice Cream.

Rhubarb Muffins

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Cherry Popsicles

The weather in the UK and especially Edinburgh has been pretty terrible. Yesterday Matt and I popped out for lunch in the sunshine (with no rain forecast) by the time we were walking home it was torrential.

In my family we have running jokes about the moment you even think of having a barbecue the rain will come on, it’s similar to when the washing machine goes into its final spin cycle. No matter how blue the sky is, or how distant the clouds are, the weather will turn for the worse.

So I am responsible for the terrible weather in Edinburgh this summer. In June I bought a P-O-P-S-I-C-L-E mould.

I apologise.

Since then we have barely had a day of sunshine, and the temperature hasn’t raised above 16oC. I had imagined the summer spent with lots of great experiments with these icy treats. Could you get 5 of your 6 a day from a popsicle? Could you successfully recreate a G&T popsicle? Frozen champagne?

My best laid plans are not to be, however you can’t give up entirely, so I went ahead and made these cherry popsicles anyway.

Cherry Popsicles

Definitely worth the effort, even if the tips of my toes were turning blue in sandals as we ate them 🙂

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