Get Stuffed Chronicles – Bringing the Bake Back

As the title suggests, I’ve found my baking bug again. Last year, I did several fairs which involved spending 1 full day & at least 3 nights a week baking. I think it was a bit of overkill for me as 50% of the time, the fairs were quiet & it was quite disheartening given the amount of effort I put in. Since Christmas I haven’t really done much baking so decided to sort that out the other week.

Since Easter is around the corner, I decided for Mother’s day to bake a couple of seasonal goodies. I’ve always fancied trying hot cross buns, even though I’m not a big fan myself. I did not realise how long they took to make! Honestly, they require more proving than your average loaf!! However, after a labour of love, I produced my first ever batch of hot cross buns that I was very pleased with. I think longer proving would have improved the size of them but they were scoffed down by family which is always a good sign.

My sister had given me the idea of making mini egg brownies as I already make creme egg brownies. Mini eggs are pretty much the only Cadbury’s product I love so it was a no brainer! Of course the baking gremlins had to ruin this idea! I used my go to brownie recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery (if you’re ever in London, pay them a visit!) but with my focus being too much on the hot cross buns, I didn’t put my oven to the right temperature. This meant a batch of what looked like cooked brownies but they were all gooey & underbaked inside. That said, my husband & sister still ate some as they were still nice & chocolately if not the right consistency.

hot cross

This sunday I also tried a couple of experimental bakes with double choc m&m cookies & protein brownie. I was so pleased with the cookies & will be posting the recipe shortly. I’m on a weight loss journey at the moment (I won’t bore you with details) so decided that the recipe for protein brownies from Mike Samuels of Healthy Living, Heavy Lifting sounded worth a shot. For me, since I’m used to making “real” brownies, the consistency of these was too weird. It was a sponge-like texture & tasted a bit strange. That said, once mixed with a bit of agave syrup, greek yoghurt & berries, it was perfectly edible. Further experimentation is required for this one…

cookies

It’s not all been about the bakes in the world of Get Stuffed! I actually have eaten at 2 restaurants I’ve not been to before – Butchershop & Ichiban. However, on both occasions I was not in blogger mode so did not take any pictures of my meals to share. Shock horror I know! Sometimes it’s not all about the food but about the company & having a good meal with friends, which both of these occasions were so it completely slipped my mind to take pictures.

For dinners recently, I have been really impressed with the quality of the dishes I’ve made using some BBC Good Food Recipes. I got a subscription to the magazine as a Christmas present & have been hooked ever since. The bonus is that a lot of the recipes are on the website too for ease instead of digging out old copies of magazines! Recently I’ve made Chicken Cacciatore, Dan Dan Turkey Noodles, Soused cabbage & Vietnamese Caramelised Trout. My favourite being the Chicken Cacciatore as it was so full of flavour, just like a dish from an Italian restaurant & so easy to make! (PS follow me on instagram @getstuffedbakes to see regular foodie photos)

dinner

Carrying on from the last time, here’s some foodie news & openings:

  • Gesso Lounge – a new coffee bar at Charing Cross
  • Chop Chop – Edinburgh’s well known authentic Chinese restaurant has opened a restaurant in Mitchell St
  • Nonna Gina’s – an Italian restaurant & bar opening in The Avenue in Newton Mearns, 26th March
  • Nic’s NYC Deli – They have converted the crepe a croissant on Byres Rd into another Nic’s. But fear not crepe lovers as this branch will also be serving some crepes.
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Get Stuffed Chronicles – Celebrations & Bad Bread

I initially started this series with the aim of it being a weekly feature on my blog. However, I’ll admit I’ve been struggling to find the time to ensure I get a decent post written each week! Honestly, I have around 6 blog posts I need to write & have been meaning to for almost 2 weeks now. Such a bad blogger but I’ll fully lay blame on my new role in work which is causing me to work longer hours! From now on, this will be a fortnightly round up rather than a blow by blow account of all the foodie things I’ve done & eaten! I’m also open to ideas on content that people would like to see. For example, if I remember, I’ll be including details of any new openings I’ve heard about.

Anyway back to business! It’s been a pretty busy past couple of weeks, both in & out of the kitchen. At the end of Feb, it was my husband’s birthday so we had a few days of celebrations as we both took some time off work. We headed up to Pitlochry, just north of Perth, to the luxurious Fonab Castle for an overnight stay. I won’t give away all the details about the castle as I’ve still got a review to write but let’s just say it was fabulous! The rooms were spacious & well furnished & the new spa building was lovely.

Being one of the highest rated hotels in the country, you would expect a great dining experience & we were not disappointed. I took the plunge & had venison for my main course which was a risk for me as I’d had it previously on a Hogmanay break a few years ago & did not like it at all. This time around, I savoured every bit of meat on the plate as it was delicious! I’m actually gutted as I feel like I’ve been missing out all this time! We even had a rare dessert with dinner as the choices were so good! And then there was breakfast the next day, with steak on the menu, I felt I couldn’t turn it down! Anyway, as I mentioned, not too many details here as I have a post coming (hopefully) this week.

fonab

The following evening we visited Opium in Glasgow for dinner. It’s a restaurant that’s been on my “must try” list for quite a while now, mainly due to their extensive list of dim sum on offer! We had a wonderful meal there & left with very full bellies! Another review that will be coming very soon.

opium

If you follow my blog, you will have seen that I received a foodie parcel from Spice Review with lots of wonderful spice mixes. From the mixes, I put together 2 really tasty dishes for dinner last week – Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Bombay Potatoes. Click on either link to receive the recipe for the dishes.

Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Rice

As the title suggests, I’ve been having some issues baking bread recently. Although I’m following recipes to the t, I’m finding that my loaves are coming out slightly underdone & smaller in size.  You might not see it but the loaf in the picture is actually still doughy in the middle.    I’m not 100% what’s happening but it is very frustrating. I’m laying full blame on the yeast as it’s a store brand type I’m using rather than Allinson’s yeast which I normally use. Ok, there’s clearly something else I’m not doing right, in terms of kneading enough or the oven not being pre-heated enough but for next time, I aim to have baked at least 2 decent loaves!

loaf

Baking has taken a bit of a back seat the past few weeks, in part due to me trying to lose weight (more on that another day). No point in baking treats if I can’t sample the goods! I do miss experimenting & have a cupboard full of baking goodies so it’s something I need to pick up again soon since I’m scared I’ll forget how to bake! I did make the gooeyist (is that even a word?!) salted caramel shortbread at my husband’s request for his birthday but didn’t take a picture as I wasn’t happy with how runny the caramel was.

I noticed last week that we hadn’t had a takeaway for dinner all February & figured that we should keep the moment going. That obviously doesn’t stop the odd notion for a takeaway so I took matters into my own hands on Saturday & created a fakeaway feast. I’ve made donner meat in the slow cooker several times (recipe soon) & it tastes just like the real deal but you know every ingredient that’s went into making it! I whipped up a batch on for dinner along with some kebab sauce, pitta bread, spiced onions, chicken tikka & bombay potatoes. It was indeed a feast & hit the spot perfectly! Who needs a takeaway?!

takeaywa

As promised, I’ll sign off with some new & recent openings I’ve been informed of recently:

  • Chimichanga, Silverburn Shopping Centre – I think this should be opening this weekend as I was invited to the soft launch this Thursday but unfortunately can’t make it
  • Bakery 47, Victoria Road, Glasgow – Bakery 47 have finally opened their long awaited bakery in the heart of the Southside. The opening hours vary day to day soI’d recommend checking their facebook page before venturing over
  • Meadow Road Coffee, Dumbarton Road, Glasgow – Meadow Road are the latest addition to the Partick coffee scene (and handily 2 minutes from my flat!). The opened their doors a few weeks ago & have recently started providing some tasty sounding sandwiches to go with the Dear Green Coffee & Bakery 47 cakes on offer.

Get Stuffed Chronicles – Improving Each Day

Every month, I get a wonderful fish box from Coast & Glen that always has a good variety of fish. This helps when trying to do meals plans & experimenting with new recipes as you have to get your thinking cap on. This month’s box contained some squid which was a no brainer what to do with it – salt & pepper squid.

Handily, I had been given Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food for my Christmas which featured a relatively simple recipe for salt & pepper squid. I have no idea what I did wrong but instead of lovely golden & aromatic squid, I was left with some chewy, anaemic squid. It was edible but let’s just say I won’t be in a rush to make this again!

squid

I had better success later in the week with Red Thai Pork that I made for the first time. It was a bit of a mish mash of a recipe as I had some red thai paste left. It all came together to make a lovely dinner, which I will post the recipe for later this week.

IMAG1224

This week coming is my sister’s birthday & she absolutely loves macarons. I had heard nothing but good things about Mademoiselle Macaron & her wonderful macarons. There was a slight problem with my plan of getting some for my sister in that I live in Glasgow & the shop is based in Edinburgh. A bit of a jaunt to go through just for some cakes. Then Billington’s in Lenzie came to my rescue as luck would have it, they started stocking the macarons last week!

Billington’s has been awarded best deli in Scotland by the BBC Good Food Show 2 years running & I met the lovely Mark & Sue at the show last year. When we entered the shop, I could see exactly why they had been awarded the prestige – it’s like an aladdin’s cave for foodies! They stock lots of small suppliers I have come across at shows but never seen their stock anywhere to buy. Aside from the macarons, I managed to contain myself & pick up some other goodies including Poporopo popcorn, some craft beers & possibly the best brownie I’ve ever tasted in my life from Woods. Honestly, this was a fudgey, salty, caramely piece of heaven (and I only had a couple of bites!!). I did state that I had to walk out with blinkers on so I didn’t buy more stuff! Definitely worth a trip out to Lenzie to see what they have in store.

billingtons

After my sunday dinner of goulash & tempranillo, the waffle maker broke its cherry & produced some half decent waffles! It was the first time I’ve ever made them so I knew they wouldn’t be up to belgian waffle standard but it is the goal!

sunday

PS if you haven’t seen my foodie bucketlist post, then why not?! Check it out here.