Baked Pretzels

Cinnamon Sugar Coated Baked Pretzels

OMG! Delicious! This was a recipe from BakedIn https://bakedin.co.uk/pages/pretzels . First time I’ve tried the Pretzel shape too, fairly easy.

Sunday for me is a chillout day and normally a baking day, so today I decided to give these a go for our Sunday Brunch picnic at home. Sugar & Spice & all things nice……so yummy!

Makes 4

150g Strong White Bread Flour

1 packet 7g Dried Yeast

15g Caster Sugar (plus 40g for Topping)

1/2 tsp Salt

2 tbsp Bicarbonate Soda

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

100ml Milk

40g Butter (plus 30g melted for coating)

50g Chocolate (if using a dip)

Chocolate Dip for Pretzels
  1. Melt butter and milk in pan on low heat, do not boil, needs to be lukewarm about 40 deg.
  2. Place strong white flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix. Make a well and pour in the melted butter and milk mixture.
  3. Mix everything together until a soft dough forms and knead either using a stand mixer with dough hook or on a work surface with your hands for about 8-10 minutes. Grease a bowl and place the dough in, leave to rise for about 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
  4. Knock back the dough and cut into 4 equal sections. Roll each section into a long rope approx 50cm long.
  5. To make the Pretzel shape, curve the rope into an upside down U Shape, then twist the ends together twice, each time left over right. Bring the ends of the rope up to the top of the curve (loop) and press down to secure.
  6. Preheat your oven to 200 deg and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  7. Bring a pan of water to the boil. Place 1/2 tsp of Bicarbonate Soda into the pan of water for each Pretzel, 1 at a time using a slotted spoon, slowly lower the pretzel into the water on the slotted spoon, leave for about 10 secs, lift out the spoon & drain the water then place onto the baking tray. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Meanwhile mix the caster sugar & cinnamon together in a bowl.
  9. As soon as the Pretzels come out of the oven, brush with the melted butter and leave to cool for a few minutes. Once cooled toss in the sugar mix and serve straight away.
  10. Melt chocolate with a little milk to serve. (if desired)
Yummy Baked Pretzels

Caribbean Beef Stew

A Bowl of Caribbean Beef Stew

When I think of Caribbean Food, I think beans, rice, peppers, sweet potato & tomatoes to name a few. This dish is a mix of all my favourites and I was using up leftovers too. I hope you enjoy. This dish would be lovely with Lamb too.

Serves 2

300g Scottish Beef Mince

150g Diced Butternut squash (or sweet potatoes)

1 onion, chopped

1 Red Pepper, chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tbsp sweet hot paprika

120ml Beef Stock

200g chopped tin tomatoes

200g Black Eyed beans

Handful of peas

Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Heat some oil in a large pan and brown the mince.
  2. Add in the butternut squash, onion, red pepper, garlic, ginger, paprika and mix through, cook for 1 minute then add in the stock, tomatoes, peas and beans, bring to the boil then simmer covered for about 30 minutes. Season.
  3. If using Lamb I would slow cook this so the Lamb in tender.
  4. Serve on its own or with some rice.
Bowl of Stew


Chorizo, Chickpeas & Spinach Chilli

Chorizo, Chickpea and Spinach Chilli with rice

I am now back to work after a long furlough period due to this Covid19 pandemic. Being back at work means that I prefer quick and easy cooking meals for mid week dining. Last thing I want is to finish a long work day and stand cooking for an hour, who’s with me?

This dish takes just 15 minutes, so its a quick throw together in one pan kinda dish, but packs flavour and spice. Good on its own or can serve with some rice. I also used freshly picked Spinach from my new veggie beds (furlough project).

Serves 2

200g chickpeas

200g chopped tomatoes

80g chorizo – sliced or cut into bite size pieces

1 brown onion – chopped

1 yellow pepper – chopped

Handful of Spinach – chopped

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp garlic granules

1 tsp basil flakes or fresh leaves to serve if you have

Salt & pepper to taste

100g Wholemeal or Basmati Rice if serving. (cooked as per packet instructions)

  1. Spray a pan with oil and heat on a medium to high heat
  2. Brown onions in pan for a few minutes
  3. Add in the pepper and chorizo with garlic and chilli flakes and cook for a few minutes
  4. Add in the tin tomatoes and chickpeas, mix through, bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. 1 minute before serving, add in the spinach and basil flakes, mix through. Season
  6. Serve on a bed of rice. Yum!
Plate of Chorizo & Chickpea Chilli


Lemon Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Lemon Glaze Sweet Potatoes

I recently harvested my first sweet potatoes, so decided to have a little quick potato lunch today. If you love sweetness, you will love this. I served with some crushed goats cheese for that extra creamy texture.

Serves 2

2 medium sweet potatoes – sliced into 1″ thick slices

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 lemon juice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pinch Salt

  1. Preheat oven to 160 deg and grease a baking tin.
  2. Mix the Lemon juice with melted butter, sugar, salt and cinnamon
  3. Places the sweet potato slices in baking tin and pour over the mixture, cover with tin foil and bake for about 40-45 minutes.
  4. The last 5 minutes, remove the tin foil to allow glaze to thicken and brown in oven. Remove and sprinkle some goats cheese. Serve.


Scottish Empire Biscuits

Empire Biscuits with Jujubes

For a while now I have been trying to perfect my Empire Recipe, and finally I have found a ratio of ingredients and cooking times that work perfectly. (please bare in mind that not all ovens are the same, so you timings may vary slightly). The traditional Scottish way is to decorate with a Jube Jube (they are like big jelly tots), although most people tend to put a cherry on top. To be honest it’s whatever you like, there is no right or wrong. I have even experimented with alternative decorated toppings.

There was a great post from Scotsman Food & Drink a while ago about the largest Empire Biscuit made which measured 36″ diameter. Read all about it here:-https://foodanddrink.scotsman.com/producers/worlds-largest-empire-biscuit-unveiled-scotland/

A bit like Shortbread quantities my Empire quantities are similar, if you start with the flour then butter then sugar and just half quantities as you go, you won’t go wrong.

Empire Biscuit Recipe – this makes 12 biscuits (24 individual biscuits)

450g Plain Flour with an additional 50g being Custard Powder to make 500g

250g butter

125g Caster Sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch salt

Raspberry Jam

Royal icing is best & JuJubes (or cherries) Recipe for Royal icing here:- https://theweecaledoniancook.com/2020/01/25/royal-icing/

  1. Mix everything in a mixer until just coming together, remove from bowl onto a floured work surface and bring together with your hands.
  2. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out to about 1cm or just under. Using your chosen cutter shape cut out your biscuits and place on a baking tray with greaseproof/baking paper.
  3. Preheat your oven to 180 deg and bake for about 10 minutes. You do not want these biscuits to brown, they should be pale in colour. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  4. Once cooled, you can now spread 12 with the scottish raspberry jam and sandwich together. Make your icing and spread on top of biscuit then finish by adding your Jujube. (or cherry)

Walton Burn Waterfall

Walton Burn Waterfall

This was such a great discovery today, this Waterfall is only 3 miles from where I live. I have lived here for over 30 years and only just knew about this beautiful spot. If I haven’t told you yet, I am an admirer of Waterfalls, I love the way they move, sound and look. Sitting by them makes me feel so relaxed and they are also great to photograph. Some say that because of the negative ions released by a waterfall, you can’t help but feeling happy when you’re near one. The “science” says that when the negative ions go into our bloodstream, it increases the production of serotonin, which is the happy chemical.

Black & White Waterfall

If you fancy a little wonder, this is quite easy to get to and from the near roadside just a short walk. If coming by car, you can either park in Abronhill or Wardpark area near Forest Road.

  1. We walked along the roadside from Wardpark and over the railway bridge, about 100 yards after the railway bridge there is a gap in the trees, walk up and you will see a fence with a wooden step over, climb over into the field.
  2. Once in the field you want to head to the Walton Burn that runs through, this you will need to cross. My advice is wear wellies or waterproof walking boots as your feet will get wet. Some bits of the burn are quite shallow. If it has been raining (which it does a lot in Scotland) the ground (field) will be very muddy too.
  3. Once across the burn you want to walk to your left through the field with the burn on your left until you see the brick wall and tree line. When you reach this you are at the top of the waterfall, which is on your left.
  4. You should see a mud path in front of you, from here head down towards the bottom of the waterfall. Please take care here as it can be slippery under foot when wet.

Nutty Energy Balls

As the Covid19 Lockdown is slowly and gently easing, we are now allowed to travel to the mountains again. We have longed to get back outdoors and into the picturesque landscape we call home. The Scottish Mountains are my headspace, a place where I grow, think, be at peace, laugh and get fitter…lol! To read more about the Scottish Munros, Corbetts, Grahams etc, head over to my travel post https://theweecaledoniancook.com/2020/07/08/a-list-of-scotlands-mountains/.

Anyway, back to food, my first passion. To walk or climb the Scottish Mountains you need energy firstly (then waterproofs…lol), so I made these to pack and take with us for a wee boost when needed. Great for a pre workout snack too & also Gluten Free.

Nutty Energy Balls

Makes about 16

For the Balls:-

4 heaped tbsp of Crunchy Peanut Butter (good quality, I use Whole Earth)

200g chopped mixed nuts & raisins (I used a food processor to chop finely)

2 tbsp Icing sugar

Coating/Topping:-

Choice 1:-

Dark or Milk Chocolate, 1 tbsp Butter – Melted together

Chopped Pistachios

Choice 2:-

Butter icing – Icing Sugar 80-100g, 1 tbsp butter – Melted together

Desiccated Coconut

  1. Place all ball ingredients into a bowl and mix together until combined. You may find it best to us clean hands for this. Take a tsp size and roll into a ball.
  2. Dip the rolled balls into your wet mixture of choice and then roll into the coconut or pistachio toppings to coat. Place onto a greaseproof lined baking tray and refrigerate to harden.
  3. These can be stored for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Of course you can use any coating or topping you like.

Enjoy these bite size energy boosters

A LIST OF SCOTLANDS MOUNTAINS

The great bulk of Ben Nevis, UKs highest mountain at 4413 feet, towers above Fort William in Lochaber
The great bulk of Ben Nevis, UK’s highest mountain at 4413 feet, towers above Fort William in Lochaber. Click the Image to find out more.

There are 5 different Mountain heights in Scotland, each are categorised as follows:-

Munros:- These being the highest ranges, anything over 3,000ft is classed as a Munro. There are 282 in the current list.

Corbetts:- These are 2,500ft – 3,000ft ranges. There are currently 222 Corbetts in the list.

Grahams:- They are 2,000ft – 2,500 ft ranges with a drop of 150m on all sides. Currently there are 219 on the list in Scotland.

Donalds:- Generally found in the lowlands of Scotland, as they are 2,000ft at least with a drop of 100m on all sides. There are currently 89 in the list.

Marilyns:- Are anything below 2,000ft, and currently there are around 1219 in Scotland.

Mountains can also be categorised as areas, such as Highlands & Islands, Southern Lowlands etc, here are some:-

  1. The Cairngorms
  2. The Grampian Mountains
  3. Cuillin Hills
  4. Southern Uplands
  5. Ochil Hills
  6. Campsie Fells
  7. Sidlaws
  8. Northwest Highlands
  9. Galloway Hills
  10. Cheviot Hills
  11. Arrochar Alps
  12. Lomond Hills
  13. Glencoe Area
  14. Lochaber Hills
  15. Pentland Hills

There are so many beautiful areas to explore here, I am still working my way around my homeland and hope to bring you more information as I go along.

Some of my favourites are the Cairngorms, The Cuillins & Glencoe.


Crispy Mint Squares

Crispy Mint Squares

I was looking through all my recipes the other day and came across this one from my Gran’s old Cookbooks, one I hadn’t tried before. So with the wet weather to day was that day I was going to try these. Back in the day my gran always used margarine for baking, personally I think butter is a much better flavour so this was the 1 thing that I changed & I added in some pistachios to the base to give it a bit more crunch.

Mint Square

Makes about 16-20 squares (depends on how big a slice you want…lol!)

For the Base:-

200g Digestives, crushed

120g Butter

50g Light Brown Sugar

1 heaped tbsp Cocoa Powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 heaped tbsp desiccated coconut

40g Chopped Pistachios

1 egg beaten

For the Peppermint Centre:-

50g Butter

3 tbsp milk

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

230g Icing Sugar

Green Food Colouring

For the Chocolate:-

140g Milk Chocolate (55% cocoa) I use Lindt, definitely my favourite.

40g Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa)

1 tbsp butter

  1. Use a 9″ square baking tin and line with baking paper or foil
  2. In a saucepan over a low heat melt the butter, stir in sugar & cocoa powder, bring off the heat and whisk in the beaten egg, return to heat and whisk until thickened, this only take a minute or 2. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, digestives, pistachios and coconut, mix together so everything is coated well. Using a spoon, spread the biscuit base mixture into you baking tin and smooth. Refrigerate for about 1 hour until hardened.
  3. Using a mixer, stand or hand whichever you have, beat the butter until smooth. Add the icing sugar, milk, peppermint essence and food colouring and mix until blended. Smooth this mixture over the top of your biscuit base and return to the fridge to set for about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, melt your chocolate with the butter in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water and allow to cool slightly. (about 5-10 minutes)
  5. Pour chocolate over the buttercream and smooth, return to the fridge to allow chocolate to harden. (about 30 minutes).
  6. Once chocolate has hardened you can now decorate (if you wish), I just drizzled some green icing over the top and returned to fridge to set.
  7. To prevent the chocolate from breaking when cutting into slices, remove from fridge and bring to room temperature. I made that mistake of slicing too soon and my chocolate cracked.
Crispy Mint Squares

Beef Kofta Curry

Beef Kofta Curry Dish

Another great recipe from PON book, we are loving our curries at the moment, must be all this rainy weather we are getting thats putting us in the mood…lol! After all, who doesn’t love a good curry?

There is nothing better than a homemade Curry, fresh ingredients, good scottish beef and making from scratch you can save on those extra calories to make it a guilt free Curry. This little Curry is only 200 calories per serving. (add on 50g cooked brown rice to serve, still brings it to under 500 calories) Yummy!

Serves 2

1 Red onion, diced

1 tsp garlic granules (or 1 clove peeled and diced)

1 tbsp Curry Powder

1 tbsp Tomato Puree

400ml Beef Stock

230g Butternut Squash, diced

300g Scottish Beef Mince

Fresh Coriander, chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Lightly oil a saucepan and add the onion, cook until browned. Add in the garlic and curry powder and stir, add in the tomato puree, stir then add in the stock. Add the butternut squash and bring to the boil then simmer for about 20 minutes until squash has softened.
  2. To make the meatballs, put the mince & coriander in a bowl then season with salt & pepper, mix together and then divide and roll into small balls. I got 10 out of mine.
  3. Spray a pan with a little oil and brown the meatballs. Set aside.
  4. Once butternut squash is ready, blitz with a hand blender to make a smooth sauce. Place the meatballs into the sauce and warm through for a few minutes. Remove and serve with a sprinkle of fresh coriander. Yum!