~ Engangsgrills and Jelly Stings ~

With all this gorgeous weather we’ve been having in Stavanger (it’s been 30+ degrees every day for 4 days now), Mike and I decided we’d head to the beach after work on Tuesday. We picked up some burgers and an engangsgrill (a disposable BBQ), drove to Hellestø beach and had a brilliant couple of hours relaxing by the sea.

The water at Hellestø is super clear, and the sand banks mean that it’s shallow for hundreds of metres from the shore – which makes it both safe for kids and warm. I love to swim; Mike, not so much. He does enjoy a wee paddle though! I had a dip while he got dinner going, then we both went in again after we’d eaten. It felt like we were on holiday! Warm water, most of the population of Stavanger in their bikinis on sun loungers, the smell of BBQs and the happy shouting of children. We came home salty, sandy, freckly and with crazy-beach-hair (OK, that was just me) – what a lovely afternoon.

Yesterday Mike was working a little later than me at the office, so I decided to do a repeat performance before I went to collect him in the car. As soon as I got in the water, my leg was itching and burning – youch! Only then did I remember that on Tuesday we spotted a jellyfish on our second swim, and after we got out the water my leg was a bit stingy. I think I probably had a little jelly sting on Tuesday and hadn’t realised until I was back in the saltwater! Still, it didn’t spoil my swim – I spent absolutely ages in the water, floating back and forth and diving under the swell that was rolling in. Bliss. No BBQ this time, though – I just picked up a sandwich and a big bottle of water which was enough to keep me going until Mike and I bought a couple of ice creams on our way home!

Tonight I’m going to Gladmat with a couple of the ladies from work – a food festival in Stavanger that’s eagerly anticipated by all the locals. I’m looking forward to trying some tasty morsels and hopefully getting a few people-photos to upload here later.

K

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~ Scottish Wedding ~

Mike and I are getting married on 25/07/2015 – just over 12 months away. I am so beyond excited…

My lovely friend Anna married her partner, Scott, seven weeks ago. I was there as a bridesmaid, and helped set up the venue (Coo Cathedral in Aboyne) in the days before the ceremony. It was a beautiful day and an honour to be part of it. I loved Anna’s theme – country Scottish chic, with wildflowers, lace and tealights – and I hope to do the same for my own Big Day.

I’ll be updating this blog with our wedding plans as we make them – so far, we have the venue and date sorted… And I’ve bought myself a beautiful, beautiful dress that I cannot wait to wear!

K

~ Upside-Down Fruit Cake ~

pineapple cakeI’ve got a hankering for pineapple-upside-down cake today. It’s my Dad’s favourite and I always make him one for birthdays and Fathers’ Day. Our dog, Molly, seems to quite enjoy it too!

My Easy-Peasy Cake Recipe:

~ 3 eggs
~ self-raising flour, butter and caster sugar (I’ll get to the amounts in a minute)
~ a teaspoon of baking powder
~ small handful of ground almonds
~ vanilla essence
~ fruit of your choice (pears work well, as do berries, tinned fruit and frozen fruit)
~ a couple of tablespoons of golden syrup (optional)

The oven needs to be pre-heated to 180 (fan).

1) Weigh your eggs – shells still on. Whatever they weigh (probably approx. 170 – 200g depending on size), measure out the same in flour, sugar and butter.

2) Blend sugar and butter until fluffy.

3) Add eggs one at a time and beat carefully so that the mix is silky and not separated.

4) Add in the flour. Sifting is a waste of time in my opinion – I’m an impatient baker. Mix in the baking powder, too.

5) Add a few drops of vanilla essence and a handful of almonds – enough so that the mixture has a “dropping consistency”, i.e. plops off a wooden spoon in a lackadaisical fashion.

6) Grease and line a baking tin. When making a fresh fruit cake, it is imperative that you line the tin! Lay out the fruit on the bottom of your tin – you can make it look fancy with slices and geometric shapes, or just tip in a handful of berries and have done with it. Add a few spoonfuls of golden syrup if the fruit is tart.

7) Spoon over your cake batter, making sure you run it to the edges of the tin to form a seal over the fruit.

8) Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes; timing will vary depending on the type of fruit you’ve chosen – and its water content – but you’re looking for a golden colour, the sponge beginning to come away from the side of the tin, and a knife to come out clean when you stab into the centre of the cake.

9) Leave to cool – but only for 5 minutes! Turn out upside-down onto a plate, so all the shiny fruit is on the top. Peel off the baking paper and marvel at how pretty it looks.

10) I occasionally drizzle with a little runny icing… Usually it doesn’t need it though.

Good enough to enjoy with a blob of creme fraiche, custard or ice cream while still warm, or packed into a lunchbox to scoff with a mid-morning coffee!

I’d love to know if you try it.

K

 

~ Waterfalls and Fjords ~

I picked up some photos from the shop on Friday – I use mainly film for my ‘real photography’: the shots that I take my time with, trying to make the best I can. From a 24-exposure roll of Ilford HP5+ I got a handful I was pleased with – mainly of the melt-waterfalls I was so taken with on a trip to Røldal last month.

The pictures don’t capture the sound of the water thundering down from the melting mountain snow to the icy rivers; it was an incredible experience like none I’ve had before. Mike and I have always been outdoorsy types, but the walks we enjoyed in Scotland were never on this scale. We passed so many of these waterfalls we became almost blasé about it – although not quite.