Updates

Long time no speak, happy summer folks. Things have been somewhat hectic; hence the lack of blog updates but my aim is to post more regularly and share some recipes, calligraphy and photo stories. 

Calligraphy wise I've been overwhelmed with the interest in modern calligraphy here in Scotland. I held my first modern calligraphy summer workshop in July which proved really popular. We started the day with pointed pen techniques then moved on to experiment with brush and watercolour lettering with a break in between for a lovely afternoon tea. 

Going forward I'll be scheduling workshops in a variety of different forms and co-hosting with some other lovely suppliers so check out the workshops page for updates. Slots seem to be selling super quick on all classes so feel free to register your interest to hear about upcoming dates so you can get in there first! 

I've been working on a variety of commissions lately including wedding invites and vows, calligraphy logo design and custom quotes. 

I was also lucky enough to take on a few fun food photography jobs over the summer including working with the lovely Laurianne of Laurianne's raw cakes taking styled shoots of her gorgeous and healthy cakes and some portrait shots. Our little collaboration has prompted us to join forces to host a raw desserts and calligraphy workshop - full details on the workshop page. 

Heading into Autumn I have some exciting projects on the cards and hope to launch a collection of semi custom invites in the coming months along with a range of products including calligraphy kits and prints. So all in all exciting and busy times ahead and I'm totally loving the variation in the projects I'm working on so please do get in touch if you'd like to work together! 

 

Easter in Arran and salted caramel cornflake cakes

Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to stay in such a beautiful location as Scotland. Its all to easy to wish you lived elsewhere and I've always hankered to live in the States. However, it doesn't take long for me to remember why I love my home country so much and despite the somewhat dreary weather at times (well a lot of the times), our landscape and scenery are truly stunning. 

My friends and I headed over to Arran on the Brodick ferry for a short weekend break and rented a house in Lochranza which accommodated the 12 of us (kids included). The area was quiet and peaceful and our house for the weekend Westwood was ideal and cosy for a bit of escapism. 

Arran isn't particularly buzzing but we visited the brewery and distillery and despite the rain most of the weekend managed a few walks and a few shopping trips for gifts in Brodick. 

Easter wouldn't be Easter without chocolate and indeed cakes. Not the most exciting of cakes but I love Cornflake chocolate nest cakes, but when I spied a few recipes for salted caramel versions I knew I wanted to give them a try. 

Word of warning these cakes are extremely sweet and a little taste goes a long way. They went down well with the group but personally I do prefer the classic chocolate version. 

Recipe (makes about 12)

90g Butter, 2 1/2  tbsp Golden Syrup, 190g granulated sugar, 120ml double cream, 1 teaspoon salt, 170g cornflakes, 40g milk or dark chocolate

Heat the sugar in a medium saucepan over a medium heat continually stirring. Keep the heat constant and stir with a wooden sppon. The sugar will form clumps and bind to form a thick amber goo. Keep stirring. When the sugar has melted and becomes more liquid like, stir in the butter being very careful as it bubbles up and stir till melted. Slowly add the cream and boil for one minute. Remove from heat add the salt and golden syrup and stir to combine. Pour in the cornflakes and combine. Dollop into baking cases and top with a little egg ( I used galaxy golden eggs). Allow to set for 10 minutes or so then drizzle chocolate on top and pop in the fridge for about 40 mins to set. 

Eat in moderation these are sweet!

I also managed to get in a little bit of sneaky calligraphy just for fun. 

Braw Brides wedding workshop - Arta

Last weekend I was delighted to take part in my first wedding event as I joined my lovely Braw Brides in their annual workshop. Arta, Glasgow provided a beautiful setting for the event with the moody lighting and opulent decor, and I was really pleased at how my table turned out and indeed for the interest in my calligraphy and lettering. 

I teamed up with other Braw Brides members Suzanne Esper Cakes and Bonnie Bling for a fabulous cake topper corroboration which received huge compliments and will shortly be available for sale via Bonnie Bling. I also had the pleasure of doing some brush lettering on Suzannes biscuits which is another project I'm looking forward to as we launch a joint calligraphy and cake/biscuit class.

Throughout the afternoon, tea and cake were plentiful and the Photographers amongst our group, hosted a number of unique question and answer sessions; sharing their experiences and offering advice to our lovely couples.

I also showcased some of my new invite designs at the event and some unique items including modern calligraphy leaves and table runners. 

I also managed to take some pictures of the event and am already looking forward to working with couples to bring a touch of custom calligraphy to their wedding day. If you're looking to find a lovely bunch of truly unique wedding suppliers check out the Braw Brides page for details of all the members. 




Mars chocolate memory cookies

I always hate starting on a down note but my lovely wee gran passed away on Boxing Day at the ripe age of 94. My gran was a fiesty wee soul and in her prime years her diet and indeed were perhaps a bit skewed but none the less kept her fit and well for the majority of her days. 

I remember going to my grans house for lunch and sleepovers and being somewhat baffled by the logic that Toblerones were in fact healthy because they had honey in them!

On one occasion I remember the delight at eating a Mars bar late at night with a copy of tea all warm by the fire in her wee cottage house, and these cookies which I made have delicious chunks of what is still one of my favourite chocolate bars.

The recipe is quick and easy and for the photo shoot I incorporated some lovely snapshots which we found in my grans house of my mum and aunt as youngsters feasting at the table. 

170g of butter, softened (3/4 cup)

150g of soft light brown sugar (3/4 cup packed)

50g of granulated sugar (1/4 cup)

1 large free range egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

280g of plain flour

2 tsp of corn flour (corn starch)

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

pinch of salt

2 (51g) Mars Bars, chilled and then chopped small (1 heaped cup, loosely piled in)

180g of semi sweet chocolate chips (1 cup)  

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F. gas mark 4.  Line two baking sheets with baking paper.   Set aside.

Cream the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg, vanilla and salt.  Sift together the flour, soda and corn flour.  Stir this into the creamed mixture to combine.  Stir in the chopped Mars Bars and the chocolate chips.  Scoop out and roll the dough into balls which are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place two inches apart on the baking sheets.  

Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, until nicely set and just turning golden brown at the edges. Let sit on the baking trays for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely - if you can wait that long!

Ombre rose cake

When my friend suggested making an Ombre rose buttercream cake, my first thought was mmm that sounds like hard work. In reality though, the sponge recipe is fairly easy to make adding some food gel colouring to each layer to get the fantastic colour contrasts.

For the buttercream, again its just a case of dividing up the mixture and adding some food colour (sparingly I might add!) and giving it a good mix. The buttercream roses can be a bit tricky, but with a few goes are easy enough to master. I'm sure you'll agree the end results look great and little Etta was well impressed :) 

This would make a great cake for a party and is definitely for those with a sweet tooth.

For the buttercream (make 2 lots of this to cover the whole cake in buttercream then to make the roses with the remainder)

Sponge cake (this makes 2 layers so we made 2 batches)

  • 225g (8 oz) self-raising flour
  • 225g (8 oz) butter, at room temperature
  • 225g (8 oz) caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Method
Prep:20min  ›  Cook:25min  ›  Ready in:45min 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / gas mark 4.
  2. Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl.
  3. Mix all of the ingredients using a electric whisk. Add a few drops of food gel we used Wilton colourings.
  4. Pour the mixture into 2 non-stick 7 inch (18cm) tins.
  5. Place them in the oven till golden brown 15-25 minutes.
  6. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

For the buttercream

250g unsalted butter, 500g icing sugar, food colouring/gels

Beat like fury.

Makes about 16 portions.