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Mind that time I was blogging every day in September? Yeah... To be fair this will be my 19th post in the 24 days of September that we've had, which is more blogging than I've ever done in a month - so I think we can claim this month as a victory.

Although my Scot Food Fort content is now done, the Scottish theme continues on with this beautiful gift set that I was given by The Scottish Fine Soaps Co. It really couldn't be more welcome as, although I've ended up taking a few days off without posting, posting as much as I have done this month alongside working full time and filming and editing for my YouTube channel I feel absolutely exhausted, and very much ready to book in for a spa weekend somewhere. As it so happens, with my New York trip in December and my Paris trip for February needing to be paid off before I go to NY, a spa weekend is not financially on the cards for me until after Christmas - so I needed to improvise.

I say improvise, because using these products did not feel at all like a compromise. 

The Sea Kelp scent is beautiful and luxurious, and incredibly spa like. I have been loving the Ren Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium range but given the cheapest product I've used from that range is the £20.00 body wash and the entire contents of this set come in at £12.50 - including being presented in the beautiful box - the Sea Kelp range from The Scottish Fine Soaps Co. is a much more affordable way to get that kelp experience.

But let's talk about the contents of the set; for your £12.50 you get a solid bar of Soap (40g), a Body Wash (75ml), Body Butter (75ml) and a Hand and Nail Cream (75ml) all with the same Sea Kelp fragrance, obviously.

The body wash is absolutely beautiful - you do get a little bit of a lather off of it for those of you who really cannot be without a lather, but it's not a huge foamer which, for me, means it's not drying my skin out. The soap lathers as much as you make it, but as you'd expect from a company built on their soaps, again it's not drying. Although I'm saying these things don't strip the skin, don't interpret that as they're heavy and super nourishing - these are lightweight, refreshing products to use, you feel uplifted after using them, not ready for bed.

The leave on products are again lightweight, but they are nourishing. The body butter when sold on it's own can come in the tube (the full size is 200ml) or a gorgeous glass jar, but I think the tube presentation is making sure I don't slather on too much, the way I might do with the jar, and my skin is absorbing it pretty much straight away. For me the phrase 'body butter' usually automatically equates to 'standing naked in the bathroom for 15 minutes trying to wait for it to sink in' (which, when it's winter in Scotland, no one is up for, let's be honest!) but this one is a non traditional body body that absorbs quickly, feels lightweight yet nourishing and that I feel like I can use in the morning or before I need to be somewhere without it being a risk, time factor wise. 

The hand and nail cream is pretty fast absorbing as well, and I think I'm going to take it in and keep it on my desk in work as the scent is so nice and uplifting that it'll probably help with that 3pm slump we all hit in the afternoon (I say we all because I'm hoping it's not just me who can only stare at a computer for so long before her eyes start to glaze over!) but it's not going to leave me with greasy hands for when I do go back to my mouse or keyboard.

We're in the run up to Christmas and I think this gift set is an ideal present for pretty much anyone who likes to relax and enjoys a touch of luxury - I think I'll be treating myself to the Sea Kelp Bath Essence next, and because it is a very clean, fresh scent I think it's quite a unisex set. Being fairly attracted to manly sets, I'm also pretty interested in the Thistle and Black Pepper range (there's a muscle soak that I really want) and the Manhattan Soap In A Tin - just in case anyone's reading this that's starting to think about what they'd like to get me! 

The Scottish Fine Soaps Company

24 September 2017

 For my last Scot Food Fort recipe the theme is Brunch and, let's be honest, brunch only happens on days off and it's not something I want to spend a whole lot of time making - so here's my recipe that I got from someone in my Slimming World class for a super easy eggs and bacon brunch, that has a lot of flavour for minimal effort.
You Will Need:
Muffin Tray
Cooking Spray
Scotty Brand Unsmoked Back Bacon
Scottish Eggs
Scottish Cheddar Cheese
2 x Salad Tomatoes
Spinach
Asparagus

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celsius for a fan, 190 Celsius for a non fan.

Step 2: Spray each of your muffin cases with the cooking spray - not enough to get wet just enough to make sure your bacon doesn't stick.

Step 3: Line each of your muffin cases with bacon - the bottom and sides, the bacon should almost be like the pastry on a pie, it keeps everything else together. If you're following this as a Slimming World, or even just a healthy, low carb recipe, you might want to remove your fat before doing this.

Step 4: Slice up your tomatoes and place a tomato in the bottom of each muffin case.

Step 5: Slice up some cheese and place on top of your sliced tomato. This can be as much or as little cheese as you like (or no cheese at all!) but if you're a Slimming World-er you'll need to measure it out and make sure it fits as your HexA choice. 
 Step 6: Place a few spinach leaves into your cases.

Step 7: Crack an egg into each case. Now, my muffin tray isn't all that big - so I used 4 eggs between 6, so that 2 of my egg and bacon cases were actually egg whites and bacon - they still tasted amazing, so don't worry about it if you can't get a yolk into each case! However, I do intend to get a bigger muffin tray as, as you can see below, I was having difficulty fitting all the ingredients in!
Step 8: Pop your muffin tray into the oven for 15-20 minutes. 

Step 9: Prepare your sides - i.e. grill your asparagus. Of course, you could always serve up with grilled tomatoes on the side instead, or have no sides at all... It's completely optional! 

That's it - serve up and tuck in, low effort but delicious weekend brunch all round! 
It's hard to believe but that's all my Scot Food Fort posts done! I've had such a good time exploring the options for Scottish food and drink and there were so many things I wanted to include that didn't really fit with the theme of the day - so expect more Scottish Food posts from me in the near future! I hope this has been enjoyable for you guys - and that maybe it's opened you up to a few new Scottish things you could be using on a daily basis! For now... back to lipstick!

Easy Brunch

23 September 2017

As soon as I saw Fine Dining as a theme for Scot Food Fort I knew I was going to do some kind of Surf & Turf - I'm a massive fan of a steak and lobster meal, especially when we go to Florida, and originally that was exactly what I was going to do - but when these Highland Game Venison Steaks caught my eye in Waitrose I decided to try something a little bit different from the standard steak.

Paired with the garlic and parmesan hassle back style potatoes, I knew lobster would have been a little bit too much else to fit on the plate, so I instead opted for prawns to give that feeling of having a good surf and turf but without too many big players competing for space on the plate. This was definitely one of my favourite things I've made in a while and although I'd never cooked venison before I basically followed the instructions and it came out perfectly.

I'm actually not a huge sauce person, so I served my steak up just with it's own juices which was more than moist enough for me, but do feel free to add in a sauce if that's how you like yours!

To recreate mine, you will need:
Highland Game Venison Steaks - 250g 
Ready To Eat Prawns
New Potatoes
Mackintosh of Glendaveny Garlic Infused Rapseed Oil
Parmesan Cheese
Asparagus Tips
For the potatoes I decided to do mini hasselback potatoes made with some baby potatoes. I actually wanted to use the Scotty Brand baby potatoes but had finished up my supply and I'm nearer an M&S than Waitrose, so the M&S babies got pulled in for duty, but when I'm making this again I will use the Scotty Brand ones. 

I washed the potatoes and, while they were drying, preheated my oven to 180 degrees (I have a fan to go for 200 if you don't.) I used the 'wooden spoon trick' for slicing up the potatoes - it ensures your knife doesn't go all the way down and slice through, though after doing two this way I got cocky and did the rest myself as I preferred a slightly deeper cut to let the potatoes fan out a little more.

I then placed the potatoes (I did 3 for each of us, which doesn't seem very generous but once you consider everything else on your plate 3 is totally fine!) on a tin foiled lined baking tray and rather over enthusiastically drizzled 2 tbsps of the Mackintosh of Glendaveny Garlic Infused Rapeseed oil over them. In retrospect it was a little too much oil as when the potatoes were done they still has a little oil spilling out, so I'd only use 1 tbsp next time. Once the oven was ready I popped the potatoes in for 20 minutes.

At the 20 minute mark I took my potatoes out and covered them in my grated parmesan cheese before putting them back in the oven for another 15 minutes. 

During that second 15 minute stint it was time to do the venison, I first of all placed my pan on a high heat to let it get hot prior to the meat going in, then took the venison steaks out of the packet and seasoned them with salt and pepper and sprayed them with a little oil. As soon as they hit the pan there was a hugely satisfying sizzle, and off we went. I simply did 2.5 minutes on one side, turned the heat down to medium, flipped over and did 2.5 on the other, then turned and did each side for another minute and a half. That gave me a gorgeously tender venison steak that was on the rare side, but you can do an extra 3 minutes if you prefer your meat more medium. In the last minute that they were in the pan I also chucked in my prawns to give them a heat. I had ready to eat prawns so it was literally just a case of warming them.
I then transferred the steaks to a separate plate and chucked my aspragus into the pan beside the prawns, to let them cook in the juices from the steak. At this point I also turned the oven off and went to get my plates prepared. I placed the steaks and prawns on the plate, keeping the asparagus in the pan and pulled the potatoes out and dished them out between the two of us. 

Fine dining is all about presentation so I used a piece of kitchen roll to wipe around the food on the plates, mopping up the juices and then turned the pan off and placed the asparagus on the side. 

I even served up my meal on our Rennie Mackintosh plates - since it was for Scot Food Fort after all! 

Venison Surf & Turf with Garlic and Parmesan Mini Hasselback Potatoes

18 September 2017

Guys... I had such plans for BBQ day. I was doing a rack of ribs it was all going to be wonderful and then the fact I am not a full time blogger came into play and unfortunately I just didn't have time to prepare and photograph and writer a blog post on that - so I've got a super simple BBQ recipe that you can whip up with pretty minimal effort, that still tastes amazing. Cheesy BBQ Wedges. Its might not be a rack of ribs, but they are as good as they sound, I promise.

Like all great wedges they start with using the best potatoes - and the Albert Bartlett Roosters* are just that. I used them in my Best Ever Baked Potatoes here and my Cheesy Wedges here (omg, yes, there is a theme - I love a really good quality potato covered in cheese, I actually hadn't notice till now... but since these are Cheesy BBQ Wedges, they're totally different!)

They really do make for the best potatoes for creating chips with and this time I also brought my Tefal Actifry into play to make my chips with. The actifry has honestly been one of the most used gadgets in our kitchen since we bought it and I can totally say that when Scott & I eventually move into our own place it's one of the first things I would invest in for my own kitchen - I use it at least once a week and there's seemingly no end to what you can make with it. Ours is a few years old now and although it shows no signs of stopping if it did stop working tomorrow I'd be out purchasing another tomorrow night, I really can't live without it. No, not sponsored by Tefal and I wasn't given a free actifry, I just genuinely love it.
It does recommend to use a tbsp of oil with the actifry, but I tend to just spray over some of this Filippo Berico Olive Oil spray, which doesn't add to a tbsp but gives enough for the potatoes to crisp up in. I scrubbed the potatoes then cut them skin on, but you can of course remove the skin if you'd rather.
For the BBQ I used a total kitchen cheat from SpiceNTice - their BBQ rub. I found SpiceNTice through the Slimming World Instagram community and they do a load of different rubs and kits and the BBQ one is delicious on wedges. I added a 1 tbsp to my chips and that made 2 good portions. For the Slimming Worlders amongst you it comes in at 0.5 syns a tsp.

Just look at how good these chips look!!!
You're 100% good to leave them here and eat them like this - they're amazing just as they are, but me being me I of course added tomato ketchup and some Scottish cheese. You know what they say, if it ain't broke...

BBQ Wedges

17 September 2017

Way way back at the start of my YouTube channel I blogged about a Scotch Lamb Food Festival that I had attended - you can check out the vlog here, though to be honest I wouldn't recommend - it was done on my iPhone and I would never put up a video of that quality now - but what I would recommend from it is the Scotch Lamb Street Food inspired recipe from Chef Jacqueline O'Donnell that I featured in the vlog - and for Scot Food Fort's Street Food theme that was the first recipe that it popped into my head to showcase. As I followed this recipe from my blog there aren't specific amounts involved, it was a lot of guesswork and down to how many people you want to serve - but this is a delicious recipe that is so worth you trying!
 Ingredients wise you need:
Scotch Lamb Mincemeat
Wraps
Sweet Chilli Sauce
Fennel Seeds and Pistachios (you're going to ground these up together, so if you can find pre-ground all the better!)
Natural Yogurt
Salad - I used iceberg lettuce, beetroot, onion and mint. At the event Jacqueline used radish rather than onion, but I couldn't find any and the onion worked just as well...

The star of the show is of course the Scotch Lamb meat, when buying Scotch Lamb look out for that blue and yellow symbol on the top right of the packet - it indicated that what you're buying is PGI. I thought it had to have both that symbol and the blue 'Scotch Lamb' ribbon, which it turns out it doesn't't, as long as it has the PGI symbol you're good. What's PGI? It stands for Protected Geographical Indication and it means you get a whole host of guarantees which you can read about here. It ensures high quality meat with clear traceability and sustainable farming. You can buy Scottish Lamb, but without that PGI symbol you don't have the guarantees that the PGI scheme ensures.

To make the lamb wraps you first of all want to get the hard job our of the way by grinding up you fennel seeds and pistachios.
You're going to coat your lamb in this so how many you want to grind up will be decided by how many you're feeding.

After that you want to get everything like a production line...

 A plate for each sweet chilli sauce, the ground pistachios and fennel mix, the salad, and the natural yogurt with a spoon, not to forget your wraps.
Once this is ready it's time to do your lamb - take the mince and roll it into little mini sausages (or not so mini if you prefer; they definitely don't look like the most appetising food - but trust me, they taste phenomenal once they're done!

For cooking you don't need long with these - about 3 minutes on each side should do.

After that it's super simple - you follow along your production line.
You roll your lamb in your sweet chilli sauce, coat it in the pistachio and fennel mix, place that on your wrap, add your chosen salad and then a dollop of natural yogurt - close over your wrap and you're done!

A super simple, tasty meal made with Scotch Lamb PGI mince.
This post is part of my contribution to the 2017 Scot Food Fort - to learn more about Scot Food Fort check out my original post here, and join in online using the hashtags #scotfoodfort and #onethingfortnight.

Sweet Chilli & Pistachio Scotch Lamb Wraps

Today's #ScotFoodFort theme is Family Meal. I had proper plans for this meal - imaging herby roasted potatoes and all sorts to accompany my salmon but as it happened I ended up getting in late from work and had to throw all this together super quickly for the hungry stomachs waiting for it, which is, I imagine, the position lots of family meal cookers are in the position of pretty often, so it means it's quite apt!

This is a super easy recipe - you basically chuck half your ingredients in the tray with your salmon, pop in the oven and boil the potatoes whilst your salmon cooks so it's ideal for getting in and being ready with minimal fuss - and it's from putting in the oven to plating up in less than half an hour!
To make the salmon you will need:
1 Large Prime Fillet of Scottish Salmon
1 Lemon
Mackintosh of Glendaveny Garlic Infused Rapeseed Oil
Butter
Heather Hills Honey
Diced Garlic
Dried Oregano, Parsley & Thyme

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees for a fan, 200 for a non fan.
2.Take a baking tray and lay out some tinfoil, slice a lemon and lay it out on the bottom of the foil (I used a lemon and a half for aesthetic purposes - you really don't need that much!)
3. Lay the salmon fillet down on top of it.
4. Spread1 tbsp of the Mackintosh of Gelndaveny Garlic Infused Rapeseed Oil over the salmon.
5. Scoop out 1.5 tsp of the Heather Hills Honey and put on top of the salmon.
6. Sprinkle the dried oregano, parsley and thyme over the top, then add your chopped garlic to taste.
7. Add some butter - I was naughty and did not measure it but you can see the little half fan of butter I created on my knife down below and I just popped that in the middle - some people do melt butter and garlic in the pan together and pour over, but it melts of it's own accord in the oven so if you've got a hungry family the 'bung it all in' approach seems like less hassle.

8. Wrap your tinfoil tightly round the salmon so that none of that good sauce will drip out.
9. Pop it in the oven for 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon.
10. Meanwhile, scrub your new potatoes - I used these Scotty brand ones. The brand had sent me a few things I have shown throughout my Scot Food Fort content, but I have finished all of that and purchased these ones myself - they are genuinely the best potatoes available! You can pick these new potatoes up in Waitrose, Whole Foods, ASDA, Lidl, Spar, Co-op and Iceland according to the website. (On a side note, I feel like I can't ever remember buying food in a Spar - is that actually a thing?! I feel like Spars are petrol station style shops that sell bottles of juice and polo mints, not potatoes!)
11. Pop your baby potatoes in a pot and put the lid on to boil for 12-15 minutes.
12. Drain the potatoes and slice in half, spreading between the amount of plates you have people to feed.
13. Remove the salmon from the oven and split into portions.
14. I was so pressed for time I didn't have any veg - but I feel like either broccoli or asparagus would be a good addition to this dish!
Voila quick, easy and hassle free family meal!

Don't forget to check out the rest of my Scot Food Fort content, and join in with Scottish Food Fortnight by using the hashtags #ScotFoodFort and #OneThingFortnight on social media!

Family Meal

14 September 2017

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