Season’s Greetings

Season’s Greetings, y’all! Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing my posts (and occasionally my books). May your holiday be fun and food-packed.

I’m a big fan of Prosecco and butterscotch chocolate, so with any luck there will be plenty of both tomorrow. The perfect Christmas dinner – 50 pigs in blankets, a mound of stuffing, some Parmesan-roasted parsnips, and then a head-long dive into the Quality Street tin. (Minus the strawberry and orange creams.)

All the best to you for 2018. I hope the year brings you health, happiness and success in your endeavours.

Writing Resolutions: 2016

happy new yearHappy New Year y’all and wishing you health, happiness and other lovely things etcetera.

But it wouldn’t be New Year without a resolution or two hmm? Other worthier and better writers than I shall be listing earnest writing resolutions on their blogs. Write 1,00 words every day – that kind of thing.

I, on the other hand, am listing my alternative writing resolutions.

  1. Do not write after more than two glasses of wine. Yes, the muse may well deign to wander in and stay a while and send you off on the most creative flights of fancy – but correcting the typos the next day is MURDER. And some of those creative flights of fancy, should they ever see the light of day, may well result in your arrest.
  2. Find some reasons to squeeze in your favourite words everywhere. I’m rather fond of quality, spurious, elegiac, medley, splendid, muckle, fulsome and whesht (sp?). I don’t even know what some of them mean.
  3. Learn grammatical rules. I’m a teenager of the 80s. They forgot to teach it to us. Two years ago, I was in charge of a Polish girl interning at the charity I was working for. Sometimes she would ask me to explain English grammatical rules to her, asking about clauses, auxiliary verbs, finite verbs and others. I  had no idea what she was talking about.

Finally, write no more poetry. As proof that I really should desist, I give you the following:

 T’was the day after New Year…

And all through the flat

Not a creature was stirring

Not even the cat

A true Scottish Hogmanay had just taken place

Which meant all the residents

Had decided to get “off your face”

Wine, whisky, lager and beer

Had all vanished down the hatch

Which meant that by 11pm, everyone was of good cheer.

Alas, the cheer lasted only 30 minutes more

And by 12pm, a major rammy took to the floor.

By 1pm, the police had been alerted, 

And by 2pm the party-goers deserted

Heading for the next party and a fresh home to wreck. 

New Year Shortbread

Happy New Year y’all – health and happiness I hope is yours in 2013…

I was going to write a piece about this being the year of our wedding and my feelings about the approaching nuptials. It would have been philosophical, meaningful and thoughtful. It might even have made sentimentally-minded readers cry (though that might be more related to delayed hangovers than anything else).

But, the urge to blog baking efforts triumphed once more. It’s new year and I’m Scottish so of course, I’m going to blog a shortbread recipe! It’s kind of a last-ditch extravaganza of excess before the usual January healthy eating/wedding diet stuff kicks in (sorry to be a cliché).

A few tips – when you don’t have many ingredients for a recipe, you need to make sure they are the best so very good quality butter and organic flour is a must. I’m a shortbread purist too, so I would never recommend any other ingredients other than flour, butter and sugar (though the odd batch with added chopped up chocolate is OK).

Butter Shortbread

  • 125g butter (you can use salted or unsalted)
  • 140g plain flour
  • 40g cornflour
  • 60g caster sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease and line an 8” square baking tin with grease-proof paper. Beat together the butter and sugar and then add the flour. Combine and then turn onto a clean work surface and knead together briefly (you don’t want to overwork shortbread).

Press into the tin and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 20-25 minutes (you want the top to be light golden) and then mark into squares while still warm. Allow to cool in the tin for five minutes and then gently ease out the marked squares. Press them into a saucer of caster sugar to give them a sugar topping and allow to cool completely.

Enjoy with a cup of tea (or for extra decadence – a wee sherry.)