Friday, 8 June 2012


I'm assuming the whole world was informed that this past weekend was the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. You may, in fact, not be as obsessed with the royal family as I am and were doing something productive instead of watching the flotilla down the Themes. If you didn't watch the festivities, I forgive you. To be honest, I didn't watch a whole lot, but my excuse was that I was, I participated in the most awesome way possible!!! 

If you think this is a giant shortbread Union Jack'd be right. I decided to have a little competition over the weekend and have people guess the weight of this buttery beast. My god, was it beastly. Also, I realise that the colours are not quite 'royal'...but hey, nobody's perfect. Don't judge me. So, lots of cool folks stopped by the stall and put in their two cents about how much they thought it weighed. It turned out to be about 9x12in in size, and it was layered up. Deceptively heavy. The weight shocked me. Then, I started thinking about all the shortbread I've eaten over the last year and half. Then, I ate more. You only live once, right?! Anyway, it was super fun and I'm glad I was able to participate in the festivities in my own little way :)


We've also vamped up our market stall, and so to compliment our new, bright, summer look I whipped up some super cute bunting. How could you not love bunting? Complete with G-ma's vintage buttons. Love!!!!

As always, Happy Baking!


Monday, 14 May 2012

Home made Vanilla biggie!

Let's just start by saying this: I heart, big, massive hearts! Let me follow by saying that if you don't love vanilla, you're dead inside. Simple as that.

It wasn't that I thought the vanilla I was buying was bad...just that I thought, 'maybe I can make it better!'. After doing some research, I realised that making your own vanilla extract, in theory, really wasn't that difficult. Obviously, the super important bit being the vanilla pods, I wanted to make sure I was getting the best product. After hours of research, I knew I wanted to go organic and fairtrade if possible. I found a great site that sold Mexican origin products (Being a CA native, that tugged on my heartstrings!!) and so I bought....loads!

If you want some great products for baking or cooking, take a look at  Vanilla Sunrise. The lovely people there sent me a sample of vanilla sugar which I am super duper excited to try out on some delicious cake recipe in the near future :) I ended up getting Organic Vanilla pods which you can see are absolutely gorgeous! They were lovely and pliable and had a beautiful sheen to them. I couldn't wait to start scraping out all that wonderful caviar!

Let me tell you, I think I grew a few greys scraping out all those seeds!! I had about 100g of vanilla pods to de-seed which took me a good 30 minutes. While I'm sure there are much worse jobs I could be doing...oooooooh did my back ache! Blood, sweat and tears in this vanilla I tell you! I managed to round up all the vanilla seeds once I stopped moaning (Izzy the dog had to endure though, poor thing!) and start the whole extraction process. I bought this great recycled clear glass bottle with stopper and, even though experts say that you should only use dark glass for making extract, I knew it would be stored away in a cupboard and that it would be fine to use. Plus, I do what I please. There. Anywhooooooo,

I scraped all the seeds into the bottle then chopped all the pods into thirds and shoved those in as well. The pods as well as the seeds continue to impart flavour into the alcohol once it's stopped up and the extraction process is underway. Isn't this fun?? 

I used a good quality vodka as my alcohol, but you can use whatever you want really. Rum is also an alternative alcohol you could use which would give an amazing flavour (future project??). 

So, here she all her glory! It'll take a minimum of four weeks to start to become extract-y. Vanilla extract, for all intents and purposes, is like wine. It gets better with age. So, the longer you keep it the better! Although, after about 6 months, the vanilla pods will have given up as much as they can so you can strain them out (the seeds will still be in there!) and keep in the bottle for years! (Or as long as it takes you to go through the bottle). I honestly cannot wait to try this! I'm gonna give it a shake a few times a week for the next month and then we'll see where we are. In the meantime, I'll keep you posted on the vanilla progress.

Happy Baking!!


Monday, 30 April 2012

Hellooooooo Shorties!

Shorties are the new girl in town...haven't you heard?! She's totally awesome, and pretty, and popular, and has looooaaads of friends! Yeah, I am talking about a cookie and you'd be almost right thinking I'm a bit cuckoo. What can I say, I just love these little things!!!

Pistachio and White Chocolate Shortie: Pistachio Shortbread made using both ground and chopped pistachios with a white chocolate ganache filling...yuuuuum!

Double Chocolate and Rum Ganache Shortie: Chocolate shortbread made using dark chocolate cocoa powder and a dark chocolate rum infused ganache to sandwich the two together!! Yo ho,yo ho a pirate's life for me!!

Espresso and Dark Chocolate Shortie: Coffee infused shortbread with a dark chocolate and vanilla ganache. Perfect for breakfast...just a thought. Not saying I did, I would never...

We also did an Almond and Milk Chocolate Shortie over the weekend at the Stockbridge Market..I have no photographic evidence, but you must believe me. It was divine! An almond shortbread made using ground almonds and almond oil sandwiched with a lucious milk chocolate ganache with even more almond oil! It was so good, they all went before I could snap a pic! 

These little beauties are so much fun to make! I'm having a great time coming up with lots of fun flavours. Make sure you keep posted here, on our facbook page and on Twitter to see what flavours we're making and what we'll be bringing to market...we just might mix it up again this weekend!! 

In the meantime, Happy Baking!!


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

'Tis the Season for Loooooooooove!

Summer is fast approaching and, as we all know (or at least I count down each day until it arrives!!!), with it comes WEDDING SEASON!!!! If I haven't said it before, I love, love, love this time of year. Yes, The Handsome Hunter and I had our wedding in June last year, and yes, I think that summer just oozes romance...but I love it for this simple reason: because you never know when, where, or what time of day you will happen upon a wedding. Especially in Edinburgh. Walking up the high street, it could be the middle of the week at 11:00am, and as you pass by the Registrar, you see a group of people gathered around billowing white silk. And you can just make out the promise of a kiss made for the first time, and you can see the faces of people wishing so badly that happiness finds those two people for the rest of their lives. I just can't get enough of those moments...maybe we'll just need to get married again!!! The point is I love doing wedding favours. Over the weekend I was working on some favours for a lovely couple, Eddie and Esther, who got married today!! They had their own cutters so I just baked and handed them over. But I made sure to have my own fun first...made up a few wedding favours to show you lovely people just what we can do here at Pinnies and Poppy Seeds. So, take a look and feel the love!!

Sweet Cardamom flowers and Lemon and Poppy Seed hearts

Our hand stamped tags can be personalised to say a number of different things (ok, no novels!). We can do initials, monograms, single letters, 'love', 'Mr. & Mrs' get the idea. Just ask and we will do our best to make it work! I'll be putting up some images of other stamps we do in the near keep posted for that.

And in the spirit of Wedding Season, make sure you tell someone today how special they are to you :)

Happy Baking!


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Easter Greetings!!

When I think of Easter I always think of bright, fun colours. Ok, I suppose 'bunny' comes to mind first, but then fun bright colours! It's the whole Spring has sprung thing...especially here in Edinburgh (save the freakish snow blizzard thing that happened today after last week's record high temps!) when the daffodils come out, the birds start singing, and the trees start blooming. I just love it. I love what it means, what it brings, and what it does to people!

So, we've been at the Stockbridge Market the last four weeks and it has been absolutely amazing! I feel so at home there and have met the most lovely people - customers and traders alike! Unfortunately, I won't be at the Stockbridge Market this weekend...weep! I'm helping out my good friend Nadia from Thinking Chocolate this weekend at Science on a Plate at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh and I'm super excited about it! If you have some free time this weekend, do come along. Lots of great chefs and Nadia will be doing some fabulous lectures on chocolate!! If you're wondering how you can get your hands on some shortbread, have no fear. I've been baking up some Easter inspired shortbread for Nadia to have in her shop on London Road.

All Butter and Lemon and Poppy Seed, perfect for Spring! I've done sweet little chicks, bunnies and butterflies and can't wait to see how Nadia chocola-fies them! (I may have to secretly buy some after she gets through with 'em!)

So make sure you stop by and stock up for this weekend. These will make the perfect Easter treat for that special someone. And if you're looking for Granola and salted caramels, they'll be there too!! See, I'm always looking out for ya.

It's back to the kitchen for me to do some test baking...make sure you check back to see what I'm cookin' up. It may just pop up at the next market! Speaking of markets, you'll want to mark in your calendars that I'm back marketing after Easter. I'll be at Stockbridge Market on Sunday April lots of opportunities to stock up on shrotbread!!

Happy Baking!


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Salted Caramels

Over the weekend, I made some caramel shortbread to bring to the Stockbridge Market. I mean, making shortbread, it seemed only natural to take it one step further and make caramel shortbread! Really, who doesn't love a rich, buttery piece of shortbread topped with gooey, chewy caramel and luscious chocolate?! Amen to that!

These caramels are deeeelish! Made with proper butter, cream, sugar and honey to give it that little bit extra special flavour. And what makes these even more divine, is the cracked sea salt that gets swirled inside and sprinkled on the outside. You know that salty sweet thing that makes your brain go...'wait...savoury? dessert?? I dont know!!!' Yeah, these are that awesome!

I wrap these dark golden gems up in parchment paper for that old fashioned look. I think there is something so satisfying about food wrapped in paper rather than neon coloured plastic. It almost makes food GOOD for you! Ha! I'm definitely living that mantra from now on. Food wrapped in paper = good for me. Yep, I'm implementing that asap!

I'm going to make these salted caramels a staple at the Market from now on, so make sure you come early and get yours! This past Sunday we sold out of them super quickly. I'll be making more for the Stockbridge Market coming up this weekend, March 25th. Be there or be without your salted caramels!!!


Happy Baking!


Monday, 19 March 2012

Mini Pinnies are the way forward!

As promised, here are the Mini Pinnies I made for market!!

These precious little smocks are the perfect way to get the little ones excited about being in the kitchen. Not only are they fun, they are comfortable (lined with super soft fleece), and they grow with the kids too! The arm holes are big enough to fit 1-3 year olds. How perfect it that!

I make these to order so if you want one made or have the fabric and want me to make it for you, just send me a note! I'd also love to hear what you think of these, so feel free to send me comments/criticism (constructive is best!!) in the comments section below. For everything else, you can email me at!!                                                          

Happy Baking! xx



Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Farmer's Market Fabulous!

What a great day! I did my first Farmer's Market on Sunday and, what can I say, I've caught the Market Bug! I had such a great time chatting to people, talking about shortbread and meeting all the great traders selling their amazing goods. The Market opened at 10, and it was jam packed with people ready to buy! I was dying to have a look around myself! But I very happily manned the stall to start giving out my little buttery delights :)

 Everyone was so gracious and lovely, and I got some really great feedback about the flavours and texture of the shortbread. I was surprised that so many people wanted to try the more exotic flavours! The stars of the show were (in no particular order, ehem):

Chocolate Chip
Cinnamon and Sugar
Dark Chocolate and Orange
Cardamom and White Chocolate

This was my little set-up, using the picture frame blackboards to write out the flavours (it looked super cute!). I used soup cans wrapped in ribbon as cake stands and I think they really tied the table-scape (I owe that little nugget to Sandra Lee! my ahhhhhmazing sister, Kel) together. I should point out that I did owe that little 'table-scape' nugget to Sandra Lee (and if you don't know who she is, PLEASE look her up!! no words necessary!) but somebody....yeah....wanted a little shout out for their ribbon covered soup can situation. So, this one goes out to you Kel! I'm a grown woman and I can give credit where credit is due: Einstein level genius, right there.

These are the pinnies I made, one a traditional one piece, and the other a more vintage inspired piece. Because Mother's Day is approaching, I'll be making a few more for this weekend and I'll also be doing some Mini Pinnies, for the little ones!! I'll post some pics later this week. They are TO DIE for! The
                                                                                    perfect present for baking and cooking together in the

It was great to see so many people out! The weather was pretty kind to us all. A little blustery (think I'm still picking leaves out of my hair!).

So, thanks again for coming out over the weekend. If you didn't make it, I'll be at the Stockbridge Market again this weekend. Come out and show your support for local businesses. There will be lots of shortbread, pinnies and maybe a few other surprises!!

Happy Baking!


Friday, 9 March 2012

The Countdown is ON!

I know I've been posting some pretty cool and carefree things lately...admit it, you're enthralled!  What I haven't done is make a peep about what's happening with Pinnies and Poppy Seeds the business. Well, the good news is that I've got all my ducks in a row! After loads of paperwork, phone calls, follow ups, filling, spreadsheeting and paying (the most annoying one!), Pinnies is finally an official business. I am a business OWNER! Woohoooo! And, aside from that (it has sort of come about in a very quick fashion) I will be at the Farmer's Market (where I've been dreaming of being) this weekend. So, in a bid to get myself prepared, I did a little trial run for cookies and presentation. I had a crafty week and decided to make some picture frame chalkboards to use as displays for the names of my shortbread. It was super fun and I think they came out A-dorable!

Once the panes of glass were completely dry, I rubbed the whole piece with chalk (to prep the surface to take chalk writing better) and  presto!!!

how cute is that?!

I'll be prepping today and tomorrow for the market on Sunday, so I'll be a very busy bee making tons- literally- of shortbread to feed the hopefully ravenous crowds. If you haven't been to it already, make sure you head down to the Stockbridge Market. It's all day, 10:00-5:00pm, and is a fantastic collection of local traders. Plus, I'll be there!! I am pleading to the weather gods that it doesn't snow or pour down...fingers crossed!!

Happy Baking!