Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!


If you are looking for some fun last minute Valentine's Day projects then these Cookies, Cupcakes and Cake Pops are the ideal sweet treat! And of course I had to share some of my favourite cocktail recipes as well! Have a great day x

Drinks

Rhubarb Mojito (not pictured)


Sweet Treats





Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cookbook Review ~ Whitewater Cooks with Passion by Shelley Adams


Shelley is back and this time she is cooking with passion! The fourth and latest book in the Whitewater Cooks series, Whitewater Cooks with Passion, sees Shelley cooking new recipes using inspiration from her trusted family and friends as well as plenty of inspiration from around the world.

The paperback book continues with the same theme as the other books in the series with lots of beautiful, mouth-watering photographs to accompany a lot of the recipes. There are 7 chapters dedicated to recipes including Breakfast, Starters, Soups, Dinners and Desserts.

It didn’t take me long to start bookmarking plenty of recipes and in the end I tested 6.

Tested Recipes:

Green Curry Chicken with Roasted Eggplant and Red Peppers
Mango Cucumber Salad with Mint and Sweet Chilli Vinaigrette
Italian Wedding Soup
Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes with Raspberry Icing
Chickpea Flatbread
Indian Artichoke Hummus

The first recipe to be put to the test was the Green Curry Chicken with Roasted Eggplant and Red Peppers. We love Thai curries so I couldn’t resist this recipe especially as it was so easy to prepare – you literally put the ingredients in an ovenproof dish and pop it in the oven and forget about it. I was very hesitant about the amount of curry paste suggested but since I had the same brand as she suggested I stayed true to the recipe and I am so glad I did! The end result was absolutely delicious. It was a perfect Thai curry made without any fuss. I would serve this to friends coming round for a relaxed dinner without any hesitation. I did skip the cucumber you put on at the end because I couldn’t get the mini cucumbers suggested but also because I served the curry with the Mango Cucumber Salad with Mint and Sweet Chilli Vinaigrette which takes me to the second tested recipe.

I absolutely love mango salads with Thai curries so I had to make this to accompany the above recipe. The recipe does have quite a lot of ingredients but it’s still simple to make and really just a case of some chopping and assembling. The dressing makes a lot and to honest in future I don’t think I would use quite as much oil but it was delicious and full of wonderful flavours. As for the salad it was packed with bright flavours, great texture contrasts and lovely fresh and vibrant flavours. It was also a huge hit and brought a wonderful ray of sunshine to our plates and palates on a miserable rainy, grey January day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cookbook Review & Giveaway ~ How to Cook Everything Fast by Mark Bittman



It seems that for the most part everyone is just too busy these days and in order to continue to get food on the table and eat well we need food that is nutritious and delicious but in record speed. I’m not talking about every day because there are days (weekends especially) when I like to slow down and really take my time to cook, but during the week there are definitely days when I need something delicious for dinner that doesn’t take long to prepare and cook and will keep everyone happy. I’ve tried using my slow cooker which is ultimately long slow cooking (where you do nothing) with fast and easy preparation but so far have yet to be wowed so How to Cook Everything Fast by Mark Bittman seems like the perfect solution…Good food fast.

When I received my copy of How to Cook Everything Fast by Mark Bittman it was like Christmas had come early! The doorstopper of a book (and I mean a doorstopper) has over 1000 pages and is packed with 2000 recipes and lots of invaluable advice on ingredients, cooking techniques and plenty of other information that is both important and very helpful. When you flick through the book the first obvious downfall is that there are absolutely no photographs. It’s probably just as well since it is already a monster book and photographs would just add to it but if you are someone that has to have photographs you will be disappointed. Ordinarily I am that someone but for some reason it didn’t really bother me with this book once I had gone through it…. Maybe because it seems more like a culinary encyclopaedia ….regardless, with this book I was ok without the pictures.

The book has 14 chapters devoted to recipes including Soup and Stews, Pasta and Noodles, Beans and Tofu and Meat as well as additional chapters on how to prepare your kitchen for speed, how to shop for speed and lots of others fast strategies.

So what about the recipes?! Well the downside to reviewing a book with 2000 recipes is that it is virtually impossible to narrow down that many recipes and pick only a handful to test, especially because there were so many I wanted to try. In the end however I had to pick what really appealed and I finally chose 5 recipes which admittedly doesn’t do the book much justice when there are so many other hundreds and hundreds of recipes I want to make! Still time restraints and a limit to how long this review could be was of major importance so 5 recipes it was!

Monday, January 12, 2015

A New Year and a New Direction......


Happy New Year!! Sorry it's a little late but I've been on the down low for the last month as I was back in Scotland staying with my family for Christmas and New Year. I had the most amazing time (as usual!) but unfortunately the time flew by and we're now back home in Canada. That being said I am excited to get back into things, especially where this blog is concerned.

For those of you that read Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Drops on a regular basis (well as regularly as I update!) you will notice that last year I didn't post nearly as much as I wanted to or had initially planned to. It was all down to time I'm afraid and a lack of it. I'm still cooking as much (and still loving it as much) it was just hard to find the time to develop new recipes, test them a few times and then photograph them and write the post. You may also have noticed that what I was posting, especially the last few posts, were book reviews which I really enjoy, and so for the time being I will be focusing on that. If I get the opportunity to post a new recipe then I absolutely will but for now I want to concentrate on reviewing and testing out cookbooks.

For me, reviewing a cookbook takes some time. To truly test and review a book I think that you have to test the recipes. It's all very well saying a cookbook looks great, is filled with mouthwatering photographs and that the recipes sound good but what if they don't work? In my opinion it's a major fail because honestly why would you want that book?! Therefore I go through each book several times, reading the introductions and initial chapters and bookmarking the recipes that appeal to me. I then test as many as I can but for the point of the review always 3-4 which are tested by following the recipe exactly. If you have read any of my reviews you will know they tend to be quite lengthy but again that is because I am really testing the book and trying to provide as much information to you as possible.

Pros and Cons I see within the book are always top of the list, whether you need Specialty Ingredients that are difficult to buy and if I have learned anything new all feature in my reviews. Basics like whether there are photographs to accompany the recipes are always included and by providing a list of recipes that I have bookmarked I try to share a range of some of the recipes included and not just the ones that I have tested.

As well as that though I am always open to suggestions of anything else you consider important when deciding whether you want to buy a book or not, so please feel free to comment on what you want to see from a cookbook review.

I hope that despite a lack of my own new recipes (all my existing recipes can still be found in the Recipes Page) and rather a concentration on reviews you will continue to read Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Drops and enjoy the reviews that I do. With that being said I am really excited as I am currently reviewing three cookbooks (with more on the way) and can't wait to share them with you!

Happy New Year again! Let's hope 2015 is a wonderful, happy, healthy and safe year for everyone.

Lynds x


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cookbook Review ~ Eat Yourself Pregnant by Zita West




I’m not going to lie, when I was asked if I would review Eat Yourself Pregnant by Zita West I was a little hesitant, because to be honest I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to broadcast on my blog that we are trying to get pregnant, but then I thought why not because it’s not exactly a secret, even if I don’t talk about it that much. The reality is that my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for the last 3 years and are dealing with Secondary Infertility. I’m not going to get into all of the specifics with you but it’s a long, emotional and very difficult journey that we never saw coming and so I will take any advice I can (within reason!), so considering  that I love food, cooking and cookbooks and I am trying to get pregnant I decided why not?!

Zita West is a fertility expert and midwife based in the UK. During her career she has also worked as a nutritional advisor and then as an acupuncturist so she is more than qualified to be writing this book! The recipes however come courtesy of Christine Bailey an award-winning nutritionist, food and health consultant, chef and cookery teacher.

The 160 paged paperback is packed with information about getting your body ready for pregnancy as well as 65 healthy recipes to ensure you get all of the vital nutrients required for conception in your diet. There are questions to help you assess your overall health such as ‘How healthy is your digestion?’ ‘How toxic are you?’ and ‘How stable is your blood sugar?’ and a recommended fertility cleanse if you think you need it. As it turned out everything seemed good for us so I skipped the fertility cleanse and opted to pick and choose my own recipes from the book (the fertility detox is just a detailed meal plan with all recipes taken from the book).

The recipes are divided into chapters including ‘Boosters & Breakfasts’, ‘Light Meals’ and ‘Main Meals’ and the majority are accompanied by beautiful photographs. They literally all sounded so good so I really had a hard time narrowing down which ones to test and in the end have so far managed to test 6 recipes (with more made outside of the testing and more to come!). Since I did test so many I’m keeping the information about the recipes shorter so that I don’t have a novel on my hands!
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