Archive for September 2011

Bet you didn’t know …

… it’s National Cupcake Week! Those are the little buns that people on this side of the Pond used to call fairy cakes – or butterfly cakes if you cut off the domed top of the bun, spread on some buttercream icing, cut the dome into two “wings” and poked them at angles into the icing.

Not to miss out on the fun, here’s a recipe from the BBC GoodFood website which will probably have the kids heading straight for the kitchen to get baking.


Easy Chocolate Cupcakes

Easy chocolate cupcakes


300g dark chocolate, broken into chunks

200g self-raising flour

200g light muscovado sugar, plus 3 tbsp extra

6 tbsp cocoa

150ml sunflower oil

284ml pot soured cream

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract


Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and line a 10-hole muffin tin with paper cases. Whizz the chocolate into small pieces in a food processor (or do it the SauvignanBlanc low-tech way by putting the chocolate into a plastic bag and hitting it with a rolling pin until you have the desired size of bits!). In the largest mixing bowl you have, tip in the flour, sugar, cocoa, oil, 100ml soured cream, eggs, vanilla and 100ml water. Whisk everything together with electric beaters until smooth, then quickly stir in 100g of the chocolate bits. Divide between the 10 cases, then bake for 20 mins until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.


The cupcakes can be frozen at this stage, and given a quick blast in the microwave to refresh them before icing.


To make the icing, put the remaining chocolate bits, soured cream and 3 tbsp sugar in a small saucepan. Heat gently, stirring, until the chocolate is melted and you have a smooth icing. Chill in the fridge until firm enough to swirl on top of the muffins.

Can anyone help?

We have received the letter below, and are posting it in the hope that someone can help with identities – or add any further information.


Dear “Easdale People”
I only recently discovered your Web site and wondered if anyone might recognize either of the two older chaps in the first photo (my father and sister are the other two) taken in Ellenabeich in the mid to late Fifties. We spent every summer holiday there until ’59.
My wife and I spent a week in Ellenabeich in July and we spoke to Isobel Smith in Balvicar who thought one of the men might be Willie Dewar. I do remember my father sitting blethering with a Mr. Dewar on that bench, but I never knew his Christian name.
On the group photo, I know the chap on the right is Duncan Brown. Myself and my sister are the two small children in front of our mother, but if any of the others could be identified, I’d be interested.
We’re coming up with friends for the September weekend and the stone skimming.
Hoping the pictures ring a bell with someone.
Best regards,
Ian Cowan