Delgatie Castle ( Last Assessed 2015)

Todays Assessment was a return to a remarkable lady in Turriff , Aberdeenshire and to the historic Delgatie Castle . This Castle dates back to around 1030 and was latterly the home of the late Captain Hay of Delgatie. Today the Castle is run by a Non-Profit Charitable trust and continues to portray The late Captain Hays lifes work. At the very heart of this castle and its completely understated appearance is the irrepressible Joan Johnson. Joan is one of the most welcoming , warm , charitable and selfless people i have ever had the privelege to meet and i was asked to return again to taste her lovely baking this year .  I also had the honour of staying in one of the Castles very fine accomodation - Symbister Apartment . This apartment is part of the Castle and some of the Walls still retain carvings and drawings from centuries ago. The walls are thick brick and enchanting. Joan thinks of everything a person could ever need in a stay at the castle . The Castle hosts small weddings and all sorts of parties and is completely uncommercialised - i have no idea how this Castle as a venue remains a secret to the world but it does and this is its charm. Anyhow i digress - Once you get over being inside an ancient Scottish Castle which is lovingly cared for by Joan and her small team including donna and a Gardener, you are treated to the very kitchen in which Joan bakes and cooks up a storm . The Lairds kitchen is located inside the Castle kitchen and the baking is superb. I tried some new recipes Joan was creating alongside the traditional favourites such as Fruit Scones and Chocolate cake . All were  traditionally homemade in the style that you would expect from a truly Scottish lady inside a truly Scottish Castle . Just superb again Joan and i cant wait to return. My heart is still singing from my magical experience at Delgatie Castle .

The Newton Dee cafe

The Newton Dee cafe in Bieldside Aberdeen is within a community which helps house and encourage work with people with special needs and the like. This community has around 200 people that have made newton Dee their home. With full support given by experienced co-workers this is what made this award a special one for me.How refreshing and talented this community is.Amongst other things the home baking was great and lots of choice all made at the bakery within the community village. Most of the food had been sourced from the on house farms and gardens and organic produce used as often as possible. A lovely relaxing atmosphere in the cafe . Well done to Newton Dee.

Newton dee community
Aberdeen ,
AB15 9DX
Tel; 01224 868701 

The Beautiful Mountain ( Last Assessed 2013)

Arrived in Aberdeen on Saturday and hit a very busy time for The Beautiful Mountain cafe and sandwich bar. Downstairs as you enter is a sandwich bar and upstairs is a very decieving 60 seater cafe for lunch. I couldnt have picked a busier time if i tried but the young girl that spoke to me was extremely courteous and answered all my questions in a polite manner.I was handed a huge amount of bags to go away with and try which included Scandanavian apple cake,Chocolate brownie,Rhubarb and ricotta cheese cheesecake. They were all mouthwatering and if i may say refreshingly unusual in the choice of spices and recipes used. The soup looked good if i could have got a seat which again was refreshingly different to the usual -White bean and tarragon . I would love to return to The Beautiful mountain one day and sit and enjoy lunch with some beautiful cake - Excellent baking well done .

Renewed 2013

The Beautiful Mountain
11-13 Belmont street
Tel; 01224 645353

Hoodles Playbarn and Coffee Shop

SHBA awardNominated today online is The Hoodles Playbarn and Coffee shop in Inverurie. This premises will be assessed in early Summer 2013.

Hoodles Playbarn and coffee shop
North mains of Barra
Oldmeldrum,Inverurie.AB51 0BB
Tel; 01651 873813

Our senior assessor visited this premises today and was extremely impressed with this whole establishment and not just the baking.A very family orientated place with oodles to do for the kids and parents.Lovely Novelty cakes adorned the glass display cabinet and plenty of homemade cakes on display. This is a great outlet for all the family .Well done Hoodles your SHBA is in the post .


Dalgatie Castle

This is a fabulous ancient castle in Turriff just off the A947 Aberdeen to Banff Road. You arrive in the grounds and take a step back in time -old wordly rustic charm and not commercialised to the hilt -completely charming. But the story to be told is even more enchanting and heartwarming. Joan the Baker,chief cook,housemaid and manager of the whole shibang is quite a woman and a true loyal scot to the castles predeccesor .Joan is the true spirit of what scots people are and she practically runs the castle single handedly with the help of her trusted companion Donna.. You absolutely must try this castle and the "Lairds Kitchen" if in this neck of the woods - not only for the experience but for the chance of eating excellent homebaking in the kitchen of this castle which dates back to 1030.The baking is just the way my gran taught me many moons ago now and is truly fantastic. We were generously handed a full dark gingerbread to take away with us which didnt last long on the way back home. An absolute must for joans story telling and baking alone.Keep the spirit alive Delgatie !! 

Renewed 2013

Dalgatie castle 
Tel; 01888 563479

Blackbird bakery

This Bakery is no ordinary bakery - oh no .This is cupcake heaven and heaven was where i was on saturday afternoon. So often with cupcakes the decoration and work that goes into making them look stunning is far superior to the cake itself -not so with these girls- Linda Easton and Hilary Bryce are very experienced bakers and the cupcakes just delight as a result. I sampled only one which was a chocolate decorated chocolate cupcake and i can only describe the experience as "Heaven" The cupcakes come in all different shapes and sizes and all different flavours -there is even carrot cake flavours.I was especially pleased to see a posy of cupcakes which i haven't seen before but knew existed. Well done girls and keep up the excellent standard. 

Blackbird bakery
246 Union Grove,Aberdeen,
AB10 6TS
Tel 01224323 113

Baking with Melanie Andrews

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