Thursday, November 22, 2012

Adventures in grocery shopping in Scotland and more reasons why I don't bake

This morning was nice. I woke up knowing that there wasn't some engineer or other service crew coming to my house at an unknown time. It was a pretty nice day too.

View from our bedroom window
I've been reading The Lord of the Rings every day while I eat breakfast (and before bed). It's a nice morning routine. Great book! I got to sleep in a bit today because Steve decided to walk to work. I know what you are thinking. "You don't have a job. You sleep in every day." No, I don't. I get up when he does and take him to work. When I get home, I eat breakfast and start my "to do" list for the day. I very rarely even take naps; usually I only take them if I have a headache or just didn't sleep well. I'm still not used to some of the noises in the house.

Tomorrow is the Thanksgiving Potluck with all the AWA and their families. I went to Sainsbury's for groceries. I was there for TWO HOURS. You just don't realize how much you rely on knowing what things look like instead of reading the labels until things don't look the same anymore. For example, what do you think of when you hear powdered sugar? I think of the clear, plastic bag that says "Powdered Sugar" on it. Nope. This is what it is here.

I'm not a baker, so I already have limited knowledge of these packages. It took me so long to find everything! Cocoa. Oh my goodness, cocoa. It was in a section labeled "Drinking Chocolate." :o)  I found one container of cocoa; the rest were hot chocolate mixes....drinking chocolate. Baking soda is "Bicarbonate of soda," and breakfast sausage comes as links mostly, but in oh so many yummy looking flavors. I also learned that they don't have crescent rolls in a can. At least they don't sell them at Sainsbury's anymore, so I was directed to rolls of dough. Hmmm.

It's paper thin sheets of dough, but it doesn't give you that fluffiness that you get with crescent rolls from a can. It just bakes to a crisp, flaky crust like you would find with crepes. Now, I can make this work for my cream cheese and jam filled "braid," but I'll have to be creative, and it probably won't be shaped like a a braid. Glad I did a test run tonight.

Random for you, but I was looking for these a few days ago. Finally, I found a box. Are paper products easier to obtain here than cans? I wonder why they use more of this style than we do in the US. 

Anyway, after my adventure, I drove to Argo's. That's the store I've mentioned previously where you look through catalogs for the item(s). Then, you write the catalog number on a slip of paper with the quantity and either pay by card at a machine or pay at the customer service desk if you don't have a card, as in my case. Then, you wait for your number to be called so that you can pick up your items at the counter. I went to buy telephones now that our service has been activated. I got a picture for you guys too! You shouldn't be surprised. You already knew that I'm "small town." It says so in the title.

  I just think this is great!
Later tonight I practiced making the Coca Cola cake my grandma makes. She gave me the recipe. In the grocery store, I had a really hard time finding buttermilk. I was looking for plastic jugs, but here it comes like this:

It's about the size of a sour cream container. Anyway, I mixed it all together by hand because I forgot that I don't have an electric mixer here (back to Argo's tomorrow, I guess). Then, I popped it in the oven. After about 35 minutes I pulled out the oven rack to check on the cake. It wiggled like pudding. Uh oh. That's not a good sign. I stuck in a knife, and it came out covered in cake batter. Even worse, the top of the cake was burning and so much that it was starting to smoke! The house smelled like burned marshmallows. Steve said, "Better call your grandma and tell her that you ruined it!" He loves that Coca Cola cake. hehe

Now, it turns out that this was totally not my fault. The oven here is very different. In the US, we have the option to "Bake" for one item or use "Convection Bake" for multiple items in the oven. I put the oven on the symbol that just shows the heating coil thinking it would be like the "Bake" option. WRONG. Here in this oven, that means "grill and turn it over half-way through cooking time." I love Adam's response, "Why would you turn your cake over half-way through baking?" HAHA.

I guess everything not being "grilled" and flipped over should be cooked on the convection setting. As soon as I switched it, the cake began to rise. However, by the time it cooked fully, the top was completely burned. I had to cut off the entire top layer. I carried the napkin full of blackened cake and marshmallows into the living room and said, "See Steve! This is why I don't bake!" He just shook his head and laughed.

In the end, I added the icing, and everything turned out just fine. It was a little gooey, but good!

Look, after the icing you couldn't even tell that I cut off the top!


  1. That does look good. Now I want cake.

  2. Wow, I can so relate to everything in this post! Figuring out grocery stores and kitchen appliances was by far the most stressful part of adjusting to Scottish life. Glad you found the black beans. And good to know that the pastry dough doesn't replace crescent rolls. I've been keeping my eyes peeled for a canned biscuit subsitute with no luck:(

  3. broiled your cake! Awesome. Looks like you are having quite the culinary adventure over there. ;)


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