Monthly Archives: September 2011

Cocktail in a Cupcake: Rose Martini

To celebrate the 1st birthday of the We Should Cocoa blog challenge, this month’s theme, set by Chele at Chocolate Teapot, is to bake something for a “virtual birthday party” – something chocolatey, of course!  Whilst a big cake would seem appropriate, I decided to go for cupcakes (I know that I totally missed the boat on National Cupcake Week which was last week) for the simple reason that I’ve had a cupcake idea floating around for a while and this seems like the perfect occasion to try it out.  Actually, it would have been my entry to last month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, for which the special ingredient was “rose” (you can see the round-up here), but my plans fell victim to the lovely bout of tonsillitis that laid me up in bed for a week (I’m still grumbling about it).

When I’d been looking for inspiration for last month’s challenge, I happened across the recipe for a Rose Martini, a vodka-based cocktail that contains white crème de cacao and rosewater.  To me that just sounded like a cupcake waiting to happen!  Incorporating white chocolate would have made it perfect for the theme, and I desperately wanted to see if the flavours would work in a cupcake, but never managed to get round to it (grumble, tonsillitis, grumble)…  However, this month’s theme has come galloping to the rescue, because I think that Rose Martini cupcakes definitely sound fit for a party, don’t you?  Wait, what’s that?  Oh, it’s supposed to be for a 1st birthday party…?  Can one year-olds eat cake?  I have no idea.  I don’t really have anything whatsoever to do with small children (can you tell?).  So anyway, these cupcakes are clearly adult-only.  I’m totally ok with that, because it’s not for an actual one year-old child…

The only problem with deciding to make cupcakes is that they usually come in batches, which is fine if you’ve got people to feed them to, but 12 cupcakes between just my mum and I is a bit much (I do love cupcakes, but I’d rather not make myself sick).  Especially since cupcakes don’t keep all that long, and stale cupcakes are rather depressing.  Thankfully though, I found a recipe to make two cupcakes (or one jumbo cupcake), which I adapted and doubled, and it ended up giving me five cupcakes filled with vodka, rosewater and white chocolate chips.  The icing included the Rose Martini ingredients: vodka, rosewater and white crème de cacao.  I may or may not have gotten slightly too enthusiastic about piping the rose (it took me five tries to get a decent one).  They turned out rather well, though quite heavy, and whilst the flavours do work together I think they could get quite sickly quite quickly.  I’d like to try adapting one of my tried and tested cupcake recipes for a full batch, just to see if it would make them a bit lighter.  We’ll see…  For now though, at least these look pretty!  And they do taste good, they’re just really quite heavy!

So all that remains (before sharing the recipe) is to wish happy birthday to We Should Cocoa – here’s to another year of challenges!

Rose Martini cupcakes

Makes 5-6 cupcakes
Cupcake recipe adapted from Sweet Road

The rosewater really comes through in this recipe, so if you’re not a fan, I would suggest decreasing the amount slightly, and perhaps adding slightly more vodka to cut through the flavour more.  The icing makes enough to pipe five roses, but if you want to just do some swirly decorative piping, you won’t need quite as much.  Also, don’t be worried if the cupcakes don’t really go golden – mine didn’t but they were still cooked!

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:
75g all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
25g unsalted butter
45g caster sugar
120 ml milk, room temperature
2 tsp vodka
1 tsp rosewater
½ tsp white crème de cacao
35g white chocolate chips (or chopped white chocolate)

For the icing:
2 tsp vodka
1 ½ tsp white crème de cacao
½ tsp rosewater
35g butter
70g icing sugar
Rose food colouring paste (optional)

Directions

To make the cupcakes:
1.  Line a cupcake tin with 5 or 6 liners or set out 5 or 6 silicon liners.  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

2.  Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl and mix together.

3.  In a different bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until well mixed.  Mix in half the milk (make sure it’s at room temperature otherwise it does weird things to the butter apparently), followed by the flour mixture.  Add the remaining milk, the vodka, rosewater and crème de cacao and mix until well incorporated (if the mixture looks like it’s separated or curdled or something, try mixing some more until vaguely smooth.  If that doesn’t work, add a little bit more flour.  If that doesn’t work, bake them anyway and hope for the best.  Sage advice right there.).  Stir in the chocolate chips.

4.  Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners and bake for 18-22 mins, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.

To make the icing:
5.  In a measuring glass or small bowl, mix together the vodka, crème de cacao and rosewater.  Set aside.

6.  Cream together the butter and icing sugar (be prepared for a small icing sugar explosion if using an electric whisk).  When combined to form buttercream, add a tiny, tiny amount of rose food colouring paste (optional) and the alcohols, and mix well until completely incorporated.

7.  Once the cupcakes are completely cool, you can pipe the icing onto them.  To make an icing rose, use a rose petal tip.  Pipe a small blob in the middle of the cupcake, and then, making sure that the fat part of the tip is at the bottom, pipe vertical individual petals around the blob, turning the cupcake as you go (I realise that is a terrible explanation of how to make a rose out of icing – Google it, there are loads of videos available online).

Enjoy!

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Random Recipe #8: Three-cheese summer vegetable bake

I have a minor confession: I’m ever-so-slightly addicted to food magazines.  There are worse things to be addicted to though, so it’s all good (flawless logic).  Also, I’m not addicted to any-and-every food magazine out there, oh no, I’m quite picky – it has to be well laid-out and intelligently written, have lots of mouth-watering photos, contain a majority of recipes that I’m actually likely to make and I have to be confident that the recipes will work.  For this month’s Random Recipe challenge, we had to randomly pick a recipe from our collection of magazines or recipe cuttings (we all have them!).  My recipe cuttings are in several different folders and I have some saved on my laptop and some still saved on my old laptop because I haven’t quite got round to transferring them, making randomly choosing a recipe rather impractical.  So I decided to go for the magazine option.

I may or may not have slightly flouted the rules and not picked my magazine randomly.  All with good reason though.  See, to justify my food magazine habit, I’ve made a rule for myself: if I buy a food magazine, I have to try at least two recipes from it (though nothing happens if I don’t).  So I picked out the September 2011 issue of delicious. because A) I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet and B) we’re in September so it should have seasonal recipes in it (if I’d had September issues from previous years, I’d have mixed them all up and chosen one randomly).  Out came the trusty calculator with its random number generator which pointed me to page 19: a mouth-watering photo of a three-cheese summer vegetable bake.  Sounds yummy to me!

It turned out to be very yummy indeed, although there seemed to be an issue with the stated cooking times because they were certainly not long enough to cook all the vegetables (especially the potatoes) through.  Which disappointed me somewhat I’ve never had an issue with the recipes in delicious. before.  Have I just been lucky up until now?  It was hardly a disaster though – on taking the bake out of the oven to remove the foil and scatter the cheese over the top, it was quite obvious that the vegetables weren’t nearly cooked enough, so it went back in the oven for a little while.  No biggie.  Except that we had lunch (which we eat as our main meal, French-style) rather later than planned.  Once it came out of the oven properly cooked, it was rather delicious, filling but not too heavy, which is always a good thing!  Since the recipe uses seasonal vegetables, I’m also submitting it to this month’s Simple and in Season blog event over at Fabulicious Food.

Three-cheese summer vegetable bake

Serves 4
Adapted from delicious. (September 2011)

I love the combination of vegetables in this dish – I don’t really tend to use fennel much, so it’s something a little different.  I also really liked that this dish was filling, but not too heavy.  I had to increase the cooking times quite significantly to the ones given here so that the vegetables (particularly the potatoes) were cooked through, so do be aware of that, and if you don’t think it’s quite cooked enough, don’t be afraid to pop it back in the oven for another 10 mins or so!

Ingredients

1 fennel bulb
2 large potatoes
1 courgette
1 red pepper
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
Handful fresh parsley
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
100g smoked ham
100g ricotta
250g mozzarella ball
50g parmesan

Directions

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

2.  Finely slice the fennel bulb, potatoes, courgette and de-seeded red pepper and finely chop the onion, garlic cloves and fresh parsley.  Mix them all together in a bowl with the flour and season well.

3.  Place a third of the vegetable mix in a large ovenproof dish.  Tear the ham into pieces and scatter half of it over the vegetables.  Scatter half of the ricotta and a third of the torn mozzarella over the top of the ham.  Cover with half the remaining vegetable mix, followed by the remaining ham, remaining ricotta and half the remaining mozzarella.  Evenly scatter the remaining vegetable mix over the top.  Set the left over mozzarella aside for later.

4.  Cover the dish with foil and bake for 1 hour, before removing the foil and scattering the grated parmesan and remaining mozzarella.  Bake for a further 30-35 mins until golden.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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Cocktail in a macaron: Between the Sheets

A few weeks ago, I happened across the recipe for a cocktail named Between the Sheets on the Cold Glass blog.  I have no idea who first named this cocktail, but they seem to have been in the cocktail-names-with-innuendo-are-far-more-amusing camp (incidentally, I totally share that view).  Or maybe they were just being hopeful, because the combination of white rum, cognac and Cointreau sounds potentially lethal to me.  But then Cointreau and I don’t always see eye-to-eye (particularly in the memory department), so perhaps that’s just a personal thing.

I think what intrigued me the most was the combination of ingredients in this cocktail.  I wasn’t sure how it would taste, but I decided that it sounded like something that could maybe work as a macaron…  So I attempted them the other day, and taste-tested them on Craig.  The unusual and rather unexpected combination of alcohols made pinning down the flavours rather tricky, not helped by the somewhat uneven distribution of the alcohols through the ganache (apparently I failed at mixing it properly after the addition of a little bit extra of each alcohol after taking the ganache off the heat.  Rookie error.) which resulted in each macaron tasting slightly different.  Luckily though, Craig enjoyed them!

You may have noticed that I raided my mum’s collection of decorative dishes and chose this cute little Chinese dish to try and make my photos a little more interesting – what do you think?  Anyway, back to the macarons…  The combination of white rum, cognac and Cointreau sounds rather odd, but it does work, at least in macaron form.  The Between the Sheets macarons, although very sweet, are perfect if you’re looking for something a little unusual with a subtle range of flavours that complement each other unexpectedly well.

Between the Sheets macarons

Makes about 60 small macarons (so about 120 shells of 1.5/2 cm diameter)
Macaron shell recipe based on Mad About Macarons!
Ganache recipe adapted from Pure Gourmandise

As I only had waxed lemons I didn’t add any lemon zest to the ganache filling, but I think it would make a great addition.  Make sure you leave these at least 24h before eating them, in order to allow the ganache to soak into the shells a bit.  They can be stored in an airtight box in the fridge – just remember to bring them out at least 30mins before eating them, so that you can appreciate the flavour fully!

Ingredients

For the macaron shells:
100g aged egg whites (age them for 4-5 days in a sealed jar in the fridge)
66g caster sugar
120g ground almonds
180g icing sugar
Yellow food colouring paste (optional)

For the ganache filling:
40g double cream
150g white chocolate
14g white rum
14g cognac
14g Cointreau
7g fresh lemon juice
Orange food colouring paste (optional)

Directions

To make the macaron shells:
1. Line three or four flat baking sheets with baking paper and set aside.  Prepare a piping bag with a plain round piping tip.

2.  Blend the icing sugar and ground almonds together (don’t skip this step!)  Sift them through a medium sieve into a large bowl.  Sift them again if necessary.

3.  Make the French meringue by whisking the egg whites at room temperature (take them out of the fridge 2h beforehand) to glossy firm peaks, gradually adding the caster sugar.  Add a few drops of yellow food colouring paste just before the end and mix well (this is totally optional, but it just adds a bit of colour to the macarons, and it’s also kind of fun).

4.  Incorporate the French meringue into the dry ingredients using a large spatula and mix well.  Now work on the mixture by pressing down well with the spatula, going backwards and forwards, to press out the oxygen from the egg whites (this is the macaronnage stage), until you have a smooth mixture.  Don’t do this for longer than 5 minutes.  The result should be a soft and brilliant mixture that forms a “ribbon” on the spatula.

5.  Transfer the mixture to the previously prepared piping bag and pipe out the desired size of rounds (mine were about 1.5-2cm in diameter).  Press the nozzle right down on the paper and finish off with a flourish to obtain a nice round.  Leave a good space between them so they can spread out.

6.  Leave to set for about 30 mins (this helps to produce the feet).  Preheat the oven to fan-oven 160°C.  When you can feel that a skin has formed over the top, they are ready to go into the oven.

7.  Bake one tray at a time in the centre of the oven for about 8-10 mins (to see if they are done, touch the top – if there is a “wobble,” leave them in 2-3 mins longer).  Leave them to cool on the baking trays, and when they are completely cool, carefully remove them and pair them up by size.

To make the ganache filling:
8.  Whilst the macarons are setting and cooking, make the ganache filling.  Heat the cream, and as soon as it starts boiling, add the white chocolate (broken into pieces), the white rum, cognac, Cointreau, lemon juice and a few drops of orange food colouring paste (the food colouring is optional, but adds a bit of fun colour), and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth (don’t let it boil or you will boil off the alcohol and we wouldn’t want that now, would we?).  Allow the mixture to thicken in the fridge (or freezer if necessary).

9.  Once cool, use a teaspoon to deposit a good dollop of  ganache onto one shell of each pair.  Then place the partner shell on top, and use a slight twisting motion to squash the shell down onto the filling.

10.  Leave in the fridge for at least 24h before serving (I know, it’s difficult!  But so worth it!!)

Enjoy!

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How to cause disruption in the quiet carriage whilst enjoying your lunch

Last Friday I went down to Oxford as part of a surprise birthday celebration for one of my best friends from school, Keely.  Around mid-afternoon on Thursday I suddenly realised that I’d be travelling on the train during lunch-time and that I’d forgotten to plan for lunch.  I didn’t especially fancy over-priced, probably-not-so-great train food, which meant that I had to find something that I could make with the ingredients we had at home because it was pouring with rain (for a change), so I didn’t feel like trekking out to the supermarket.  I came across a recipe for parmesan and walnut mini loaves.  We had all the required ingredients, and mini loaves are practical to transport as well as easy to eat on a train without creating a huge mess – perfect!

Once on the train, I realised that I’d forgotten to take photos of the mini loaves at home, so if I wanted to share the recipe here, I was going to have to take photos of my lunch on the train.  Which would have been totally fine if my camera didn’t double-beep very loudly whenever it focusses and if I hadn’t booked myself into the quiet carriage…  I felt awfully disruptive, but I braved the glares and judgement of my fellow passengers and did a mini photo-shoot of my lunch.  The mini loaves were rather delicious though, so I ignored the very pointed throat-clearing started from somewhere behind me after about two photos, until I’d taken a grand total of five photos.  I know, I know, such a rebel in the quiet carriage.

I probably wouldn’t have felt so guilty if I’d known that my weekend would also involve practically breaking into Keely’s house to bake her a cake and madeleines as part of the surprise, making several terrible first impressions on her new housemates that she hadn’t even met yet (she’d moved into her new house the day before) and setting off their smoke alarm by accidentally lighting (indoor) sparklers directly underneath it.  A beeping camera in the quiet carriage seems rather tame in comparison, doesn’t it?  I realise that it sounds like we probably ruined Keely’s life for the near future, but she loved the surprise and thoroughly enjoyed her birthday – hurrah!  For my part, I had a lovely weekend seeing some friends that I hadn’t seen since I left school four years ago, and (most importantly for this blog post) I had an excellent lunch on my way down.  Win!

Parmesan & walnut mini loaves

Makes 6-8 mini loaves
Adapted from Mini cakes

These mini loaves are great for picnics as their shape and size makes them really easy to wrap up individually and transport, and they’re deceptively filling.  It also helps that they don’t create a total mess when you eat them.  They can get a little dry if left for a few days, but slicing them thinly and spreading butter on each slice sorts that out.  To make a large, single loaf of 26 cm in length, apparently you can add an additional ¼ of the ingredients and an extra egg, and cook for a little longer.

Ingredients

190g parmesan
140g all-purpose flour
30g chopped walnuts
2 eggs
70ml olive oil
70ml milk
1 heaped tsp baking powder (equivalent to 5.5g or ½ a French sachet)

Directions

1.  Butter and lightly flour the mini loaf tins, or set out silicone moulds.  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

2.  Coarsely grate 140g of the parmesan into a medium-sized bowl.  Cut the remaining 50g of parmesan into small chunks using a knife, adding it to the bowl, but reserving about ⅓ of the chunks (for sprinkling on top of the mini loaves.  This is optional, and you can just add all the parmesan to the bowl).  Add the flour and chopped walnuts to the parmesan bowl, add some ground black pepper and mix together.

3.  In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs together with the oil and milk.  Add the dry ingredients, and mix together, taking care not to over-mix (it’s fine if it’s a bit lumpy).  Gently fold in the the baking powder.

4.  As soon as the baking powder has been mixed in, divide the batter between the loaf tins.  Sprinkle the reserved little parmesan chunks over the tops of each mini loaf and bake for about 30 mins, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 mins in the tins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

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Toothy’s Travels – Edinburgh: The Virgin Money Fireworks Concert

Sunday evening saw the spectacular finale of the Edinburgh International Festival, in the form of the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert, which is a fantastic 45-minute firework display set to a live concert played by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.  I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen the Fireworks Concert before, so I definitely wanted to watch it this year, particularly since I’d been on a super interesting behind-the-scenes tour of the preparations for it on Thursday evening (which you can read about here).

Whether I’d be able to watch or not depended on two factors, both entirely out of my control: that the weather stayed dry (I’m not a fan of standing in the rain for 45 minutes…) and that I managed to get back to Edinburgh in time (I went to Oxford the weekend and my train was due to arrive at Edinburgh Waverley about 40 minutes before the start of the fireworks).  Luckily the rain held off until the end of the concert and my train miraculously arrived on time (the station is conveniently right in the centre of Edinburgh so I didn’t have to go very far), so I was able to fully enjoy the concert – hurrah!

This year, the Edinburgh International Festival was celebrating Asia, and six pieces of music were chosen to fit in with this theme (although I feel that adding the Russian and Arab dances to the Chinese dance from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker may have been slightly tenuous, plus the Nutcracker always makes me think of Christmas).  Although the festival ends with the Fireworks Concert every year, I can’t help but think that it was especially fitting this year, with Asia as the theme, particularly since I found out on the behind-the-scenes tour that the majority of the fireworks for the show were sourced in China (though this is for financial reasons rather than anything else).

The fireworks are launched from Edinburgh Castle and the concert is played down in Princes Street Gardens, so we watched from Princes Street where we had an excellent view of the Castle but could also hear the concert from the speakers (well, mostly – fireworks get a bit loud occasionally).  I think the most impressive thing about the show (aside from the fact that it involves over 100,000 fireworks) is the way it makes use of the different levels of the Castle’s ramparts as well as playing around with lighting up the Castle in different ways, which makes it really quite unique and totally spectacular.

The great thing about the show being 45 minutes long is that they can really play around with and showcase a lot of different types of fireworks in all different colours.  Of course there are the standard huge ones that we’ve all seen before and Roman candles, but there were some really fun ones that I don’t remember having seen before, such as ones where, once the firework burst, the sparks zipped off in every direction like fireflies.  And of course, there’s the firework cascade that comes down the Castle wall – the resounding cheer from the spectators confirmed that it is, indeed, the most popular part of the show – though unfortunately I didn’t manage to get any decent photos of it.

I shall stop rambling on now, and leave you with a few more photos (I know you’re probably bored now, but fireworks are just so pretty…) and my conclusion that watching over 100,000 fireworks explode in the sky in time to a live concert was an excellent way to spend 45 minutes of my life, and if you’re ever in Edinburgh at the end of the Festival, I thoroughly recommend that you do the same (watch the show, not explode in the sky – I wouldn’t recommend that so much).

Well done – you made it through a lot of terrible pictures of fireworks.  You should give yourself a pat on the back! Here’s one last one (of the finale, appropriately enough), just for good measure:

Enjoy the rest of your day!

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Toothy’s Travels – Edinburgh: Behind the scenes at the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert

Every year the Edinburgh International Festival ends with a spectacular fireworks concert, which involves a concert by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in the Ross Theatre in Princes Street Gardens, set against the backdrop of a fantastic fireworks display timed to the music and launched from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle.  This year’s Fireworks Concert is this Sunday evening (4th September) at 21:00.  This year, the event has a new sponsor in the form of Virgin Money, and in order to increase awareness of this, yesterday evening they organised a little behind-the-scenes tour of the firework preparations for interested Edinburgh bloggers.

Now, I realise that fireworks are a bit of a departure from the norm on what is primarily a food blog, but… uhm, hello, fireworks are awesome, of course I wanted to see behind the scenes!  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but it was really rather interesting, particularly since I know absolutely nothing about fireworks, except that they’re pretty and can be dangerous.  The little tour was given by Keith Webb, the Project Director for Pyrovision who are responsible for putting together the display which involves over 100,000 fireworks (uhm, wow!).  Here he is showing us the set-up for a wave of fireworks that will make up a grand total of around 7 seconds of the 45-minute show.

What I found very interesting to learn about was the huge role of technology in the firework display.  Now, my grasp of electronics isn’t exactly fabulous, so here’s the disclaimer: whilst I took notes, I might be using totally the wrong terminology, but hopefully you’ll understand what I’m trying to talk about.  Keith explained that alternating fireworks on the frame above are on different circuits, in case something goes wrong, so that at least half the fireworks will still be able to go off for the show.  I’d never realised how much technology and electronics are involved in modern firework displays.  It totally makes sense, but I guess I’d never really thought about it – I may or may not have had a vague mental image of people running around with hand-lighters to light the fuses on the fireworks, kind of like you see in cartoons.  Like I said, I’d never really thought about it…

Every single firework in the entire display is set off by an electric match (I didn’t even know that such things existed) which is connected to a cable, which is ultimately connected to and controlled by a computer.  It’s totally mind-blowing, particularly when you consider that there are over 100,000 fireworks, plus spares, just in case.  That is one heck of a lot of cabling.  Obviously, there have been lots of technological advances since the Firework Concert first started, and the control of the display has moved from human fingers pressing buttons (or lighting fuses) to the use of computers to programme the display.  Keith explained that one of the huge advantages conferred by the use of computers is that it allows them to time the fireworks much more closely to the tempo of the music, particularly when the music reaches a tempo faster than a human would be able to press all the firework buttons.  Amazing!  Of course, this make it sound really easy – programme the fireworks, sit back and relax as they all go off in time to the music – but of course, the fireworks are timed to a live show and the tempo of the music depends on the conductor down in Princes St Gardens.  Therein lies the challenge – continuously monitoring and altering the tempo of the programmed display to match that of the music that the display is accompanying.

As well as monitoring the live music, the technicians (professional pyromaniacs?  Not really sure what their official job title would be) also keep an eye out on the weather and if the wind speed picks up too much (we’re in Scotland, so obviously that would never happen), they can cut off the really big fireworks from the display programme, in order to keep the display as safe as possible for the public.  As I briefly mentioned, there are plenty of spare fireworks and a lot of redundancy is built into the whole system and display, in case of technical failures and malfunctions, to ensure that the show still happens regardless.

I think Keith had planned to show us the apparatus to set up the firework cascade that comes down the North wall of the Castle, but sadly we ran out of time.  The cascade is by far the most expensive part of the whole display, but also the most popular (it is so impressive to see the sparks fall from the Castle’s ramparts and down the sheer cliff), and the timing of the cascade within the concert is a closely guarded secret.  We’ll have to wait until Sunday evening to find out when it will happen…

Which brings me onto my final note – the concert itself.  This year, the Edinburgh International Festival was celebrating the wealth and diversity of Asian cultures, and the Fireworks Concert pieces have been chosen along this theme (you can find the listing here).  Even though the Fireworks Concert happens every year, I can’t help but feel that the long history of fireworks in Asia (and I think particularly China) makes this event a particularly fitting end to the Festival this year.  Perhaps even more apt that most of the fireworks come from China (apparently it’s more cost-effective, but I’m sure they also produce really good fireworks.  They’ve been making them since the 7th century, so that’s quite a lot of practice!).

Setting up all the fireworks requires about 15 people, with an additional four on the night of the concert, supported by additional staff from the Castle.  I take my hat off to all of them for A) being able to understand all the cables and B) being able to put together such an impressive event, and look forward to an exciting Fireworks Concert on Sunday evening!  If you’re in or near Edinburgh, I strongly recommend that you try to watch the event – whilst access to Princes St Gardens is ticketed, I believe watching from Princes St is completely free, and if you’re watching from elsewhere in Edinburgh, I think that the concert is broadcast on local radio so that you can enjoy the music, too.

Thank you to Virgin Money for this wonderfully eye-opening behind the scenes tour!

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