Saturday, June 15, 2013

We're Moving to St. Andrew's

Big changes ahead for the Hilleberts!

Jordan's supervisor at the University of Aberdeen, John Webster, has just accepted a chair at the University of St. Andrew's. We were shocked by the news as we had always imagined finishing out Jordan's PhD here in Aberdeen. After much consideration, Jordan has decided to transfer to St. Andrew's in order to continue studying under John Webster. So we will be leaving Aberdeen in September to move to the birth place of golf (and the University where Prince William met Kate).

It's a bittersweet move as it means leaving behind dear friends, but we are excited about living in such a gorgeous Scottish town.

Please pray that I find a new job that I can enjoy as my job in Aberdeen has been less than delightful. And also pray that we find an affordable flat close to the campus as we want to continue to live without the expense of a car.

God has been teaching us much about His sovereignty and our lack of control in our lives over the past few years, and this unexpected move as been another example of Proverbs 16:9 - "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."

Here are few pictures of where our new home will soon be...

St. Andrew's is about an hour and half south of Aberdeen.

The University

Oldest golf course in the world!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Favorite Things

What could possibly bring dry shampoo, local honey, bubble bath, tea, macaroons, tart pans, and special seasoning all to the table at once? A Favorite Things party! Last week I hosted a girl's-night-in, and each friend brought an item (under £6) that represented one of their favorite things. We played White Elephant with our loot, and each took home someone else's favorite thing. This is an incredibly fun and unique way to get to know something new about your friends and try their special secrets for yourself.

My contribution to the festivities revealed my secret love of miniature kitchenware. I don't have many mini kitchen items, but I always want to buy them when I see them. When we first moved to Scotland, I had my eye on mini tart pans for the entire first year, but as a poor phD student's wife, I never felt justified in buying them. But one day they were on clearance, so I could no longer resist, and now I adore them! So in getting ready for my girl's-night-in, I decided to buy a set of adorable heart-shaped mini tart pans as my gift offering.

I really enjoy making tarts - both sweet and savory. Jordan bought me my first tart pan for my birthday one year, and I've been hooked on it ever since. I love how the edges come out perfectly crinkled without any artistic input. I am not one who produces beautiful bake-goods, so I like the fail proof result of the removable bottom.

Sunday afternoon before my party, I turned on some music and started playing with lemons... I made a lemon tart with coconut crust and a few mini Earl Grey infused chocolate tarts.

Lemon Tart with Coconut Crust

Earl Gray Infused Mini Chocolate Tarts

The lemon tart was remarkable. I love this recipe. The fresh citrus flavor hits the spot for me. The Earl Grey tarts did not have as much of an Earl Grey undertone as I was hoping/expecting. If I was to try them again, I would steep more tea bags in the cream to try to draw out that flavor. Even still... if you're looking for a chocolaty punch, try these. The mini versions are great, because they are very rich. 

This game idea would also function well as an ice-breaker for a new group of women just getting to know each other (bible study, mom's group, book club etc.)
In keeping with the theme of this blog (books and food), I've just thought... what if I had a Favorite Things party just for books? Each person brings a copy of their favorite book to share, and everyone walks away with a highly recommended new book to read. I think I love it...

In case anyone is interested, here are the recipes I used for the party plus a few other favorites.

Meyer Lemon Tart with Coconut Crust

Earl Grey Infused Chocolate Tart (note: This crust sounds amazing, but I did not make it this time, as I used the same crust I had already made for the lemon tart.)

Alsace Onion Tart (this is a staple dinner in our house)

Balsamic Onion Tart with Goat Cheese and Thyme