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Carina in Print: August Scots Magazine column

Carina writes a monthly column each month for Scots Magazine, a monthly publication packed with entertaining and informative features on Scotland’s people, places, culture and leisure. Every issue is a celebration of Scotland’s rich urban and rural life – from the great outdoors to the vibrant city scene; all complimented by stunning photography. Read more at

Meanwhile, here’s the latest column, with a great recipe for Dutch Apple Cake – enjoy!

I love August and I love our Festivals.  I don’t know how many times I’ve said this. The Festivals put the fun into our capital, and the health into our businesses.   It’s truly wonderful welcoming guests year after year who visit for the Fringe or the Book Festival: the dedication of some of the festival fans is humbling.  And the increasing numbers of new visitors drawn to the city really is a triumph.  Destinations around the world are trying to catch up with the legacy we have created and we can never take it for granted.

Having been born in Edinburgh, and lived here most of my life, I feel so lucky to live in a city that has the eyes of the Arts world peering at us with envy from every theatre, music hall, comedy club, book store and Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo stand.

From the classical, to the academic, from the comical to the musical, we really do have something for everyone.  On top of all of this festival fun, we also have amazing gardens, fantastic restaurants and a train station that can whisk you away to the far corners of our country to enjoy the Highlands or the Borders for the day.

We look after hundreds of thousands of non-UK guests each year.  I love meeting American and Asian visitors who see Scotland as their lifetime ‘dream destination’, and they seem to be able to pack so much in.  Some guests manage to see more of Scotland in a week that I’ve seen in a decade.

They all want to taste smoked salmon, whisky, porridge, and fish and chips –  they don’t like the idea of haggis but love it once they’ve tried it. If you say ‘venison’ they think ‘Bambi’, so we tend to stay away from this altogether unless they’re foodies.  Food is now one of the key drivers, according to Visit Scotland, of people choosing to visit our nation.  That’s an amazing endorsement and testament to all the hard work that has taken place at all levels of the food chain to raise standards and awareness, and shout loudly about our enviable larder and heritage.

Tourism in Scotland now accounts for around 5% of our GDP.  This is a staggering figure.  So, while many of the locals of Edinburgh might leave the city to escape the noise, hustle and bustle, they can rest assured it’s in good hands. We’ll be here, looking after our visitors, who play such a vital role in supporting our local economy and the arts, and give us the fuel we need to keep going during the winter months.

Let’s say thanks, and haste ye back, to our visitors from around the world. We really do love our tourists.


Dutch Apple Cake

My brother-in-law Louis has been married to my sister for over thirty years.  He, like all of us, loves cooking and has very proudly cooked his Dutch Apple Cake for years. This is a very light cake.  At first you think it’s not quite got the punch of a richer, heavily iced cake – but it always leaves you with for room for just a little more.  Just like, when August is over, you wish it could last for just another few days.


  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 2 organic free range eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 200g self-raising flour, sieved
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100ml milk
  • 2 cooking apples, peeled and cored
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 dessert apples peeled, cored and sliced into thick wedges


Steam the cooking apple with a tablespoon of water until completely soft.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla.

Fold in each of the eggs with a tablespoon of the flour, then fold in the remaining flour and the cinnamon.

Fill a 28cm loose-bottomed lined cake tin with the sponge mixture.

Drop spoonfuls of the cooked apple into the cake mixture.  Then decorate with the apple wedges and sprinkle with a little extra sugar.

Bake for 40 – 50 minutes at 180C/ Gas Mark 4.

Allow to cool in the tin, then serve while still warm with a spoonful of lightly whipped fresh cream or creme fraiche.