Other Scotland

Carnivore Club Champions Scottish Charcuterie 


If you’ve been reading for a while then you’ll know that I love meat, I love local and I love trying new things. So when I was emailed by a company that send you boxes of Artisan British charcuterie it immediately piqued my interest. Each month uses a different charcuterie company and this months box contained meat from a Highland business called Great Glen Charcuterie. 



Great Glen Charcuterie are based in Roybridge, which is down Spean Bridge/ Fortwilliam way. I’d heard of them and been wanting to try their meat so this was a great taster box. They specialise in charcuterie using wild Scottish venison that they make by hand and air dry. 


The Carnivore Club is essentially an online company that send you meat. They use different British charcuterie companies every month so that you can try meat from smaller companies that you might not have heard of. Good for small businesses to get the word out. You can order a box as a one-off for a gift or start a monthly/bi-monthly/quarterly subscription. 
Perfect timing as it’s much easier for us to have a nice dinner in than out right now with a little baby. 

It arrived by courier and the meat was encased in a sturdy gift box. Inside there was a leaflet with information about the box and serving suggestions and five different products to try: two salamis, two chorizos and a venison bresaola. The aforementioned were venison pork salami, green peppercorn salami, chili venison chorizo & venison and pork chorizo. 

The first meat that we tried was the pork & venison chorizo. We used it in place of bacon on treat night in a creamy seafood pasta… delicious! We then used the venison and pork chorizo in place of our regular chorizo in our affectionately named ‘sexy pasta’ that uses roasted Mediterranean veg and herbs. Again, it was lovely. We liked both of the products and the only thing we found was that the chorizos weren’t as oily or paprika-y as normal chorizo so adjust recipes accordingly. 

The salamis are rich and tasty, a fantastic addition to an antipasti board alongside cheese, olives and proscuitto. 
The bresaola is being kept until date night because it is the one we are looking forward to the most. I’ll be doing it the traditional way with rocket and shaved Parmesan on top of the slices then drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over it. 

I thought that the box was good value. It’s £29 if you subscribe and £32 for a one-off and if my maths were right the box had £27.41 worth of products (not to mention the nice gift box) plus Great Glen charge £4.95 delivery so you’re making a saving. Since getting the box I’ve spotted Great Glen charcuterie at The Storehouse & Corner on the Square and they are (obviously) a little more expensive than buying direct so The Carnivore Club are competitive price wise. 

To get it every month you’d have to be a true carnivore, I would say that I am more on the bi-monthly part of the scale. The boxes are compiled using British companies & I hope to see and try more Scottish charcuterie in the future as I like to support local. 
We have friends scattered all over the UK and I’m constantly wracking my brain over what to buy them as gifts that are easy to send but still special so this will really help me out. It’s also a nice idea for new parents who might not go out for a while so that they can treat themselves at home.
I can be somewhat sceptical about these subscription services that send you things because I don’t always feel that they are good value for money but I can honestly say that the box I was sent by the Carnivore Club felt like it was. I’ve seen photos online of another box and it also looked like you got your money’s worth. A nice way to spend some disposable income on or to gift someone. Just not to a vegetarian! 

 

N.B The Carnivore Club kindly sent me a box to try. There was no pressure to be nice about it so I just gave my honest opinion. Im very selective about what I write about so research anyone who contacts me first. I’m actually about to order another box! 
This content has also been posted on my sister blog Highland Foodie 

Glasgow You’re Slipping Out Of My Reach

I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve felt terrible not saying anything on here about it but this morning I decided that the time has come… I’m leaving Glasgow!
By the end of the year I will no longer live in this amazing city and I’m feeling sad about it this morning. Being away from my friends & family up north finally pulled me back to Inverness when a job offer up there came about.

So that’s why things on here have been so quiet recently. Between painting and decluttering the flat, sorting out getting the flat on the market, working full-time & spending as much time with friends down here as possible, it’s been a busy month.
I have a bit of a backlog so I’ve still got some lovely meals to tell you about and the BBC Good Food Show Glasgow. To be honest I’m not sure how I’m going to live without Celino’s, La Lanterna and Tempo Tea (among others) so I’ll be up and down the road regularly for the first year at least to wean myself off these delicious addictions.

I intend to still blog on here whenever I’m down visiting folk so make sure you’re signed up for e-mail notifications. It will just mean relentless eating and drinking in a small space of time- I think I’ll manage!

Until then, keep reading what I’ve been up to recently and follow my second blog, Highland Foodie, as I begin this new journey.

I’m going to miss you more than words can say Glasgow.

Also follow Highland Foodie on
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E-mail me at thehighlandfoodie@gmail.com

A Tuk Tuk In Edinburgh?

No, not an actual 3 wheeled tuk-tuk, a restaurant called Tuk Tuk. Although I’d love to see tuk-tuks going about Edinburgh streets. Someone should make this happen, this would be sensational as a wedding car. Anyway, back to Tuk Tuk the restaurant. We visited for lunch after watching the Commonwealth diving and by the time we arrived we were more than ready for a curry. The restaurant is right opposite the Kings Theatre so I am sure that it fills up pretty quickly around 5pm so we wanted to get in early. First impressions were good – modern, colourful decor with funky lighting.

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They have a BYOB policy for beer and wine but we stuck to soft drinks at lunch. For a casual restaurant I love the idea of BYOB and it would be ideal for larger groups not wanting to worry about how big the bill is getting. Since we were not drinking, I took it as an opportunity to try Thums Up ‘the cola of Bombay’. Coca-cola have conditioned me to think of their flavour as normal and any other coke as abnormal but I love a Barr’s every so often so thought I’d give this a go. I liked it and it reminded me of Barr’s.

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We did not know how many dishes to order as it is tapas style so the waiter helped us choose seven dishes plus rice and naan between the two of us.

We were told that everything might not arrive together and asked if that was okay. The quicker dishes start coming, the better in my opinion. The Bengali fish cakes (£4.95) were first to the table which boded well as they were a starter kind of option. I thought these were great and reminded me of little fish balls that we ate in The Maldives. The sauce was kind of minty and I would never normally put mint with fish, but with the spice going through the cakes it worked.

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The channa puri (£4.85) was delivered at the same time and we were also really happy with this dish. This is a dish that I like to order as a starter when out for a curry and Tuk Tuk do a fine example of it. It was creamy & rich but not cloying, and the fried bread was crispy enough to scoop the chickpeas into your mouth.

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Chicken 69 (£4.75) was the third pick – described as mouth watering chicken nuggets, an Indo-Chinese delicacy. On appearance it reminded me of something that you’d pick up from a takeaway and not big nuggets of chicken as we had expected. I didn’t enjoy the taste either. My tastebuds couldn’t work out what the flavours were and I could just taste a kind of sour taste. Maybe others like it but it was not for us.

left - chicken 69, red pan - lamb station curry, right - staff curry

left – chicken 69, red pan – lamb station curry, right – staff curry

The garlic naan (£2.20) that had now arrived was far more pleasing. It was thinner than a conventional naan bread, so was not as stodgy, and the garlic butteriness just right. We ended up trying the cheese naan too and it was also great. The cheese was sandwiched inside the dough and there wasn’t an overkill of cheese.

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My sister in-law always picks a lentil dish when we eat curry and I pick a meat dish but the tapas style eating at Tuk Tuk afforded me both. Daal Makhni (£4.95) is slow cooked lentils and kidney beans so they go kind of creamy and then are mixed with spices. Mr S had to sit this one out because of his nut allergy but I wanted to try it because the guy recommended it. I couldn’t eat the whole thing – definitely one for sharing – but it is a good dish for scooping up with naan. I will pass on the recommendation to my sister in-law for next time she’s in the ‘burgh.

 

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Our three meaty curry dishes chosen were railway station lamb curry (£5.20), lamb rarah (£5.25) and tuktuk wallah staff curry (£4.90). There’s always a favourite curry that you all end up using to dip your naan into and the staff curry won that award. The chicken was moist and it had a deep aromatic piquancy without being too hot. I’d absolutely go back for one of these with naan and daal makhni for lunch.

 

The two lamb curries both had meat on the bone to pick off. In fact, all of our meat dishes were on the bone. That was an ordering rookie mistake from us because it was a lot of picking. We were probably just being lazy – usually we like meat on the bone because we know how much rich meaty flavour it adds. Anyway, on first appearances there was not much meat but we realised that you just have to get right in there with those bones.

The lamb rarah turned out to be a bit too spicy for me but Mr S liked it. The railway station curry was slightly milder but I could not pick out the individual tastes except from spinach.

 

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Due to the bring your own bottle policy, dinner at Tuk Tuk would only cost about £20 per head for a feast. That is pretty impressive and ideal being opposite the Kings Theatre. I thought that portion size was just right for sharing and price charged. As I said before, I’d suggest the staff curry and daal makhni with some naan but I’d like to further investigate the other dishes. Give the chicken 69 a miss and try something traditional.

 

Tuk Tuk Indian Street Food on Urbanspoon

 

I was invited to the restaurant for a complimentary meal. As always my views and opinions are my own.

Edinburgh Foodies Festival

On Sunday we nursed our hangovers in a rather novel way. We went to a Foodies Festival in the rain! The atmosphere on the train through to Edinburgh was not very upbeat and I was starting to worry how we’d all get through the day. But it turns out that it was the perfect cure for us – food, fresh air and whisky samples.

We had checked the weather beforehand and it was rain and more rain so wellies and trainers were dug out. I felt like I was back at Rockness using the portaloos in my wellies. Except that they were posh portaloos that flushed and I had actually showered that morning.

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Typically Scottish weather!

Our plan formulated on the train was to walk around the whole thing and then we would start eating and buying things. We stuck to the plan for all of ten minutes after reading the menu at Mark Greenaway’s Bistro Moderne – the tempura soft shell crab had to be mine. It was hands down the best cooking that I have ever had at an outside venue and it has made me want to go to Bistro Moderne – success for both sides.

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We visited the Top Out Brewery stall and found that beer and soft shell crab actually taste good together. An edinburgh company, they have only been brewing for a little over a year but are growing all the time. Expect to see their beers in shops more and more over the next year.

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After catching a bit of Stephen K Amos from Celebrity Masterchef at the chefs theatre we wandered from stall to stall. There was a big selection of mainly Scottish producers and produce varied from oils to seafood, whisky to peanut butter marshmallows. Safe to say we were enjoying ourselves.

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As we were walking round we were taken in by the smell of meat from The Pantry so we stopped to share a roll. Not any roll, this was a Thistly Cross cider braised pork shoulder, red turnip slaw, apple & thyme sauce with a whisky & barbeque sauce roll… drooling as I write about it.

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Back to the chefs theatre because I wanted to see Adam Handling from Masterchef. Clearly passionate about his food, a great guy to watch and I would love to dine in his restaurant.

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There was a champagne tent so we had a couple of Strawberry Bellini’s whilst chatting to the folk at the Discover The Origin tent. Discover the Origin are trying to raise awareness of five key European products: Bourgogne wines, Parma ham, Douro wines, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and port. I’m a believer that you can tell the difference when it comes to cured meat and this Parma ham was delicious. I also loved that they were serving the Parmigiano out of the shell and letting you compare the flavours of different maturities. They don’t even charge you as it is a big campaign to raise awareness.

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Moreover, because there was four of us on the day, we could buy one food item and share it so that we had the opportunity to taste more producers food. The gents were angling for more food and I honestly have never seen them as happy as when they spotted the Gaucho BBQ. Meat on the bone, barbequed and smoky – they were in dream land.

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There were plenty of drinks companies to keep us entertained too. Lots of craft beer, gins, whisky, wine and cocktails. The Riot Bar provided much needed shelter from the downpour and there was also a sheltered eating area but I’d love if they made this bigger for next year.

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The live entertainment stage provided some tunes to bob your head along to whilst munching and shopping.

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I have to mention my personal favourite stall of the day – Goya 23. Iberico ham on the bone coupled with quality red wine, all served by a friendly and knowledgeable gentleman. After listening to much chat from us self-confessed pork obsessives, he even gave us some free samples of the other meats he had.

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Shopping wise I seemed to have an oil obsession on the day because I came home with three oil themed items. Summer Harvest is a company based in Perthshire that turns the bright yellow fields into gorgeous rapeseed oil products. We first came across them at the foodie day at Hamilton Races and now I keep an eye out for their stuff. This time I bought a garlic mayonnaise (proper yellow fresh mayo to eat asap… yes I’ve started) and a chilli & red pepper salad dressing to liven up our Autumn meals. Then I saw the Supernature stall, which is also rapeseed oils and Scottish. Based in the Lothians, they are all about coldpressing rapeseed oil so I got a bottle of the garlic one after extensive tasting on the day of every flavour.

As you can probably tell, we had a grand old time. Mr S even said to me that he wishes they would have this every month – he was extremely impressed. It is a yearly event so we will be getting tickets for next year without a doubt. I think that this sort of event would really work in Glasgow too, and I would love to see it there next year with some of my favourite local producers and food-to-go places from the West coast.

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3 sisters bake

3 sisters bake

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fresh coconut water

fresh coconut water

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Foodies Festival sent us complimentary tickets for the event so that I could be an official blogger for them. As usual, all opinions are my own and honest.

Scran and Scallie

I’ve had The Kitchin restaurant in Edinburgh at the top of my most wanted list for a long time. They have a long waiting list (I’m not the best planner that far in advance) and it would need to be saved for a special occasion so we have not made it yet. Then I heard about The Scran & Scallie, a gastropub in Edinburgh owned by Tom Kitchin & Dominic Jack. They do not accept reservations so there was no real planning required except from getting there before peak dining time because I’d heard that they fill up pretty quickly.

There are a lot of 30th birthday celebrations going on this year and this was one of them. Therefore we arrived in Edinburgh later than planned as we took a gin and tonic detour! To set us up for the walk to Stockbridge we nipped into Harvey Nichols fourth floor Window Bar to enjoy a cocktail with that amazing view.

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It took us about half an hour to walk to Stockbridge but I enjoy looking at all of the old buildings and indulging in a bit of house lust. We arrived about 4.30pm but we were told that they don’t start serving food until 5pm (they also serve lunch earlier) so we could sit and have a drink until service starts. The bar area is quite small and appears to be more for people having a drink waiting for tables than an actual bar.

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Williams Bros £1.95 & Orkney IPA £2.50 (half pints)

Tables have to be back in an hour and a half in the restaurant area. To me The Scran & Scallie is not a pub because in a pub that does food they usually serve meals all day, you’d wouldn’t be told to give the table back so soon on a Wednesday and there would be more people using it as a boozer. It felt more like a restaurant. Not a problem but that is how it appeared to me. If we had arrived an hour earlier I would have been annoyed that the website did not state the food service times and table back policy. We’d come all the way from Glasgow for it- the least they can do in return is be upfront. That is not to take away from the place because the decor and feel of it is a delightful mix of Scottish and Scandinavian with simple furnishings and lots of wood. I really enjoyed our visit.

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Warm bread arrived in a mini sack and I had soon forgotten about our table wait.

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Their whole ethos is ‘from nature to plate’ so I knew that the squat lobster ravioli with asparagus would be freshly made. The three ravioli were in a creamy but fresh sauce and the asparagus was fantastic with it.

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Ox tongue on toast should be the new comfort food, it certainly ticks the rich and satisfying boxes. The bone marrow continued the theme with its jellied meatiness. And the egg, I’m not sure it was even needed, but I never question a soft egg on my plate. Especially a flavoursome, proper farm egg.

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Steak pie, hogget, steak pie, hogget? Choices, choices. I really wanted the ham and chips but I didn’t want us to order the same main. I had never tried hogget before so I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity. It is a slow cooked meat and had an even softer texture than lamb shank. Darker in colour, it is more intense than meat from a younger sheep. To be honest, I found it too strong in flavour for me. I liked the peas surrounding it but felt that some mash would not have gone amiss. I ordered a side of potatoes as well but they did not really match up with the dish and just notched the already expensive (£19) price up.

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The ham, egg and chips came with a side of contented silence. The presentation got top marks from us, the taste of the ham also got top marks. The homemade pineapple salsa is something that we’ve tried to recreate since but have never managed to get it exactly correct. In my opinion the egg did not need the breadcrumbs but that’s being pernickity. I hope that this dish never comes off the menu.

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As I mentioned before, the hogget was rich and I couldn’t manage the whole thing so took it home with me to give to Mr S. Bar my vaccum packed steak at Chez Bruce, it was the fanciest looking doggy bag I’d had.

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Apple crumble came with its own jug of custard. Great balance ratio of fruit to crumble with a slight crunch on top.

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I chose lemon curd and meringue & it came in an elegant champagne coupe. It was a cross between a lemon posset and lemon curd with a layer of biscuity crumble and then delicate piped meringues sitting on top. Lovely.

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It is undeniable that I was impressed by The Scran & Scallie. The food was all of a high standard and the presentation impressive. I still feel slightly confused by the marketing but maybe that’s just me. I won’t be back for three courses because I felt rushed at the end but the ham, egg and chips warrants a second visit.

The Scran & Scallie on Urbanspoon

prices: starters £9

mains £18/19

desserts £5.50/5.75

Competition Time: Win Tickets For Edinburgh foodie Festival!

As I mentioned in my blog’s first birthday post, Girl Around Glasgow is running its first competition!

Foodies Festival is back in Edinburgh’s Inverleith Park on Friday the 8th, Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 10th of August. It is the biggest celebration of food and drink in the UK and I can’t wait to go as one of their official bloggers (and write about it afterwards). Inverleith Park is half an hour walk from Waverley station or a short taxi journey if it rains.

 

I won’t be taking part in the chilli eating contest but I will check out the (mild section of the) chilli food market and you’ll find me boogie-ing it on down at the vintage tea tent dances. Then I definitely won’t miss the real ale & cider farm. The feasting tent and BBQ area will be where I spend most of my time, no surprise there. Finally, street food avenue with its foods from around the world sounds fantastic.

 

Running for its eighth year, chefs will include MasterChef the Professionals runners-up Adam Handling and Scott Davies, Great British Menu’s Jacqueline O’Donnell of The Sisters, Mark Greenaway of Bistro Moderne, TV Chef Tony Singh, The Pompadour by Galvin Head Chef Craig Sandle, Café St Honore’s Neil Forbes and Glasgow’s The Three Sisters bakers Gillan, Nichola and Linsey. Catch them all at the chefs theatre cooking up their favourite dishes.

 

Courtesy of those generous Foodie Festival folk, I am giving away 5 pairs of day tickets. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is follow this blog by e-mail. You can do this at the right hand side of this page near the top. On a mobile device just scroll down the page and under categories it says ‘follow blog by e-mail’ and fill your e-mail in. Once you have done this, head over to your email inbox where there should be an email from WordPress waiting for you. Click on it to confirm you want blog emails. If you already follow my blog by e-mail then like this post on wordpress or comment on it to be in with a chance of winning.

 

I will announce the winner on Tuesday the 16th of July. Good luck!

If you don’t win then Foodies Festival are giving all of my readers 2 for 1 tickets if you quote FOODIES241 when you book.
I can’t wait to hear what you thought & tweet me (@girlaroundglasg) with any photos.

Heavenly Food At Passorn

Sawadee Ka!

I’ve recently done a post on our ladies weekend in Edinburgh but I decided that Passorn deserved their own post – the presentation was too good to only show a couple of photos.

 

I have eaten in a restaurant in the West End of Edinburgh once before & My Big Fat Greek Kitchen suitably impressed me. So when I was surprised with another visit to the area recently I had high hopes. This time it was to visit Passorn – a Thai restaurant that my mum had scouted out.

 

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We ordered three starters between five of us and we loved the presentation of everything served. Aob Chey was the first of the starters to arrive and this is thai chicken satay skewers. The chicken had a chargrilled effect and the peanut sauce really was heavenly. The cucumber sauce provided a sharper, cleaner option after the creamy peanut.

 

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The beef tenderloin salad was bursting with taste. The mint, kaffir lime and lemongrass provided freshness to cut through rich tamarind & chillies.

 

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The Puan Kan – Bangkok fish cakes – were delicately spiced and had just enough red chilli heat. We enjoyed the prawn cake & the fish cake, and the kaffir lime through them was a big hit.

 

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Pla Ma Now is a seabass dish with red chilli, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime and lime juice. The delicate fish just about held its own with the other ingredients and this dish had quite a kick. I think this was my favourite main course.

 

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The first of our stir-fry type dishes was Pad Med Hinmapan. We loved the cashews in this wok dish. The spring onion and peppers were tossed in the sauce of chilli and thai sweet basil with chicken.

 

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My choice of red thai curry with chicken is the nicest red thai curry that I’ve tasted, ever. The spicy and rich flavours smacked you in the face whilst the creaminess calmed it down. I loved it.

 

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I can guarantee that my mum will almost always pick a stir-fry style dish with garlic and ginger in a thai restaurant and her selection this time was Gratium Prig Tai. Alongside garlic and ginger, they had used black pepper and coriander to season the chicken.

 

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Pad Thai was full of nuttiness and came with chilli flakes and crushed nuts on the side. The chicken was moist and beansprouts provided crunch for the dish.

 

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Too stuffed for dessert, we went for cocktails instead. The fruity combos were cold and refreshing.

 

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My parents are big fans of Thai food so when I go for Thai it tends to be with them. I’ll be making an exception for Passorn though, and visiting again soon with whoever happens to be with me in Edinburgh.

 

 

Price range: Starters £5.60 – £8.50, main courses £11.25 – £19.50, house wine £15.45 (bottle)

 

Passorn Thai on Urbanspoon

Guest Posts: Glasgow Artists

Today we have a guest post on the blog, written by Magda Bennett from Crush Digital. She got in touch after reading the blog as she deals with local artists and designers. As you will all know, I love shopping local so I’m excited to share the piece with you.

 

 

Glasgow has been known as a creative and cultural city for many years, with lots of musicians, actors and artists hailing from the city. Today, Glasgow is home to many talented designers who take inspiration from the city and the surrounding Scottish landscape; here are a few of the best Glasgow designers to look out for.

 

Jill Kirkham Textiles

 

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Specialising in bespoke screenprinted textiles for the home, Jill Kirkham’s designs are inspired by the iconic buildings, landmarks and natural environments which represent Glasgow’s industrial heritage. The prints include iconic urban and industrial symbols like the Anniesland Gasworks, the Caledonian Railway Bridge and the Gallowgate Twins tower block. The fabrics Jill Kirkham uses to create her cushions, lampshades and other designs also reflect Glasgow’s heritage; she uses functional materials with an industrial aesthetic like cotton drill, canvas and linen.

 

Gillian Kyle

 

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Gillian Kyle is a Glasgow native who, after graduating from Glasgow School of Art, took her passion for illustration and print and turned it into a business. Gillian Kyle has quickly become one of Scotland’s most popular young designers, and has gone from screenprinting on her kitchen table to selling her designs worldwide. Inspired by Scottish humour, eccentricities of national pride and popular culture, Gillian’s quirky illustrations are instantly recognisable. As well as her iconic Tunnock’s Teacakes and Caramel Wafer range, Gillian Kyle also creates mugs, tea towels, aprons, tote bags and more which celebrate Scottish childhood nostalgia and famous Scots like Charles Rennie Macintosh.

 

Nikky d’Aguilar

 

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Based just outside Glasgow at Bardowie Loch, Nikky d’Aguilar’s designs are heavily influenced by the beauty of nature in the wild garden which surrounds Nikky’s studio. Her designs are created on canvas using oil paints and brushes to create vivid colours and striking designs; these are then printed on to a range of tote bags, makeup bags, scarves and even iPad covers. The gorgeous floral prints capture the vibrancy of the Scottish landscape after a summer rain shower.

 

Katherine Agnew

 

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Glasgow jewellery designer Katherine Agnew often takes inspiration for her designs from the varied landscape of the Scottish Highlands. She gives her jewellery a modern twist with geometric shapes, 3D structures and a mixture of precious metals and gemstones. Katherine Agnew’s designs are based on the repetition of intricate patterns found in the natural environment; her Clover range takes the recognisable shape of this well-known plant and modernises it to create striking pieces of jewellery.

 

Amy McGregor

 

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All of Amy McGregor’s designs are screenprinted by hand in her studio in Bridge of Weir to create bespoke printed homeware and fashion accessories. Amy has a passion for creating unique textiles and her work focuses on distinctive textures and contemporary geometric and floral designs. With everything from prints to cushions and scarves to tote bags, Amy McGregor’s products are all handmade in Glasgow using the best quality materials sourced from throughout the UK.

 

Innovivid Art House

 

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Originally from Canada, Innovivid Art House’s founder Kimmy is a “Scotland-loving-Glasgow-living” freelance graphic designer. Her love of Scotland and digital design has come together in Innovivid’s range of bright pop art style prints. The fun prints which feature everyday objects and Scottish icons with a new twist – like neon Highland cows, stags, thistles or red squirrels! – are perfect for brightening up any home. Innovivid Art House also offer personalised prints so you can have your own photos turned into pop art prints.

 

Who are your favourite Glasgow designers?

 

Laura: My personal favourites are the stag print from Innovivid and Gillian Kyle’s ‘big fish’ range. Happy shopping!

Afternoon Tea At Culloden House

Culloden House stands on the outskirts of Inverness, near to the Culloden Battlefield. Bonnie Prince Charlie even stayed there during the Jacobite Rising. It is close to my childhood home & was the setting for afternoon tea with some of my closest & longest friends for one of my birthday celebrations.

 

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The hotel stands on manicured grounds with highland cattle at the back. You could have a pre eating walk if you wanted to work up an appetite. It is now in a fairly residential area but it doesn’t feel like it.
You book afternoon tea so that the pastry chef has time to whip up the goods. I wasn’t sure what to expect since it’s quite grand but when we went inside we got the warmest welcome from the manager, Murray. He took us into a lounge and asked us whether we wanted the fire on. There were no other people in when we were, but I know other people who have visited when others have been in so we must have got a quiet day. It was off season so probably down to that but we loved having the place to ourselves.

He obviously knew his audience when he started talking about prosecco and we were only too happy to oblige.

The sandwiches were a crust off, traditional affair. Soft bread and tasty fillings so they got nods all round.

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Ahh, and the tea. Loose leaf complete with tea strainer and served in gorgeous wares. Murray also gave us a pot of boiling water in case it was too strong for us – little things make all the difference.

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It was time for something sweet to go with the tea. We all had our eye on something different, and I’m sure we all sampled everything else too. Mini scones with little pots of jam were warmly received. After a few of these afternoon teas, I realised that I can’t managed sandwiches then a whole scone then all of the cakes so the minis were designed for me.

 

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There were meringues filled with fresh cream and served with white chocolate cigarettes next to traditional shortbread rounds dusted in sugar.

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Gooey thin flapjack type delights were small enough to curtail the richness.

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My favourites were the chocolatey, caramel bites. So soft that they were like a rich mousse and I’m sure I could detect a saltiness. They were so good that Murray packed up the last one for me to take back for mum to sample.

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We were so relaxed in there that we asked to see some of the other rooms they use for dining and weddings. They were all so grand and beautiful.

I always wondered what the bedrooms were like and we were allowed to wander freely around some. They are currently refurbishing some of the rooms but what we saw can only be described as romantic.

 

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It was unintentionally fitting to visit Culloden House for a 30th birthday visit – we grew up around it but always thought it was so adult as youngsters. When we became adults I couldn’t tell you but surely by 30 we are there!

 

 

Afternoon tea at Culloden House is currently priced at £14.95 per person.

 

Many thanks to my good friend Iona for taking the food photographs. You can check out her photography here

 

 

 

Edinburgh: A Ladies Weekend

For my thirtieth birthday this year I had a few celebrations. I spent my actual birthday in London, then headed up to Inverness then back to Glasgow for more mini celebrations. Finally, a few weeks later, some of the Mackenzie ladies in the family went to Edinburgh for the weekend. Sticking with our surprise birthday tradition, I knew nothing about what we were doing. This made it exciting but my inner planner was going mad!

We met at the train station & got a taxi to a mystery hotel. When we arrived I found out that we were staying in the Marriott Hotel in Corstophine, which is near the airport. The location was near the zoo so it made sense for us. If you are staying here then Haymarket is closer than Waverley – about 10-15 minutes in a taxi. Staying in a Marriott meant that we had the luxury of a swimming pool with spa facilities. We arrived late evening on the Friday so went straight down for a swim, sauna, steam room & jacuzzi before a gin to begin our relaxing weekend. The bed was comfy with nice bedding and we all slept soundly.

The next morning we went down for the buffet breakfast after a quick swim. There was a great selection and fresh food was constantly being put out but the thing that we noticed most was the service. Our waiter (I wish I could remember his name) was friendly, jokey and spent time having a chat with you. I find that sometimes in a big hotel they lack personal service so it was terrific to see a member of staff giving the personal touch. Just as important, the link sausages were of a good standard (everyone has their bugbears & grisly, fatty sausages is mine).

 

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At breakfast I was told that we were spending the day at the nearby Edinburgh Zoo complete with a visit to the pandas. Edinburgh Zoo is in my top 5 days out in Scotland without a doubt. I try to go at least once a year but last year the panda visiting area was closed so I had not seen them yet.

 

Tian Tian

Tian Tian

 

I have previously done a post on the Zoo so won’t repeat any information except that it is a great place to go.

 

My personal favourites - the meercats

My personal favourites – the meercats

 

We squeezed in another quick swim and sauna before getting ready for dinner. Again I did not know where we were going but it turned out to be Passorn, which is a Thai restaurant on Brougham Place in the West End. I’ve done a separate post on Passorn but I’d recommend it.

What did we do in the morning? Swim, of course. If there was a competition on how many times you can use a hotel swimming pool in two nights we would have done pretty well.

After all of that pampering we checked out before making our way into the city centre. There was some wandering around the shops before a cocktail at Harvey Nichols 4th floor cocktail bar. What a view – try to go at quiet times to get a window seat.

 

 

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We ended our girly weekend with afternoon tea at The Dome. Decadent at it’s best, this was one not to be missed. The building itself is grand (loved the toilets-bottom photo) and the food was of an extremely high standard.

Getting macaroons always improves afternoon tea for me but all of the cakes were moreish.

 

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I bid them farewell at the train station then continued with the 30th theme with one of my oldest friends whose birthday is 10 days after mine. Eilidh suggested a cocktail at The Balmoral and who was I to say no? We badly needed a long catch-up & we were joining the 30’s club after all.

 

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I’d never been to any of the places we visited (bar the zoo) and each one was a success. My favourite part of the weekend was spending time with the ladies but Edinburgh came a close second.