Food Products

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 

Tantrum Doughnuts Made My Day

 


I would class myself as a doughnut lover. When I was pregnant my sister, niece & I drove a five hour round trip to satisfy my pregnancy cravings of doughnuts and peri-peri chicken so I’m pretty sure that I qualify. 

Without sounding too like Nigella, there’s something about a warm filled doughnut that can’t be beaten – it’s so naughty and indulgent. 




The newest doughnut shop to hit my radar is in on of my favourite spots in the city, the hip without being polished Finnieston. So many foodie places have opened in the area in recent years that you don’t want to miss it. Tantrum Doughnuts is set a couple of minutes walk away from Kelvingrove Art Gallery where Cushion & Cake used to be. They appear to be primarily a takeaway but have some seats inside if you can’t wait until you get home to eat. Coffee, milkshakes and handmade doughnuts are the menu entirety and I was sure they’d do it well. 
Their Facebook page had been teasing me for weeks so I was determined to try them out. They make their own marshmallow for goodness sakes! 
 

some of their facebook photos that had been enticing me in

 

We were going to a friends house so we bought a selection of creme brulee, peanut butter & jelly and jam filled. In retrospect I should have bought a sneaky chocolate number for the next day. 
  

The doughnuts were divine! The creme brulee even cracked as you bit into it and the dough was light enough and tasty. 
  

I love their slightly unusual flavours and hope that they continue to rotate them to show their skills. The owners have a history cooking in top restaurants and it’s evident when you go in. Even the denim dresses worn by the staff go with the feel of the place, the attention to detail is incredible. 

Keep up the good work Tantrum, maybe one day in the future I’ll be back with more pregnancy cravings. 

Laboratorio Espresso- You Know, Just Off Buchanan Street

Having a name like Laboratorio Espresso makes you sound like you know what you’re doing, but it is also one of those names that doesn’t just roll off the tongue so I generally forget what they’re called. At the beginning it was ‘that coffee shop just off Buchanan Street, on West Nile Street’ and now I generally just go with ‘lab’ for a less complicated life. 

  

The fancy name goes with the suave building in which it is housed. 1 West Regent Street is a ten storey sleek black number that was built in 2013 & 2014, and right on the edge of the West Nile side is Laboratorio Espresso. The coffee house is teeny tiny with only ten seats inside but they have four tables outside to increase seating. On the pathway from the train and tube station to the commercial district, I imagine that much of their business comes from takeaway pre-work power coffees. 

This independent cafes salvaged look outside tables hint at what to expect inside- but once you get in it is better than expected. Look up high at weathered wood planks reclaimed from the Glasgow School Of Art’s restoration project and see how they soften the concrete lower level. The interior has simple touches but they are few and far between to avoid cluttering the space. The style of the wooden chairs remind me of going into primary school but there is nothing elementary about this place. 
  

They know about their coffee. From the shiny La Marzocco machine that sits on the counter to the HasBean beans that are being used, a quiet air of seriousness surrounds the coffee in here. Lab Espresso is the kind of place that I can order a flat white in the comfort that it will come how it should – creamy but strong. You’ll never have to moan about a cappuccino because it has a mere centimetre of foam and worry if the coffee will be bitter due to overzealous overgrinders that morning. 

I had a long day ahead of me so a flat white was needed to blow my socks off and a cannoli was, well, not needed. But definitely being purchased.   
  

The cakes are only small so I had two – a chocolate cannoli and a mini pistachio croissant. The croissant had enough of the sweet, nutty icing in each mouthful without losing its flaky, buttery nature. Then the cannoli…oh the cannoli with its rich chocolate centre and crunchy exterior. I want one now.
  

As you can probably tell by now, I’m pretty taken by Lab Espresso. Passion is contagious and I’ve caught their bug.

October In Glasgow

Wow – what a busy weekend this one is! I’m currently in Inverness to attend the wedding of two of my good friends but there is lots going on in Glasgow in my absence. Since I’m not there to write about them I thought I’d share some of the local events that are on this month in case you’re sitting at home bored…

Eats From The Streets
Glasgow Fort shopping park is hosting a street food weekender with a street food village outside of Argos. Each weekend will see 5 different vendors with an emphasis on local.
Shopping and eating-ok then!
My favourite Breaking Bread will be there cooking up a storm, as will Nusou, Scotland’s pick for the 2014 British Street Food Awards.
If you can’t make it to The Fort this weekend then they are also running it on the 1st & 2nd of November, the 29th & 30th of November & the 27th & 28th of December.

Furniture Pop-Up Shop
The first ‘furniture pop-up shop’ is set to take place in the West End of Glasgow on the 11th & 12th of October, basing itself in the quaint Willow Bank Bowling Club situated just off Byres Road. The FPU team are inviting the public who are interested in home ware, textiles & furniture to come to the inaugural event – there will be something for everyone’s taste.
The event is great for budding designers to use as a platform to showcase their work & I’m all for finding new pretty things!
If you can’t make it then the next one is scheduled for the 6th & 7th of December.

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The Soda Shop & Cocktail Emporium
I love a pop-up and this one is running from now until the 27th of November, 5pm until midnight every day.
With live entertainment every Friday & Saturday, I’m excited to try their extensive list of sodas, cocktails, milkshakes & hard shakes (booze & milkshake…yum!). The sodas are made from a fountain on-site at the point of consumption so they’ll be super fresh. 9 weeks to go as many times as I can, challenge accepted.

568 Dumbarton Road, Partick, G11 6RH

That’s all I’ve got for now but keep an eye out for updates if anything catches my eye… Have a great October.

It’s Giveaway Time!

I have 3 pairs of tickets for the Glasgow BBC Good Food Show to giveaway! The tickets are valid on Friday the 17th or Sunday the 19th of October at the SECC in Glasgow.

To enter all you have to do is share the competition post (or RT on twitter) & like Girl Around Glasgow on Facebook/ follow me on twitter. Alternatively, you can comment below to be in the draw for free tickets.

Get me on Twitter @girlaroundglasg or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/girlaroundglasgow

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I missed the show last year & was gutted afterwards because so many people were raving about it.
This year there are over 130 exhibitors with tasters selling the best this country has to offer.
They have a producers village that can help with your discovery of speciality food and artisan produce alongside an eat well pavilion. This will be geared to teaching you cooking methods and foods that can be nutritional beneficial.
After your good behaviour, head to the bakes & cakes village for a treat.

In the supertheatre you could watch Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, James Martin or Tom Kitchin cooking dishes live and sharing their best tips. Or if you’ve always wanted to ask your favourite chef a question then you can catch them at the interview stage.

There’s even a BBC Good Food Kitchen that will serve you up a delicious lunch using recipes from the magazine for a small fee.

I’m looking forward to eating my way around the SECC and coming home with some goodies!

Someone will take the crown of Glasgow’s Best Deli (c’mon Celinos) and win a free stand at the show – something that Billingtons of Lenzie had the honour of winning last year.

So remember that all you have to do to enter is share the competition post & follow me on Facebook or twitter. Alternatively, you can comment below to be in the draw for free tickets.

I’ll draw the winners on Wednesday the 1st of October.

Good luck!

UPDATE!!

And the winners of the giveaway (chosen by picking out of three hats, one for each of twitter/wordpress/Facebook) are…
Fie Heath (Coffee & Confetti) on wordpress
Dolly Roger on twitter
Myra Miller on Facebook

Please e-mail your names & addresses to girlaroundglasgow@gmail.com so I can send the tickets out!!

For those of you who haven’t won you can get 20% off if you book your tickets by Sunday quoting WW20

I’m In A Book, Mum!

This week saw the launch of a new Cookery book called The Foodies Guide To Glasgow & The West. The book is the result of heaps of hard work by Fraser Wilson, a fellow blogger, putting the whole thing together. It is a collection of recipes submitted by Glasgow’s restaurateurs, chefs and bloggers.

 

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Recipes from some of my personal favourite, and Glasgow’s top, restaurants are included. Places like Guys, The Gannet, Rogano & La Parmigiana make the Glasgow culinary scene what it is & now I can take a hint of it to my kitchen.

 

Le Chardon D'or

Le Chardon D’or

 

Fraser has also added reviews throughout the book and there are pages focusing on how to get the best out of your local produce, such as the Butchershop’s steak guide. For the real foodies among us, some of Glasgow’s chefs leave a foreword on their recipe page.

 

The Gannet's Peter McKenna & Ivan Stein

The Gannet’s Peter McKenna & Ivan Stein

 

And of course there’s a blogger section that features my pork recipe that Mr S & I love so much. Pork is massively underrated & marred by ‘porky’ tasting supermarket meat from the 80’s. Now you can get some fantastic tasting meat – give pork a second chance!

 

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For each copy of the book sold a 50p donation goes to Mary’s Meals, a charity that sets up school feeding projects for those who can’t afford to feed themselves. The charity helps children in poverty all around the world get an education – something badly needed for the 57 million children around the world not in school.

 

The book is priced at £9 and can be bought from Amazon (here) and will soon be available from other local retailers.

Inverness Round-Up…Beer, Cheese & Baking

A little round-up of some places that I have been this year during Inverness trips to visit the good people. I’m not going to lie, I spend most of my time drinking cups of tea and catching up on the Sneck gossip but occasionally I have time for other things…

 

A positive element to blogging is that companies follow your blog, so often I find places that I would never have known about. Even those that I already know about that follow me draw my attention to them once again. I first tried The Cromarty Brewing Company Happy Chappy pale ale at The Allangrange Arms and I’ve been drinking it any time I see it on a menu ever since. After following The Cromarty Brewing Co on twitter I made a point to visit next time I was in the area. It was a Monday and my sister and I were Cromarty bound when Google maps told me the brewery was shut. I phoned them and Google was lying…phew! We were greeted by a lovely little Jack Russell and spent some time choosing a selection of bottles to take back to the house.

 

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After collecting  the important stuff, we went to Cromarty Bakery to pick up a picnic lunch of bridies and cakes then drove to Rosemarkie beach. We had planned to eat outside but it was cold and windy so we sat in the car and ate the delicious baked goodies. Chanonry point is nearby so we were dolphin spotting but the water was too rough too spot anything.

 

Rosemarkie

Rosemarkie

 

On the way back we stopped in at the Highland Bottle Shop for a few more beers. This pint sized place (da-dum) has a great selection of Scottish beers and also an around selection, including my favourite Little Creatures from WA.

 

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I grew up living nearby to Culloden Battlefield but I hadn’t been in years so mum and I took a jaunt up to the new shop and centre. The shop is full of tartan, walking books, jewellery, ceramics and other Scottish pieces. The battle of Culloden was the final battle from the Jacobite rising in 1746. You can walk out on to the battlefield as I have done many times before but it was a windy day so we gave it a miss this time.

 

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We also paid a visit to Connage Highland Dairy out at Ardersier to get some cheese for my birthday meal. They have a big, cold cheese pantry with their own organic cheeses on display as well as other British and Continental offerings. This is where to go if you are a cheese lover that’s for sure. There is a massive selection and you can try before you buy. They make their own natural yoghurt for you to buy and if you go at the right time you can even watch them making cheese.

 

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After choosing what cheese we wanted we picked up some baby gherkins and oatcakes then had a cappuccino in their adjoining coffee shop. In the shop they sell local foodie items like oils, biscuits, chutneys, cheese boards and accessories.

 

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Harry Gow’s bakery is an Inverness institution & my parents work right next to their original premises so growing up our favourite treat was a dream ring. It makes me sad that we don’t have them down here – a Harry Gow sausage roll or even morning roll is a thing of beauty!

 

 

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The girls and I also went for afternoon tea at Culloden House so I will be writing about that in a separate post soon.

 

 

You can read about other Inverness posts here:

The Allangrange Arms

Pinto – Queen Streets Hottie

Two of my best and oldest friends moved to Glasgow at the same time that I did 11 and a half years ago- it seems like a lifetime ago now. We made sure that we took advantage of ‘the big city’ and all that it offered us. I have many good memories of Glasgow with them, not least living in a cupboard in their Partick flat for a few months! They moved back to Inverness 15 months ago and I miss them immensely, not as much as Celino’s I imagine (regulars is an understatement). They have been back to visit and the last time they were back we arranged to meet up for lunch. There are so many new places here and I was excited to tell them about all of them. Even although the conversation was over text messages I could tell that they were holding something back & it turns out that out of everywhere down here they were really missing Pinto on Queen Street. I had never been to Pinto before – I guess it falls into that no mans land for me where the canteen style of it doesn’t appeal for a girly lunch but when I want that more relaxed style of place we tend to go somewhere in the car so avoid the city centre. I had always wondered about it so this was the perfect opportunity to try it out.

 

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Takeaways in Glasgow have been given a re-vamp in recent years with openings of places such as Buddy’s, Gandolfi Fish To Go, Taco Mazama and Delizique. Unless I have been drinking far too much alcohol, I do not want a stodgy mess put in front of me. Just because it is takeaway food does not mean that it should taste bad. So I was hoping for more quality, less slop from Pinto. I did some research before the day by going on to their website & learned that their whole concept was based around healthy Mexican street food. ‘No freezers, no microwaves’ is proudly plastered on the menu so I was looking forward to some tasty, homemade food. I would be interested to know if they make everything on the premises because this is more important to me than if a business uses a microwave. I am not a fan of the idea of things being bought in ready made so I hope that the no freezers, no microwave idea also means that everything is homemade because fresh can still be bought from external chain companies.

I met my friends at the door, big hugs galore and then they began to educate me on the Pinto experience. We chose a table next to the window and discussed the food choices. Two of us then queued to order because I wanted to look at the menu because there were none on the tables. It was really busy because it was just after 12pm so trying to read the menu without getting in other people’s way was a bit of a feat and I’m glad I had someone with me that knew what they were doing. I ended up choosing a burrito as the other two were raving about them.

Once we reached the counter we grabbed a tray and told the first person our order. This is one of those build your own type things so you choose your basic item – burrito, soft taco, hard taco, salad, nachos or bare burrito (no wrap). Inside you can have chargrilled chicken, chargrilled steak, barbacoa beef, slow cooked pork or flash fry veg. Then you decide on your toppings from cheese, jalapeno, rice, pinto or black beans, salsa (there are 4 types of salsa) and sour cream. After a lot of questions (the poor staff weren’t expecting a clueless me) I had a slow cooked pork burrito with pico de gallo, cheese, rice, pinto beans and sour cream. In for a penny, in for a pound!

 

The finished article £5.45

The finished article £5.45

 

My friends had almost the same but with spicier salsa/jalapenos so I was really going with their recommendations. I chose a Desperados to wash it down with as it seemed fitting then we paid up and took our tray back to our table. It was the first takeaway-but-with-seats type of place that I’ve been to that sells beer and I enjoyed that option.

My burrito was jam packed with fillings and it took me a minute to figure out how to eat it without making too much of a mess. It was spicier than I expected so if you only like very mild things then I wouldn’t recommend it. I can cope with medium spice and I’d say that’s the level of spice that the burrito reached but I definitely needed the sour cream to calm it down.

 

Not pretty but it delivered on taste

Not pretty but it delivered on taste

 

Mexican food never looks very pretty and this was no exception but it was tasty and filling. The main ingredient of pork dominated the taste but I could also taste the coriander in the rice and the beans. I don’t have much to compare it to in burrito terms but I enjoyed it. It offered optimal value for money at less than £6 and it was so big that I couldn’t finish it.

The company have also opened another Pinto on Gordon Street but it is smaller than the first one with only a couple of window seats. I am no good eating Mexican food on the move because I find it too messy so I would not use that one but they seem to get their fair share of office workers and students.

I would go back to Pinto if I was looking for a very casual and quick feed. After the school dinners delivery, you find yourself with some tasty food indeed. Post vino food has just received an upgrade.

Pinto Mexican on Urbanspoon

Time For Some Culture…Chobani Culture

Last week I ate more yoghurt than I have in the last three months put together. Not that I’m complaining – I quite enjoy yoghurt but usually see it as a sugary indulgence so avoid putting it into my trolley in the supermarket. I do sometimes eat greek yoghurt in the morning with some fruit and honey but I’ve been working lots of mornings recently so breakfast has been shelved. Well, breakfast had been shelved until I got a charming e-mail from Amy at Chobani inviting me to a launch event but, as I could not make it, offering me some yoghurt to sample.

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I had never even heard of Chobani but my online research found that they are one of the biggest yoghurt sellers in USA and are slowly working their way around the world. They only started production in 2005 but, having now taken over America, 2012 saw Chobani hit the UK. They have a range of flavours now being sold in Tesco, Morrisons & Asda’s around the city that I hadn’t spotted yet but a few people have since said to me that they have seen it.

Unfortunately I could not get their UK website to load all weekend to find out more details – too many people showing an interest may have overloaded the site. All of the yoghurts that I was sent had less than 2% fat and no added sugar. This pleased me as I avoid flavoured yoghurt because yoghurt has so much natural sugar then the majority of them are teeming with added sugars & sweeteners. Another bonus is that they give 10% of profits to charity – they have a list of their charities online & I am hoping that as they sell more in the UK that they might also start supporting local charities over here.

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First things first, I wanted to know the price because there was no point in me getting hooked on something that cost a fortune. I found that the smaller pots (110g) that come in four packs retail around £2.29, the normal sized ones (170g) are about 89p and the mega sized about £2. This puts them in-line with the Benecol, Danio and Activia price wise so they are at the higher end of the supermarket scale.

On inspection of my delivery of yoghurt I liked the packaging and the pots seemed robust enough to last the journey to work without a yoghurt catastrophe. I was sent four packs of the black cherry & pineapple and individual 170g pots of the lemon, passionfruit & raspberry along with a large pot of the plain strained yoghurt.

I can tell you outright that the passionfruit was my favourite and pineapple was my least favourite. I just didn’t find the pineapple sweet enough and it’s not really a yoghurt flavour that I’d pick.

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The lemon one was pleasant and the black cherry went down well at a sampling session with workmates. I kept the raspberry one for myself & I am glad I did because it was my second favourite.

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I tried the plain one instead of my usual greek yoghurt with fruit and honey for breakfast & it was a worthy substitute. Again, it wasn’t sweet but I would much rather add my own honey than buy something full of sweeteners.

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I thought they would all be good for dieters because they were thick and substantial enough as a small meal or large snack. Perfect timing really because I’m sure I’ll be needing a substitute on my return from holiday for all the coffee ice-cream I’ll undoubtedly scoff.