scottish blog

Spanish Style Catch Ups At La Boca

There were going to be 9 of us and a pram. Oh yes. Not the sort of table that restaurants want (trust me, I know!) but La Boca welcomed us with open arms. I didn’t even have to promise that we’d behave, tell them that all nine of us have worked or work in restaurants, plead our case. 

You see, we were having a big catch up with our Glasgow nearest and dearest, and we wanted somewhere central, informal and that we were familiar with. I’ve written about La Boca before (here) as Mr S and I went on a few date nights there. Tipsy lunches with sangria and tapas then walking home in the sun, they were good days. 


Pimientos de Padron

It was the first time that most of them had met baby L so we didn’t order for a while since she was being passed around. Luckily the staff were patient with us and sorted us out with vino and juice in the meantime. We all ordered from the pre-theatre menu that is competitively priced at £10.95 for three tapas. It has a varied selection of meat, fish and veggie dishes and we all easily found things that we wanted to eat. 

Pimientos del Piquillo

Boquerones and bread arrived quickly to nibble on before the rest came out in dribs and drabs. The friendly staff made sure that we had everything needed throughout. 

Boquerones

 

Chorizo al Vino

All of the dishes seemed to go down well, notably the padron peppers and chipirones. I’m a massive tapas fan and La Boca delivers for me on this – lots of tasty little hits of Spain. 

 

Croquetas Caseras

Morcilla


Chipirones

The restaurant has a lively atmosphere that I love. It isn’t all about the food for me, it’s about the whole experience and I felt that they delivered. 

Patatas Bravas

As well as ordering from the pre-theatre menu we ordered a Secreto Iberico tapa from the main menu. It is a large tapa and you could easily have just that and some bread and olives and lunch would be dandy. We have it every time we go to La Boca and this won’t be changing. The description labels it as ‘secret cut of pork from Spain’s famous black pig, outstanding flavour’. They aren’t lying- the taste is truly fantastic. It is a savoury meaty and salty taste that rivals a good steak. 

 

Secreto Iberico (£7.50)


As far as I could see, they don’t have a baby changing unit. I managed at the time on the toilet floor with the changing bag mat but now my little L rolls about I don’t think I’d want to. Hopefully they’ll get one soon or signage if they have it. 

There’s no doubt about the fact that we’ll be returning to La Boca but since we are not as local as we once were I need Glasgow folk to keep it open for me in the meantime. Phone a friend and arrange a catch up, it’s a good place for it. 

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. 

Make Up The Glasgow Way

I don’t do product reviews on here very often because it is not on brief of why I started Girl Around Glasgow – to share all the little restaurants & places in the city that deserve a mention, to keep them alive. I break my rule occasionally for something really special and this is one of those times. A Glaswegian make-up artist got in touch recently as she has just launched her first make-up line. So instead of helping the local restaurants & bars, today is about supporting local brands – c’mon Glasgow! I decided that I’d try a couple of products and only write about it if they were good enough so I’ve spent the last month with Sara Hill blusher on, red lips when appropriate and testing longevity of statement eyeshadow. 

First of all, a little background would be appropriate. Her website describes

‘Make-up artist/Art Director turned Magazine Editor Sara Hill is a free thinking creative, born in Scotland. With over 17 years’ in the industry, Sara had worked internationally on many fashion & advertising campaigns. Represented by London agency S: Management. Sara has worked with Kanye West, Marina and the diamonds Rae Morris, Indiana, Melanie C, Emile Sande, Jack O’Connell, Grace Jones, Rosie Huntington-Whitley and is the editor of Hope St mag’.

It all sounds rather impressive, but doesn’t necessarily mean that she can make-up (da-dum) a good product.

First of all, I really liked the packaging. It is sleek and classy, and felt like an expensive product. This matched their target market, with their pricing ranging from £17 a lipstick, £16 an eyeshadow and £19 a blush. In terms of pricing, it is in line with brands such as Mac and Benefit so I was expecting big things.

I started with the lipstick because us Scots ladies love a good lippy. I’d been sent a vibrant orange-red called Sadie Doll so I kept its first appearance for a night out at North Hop. It’s preservative free and contains ingredients such as Shea Butter, Jojoba, avocado and vitamins A, C & E to condition and moisturise the lips. But it also claimed to be long-lasting and high impact – things I don’t generally find in a moisturising lipstick. I know that some won’t approve but I never use lip brushes, too much faff, so I applied this straight from the stick then blotted and reapplied. Wearing it to an event that I was going to be drinking at all night was really putting it to the test but it held up well. The colour was vibrant as promised and it was still on at the end of the night with a few top ups during the night to help. It was certainly an encouraging start and I was more than happy with its performance.

The colour of the lipstick was very in your face so not one that I’d choose for every day use but they do have more neutral shades, such as Carmen & I-AM. I’d love to see more neutrals in the range to increase time when I would wear the shades. Orchid’s purpley hues also look like a great party lip colour if you aren’t a red lip fan.

The second product that I have been trying is the baked mineral blush that claims to be instant radiance for your cheeks in shade Honey bell. This was my favourite product out of the three. It is neutral enough for everyday use, I like the clean packaging and it gave me a healthy glow when my skin wasn’t playing ball. I usually use Chanel blush and nothing else so it had quite a challenge but I was impressed with the results. When put to the test, it stays on even on 14 hour shifts, very impressive.

The last product that I tried was an eyeshadow in pure sable- a rich brown. I admit that this is the one that has been given the least testing because it’s quite a dark shade for my complexion and I haven’t been brave enough to wear it much. I have never found a powder eyeshadow to match up to a long shift and I especially wasn’t trying it with my body temperature higher than normal courtesy of the current hot water bottle living in my tummy. So I have worn it on non-work days instead. I prefer to use a light layer, sometimes mixed with a gold shade but next time I think I will try deep plum or French grey for all round usage.

This photo was taken after a couple of layers on the hand just to illustrate the colour with its irredescent shimmer. Gorgeous rich shade but just not for my complexion. 

The make-up that I tried was impressive – Sara’s background has served her well when making the products. I’ve also spotted glitter pots on her Twitter feed that look perfect for big festive nights out that have made it straight on my want list. 
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You can find the range at http://sarahill.com/
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Disclaimer: I was sent Sara Hill products but was upfront about my policy of honest reviewing. If I had not have liked them then I would have written as such or they would not have made it on to the blog. 

I have continued to use the products because I actually like them & will be buying more of this brand. 

  

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.

Being Bad At Five Guys

Cheating on someone is a horrible business. There’s this overwhelming guilt that keeps feelings cooped up inside- feelings of worthlessness and shame. How will I ever go back? 

Today I am forcing myself to be brave and put into words what I did. Here goes, please don’t judge. 

 I cheated on Bread Meats Bread… I cheated on local and I cheated on Glasgow as I knew it… I went to Five Guys for lunch. I’m sorry, really sorry. 

In my defence, we were going to go to Bread Meats Bread but the queue was long and we were pushed for time. Five Guys had been on my will-I-won’t-I radar for a while so we just did it. In my account of our visit I will be as objective as I can be & throw my guilt aside. 


  

We stepped in through the unfamiliar doors to a big menu on the wall and a counter to order at. There was no queue so we could order immediately after choosing. As you can see from the menu, you choose a basic burger type or hot dog then customise it. I asked for a cheeseburger with mayo, pickles, ketchup & onions. As much as I like vegetables, too much in a burger can make the whole experience fall apart. Fries – the only side they seem to do- completed my food order & I went for a refillable drink to wash it down. 
They gave us cups for the self serve so we helped ourselves. I like a cheeky cherry coke on occasion and this was one of those days. We then waited at the service area for our number to be called. It was nice to watch them making the burgers & quite atmospheric listening to the chefs shout back and forth. I guess it added to the American burger joint feel that I’d expected. 
  
There are three floors of seats and, as the ground floor was pretty full, we chose to go upstairs. This was the biggest mistake we made because it was VERY loud. I felt like I’d gone back to the school canteen. Between the noise of other diners (many under 20 years old & giddly on too much refillable coke) & the shouting from the kitchen downstairs, I developed a headache. A burger tends to be my hangover food but there’s no way I would choose somewhere so noisy the day after the night before so it gets crossed off that list. I went down to the basement to the toilet and it was somewhat quieter down there but I imagine with such a low roof it only takes a couple of tables of teenagers to turn rowdy. I’m only 31 so it makes me feel old writing about the noise but it just shows how loud it is – my mum would have walked straight back out. 
  

On to the burger and fries. The burger itself consisted of two thin patties and they were still juicy with lots of oozy cheese. The bun held together but didn’t have the sweetness that I prefer from a brioche. I still really enjoyed the burger and would give it 8/10. The fries were crispy outside and soft inside – a good effort indeed. One regular sized fries is enough for two people so don’t buy two or you’ll be left with lots or have to be rolled out of there. 

A couple more sides – maybe some onion rings for instance – would have added to the experience. 

  
I was disappointed to see that the fries are cooked in peanut oil considering how many people are allergic to nuts. There was no alternative to this on the board so I assume that there is none. They also give out free peanuts & they were placed in boxes with scoops around the place. If you’ve ever been on an aeroplane & it’s come over the tannoy that nuts are not being served due to another passenger with a serious allergy then surely you’ll see the flaw in Five Guys plan. Everyone loves a freebie and a novelty idea but when a reported 1 in every 100 people in the UK are allergic to peanuts* it seems nonsensical. 
  
So my visit really was full of peaks & troughs. The food was a high point but the noise and peanut thing was a real low point for me. It’s such a shame as the food was a solid effort. After speaking to a friend who thought the same thing maybe Five Guys need to look into creating a more comfortable atmosphere in the stark white building. 

I’ve been dithering about if I’d go back or not because of this & I guess it depends on availability of seats at the other nearby places on burger street. Maybe they have got their target market and I’m not it but students must have more money now than they used to if they’re to keep this place going. Parents might like the noise so they don’t feel self-conscious about their loud kids too. It falls more into the takeaway category for me but is a pricey takeaway at £13.25 for a cheeseburger, small fries & drink. 

*Source: http://patient.info/health/nut-allergy

La Lanterna

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I have my favourite places in Glasgow. I’m fiercely loyal to one in particular – La Lanterna. So the first place we booked for our trip to Glasgow had to be there. 

La Lanterna is at the bottom of Hope Street and you can easy walk past it without looking up. It’s when you walk down those stairs that the magic happens & you’re transported to the Mediterranean. 

We booked online so got our complimentary glass of bubbly to toast being back in our favourite city. 

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We’d been saving up for the trip down so we weren’t going to pass up the langoustines to start. They come in a garlic and herb butter with all the necessary tools to break into the tasty claw meat. 

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market price (roughly £12)

Mr S chose the Rib eye steak because the meat in La Lanterna is always tasty and this was no different. Served with plenty of lovely button mushrooms but could have done with a few more chips. 

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Homemade ravioli is so hard to find in restaurants so I have it here on most visits. The braised duck and apple ravioli is sweet but the red wine & rosemary jus provides a savoury contrast. It’s just delicious! 

The ravioli portions are big so you don’t really need a starter. Just save some bread to mop the jus up. 

I’d recommend all of the ravioli and risotto in here – especially the veal ravioli & chicken risotto. 

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£13.95

For years we always had the tiramisu for dessert but now we swither between the tiramisu and cheesecake. This unbaked one is mascarpone led, rich yet light enough and dominates the plate. The strawberries and sauce add to it but by no means take over. 

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£4.95

La Lanterna is one of the things that I miss most about Glasgow. I’d love to say that we could try to recreate it up here one day but I know how much work goes into running a restaurant and I could never of even dream of reaching that level of Italian perfection. Some things are meant to be a treat and this one will always be worth the wait. 

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