Tuesday

The Roseleaf


After fifteen years of uninterrupted, loyal service my kilt has finally given up its' attempts to keep my increasing girth at bay.  I decided to take it down to the kilt-maker to get it adjusted.  The ever polite assistant gave me a sympathetic look and with well practiced sincerity said, "Ahh,  I see your kilt has shrunk,  don't worry we will fix it."

With the reassurance that I still had the same waist line as I had when I was 21, I skipped happily round the corner to one of my favourite cafe/pubs in Edinburgh for a celebratory breakfast.




The Roseleaf pub used to be The Black Swan near the shore in Leith.  The street was infamous for the night time business of prostitutes, but recently it as been cleaned up by the arrival of blocks of new apartments and the ladies of the night have moved on.

The whole place is filled with a mix of crockery and bits 'n' bobs which all match perfectly.  Odd tea cups and cutlery make for a homely, yet stylish feel.  But, as always, it is quality of the food that attracts me.


The brunch menu had some great local and hearty dishes but I could not resist the "Big Yin" breakfast.


 Their own, baked beans, potato scones and bread filled half of the sizzling, cast iron skillet. The gaps filled with a fine pork sausage from Henderson's Butchers, bacon, a fired egg, roast tomato and meaty flat cap mushroom.  To assuage the guilt  I ordered a lovely freshly squeezed OJ.


 Family friendly, reasonably priced and relaxed the Roseleaf has to be one of my favourite places to have breakfast.  As luck would have it my kilt will not be ready until next week which means I may have to stop in for breakfast again......


Wagamama Dinner



I organised a dinner for the chefs and managers at Albacore. We often go out and have a dinner together to share ideas and chat about food. The New Wagamama in Edinburgh had just opened,  offering the chefs a chance to get a flavour of a whole bunch of Asian cusines.


Earthy Food Market

Earthy Food Market is one of my favourite places to shop, full of local, organic and seasonal produce.  My nearest store is on Ratcliff Terrace in Causewayside however, they have two more stores in Portobello and Cannonmills.  They have a simple philosophy of buying great local produce and presenting it in season.  Below the store there is a great wee cafe serving yummy cakes and salads.





Monday

Dundee flower and food festival


We recently visited the Dundee Flower and Food Festival in Camperdown Park to the west of the city. A week of heavy rain meant wellies were the fashion accessory of choice – but the sun shone and made for a gorgeous day.

The theme of this year’s festival was “Chilli” which was introduced by mother and daughter team Patricia and Stacey from 'Chillilicious' and featured the indoor 'Chilli Village' - where we saw products from Scotland’s first ever Chilli Farm and took the chance to try a variety of chilli products including preserves & in the spirit of taking part, Chilli Wine!


Food writer Mary Berry (Great British Bake Off) was on hand to offer advice on all things sweet, whilst chefs Tom and Henry Herbert, (The Fabulous Baker Brothers), shared samples of their wares with an eager Dundee audience.

We also sampled multi award winning Scottish Harvest 'Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil' - a real “chef’s favourite” because it is;

Healthy, with only 6% saturated fats, a high Omega 3 content, naturally occurring vitamin E and no trans fats.

Versatile - can be used in salad dressings, salsas and marinades. It has a high burning / flash point of 240oC so can also be used for roasting, baking and in stir-fries.

and 100% natural.



 We were most impressed by the selection of fresh local fruit and vegetables on display in the judging marquees – these local enthusiasts really know their onions!



In the beekeeping marquee we saw real (winged!) honey-producers at work, and sampled their end products – flavoured honeys and wonderfully hand-carved wax crafts.



To complete the “Chilli” theme we were entertained by the wonderful Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
 

Whiskey, ginger and orange chocolate truffles



click below for the recipe:

Quick chocolate mousse



This is the easiest chocolate mousse recipe that you have ever seen.  The recipe was developed by a French physical chemist called Herve This. It turns on its head the common misconception that chocolate should never be mixed with water.

The idea is to melt some good quality chocolate with some water.  This porduces a thin mixture similar to a chocolate sauce.  The sauce is then cooled in a bowl set over ice.  Whie it is cooling the mixture in whisked until it thickens.  As it thickens, air is incorporated and a silky mouse is created.


How to butterfly fillet a round fish



A great technique for smaller fish in order to obtain on large fillet.  As always your fishmonger would be delighted to do this for you, but it is always fun to try something new....

Tasty Salads


I am always on the lookout for new things to put into a salad. The combinations of savoury salads is limitless but, once you introcduce dessert salads to your reptiore then a whole world of new salads open up to you.





Below are three recipes for summer salads that are full of flavour and are healthy too!!


Elderflower Champagne



A friend at work recently told me about the delicious Elderflower champagne his mother used to make for him during the summer  months(non alcoholic of course).  As elderflowers are everywhere at the moment I decided to have a go.  I searched the internet and found a few great recipes.  I narrowed them down to this one:

http://www.farminmypocket.co.uk/harvest/home-brewing/elderflower-champagne-recipe

I will let you know how it tastes in due course.....


The Royal Highland Show



We spent a wild and wet day exploring the Royal Highland Show at the weekend. The show has now developed into one of the largest food festivals in Scotland. Not only can you see the award winning livestock and meet the farmers who grow our fabulous Scottish produce. You can taste and enjoy some truly "farm to fork" food.

Thursday

Dave's Carrot, Coconut and Chilli soup


My mate Dave, makes this great soup. It is nicknamed the three C's soup. Whenever he has it on his menu it flies out of the door. He made it for me the other week; it was so good I had to get the recipe....

1kg carrots peeled and sliced into rounds
1 onion sliced
2cloves garlic
1 fresh chilli
440ml tin of coconut milk
450ml of vegetable or chicken stock or water
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of medium curry powder
Small handful of fresh coriander or dried coconut

Place a large sauce pan, over a medium heat and add a tablespoon of cooking oil. Throw in the onions, chilli and carrots. Stirring frequently, cook until the the onions have become tranlucent, about 8 minutes. Then add the curry powder and cumin, pour in the vegetable or chicken stock and bring to the boil.
Cook the soup until the carrots are soft then take the soup off the heat.  Pour in the coconut milk then blend  until smooth using a hand blender.  To serve: bring the soup gently to the a low simmer add the chopped coriander or coconut.

Monday

Edinburgh Farmers' Market



If I have a Saturday morning free, I always make it down to the Edinburgh Farmer's market. Full of local delights and friendly stall holders, it is a great place to make some foodie contacts. I can never resist taking away a sour dough loaf from the Falko Backhaus, a leg of mutton from Peelham Farm or smoked haddock from A&D Patterson. Of course, a trip to the EFM is never complete without a large cone of chocolate sorbet from The Chocolate Tree...yum!