The Promise of a Proper Burger

For a while it felt like every new restaurant opening up in Edinburgh was doing Thai food, and now it seems we’ve moved on to burgers. Burgers and Beers, Bread Meets Bread, just Burger or maybe even just Bun… I’m not sure, it’s quite confusing! Continue reading “The Promise of a Proper Burger”

Jamie’s Italian, Edinburgh

I don’t often choose to go out for Italian food as we eat a lot of it at home. I adore making pastas and risottos and our freezer is always stocked with a good, homemade bolognese sauce (check out my tried & tested sauce recipe.) I have even delved into the world of homemade pizzas… I’ll admit that with one is with varying degrees of success. Continue reading “Jamie’s Italian, Edinburgh”

Stockbridge: The Best Place to Live

Stockbridge has been named the ‘Best Place to Live in Scotland’ in the recent Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide. This won’t be news to locals, but for those of you who are just discovering this cute pocket of Edinburgh, where should you hang out? I’ve pulled together a rundown of my favourite places to eat, drink, shop and generally mosey around in Stockbridge… Continue reading “Stockbridge: The Best Place to Live”

The Best Christmas Dinner Ever?

Just 15 days ’til Christmas and I have, so far, read a gazillion party canapés recipes, googled the ‘best bread sauce’ three if not four times, and I am now desperately trying to gleam as many tips as I can on how to cook the perfect roast turkey. Don’t even get me started on which flavour of stuffing I should choose… Continue reading “The Best Christmas Dinner Ever?”

Serrano Manchego

Stepping into Serrano Manchego is like being transported to a proper little, bustling, Spanish tapas bar. For starters, you certainly don’t feel like you are half way down Leith Walk in Edinburgh, and on a Friday night, by the time we left the place was rammed with a total mix of people. Continue reading “Serrano Manchego”

A Foodie’s Guide to The Open, St Andrews

All eyes are on St Andrews this week as The 144th Open Championship gets underway. It is an honour to welcome the Championship back to St Andrews for 29th time, and through doing so an equally exciting opportunity presents itself to local businesses, especially those in the food and drink sector. Continue reading “A Foodie’s Guide to The Open, St Andrews”

Commuter blogging

Since changing jobs my 30 minute walk to work has been swapped with 30 minutes sitting on the bus. Not ideal as I would prefer to walk, but I’m now working in the food and drink sector which I adore, so it’s a change I am quite happily adapting to.

It’s not exactly a huge commute, however I’ve got a whole hour of extra time in my day which, as it turns out, is perfect for blogging. These posts will probably be much shorter than usual, but still full of lots of yummy food and drink ideas!

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So, on to today’s topic… delicious smoked trout (yes that’s right, trout, not salmon!) with creamy, scrambled eggs on a toasted bagel. It couldn’t be quicker or easier, but it really hits the spot on a Saturday morning.

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Smoked trout is a brilliant alternative to smoked salmon. The smoked fish flavour is not quite as intense as that of smoked salmon, so for breakfast it’s perfect. It carries all the health benefits of smoked salmon – high in Omega-3, a great source of protein and it’s low fat.

For this breakfast bagel I used RR. Spink & Sons Loch Etive smoked trout. If you are drawn in by the lovely package, you’ll be pleased to hear the contents don’t disappoint. But first things first, how to make the perfect scrambled eggs.

For two people:

Whisk 4 medium sized eggs in a bowl, add some salt and pepper and a dash of milk. If you want real luxurious eggs add a dash of cream instead of milk.

Melt a reasonable sized knob of butter in your non stick frying pan. Just as the butter has all melted add the eggs to the pan. Leave for a minute to let the bottom start to cook, then using a wooden pan or plastic spatula, move the eggs around every 20 seconds or so, allowing the eggs to cook through. I like mine a little runny so I take them off the heat just as the last bits are starting to cook.

Slice your bagel and pop it in the toaster. Lightly toast and then assemble your eggs and then your smoked trout on top. You might like to squeeze over a little bit of fresh lemon or crack some more pepper.

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Now all that’s left is to get yourself a cup of tea or coffee and tuck in.

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Blondes have more fun!

I love planning. I love organising my diary, I like to know exactly what’s happening and where I’m going when. If I say “see you later” I’ve probably already got a good idea in my head of when that’s likely to be. So this past weekend was one I had been looking forward to for weeks, marked in the diary, the whole Saturday and Sunday blocked out, with absolutely no chance of anything getting in my way. The catch up with my fellow blondes, my journo girls, had arrived.

Location this time around was Glasgow, so two of us set off from Edinburgh to join the 3rd amiga. A minor exploding tyre incident on the M8 west involving two policemen and new 4 car tyres delayed our arrival somewhat, but once we got there we set about doing what we’ve always done when we are together – chatting, eating and drinking!

Our hostess with the mostess had the kettle on and we found these little treats in our room! I was already keen to come back!

Rooms

Having lived in Glasgow’s West End for four years, I am no stranger to the awesome menagerie of foodie options the city has to offer, but on this visit time I ended up trying out not one, but two new restaurants. After welcome cups of tea, we turned to some fizz and nibbles and got ready to head out.

journo fizz

I love this idea of using cute china tea cups as dishes for nibbles.

Nibbles in teacups

For dinner we headed to the new Ox and Finch in Finnieston, at the west end of Argyle Street. When I lived in Glasgow a few years ago, this part of town was had started to get going, and The Crabshakk was the first of the new up-and-coming restaurants that I can remember to take up residence in this surprising part of town. Now Finnieston is FULL of great places to eat and drink.

Ox and Finch interior

Ox and Finch interior 2

The Ox and Finch describes itself as relaxed contemporary dinning, and the menu doesn’t distinguish between starter and mains. It is a smorgasbord of sharing plates, and for three foodies like us, this style of dining is perfect. We order a bottle of wine and start to rank the menu from must -have-my-mouth-is-watering dishes to if-we-have-room close seconds.

Menu

On ordering we are told that the dishes simply arrive when they are ready, unless we specify otherwise. We kick off with some light and crispy fried squid – a freebie due to a mistake in the kitchen, not a mistake that bothered us!

Fried squid

From then the dishes arrived at a steady pace. The beetroot cured gravadlax had us all in awe of the fun, bright colour, and for an extra £3 came with a shot of cucumber vodka. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it! It was really refreshing and more like a cucumber juice than a shot of vodka. The tomato and mozzarella salad was light and creamy, so for a cheese that doesn’t often taste of much, they had done well.

Beetroot cured salmon 1

Salmon close up

Cucumber vodka

Tomato and moz salad

From the seafood selection we chose the scallops which were big and juicy and came on a bed of cauliflower purée. They went very nicely with the side of asparagus with a poached egg and pancetta – this dish hit the spot with us all.

Scallops

Asparagus poached egg and pancetta

The star of the evening was the hanger steak. It was perfectly cooked, still really pink, and just melted in your mouth. On top were the yummiest, thinnest, lightest onion rings I’ve seen in ages. So delicious.

Hanger steak

The lamb meatballs were ok, but we all agreed nothing to write home about.

Lamb meatballs

And we just couldn’t resist getting some creamy dauphinoise potatoes…

potatoes

dishes on table

Room for desert? Probably not, but after a little break we decided to share the dark chocolate cremeux, which came with popcorn (nice gimmick) peanuts and banana ice-cream. I could have done with the chocolate tasting a little darker and stronger, but the banana ice cream was great. By this point we had spent so long grazing our way through the menu the sun had set and so the light is not very good in the pudding picture!

Pudding

Coffees followed and we moved on to a tapas bar called Rioja for another drink. Some more nattering and and after having put the world to rights and we were finally ready to call it a night. All of the above, a bottle of sauvignon blanc and two coffees came to £27 per person. We all agreed this was a really reasonable price for a yummy evening of eating.

On to our next foodie adventure – Sunday brunch at The Central Market in the Merchant City. We walked in and I knew this place was for me – Veuve Clicquot bottles lined the bar and an Oyster bar sat in the middle. Girls, you can just leave me here…

The Central Market

The Central Market 2

An afternoon at the shops beckoned, so we needed to fuel up! French toast and bacon with maple syrup featured, as did scrambled eggs and bacon on toast. A side of chips and a pain au chocolate between us all was probably a step to far, but we did have a lot of shops to get round.

French toast and maple syrup

Scrambled eggs and bacon

Pain au chocolat

Fries

After a good few hours of retail therapy, our chatter had not yet run out but unfortunately the weekend had, and it was time to say goodbye. Great girlfriends are the ones you can just pick up with where you left off after months of not being together, and I’m so lucky to have found that in my journo girls.

All that’s left now is to get another date in the diary, and er, maybe go for a run once the food coma has passed!

Easy Peasy Cous Cous Salad

salad headerCous Cous is a such a hassle free carbohydrate to add to a summery salad. I promise if you know how to cook it properly it doesn’t take much effort at all. At the weekend I enjoyed a tuna and cous cous salad, two days running in fact because I enjoyed it so much the first time!

To start, pop enough cous cous for one into a bowl, remember it fluffs up so you don’t need as much as you think. One small handful is probably enough for a salad (sorry, I weigh things in handfuls!) Once the kettle has boiled pour in just enough water to completely immerse the cous cous and have a thin layer of water sitting on top. Immediately cover the bowl with a plate. If you’re looking for a bit of extra flavour you can also pour in some stock flavoured water, same rules apply.

Using the rest of the water put an egg on to boil. Boil it in the shell or poach it if you fancy, however you think will be yummiest.

Whilst your egg is cooking and the cous cous is fluffing up, turn your attention to your salad bowl. This recipe couldn’t be simpler. As a general rule I just tend to use up what’s in the fridge. On day 1 it was tomato, cucumber and coriander, and on day 2 I swapped the cucumber for some lovely broad beans.

Once you’ve got all your items in your bowl, add half a tin of tuna to your salad bowl – I think you get a lot more flavour if you use tuna in sunflower oil, so don’t drain away all the oil before you add half the can, the oil acts as a bit of a dressing for the salad. Season with salt and paper.

After about 10 mins uncover your cous cous. By now all the water have been soaked up and the cous cous should look swollen and dry. Using a fork, fluff it up then add to your salad bowl and then peel your egg if required and pop it on top.

Finally, find a comfy spot to sit and enjoy!

Day 1 – tuna with cous cous, tomatoes, corriander and cucumber
Day 2 – tuna with cous cous, tomatoes, corriander and broad beans

The Magnum, Edinburgh

Magnum foodYou don’t need to search for long to come across good quality pub food in Edinburgh, and The Magnum on Albany Street has just been added to my list. Other than enjoying a summer drink a few years ago, I’ll be honest and say it has not, to date, been somewhere that’s featured on my food and drink radar. Partly because I am not local to that area of town, but also because I was not really aware of food offering. My dining partner Fordie was in the same boat.

The Magnum is split into three sections, the bar occupying two of those spaces and a third, smaller restaurant section off to the right. We were surprised to find the dining area kitted out with heavy silver cutlery and white table cloths. Despite sitting in the somewhat fancier dining area, we chose to eat from the bar menu because the burgers just looked too good to say no to! I can’t comment on the a la carte menu, but I can say the plates on offer, such as the wild guinea fowl , sounded impressive.

When Fordie and I first met we discovered a mutual love for cheese boards, and over the years we have sat and enjoyed plenty cheese and wine whilst putting the world to rights. Seeing no reason to break a delightful habit, we ordered a bottle of pinot grigio and we tucked into a baked camembert with bread and a little pot of what tasted like cranberry jam to start. It is not a dish that can be done badly, as there’s really nothing to it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not extremely tasty and quite indulgent.Baked Camembert Cheesecamembert

We both chose burgers for our main course. I went for a beef and rosemary burger, topped with cheese, crispy, streaky bacon and a lovely bbq sauce. The chips were chunky and crunchy, and the homemade slaw had a nice tang to it. Fordie’s chicken and bacon burger came in a toasted foccacia bun with a sweet chilli sauce. I think the pictures speak for themselves…

Beef and Rosemary Burger
beef and rosemary burger

close up

chicken and bacon burger
chicken and bacon burger

chicken burger close up

After such a feast we couldn’t manage any dessert, so I’ll just need to go back for that 🙂

The staff were so friendly and welcoming, and the clientèle was a real mix of post work drinkers, couples and friends enjoying the bar menu and families dining out in the restaurant area. Thanks to the location on the corner of Dublin St and Albany Street, the seats outside The Magnum will be a lovely sun-trap in the summer months.

Although this time we opted for the relaxed bar menu, I am now keen to try the more sophisticated a la carte menu. In my eyes, if you can do a good burger… I’m all yours!

The Magnum
1 Albany Street
Edinburgh
EH1 3PY,
0131 557 4366