Brunch at Gusto, Edinburgh

If you read my blog or my Instagram you’ll know I take brunch pretty seriously. I am obbessed with anything served with avocado, I love eggs all ways and would choose breakfast over lunch every time.

When Gusto, on George Street, launched their brunch menu a month or so ago, complete with a new smoothie and cocktail menu, I was delighted to pop along and check it out along with one of my best girlfriends.  Continue reading “Brunch at Gusto, Edinburgh”

Soups & Salads

In my excitement of hosting dinner on Hogmanay, I got a little over enthusiastic when shopping for supplies ended up with lots of leftover salad leaves – two huge bags of rocket & spinach salad to be precise. I just hate the idea of people not having enough food, but then I also hate waste… a vicious circle! Until now, I had never used salad leaves in soup before, so was a little apprehensive. However, after consulting some friends and of course with twitter, the consensus was that it would work out ok.

And it did, quickly and easily I should mention too…

Add some peeled new potatoes and vegetable stock (ideally I would use some of Mr F&P’s homemade stock, but in the absence of that I use Knorr stock pots) to a large pot with the salad leaves and cook until the potatoes are soft. Throw in some frozen peas, a good three handfuls or so and cook for another five minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste. Leave to cool, then liquidise.

What you end up with is a rather delicious green pea, potato, rocket & spinach soup, served with a dash of cream and some freshly chopped chives. wpid-img_20150105_160113.jpg

wpid-img_20150105_155931.jpg

If you like the look of the side dish, that’s super easy too, and is lovely and light for lunch. Just smash up half an avocado in a bowl, add some chopped cherry tomatoes, a dash of lime and some chilli flakes and serve on a couple slices of fresh, lightly toasted brown baguette bread. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil and enjoy.

wpid-img_20150105_160216.jpg

wpid-img_20150105_155751.jpg

wpid-img_20150105_155751.jpg

wpid-img_20150105_155931.jpg

City girl goes North!

The Storehouse

This post is not about somewhere new I have discovered, but it is about somewhere YOU need to go and discover. It’s about an old favourite which keeps getting better every time I visit. In fact, if you read this and go see for yourself, part of me might feel a teeny, tiny bit jealous that you are getting to take it all in for the first time…

First things first – look out the Barbour jacket, hunter wellies and any other “country accessories for a city gal” that you, like me, feel The North Of Scotland requires, and head to Inverness, the captial of the Highlands. The sausage dog unfortunately stayed put this time..

Hunters and Barbour jacket

Just a little North of Inverness, you’ll find The Storehouse of Foulis. It is a foodies dream location. The family run restaurant and farm shop sits on the shores of the Cromarty Firth, a gorgeous location all year round, with dramatic views across to the Black Isle.

The couple in charge of this operation are Quintin and Michelle Stevens, (Mr F&P’s sister and her husband) and it really is a family run business in every sense. Millie, their gorgeous working cocker spaniel can often be found moseying around whilst Michelle works in the office upstairs, and Quintin can be found at the Storehouse every day, and as a result knows all the regulars well. Their boys, 4 and 2, are also often around, adding to the friendly, relaxed family atmosphere of the place.

Storehouse sign

The restaurant at The Storehouse is open 7 days a week and offers an extensive brunch, lunch, supper and snack menu. With so many fresh, delicious plates on offer, it’s no surprise I’ve never been when the place isn’t buzzing. On Sundays there is no better place for a roast, as Quintin and his staff turn the food counter into a full blown carvery.

We arrived at The Storehouse late morning, meaning we attacked the brunch menu with gusto. I tucked into an enormous scone with blackberry and pear jam, whilst Mr F&P enjoyed muesli, fresh fruit and yoghurt, followed by a sensational bacon, gruyere and rocket sandwich – a fitting breakfast feast for a man who ran up Ben Wyviss at the crack of drawn that morning.

Muesli, fresh fruit and yoghurtScone with blackberry and pear jamGiant sconeBacon, gruyere and rocket sandwhichsandwich up close

After a perfect brunch, it was time to head to through to the farm shop. Just outside the main shop, there is another little wooden hut – a second treasure trove of gifts, but we will come to that later.

Inside the farm shop, Michelle and her team have the shelves and display cabinets bursting with attractive foodie treats. Alongside a deli counter and a Black Isle Dairy ice cream counter, you will find locally sourced meats, fruit and veg, preserves, biscuits, cheeses … everything you’d hope to find in a well stocked farm shop and more. Good relationships with local suppliers mean Quintin and Michelle can ensure both the food hall and restaurant are stocked with fresh produce all year round.

Deli The StorehouseCheese counter The StorehousePreserves at The StorehouseDisplay chest at The StorehouseIce Cream at The StorehouseWide view shop The StorehouseFruit & Veg The StorehouseCrockery The Storehouse

Impressive right? Make sure you factor in ample “wandering around the shop” time in your visit, because every time you look at a display cabinet you see something else you like the look of!

Now, you’re wondering what on earth could be left to go in the gift shop outside? Let me show you…

Gift Shop outsideGift Shop The StorehouseMore gifts at The StorehouseLadies accessories The StorehouseMore scarves at The Storehouse

And look at these little guys just chilling outside!

Garden animals The Storehouse

Finally after a wandering around the shop, you can pop down to the pebble beach and take in the highland scenery. In the summer months, when the sun is shining, the seating area outside is packed and little tots with sticky ice creams cones on the beach are plentiful. Perhaps it’s because I’m not from this beautiful part of Scotland, but for me, these views never get old.

The Storehousewpid-img_20140513_200546.jpgwpid-20140510_115127.jpg

For now, it’s back to base in Edinburgh, but I am content in the knowledge it won’t be long until I’m packing up my wellies and heading North again.

 

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 Pantry

The Pantry, Circle Place, Edinburgh

Until last weekend I have often passed The Pantry on Circus Place on the way to Stockbridge and thought, due to the steamed up windows and packed tables, it looks like the type of cafe I could happily enjoy some food, a large pot of tea and have a good natter! After a lunchtime visit on a particularly blustery Edinburgh afternoon I am pleased to report it was exactly that. Inside there is a lot of exposed wood and tartan pillows on benches and the walls are littered with cute sayings and interesting posters – the type of posters in frames I lust after on Not On The High Street.

It’s always great to see independent cafés full at the weekends, and my friend and I were lucky to get a table as soon as we walked in. If you’ve read my blog before you might have picked up that I’m a bit of brunch fiend. Usually when confronted the option for an all-day breakfast, I find it hard to deviate from eggs or pancakes, however The Pantry menu had me fully engrossed in the sandwich options. I went for pulled pork sub with homemade slaw and home cut chips, and my friend had the roast beef on rye bread.

Pulled Pork Sub with homemade slaw
Melt in your mouth pulled pork sub!

Our chatter stopped for a full five minutes when the food arrived – always a good sign! The pulled pork was melt in my mouth delicious and the fresh sub was packed with salad leaves and a lovely bbq relish on the bottom which had quite a kick. The star of the plate was the home cut chips, they were so light and crispy I could have eaten a whole plate full. On to my friend’s plate – she said the roast beef on rye was not at all dry (she worried after ordering it might be) and like the pork, melted away.

Pulled pork sub with homemade slaw and chips
Pulled pork sub with homemade slaw and chips
Roast Beef on Rye Bread
Roast Beef on Rye Bread

What would have made it *absolutely perfect* was if there had been some mayo to dunk the chips into. There was mustard mayo on offer (it came with the roast beef), but for the non-ketchup lovers out there, how good is mayo with your chips?! Perhaps that’s just my mayo addiction coming through there. That aside, there were lots of interesting options on the menu, and you really could have had breakfast, lunch or even an early dinner. I’d happily sum The Pantry as one of those places where there is something for everyone.