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Thursday, 25 February 2016

Global champions of marmalade get behind National Marmalade Week

Family-owned and managed Mackays, the UK's leading producer and exporter of Dundee Orange Marmalade, has announced that it will be proudly backing National Marmalade Week (28th Feb - 6th Mar 2016) and has called for everyone who loves the favourite tangy spread to do the same.
The Keiller Family from Dundee are attributed with bringing marmalade to the commercial market in the 18th century by marketing their ‘Dundee Marmalade' as a breakfast condiment.
The Marmalade specialist Mackays, who have been producing the UK's best selling Dundee Marmalade for over 70 years, plans to spread the marmalade love across the UK during Marmalade Week by encouraging foodies to experiment with this versatile ingredient across all types of cooking.
A new recipe will be released each day of the 7 day long celebration, each highlighting just how much marmalade can add to a dish, ranging from Red Mullet with Fenell to deconstructed Ullswater sticky toffee pudding.
















Food and drink bloggers up and down the UK, along with Great British Menu chefs Jak O'Donnell and Mark Greenaway, will be sharing their own recipes that make the most of the UK's favourite tangy spread.
To mark the beginning of National Marmalade Week, 28th February Mackays are sponsoring the 10K ‘Marmalade Run' on 28th February at the Dalemain Estate near Penrith, home to the World Marmalade Awards which takes place from 19th-21st March. Mackays are the main sponsor of the Awards along with Fortnum & Mason and Paddington Bear, which sees over 700 jars of homemade marmalade submitted for judging across 14 categories.

‘Mr Marmalade', Mackays' managing director Martin Grant, said: "The UK should be very proud of its marmalade heritage and this week is the perfect opportunity to share recipes or perhaps try it for the first time. We export marmalade to 80 countries around the world and are always delighted to discover the demand there is for our marmalade internationally. The UK is very lucky in that we can pick up marmalade in almost any grocer and we really are spoilt for choice."
More info on National Marmalade Week can be found at http://www.dalemainmarmaladeawards.co.uk/cms/national-marmalade-week.php
Get involved using the hashtags #LoveMarmalade and #MarmaladeWeek

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Jamie Scott opens the doors to The Newport

MasterChef Pro champion Jamie Scott is opening the doors to his new restaurant on Tuesday 1st March. The Newport Restaurant which is situated in the picturesque village of Newport on Tay across the river from Dundee will be serving up clean, flavoursome Scottish food, using the best of local ingredients inspired by the surroundings and Jamie’s knowledge of the area. Supported by his wife Kelly, who will run front of house, Jamie has assembled a strong team of people he has worked with in the past.
Jamie says: “The last few months have been a mixture of excitement, nerves, impatience, frustration and now finally joy and relief! We just can’t wait to welcome our first guests through the door. The menu reflects the backdrop of Newport on Tay, we have spent time foraging in the area and getting inspired. It is now time to give something back to the community and hopefully The Newport will provide something new for everyone to enjoy.”
Originally from Arbroath, Jamie was inspired by his mother and grandmother in the kitchen. His grandmother was a keen baker and his mother more so, as she was the first female sous chef in Britain. After spending six years learning his craft in Arbroath, Jamie moved to St Andrews joining the Rocca restaurant as Head Chef for four years. In 2014, Jamie took part in BBC MasterChef: The Professionals which saw his culinary skills tested to the limit. Demonstrating his creativity and skill, Jamie’s final task consisted of serving a three course meal for judges Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace. As a result, Jamie was crowned the winner of MasterChef: The Professionals 2014. Jamie has represented Scotland at the Scottish Governments East of Scotland European Consortium summit in Brussels, where he promoted the very best of Scottish larder to the Eurozone. Passionate for local Scottish food and drink and further to touring many of the countries Food Festivals, including the BBC Good Food Show and Foodies Festivals up and down the UK.
The Newport Restaurant will be taking bookings from 9am on Friday 26th February. Please visit www.thenewportrestaurant.co.uk


Recipe - Chipotle Marmalade Chicken

National Marmalade Week kicks of on Sunday and I've been asked by Mackays Jams to come up with a few recipes that use marmalade as a key ingredient. A few weeks ago, I prepared a fantastic Mackays Marmalade Martini, however i think they were looking for a recipe that all the family could enjoy. The obvious uses for marmalade would lean towards desserts but as I don't have much of a sweet tooth, I needed to come up with a savoury recipe that could use the bitterness of the orange but not be overpowered by the sweet orange preserve. Hopefully my chipotle marmalade chicken recipe ticks all the boxes.

Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp chipotle Tabasco
  • 2 tbsp chipotle paste
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 4 tbsp marmalade - I used Mackays Vintage Dundee Orange marmalade
Method

  • Mix the marmalade, chipotle, cider vinegar, chopped garlic and chipotle Tabasco together to make a marinade
  • Slice the chicken breasts into fillets about 1.5cm thick before adding to the marinade and leaving for at least 20 minutes
  • Heat a griddle until smoking then add the marinated chicken breasts, cooking for 3-4 minutes on each side.
  • Whilst the chicken is cooking, pour the leftover marinade into a small saucepan and reduce down until you are left with a sticky sauce.












Tonight I served my chipotle marmalade chicken with couscous and a little guacamole, making sure to cover the tender chicken with the sticky sauce. The balance of flavours was fantastic! The heat and smokiness from the chipotle dominated the palate whilst the sweetness and bitter orange notes from the marmalade helped keep the spice in check.
Why not give this recipe a go and let me know how you got on? Or do you have a recipe that includes marmalade as a key ingredient? If so, post your recipe on the Gerry's Kitchen Facebook page and I'll try it out.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Restaurant Review - Itihaas, 17-19 Eskbank Road, Dalkeith


Myself and Nicola were recently invited through to the Midlothian town of Dalkeith in order to review Itihaas Bangladeshi & Indian Restaurant. Our visit would involve a round trip of around 120 miles so we decided that a lunchtime visit would be the most practical option for ourselves. With the booking scheduled for last Saturday, we set off on a very wet and windy morning in the hope that that the weather was better at the other end on the M8 motorway.
I had never visited Dalkeith before and was surprised to see that it has played a pretty important part in Scotland's rich tapestry, contributing to politics, music and sport. Oliver Cromwell's army had made an earlier visit to Dalkeith, leaving his General George Monck as Commander in Scotland operating out of Dalkeith Castle. William Gladstone started his campaign to be British Prime Minister in the old market town whilst more recent exports include Fish, lead singer of Marillion, and former Manchester United player, Darren Fletcher.
Gerry's Kitchen Itihaas Dalkeith Restaurant Review
The weather hadn't improved much by the time we arrived but fortunately we only had a short walk from the nearby car park at the local Morrisons supermarket. (Maximum stay is 3 hours) the restaurant was quiet when we arrived with just one couple tucking into their starters and we were seated quickly at a table by the window. The owner, Matin Khan, came out to greet us and explained that he was busy working in on his latest venture, Eskmill, a cafe/restaurant situated directly across the road from where we were sitting. After a brief chat, he left us to get on with our lunch whilst instructing us to come over to the new place before we left. The restaurant is decorated with modern styling and although the expected Indian music was playing on the sound system, the music was also modern and upbeat helping add to the contemporary design and ambience.

The full a la carte menu is available but we were both keen to eat from the very good value for money lunch menu. Nicola relaxed with a large glass of Spanish Airen/Chardonnay (which is only £12.95 for the whole bottle) but as I was driving I couldn't partake in the draught Cobra beer but could at least get in the mood with a chilled bottle of Cobra Zero - one of the better alcohol free beers on the market. Brownie points were awarded when we were offered a jug of iced tap water without having to ask.

As we took time to look over the menu, we were presented with crisp poppadoms and a tray of accompaniments including a zingy, spicy lime pickle, a cool minty raita, a sharp and sour sauce, and some of the best spiced onions that we have tasted. Seriously, the onions were so moreish, with diced onions, carrot, cucumber, mint and chilli, working together to offer a fresh take on the usually overly tomato sauce laden onion starter.

Nicola decided to order two courses from the lunch menu, starting with a chana on puri that we shared between us. Just as well we shared because it was a huge starter that would have defeated Nicola if she had to take it on herself. The puri, a deep fried puffed bread, was light and airy and despite being deep fried it showed no signs of greasiness. The chick pea filling was immense. Hot and spicy, sweet and sour with a good handful of fresh coriander mixed in to help ad a fragrant balance. This was one of the tastiest Indian starters that we've had in a long time.

Nicola had struggled to choose a main dish from the lunch menu, not because there was nothing she liked, but because it looked like the menu had been written especially for her complex palate. In the end, she settled on the Garlic Chicken with pilau rice.
Itihaas don't scrimp on portion sizes and the main course that Nicola received was packed with giant chunks of tender, well seasoned chicken breast. The sauce had a good balance of spice without being too hot, preserved lemon had been added to add another dimension to the sauce and there was a noticeable amount of garlic present round the dish off whilst keeping the vampires away. The pilau rice was another delight, heavy seasoned with star anise and topped with preserved orange peel, helping add further levels of flavour to an already tasty curry. The lunch menu costs just £7.95 for two courses which I think you'll agree, offers great value for money.

I had opted for the Lamb Thali lunch experience - a new offering at Itihaas (Thali is an Indian meal made up of a selection of various dishes, the word Thali means a round platter used to serve food) - and was delighted with the value for money that I this offered. Each day the chef prepares a medium spiced curry that is the base for the Thali. On the day, my lamb thali was served with the same delicious pilau rice that Nicola had, curried vegetables, an onion bhaji, dipping sauce, salad and a fresh chapati.

Again, the portion size was a winner and I knew that we would be taking home a 'doggy-bag'. The onion bhaji was crisp and well seasoned, the curried vegetable were fantastic, especially the broccoli that seemed to soak up the spices with ease. As for the lamb curry, it was wonderful. The huge pieces of lamb were so tender that the broke up with little pressure from my fork, the sauce was like a good bhuna with notes of cinnamon, cumin and coriander fighting their way through a rich tomato base. The Thali Lunch starts at £6.95 for the vegetable option, lamb and chicken cost £7.95 whilst prices can tip the pocket at £12.95 for the King Prawn Thali.
As predicted, we were both defeated by our larger than normal lunch so we asked if we could take the leftovers home with us and they were neatly packed up in time for us finishing our drinks.
Unfortunately, the rain was still lashing down by the time that we had finished lunch but we struggled across the road to say goodbye (and thank you) to Matin, but not before he gave us a whistle stop tour of the Eskmill. The new venture will be a great place to stop for lunch for those that don't fancy curry at lunchtime as Eskmill will be serving coffee, cakes, soups, sandwiches, and hot food to 6pm every day.


As we got back in the car we realised that we were only a few miles away from Dalhousie Castle so decided to pop in for a couple of post lunch drinks before making the long trip home. We spent the next hour relaxing in the Library Bar, Nicola enjoying The Botanist gin with Fever Tree tonic whilst I nursed a fiery ginger ale. (don't worry, I made up for lost drinking time when we got home later in the day)
Despite the awful weather and lengthy drive, we had a great afternoon in Dalkeith and loved our lunch at Itihaas. We were invited through for review purposes but the report above is an honest write-up based on our experience on the day. The service was attentive without being overbearing, all of the food that we had was packed with flavour and based on the portion sizes that we were served, we thought that the lunch menu offered great value for money.
We would like to thank Matin and his staff for the hospitality shown on the day and should we ever be stuck in the Edinburgh area and in need of somewhere to eat, we know that Itihaas is only a short drive from the capital.
Keep up to date with Itihaas on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

5 Questions - Kitchen Press - Independent Cookery Publisher

Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to tell the story of so many businesses and people who work within the food and drink industry by asking them 5 Questions. Most of the stories that have been published in the past are of producers, chefs or businesses that I have met along my travels but now and again, I am contacted by an individual or business who would like to answer their own set of questions and be seen on Gerry's Kitchen.
Emily Dewhurst of Dundee based publishers Kitchen Press, an award-winning independent publisher specialising in food writing, contacted me to let me know about her business and after spending just a few minutes on the Kitchen Press website, I just knew that there was a story waiting to be told. The team at Kitchen Press work with independent restaurants and chefs to create bespoke illustrated cookbooks that capture the flavours that make them unique.
Now in their fifth year, Kitchen Press are just about to launch their seventh book, The Greenwich Market Cookbook which will showcase recipes from some of the traders who operate out of London's oldest covered market.

Here's Emily's story;
How did you get started?
Kitchen Press was one of those ideas that kept on nagging at me until I did something about it. There's a very small and very good cafe in Dundee called The Parlour – the only place in the city at the time that had a truly diverse menu that changed every day and a strong and loved identity. It was and remains a cafe that Dundonians are proud of. I suggested doing a book to the owner, Gillian Veal. Our aim was to conjure up a picture of the perfect neighbourhood cafe, even if the reader had never been to The Parlour. With Gillian's background as an artist we also both felt that we wanted to create something that captured the vibe of the place without using photography. Jen Collins created the beautiful illustrations which have ended up being very defining in the way that our books look.

That first book, The Parlour Cafe Cookbook, did way better than we ever could have imagined, selling out its initial print run in under 3 weeks, and winning a Gourmand Award for best first cookbook in Scotland. We're still reprinting it 5 years later.
What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?
It's your business, so run it the way it suits you, and work with people who excite you. What I really love about Kitchen Press is the way it opens up the path for collaboration – with chefs, with restaurants, with street food traders, with illustrators and photographers and designers.
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?
Some of the most interesting food out there is being cooked by owner/chefs in independent restaurants, and so I want to keep flying the flag for those guys and producing beautiful books that tell their stories and captures what it is that is so special about them. We're also working on a series of books based around food markets – Recipes from Brixton Village came out in 2014, The Greenwich Market Cookbook is due out next month – and the market movement doesn't look like its going to run out of steam any time soon. So, in five years time, I'd like to see that series covering the UK and beyond. I love to travel and I'm always hungry. I had an incredible lunch in the Mercado del Puerto in Montevideo a few years ago – it's a covered food market that is now packed with parillas – wood-fired grills that specialise in barbecuing every possibly part of the prime Uruguyan beef cattle. Now that would make a good book...
If you could only cook one of your published recipes, what would it be & why?
Too hard to choose! But, in a pinch, I'd probably go for the seafood gumbo in The Savoy Kitchen – A Family History of Cajun Food.

The seafood here in Scotland is right up there with the seafood from Lousiana's gulf coast, and a gumbo is not only a great way to eat it, but a great way to have a party at the same time. Sarah Savoy is pretty much Cajun royalty, and her recipe is definitive and utterly delicious.
You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?
My mum. We'd go to El Bigotes in Ibiza and eat their fantastic Bullit de Peix at a table right by the sea. It’s my favourite restaurant, and she would have loved it. Then I'd get her to make a shoofly pie for pudding and finally show me what's in it.



















The Greenwich Market Cookbook goes on sale soon and will be be available in all good bookshops, or you can pre-order directly from Kitchen Press.
I would like to thank Kitchen Press for getting in touch and for taking the time to answer 5 Questions. I'm also keen to see The Greenwich Market Cookbook when it hits the shelves. I love food markets so can't wait to see which traders recipes have made it into print and hopefully have the chance to recreate some of their recipes in Gerry's Kitchen.
Keep up to date with news from Kitchen Press on Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

'The Honours Uncovered' at Malmaison Glasgow with Martin Wishart

Gerry's Kitchen Martin Wishart The Honours Malmaison

It doesn't seem that long ago that acclaimed chef Martin Wishart announced that he would be opening The Honours at Malmaison Glasgow but the restaurant has actually been operating since November 2014. As a slightly belated birthday celebration, the restaurant recently hosted a fantastic lunch event, 'The Honours Uncovered', which allowed diners the chance to get a sneaky peek beyond the usual dinner service.

Gerry's Kitchen Martin Wishart The Honours Malmaison
Myself and Nicola were fortunate enough to be invited along by the restaurant's PR company and when we arrived for the champagne reception just after 11:30 on a cold and snowy Saturday morning, the restaurant bar area was already full of eager diners quaffing glasses of bubbly like there was no tomorrow. We found a space at the bar and settled down in anticipation of the afternoon's entertainment.
I should probably mention at this point that this was no ordinary lunch event - in fact, this was a big deal as in addition to the champagne and canapés that we received as we arrived, we would also be served a four course lunch menu with matched wines, as well as receive some wine tasting tips from the restaurants sommelier. Oh, and we would be shown into the kitchen where Martin Wishart would demonstrate a couple of his restaurant dishes with the help of business partner and head chef of The Honours Edinburgh, Paul Tamburrini, and pastry chef at The Honours at Malmaison, Rikki Preston.
Gerry's Kitchen Martin Wishart The Honours Malmaison
Martin is regarded as one of the UK's top chefs, holding one Michelin star at two separate restaurants in Scotland. The first is at his eponymous Restaurant Martin Wishart in Edinburgh, whilst the second is at Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond which is located at Cameron House Hotel on Loch Lomond. We already felt very privileged that we would be eating from a menu prepared by a Michelin starred chef so getting the chance see Martin demonstrate his cooking was a real honour(s).
Gerry's Kitchen Martin Wishart The Honours Malmaison
The diners were split into three groups and shown into the kitchen to the waiting chefs. The group that we were in were introduced to Martin as he set about demonstrating a couple of his favourite dishes. He first was a simple scallop dish where the scallop was baked in its own shell under a buttery pastry lid. This dish could wily be recreated at home and would make a fantastic starter for a special meal. The second dish was a quick and easy monkfish dish served with clams and savoy cabbage in a vermouth cream sauce. Both of these dishes epitomised the cooking style of Martin Wishart with seasonal produce being used to create simple uncomplicated and delicious meals. We were given recipe cards for each of these dishes to take away and try at home.... All I need now is a free weekend and I'll let you know how I get on.
Gerry's Kitchen Martin Wishart The Honours Malmaison
After the cooking demo we were shown through to a meeting room on the other side of the bar where we were given a quick-fire wine tasting session featuring some of the wines that we would be enjoying with our dinner. It was very interesting hearing different peoples thoughts on the white, red and dessert wines that would accompany our meal. What was more interesting was noticing the big difference in drinking wines on their own and seeing how they differ when they are served as matched wines with food. I've been lucky enough to enjoy a few wine flights on recents months and have to say that if I could afford it, this is the way that I would enjoy every meal.
Gerry's Kitchen Honours Glasgow
The first course to arrive was Foie Gras Mouse with pear foam, sweet & sour reduction and rye bread. This was matched with a fresh 2015 Prinz Von Hessen Riesling from the Rheingau region of Germany. The foie gras mousse was deliciously rich whilst the pear foam helped bring some balance. I didn't detect the sweet and sour reduction but that didn't matter, this little entré was a great start to the meal.
The next course was a wonderful starter of Loch Fyne Crab Marie Rose, white radish, espelette pepper and wheat cracker. The sweet crab was balance perfectly with a sharp Marie Rose sauce whilst the radish and pepper added a nice balance of texture. Nicola and myself love crab and both made short work of this starter. The matched wine was a 2014 Chenin Blanc from the Te Arai region of New Zealand. This wine was light and crisp and a perfect foil to the sweet crab.
The main event was Aromatic Braised Short Ribs with honey roasted parsnips and potato crisp. This was matched with medium bodied 2012 Dolcetto D'Alba from the Italian region of Piedmont. Wow! The beef was flavoured with the spices of the Orient, perhaps as a nod to the up and coming Chinese New and so tender that it fell apart at the slightest resistance. We both enjoyed the delicate spicing of the beef which worked incredibly well with sweet parsnip chips and rich beefy jus. To add a little texture, there was a crispy potato crisp ring balanced on top. This Pomme Maxine certainly looked the part although I felt that mine was just a little overlooked and slightly bitter. Not that this mattered much as I finished the plate with no real concern ( and Nicola's too). Picking up from the wine tasting earlier, most of the diners in my tasting group weren't overly impressed with the Dolcetto D'Alba when we tasted it on its own, commenting that we thought that it would be better with a good piece of beef. We were all right - the light, smoky red wine was a great match for the spicy notes from the slow cooked beef.
Last up was our dessert of Valrhona Dark Chocolate Tart with white chocolate & vermouth sorbet and white chocolate scarf. This was matched with a 2011 Maury dessert wine from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. I love a chocolate tart and this was a great way to end our meal. The rich, velvety chocolate was delicious and slightly gooey whilst the pastry case was crisp and buttery. The sorbet was more like a creamy ice-cream and sweet from the white chocolate. We're not sure what happened to the white chocolate scarf, instead the pud was topped with a delicious dark chocolate tuille instead. The last matched wine was wonderful, pack with notes of raisins and apricots and a great balance to the dark chocolate tart.
Gerry's Kitchen Martin Wishart The Honours Malmaison
Feeling suitable stuffed, we retired to the bar for post-lunch cocktails and a cheeky perfect serve gin or two before making our way to Central Station for the Polar Express to snowy East Kilbride.
We had a great afternoon at The Honours Glasgow at Malmaison and would like to that Martin Wishart and all the staff on duty for their hospitality on the day. I would recommend both the bar and restaurant at The Honours Glasgow. As well as boasting a fantastic collection of whisky, the bar carries a great range of premium spirits and craft beers, whilst the restaurant does a great job of balancing a comprehensive a la carte menu alongside fine dining. To find out more about The Honours Glasgow, check out their listing page on Citylicious.
Keep up to date with all the news from The Honours Glasgow at Malmaison on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Friday, 12 February 2016

What's On in Glasgow this Valentine's Day

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner (Sunday 14 February) the city of Glasgow, with its magical architecture, stunning green spaces and enchanting rendezvous spots, is the perfect destination for a romantic break.
Paris may be the ‘City of Lights’ but Glasgow is the ‘City of Love’ as its the final resting place for the remains of St Valentine and really is the place to sweep your lover off their feet. 
Take a look at some of what’s on offer. You’ll be sure to fall in love with Glasgow, and each other, all over again...
You'll be spoiled for romantic dinner suggestions. Our favourites include the Buddha Balcony package at Chaophraya, which includes cocktails on arrival, a bottle of Champagne, a three course banquet meal, a bouquet of flowers and your own private waiter for the evening.
Or try Arta, a great Mediterranean restaurant that has a romantic 'Romeo and Juliet' table for two overlooking the internal courtyard - the perfect romantic spot for a special occasion.
You can 'Get Figgy With It' with Riverhill's Aphrodisiac Menu - all nine dishes on the three course menu are made up with alleged aphrodisiacs from around the world, including dishes like ‘Oyster 3 way’ and 'Peruvian Viagra’...
Oysters are the ultimate Valentine’s Day aphrodisiac. For a night of sumptuous sophistication head to the stylish Art Deco surroundings of the Rogano Oyster Bar. Here you can sample chilled oysters accompanied by the bar’s signature cocktail, the spicy Scottish Matahari. The ever-popular heated terrace is the perfect place to enjoy a pre-dinner drink, watching the world go by under the twinkling lights of Royal Exchange Square.
You'll be in good company too - the bar's perfectly poured creations have been enjoyed by many of the famous faces who have frequented Rogano over the years, including veteran performer Rod Stewart and Hollywood actor Harvey Keitel!
If you’re keen on getting a bit more ‘hands on’, head along to Tennent's Training Academy and stir up some exotic creations at one of their Valentine-inspired classes including; Cupcake & Cocktails, Courtship in the Kitchen or the Steak Lover's night.
Pop next door to Drygate, the city's newest brewery, for a peek behind the glass with one of their bottle masters. If you're feeling a bit more adventurous, why not book one of their Studio Kit Days, where you can brew your own beer using Drygate's best equipment!
Looking for the perfect, non-eating related date idea, why not head to Glasgow’s centre for lovers of film, Glasgow Film Theatre? This iconic Glasgow venue has specialised in cinema for forty years and is home to the annual Glasgow Film Festival. This year’s programme (February 17-28) offers yet another exciting, innovative, audience-focused festival packed with UK, European and World premieres, and the festival’s trademark pop-up cinema events are making new use of some of the city’s most unusual venues. Lucky fans might also catch a glimpse of Hollywood royalty as actor Richard Gere is to walk the red carpet as his new film makes its UK premiere at this year's Festival.
Also, check out The Corinthian Club for its Valentine's Film Club, which is showing rom-com classics like Notting Hill and Valentine's Day. You can make an experience of it by treating yourself and your loved ones to their afternoon tea or Valentine's package, which includes a 3 course menu, Kir Royal, a rose and chocolates.
A hand-in-hand stroll through Glasgow's Style Mile is a great way to spend an afternoon together in the city. If you’re looking to pop the question, The Argyll Arcade is one of Europe’s oldest covered shopping arcades and was Scotland's first ever indoor shopping mall. Now home to a cornucopia of sparking little, and big, gems the Arcade is the go-to place for couples looking to ‘put a ring on it’.
Take a trip to ROX and enjoy a glass of Champagne in the hidden gem upstairs known locally as the Thrill Room while selecting which ring to buy!
If you’re not quite at that stage yet, and it’s a cheeky gift you’re after, then head to House of Fraser on the Style Mile and pick up a pair of Dick Winters, the quintessentially British brand of fine luxury underwear for gentlemen. There are a range of quirky choices showcasing our well-known sense of humour including ‘Sporty Dick’ and ‘Rock Dick’.
To find out more about Glasgow’s romantic side, and everything it has to offer, please visit https://peoplemakeglasgow.com/things-to-do/visitor-itineraries/the-romantic-s-guide-to-glasgow

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wedgwood The Restaurant – Reopened following a beautiful refurbishment

Gerry's Kitchen Paul Wedgewood Restaurant
After a month – long hiatus business has resumed as usual at the newly refurbished Wedgwood the Restaurant on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. The new and striking interior of Wedgwood the Restaurant has been designed by Nikki Rennie, interior designer at Pride Shopfitting Scotland, who worked in tandem with owners Lisa and Paul Wedgwood to ensure that their visions were realised.
Wedgwood’s ethos is founded on a relaxed dining experience with a Scottish twist, and thus it was important to Lisa and Paul that the new look of the restaurant blended harmoniously with this.
Gerry's Kitchen Paul Wedgewood Restaurant
In an effort to celebrate and honour the unique nature of the historical building in which the restaurant is housed, the refurb has incorporated natural materials such as wood and natural fibres. While uncovering some original features, including an exposed brick wall and old fireplace, which Lisa and Paul have decided to preserve.
Gerry's Kitchen Paul Wedgewood Restaurant
Ensuring the upkeep of the relaxed atmosphere desired by its owners, the restaurant’s newly curated ambience is light, bright and airy with refreshed sand and cream coloured walls (a dramatic change from the previous look). There are hints of contrasting copper and black, setting off the acoustic wood-effect flooring that minimises any unwanted noise – allowing for the relaxed ambience to be maintained.
Changes to the restaurant layout include a new small banquette-style seating area at the back of the restaurant and a completely new bar, guests have remarked on how spacious and light it feels. Changing the bar area has allowed for greater space and flow between tables.

Gerry's Kitchen Paul Wedgewood Restaurant
One of the most unique new features to the restaurant is the atmospheric light screen downstairs, something that Chef Wedgwood had personally overseen, which makes the intimate space even more special and romantic. The removal of wall lights for sunken spotlights has added to the atmosphere.

Wedgwood the Restaurant is at 267 Canongate, Edinburgh, EH8 8BQ

To book call 0131 558 8737
Lunch 12.30-3pm Dinner 6-10pm (Sunday)

5 Questions - Bad Brownie Co, as seen on Dragon's Den

Gerry's Kitchen Bad Brownie 5 Questions
There are literally thousands of fantastic producers operating across the UK at farmers markets, selling the most wonderful food and drink products that have been lovingly prepared in their adapted home kitchens.For some of these producers, it will always be a hobby, something to do whilst raising kids or as a way of relaxing from the stresses of the real world. For others, it is the start of something that can grow and develop into something much bigger. Taking that next step is a daunting thought, with so many things needing to be considered in order to tour the hobby into a career.
Paz and Morag, who run Bad Brownie, came to my attention a few weeks ago when they appeared on The BBC2 programme Dragon's Den. The two chocoholics were looking for an investment that would allow them to take their home made brownie business from the food markets around London to a retail shop in the busy tourist heart of the capital. The 'Dragons' loved the brownies but seemed reluctant to invest, concerned that the rents & rates for a prime location retail unit would be cost prohibitive. Fortunately, Touker Suleyman didn't share his fellow dragons fears and stepped up to take a bite of the growing brownie empire.
I love a good food producer story as much as I love a good brownie so it only seemed right that I gave Bad Brownie the opportunity to tell their story by answering 5 Questions.
Gerry's Kitchen Bad Brownie Farmers Market
Here's Paz & Morag's story;
How did you get started?

Bad Brownie started when we each had had enough of working in an office at something that did not meet our number one passion in life - chocolate! Therefore we decided to give it all up and set up a chocolate company and what better than one focussed on the most delicious of chocolate products - brownies - which up until then had been limited to boring and uninteresting looking squares of chocolate dessert.

What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?

​Let go of fear - it's the one thing that always holds you back. It makes you second guess yourself and your instinct; fear clouds vision and ambition; it holds you back and it keeps you in safety and comfort. When you run a successful business it's about putting safety and comfort to one side and take that leap of faith into the great unknown.

Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?

A bigger and better version of where we are now but one that stays true to our ideology and mission - to show people all over the UK (and world) that there is no need to settle for a boring brownie but that the most interesting and exciting brownies are out there waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.

If you could only have one of your own brownies, what would it be & why?

Gerry's Kitchen Caramel Brownie
It would have to be our salted caramel flavour brownie - it has been our best seller since day one and unlike almost every other recipe, has not changed at all since we first created it. It is the starter brownie to Bad Brownie, the entry to the amazing world of flavour and texture we offer. We could never change it or remove it; it's become a classic.

​​You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?​​​

Gerry's Kitchen Nigella Lawson
It would have to be Nigella Lawson - there is something so wonderfully joyful about her love of food and approach to enjoying life to its fullest (all things in moderation of course). Her passion for flavour shines through in everything she does and there's something decidedly wicked about her which we just love. And to eat? Why a table laden with the 250 or so flavours we have created since we started Bad Brownie for us all to dive into and enjoy.
Gerry's Kitchen Bad Brownie
Since getting the Dragon's Den investment, Paz and Morag have been run off their feet as they chase their dream of getting their first customer through the doors of their very first shop. Today Bad Brownie sell their delicious brownies through their own market stalls across London, kiosks in shopping centres, at Selfridges as well as in their online store – wherever you are you are never far away from a Bad Brownie with their postal service.
2016 promises to be an exciting year for Bad Brownie with plans for the opening of a number of sites and popups across London and surrounding areas so keep an eye on Twitter or Facebook for news of events near you.

I would like to thank Paz and Morag for taking time out of their manic schedule to answer 5 Questions and wish them every success in the future. Myself and Nicola will be heading to London in April, so will be on the hunt for a slice or two of that delicious looking salted caramel brownie. I'll let you all know how we get on!