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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!

 

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Bad Brownie Secures Dragon's Den Investment

Gourmet chocolate brownie company, Bad Brownie, appeared on Dragon’s Den on 31 Jan 2016, to secure funding to enable them to open their first shop in central London. All the dragons loved the gooey, fudgy brownies, with Sarah Willingham asking “What makes them taste so good?” and Deborah Meaden exclaiming “mmmmm” as she tried them. However, it was fashion magnate Touker Suleyman who offered £60,000 in return for 35% of the business. Braving the wrath of the generous dragon, Morag Ekanger, one half of Bad Brownie, asked him to reduce his offer which Touker was happy to accept, and the deal was done.
Bad Brownie was set up in 2013 by chocoholic feeders Paz Sarmah and Morag Ekanger who met while working together at a London brand agency but couldn’t stop thinking and talking about chocolate. They believed that the humble brownie which was loved by so many people had the potential to be made into the most amazing indulgence so they put it through bootcamp to create the fudgiest, gooiest, tastiest & most decadent brownies you’re ever likely to devour, with flavours like salted caramel, bacon & maple syrup, earl grey, bakewell and more. They’re no longer just boring chocolate brownies and instead, they’re brownies with attitude; sexier, meaner, edgier & oh so very dangerous.
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 our postal service.

2016 promises to be an exciting year for the brand with plans for the opening of a number of sites and popups across London and surrounding areas.

Keep up to date with Bad Brownie on Twitter and Facebook.

Also keep an eye out for Bad Brownie's answers to 5 Questions on Gerry's Kitchen, coming very soon.

 

Restaurants’ macho culture “dwindling” - top Scots chef Fairlie

The restaurant industry has made significant efforts to banish aggressive behaviour from the kitchen and young people should not be discouraged from taking up careers in catering and hospitality, according to top Scottish chef Andrew Fairlie.
Speaking at the launch of the latest Catering in Scotland (CIS) Excellence Awards category which aims to identify Scotland’s Junior Chef of the Year, he lamented “the lack of young chefs entering the profession” and said more jobs are currently available than ever before.
“When I started my career, kitchens could be brutal, violent places,” said Mr Fairlie, who runs his eponymous two Michelin Star restaurant at Gleneagles in Perthshire. “However, over the last 30 years to its great credit the industry has taken many steps to remove this aggression. The macho culture has dwindled and kitchens are nowadays often calm places where the emphasis is on order as well as creativity.”
Citing a number of factors which have traditionally discouraged young people from taking up jobs as chefs, Mr Fairlie explained: “Perceived long, unsociable hours - in addition to the impact of the confrontational nature of some TV cooking competitions - have contributed to the negative outlook of some younger, emerging chefs.

“There are pressures in any kitchen, especially in top end restaurants, but that can be part of the attraction,” he added. “The fact is, that with the huge increase in the number of restaurants, there are countless jobs out there. I don’t know any kitchen in the UK that isn’t looking for staff.”

Mr Fairlie was speaking as the CIS Awards launched the categories for 2016. As the main competition combining Scotland’s catering, hospitality and tourism industries, they are seen as the ultimate accolade for hotels, restaurants, gastro pubs and individuals working in the sector in Scotland. As a member of the Awards Advisory Board Mr Fairlie has been involved with the initiative since winning the Chef of the Year category in 2005.

Sponsored by Brakes Scotland, the new Junior Chef of the Year category is open to chefs under 25 working at any professional level in Scottish hospitality including restaurants, hotels, pubs, event and contract caterers, fine dining and both the private and public sectors.

Recalling the pivotal moment in his career when he won the first ever Roux Scholarship at the age of 20, Mr Fairlie urged employers and head chefs to nominate staff for the award. “They don’t shout loud enough about the talents of their younger people,” he commented. “They need to get behind this award and put the work in to nominate them properly.

“The CIS Excellence Awards present a unique opportunity to nurture and encourage the truly talented chefs of the future to be ambitious, hard-working, studious and conscientious, and to win recognition for their efforts.”

Entries for all 16 categories close at midnight on Friday 11 March. The presentation ceremony takes place at the Hilton Glasgow on the evening of Thursday 26 May.

For information about the CIS Excellence Awards email nominations@cis-excellenceawards.com, visit www.cis-excellenceawards.com or call 0131-561 7348.

 

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Mackays Marmalade Cocktail

National Marmalade Week takes place from 28th February to 6th March. The event is organised by the World Marmalade Awards at Dalemain, Penrith. The Awards take place from 19th-21st March and the main sponsors are Mackays, Fortnum & Mason and Paddington Bear.
To help get me in the mood, the good people at Mackays sent me a few jars of their marmalade in the hope that I could come up with a recipe or two that showcased their wonderful citrus preserves.
Keen to get involved with the marmalade recipe challenge, I sat down at the kitchen island with a notepad and pen hoping for some inspiration however after a few minutes I realised that inspiration wasn't coming! In the end, I decided to mix myself a cocktail in the hope that alcohol might help come up with a delicious marmalade inspired recipe.

Mackays Marmalade Martini
Ingredients (serves 2)
Method


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice before adding all the ingredients.
  2. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds
  3. Double strain into a chilled martini glass before garnishing with a twist of orange
Wow! This variation on the classic 'breakfast martini' was fantastic. The botanicals from the gin work well with the bitter preserve whilst there was enough sweetness to make my Mackays Marmalade Martini very drinkable.
Unfortunately, I'm no further forward with my marmalade recipe challenge although with so many different gins and so many different Mackays marmalades to choose from, maybe I should research the cocktail line to find the perfect blend of flavours for the perfect Mackays Marmalade Martini.

 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Quick Review - MPW Steakhouse Glasgow & Hotel Indigo Glasgow

After spending four nights in Belgium at the end of last year, you would have thought that myself and Nicola would have relished the last few days of the Christmas break in the comfort of our own home. However, that wasn't the case as we spent a very relaxing overnight stay at Hotel Indigo on Glasgow's Waterloo Street.
This came about as I had previously bought a dinner deal for Marco Pierre White Steakhouse (which is housed within Hotel Indigo) from the discount site Groupon, and realised that the deal had to be used by the first week of January. Keen not to lose out on our deal, I booked our table for the 2nd of January and decided to make the most of the Christmas break so booked a room in the hotel too.
After parking in the Q-Park next door to the hotel (residents get a 25% discount from the normally expensive car parking rates), we checked in and within a few minutes we were unpacking our overnight case in a lovely upgraded bedroom.
Each of the floors of the hotel are decorated with Glasgow's rich history in mind. Murals by local artists line the walls of the Victorian building, the original home of the one of the city's first powers station, whilst each of the boutique rooms are beautifully decorated and finished with a luxury bathroom. There was also a complimentary minibar in the room, stocked with wine and beer from the local West Brewery, that we were encouraged to make good use of during our stay. This coupled with the free wifi in the hotel ensured that we got great value for money for our £89 prepay rate.
As I unpacked the case, Nicola let out squeals of delight as she discovered the Aveda products in the bathroom. Nice toiletries don't do it for me however I was hugely impressed with the giant Damask patterned wall tiles and Villeroy & Boch sink. It's safe to say that no expense was spared when the bathroom was fitted.
Keen to make the most of our local 'city break' we finished unpacking and made our way to Buchanan Street to see if we could pick up a bargain or two in the January Sales.
After a short wander through Glasgow's busy shopping streets and a couple of light refreshments, we made our way back to the hotel. We were feeling tired after our recent European city break so spent a couple of hours relaxing in the bedroom, enjoying James Bond on the TV as well as doing our bit to empty the minibar. Refreshed and recharged, we made our way downstairs to the restaurant for the last big dinner of our Christmas break.
After being shown to our table, we started our evening in style with a glass of the house champagne. Keep an eye on the MPW Facebook page as they often run a Fizz Friday promotion in the bar when you can get a bottle of their house champagne for just £20.
Our Groupon dinner deal was for Chateaubriand for two with fries, onion rings, grilled tomatoes, two sides, two sauces and a bottle of wine for just £55 - great value when you think that the average bottle of wine costs over £20 in the chain restaurants.
We decided against starters as we figured that we would have plenty to eat when the main arrived and we weren't wrong! We knew as soon as our perfectly cooked fillet of beef arrived that we would be taking some of our dinner home in a doggy-bag. (Making good use of the mini-bar once again!)
Our beef was well seasoned and wonderfully tender, the accompanying garlic butter and wild mushroom sauce were the perfect foil to the soft, smoky meat. The giant onion rings were as good as I've had whilst the sides of buttered spinach and garlic mushroom rounded the meal off well.
Always wary that when you buy a 'deal' that you get what you pay for, I can honestly say that I was surprised by both the portion size of the meal as well as the top quality food that we were served. Rest assured, I will be buying the Groupon deal the next time I see it for sale!
Suitably stuffed, we made our way through to the bar for a nightcap but the stresses of our trip to Belgium were catching up on us and knowing that our bed was only a few minutes walk away, we only managed the one cocktail before lazily making our way to the lifts. (Although not before we grabbed a cheeky #MarcoChairSelfie
The next morning, after a comfortable sleep, we made our way downstairs for a fantastic breakfast. There is no shortage of choice in the restaurant when it comes to breakfast with plenty of cereals, cold cuts and pastries available. In addition to this, there is also the option of freshly cooked hot breakfasts too. I rounded off my weekend with Eggs Benedict and Nicola had Eggs Royale (like Benedict but with smoked salmon replacing the ham).
Feeling fully charged but ready for a lazy day, we said goodbye to Hotel Indigo, half an hour later we were tucked up on the couch at home catching up on all the Christmas TV that we had missed whilst away.
I'm glad that I took advantage of the Groupon deal and even happier that I booked the overnight stay - we had a great time and were well looked after by the staff on shift during our visit. What a great way to end our Christmas break!
They run competitions every now and again for overnight stays and meals so keep an eye on Hotel Indigo on Facebook and Twitter, as well as watching MPW Steakhouse on Facebook and Twitter too.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Yushoi Prove You Can Balance Great Taste and Better For You

You no longer need to give up great taste for products that are better for you thanks to Yushoi Snapea rice sticks, a delicious baked savoury snack made using green peas and rice, which has launched and is available from Tesco stores nationwide for £1.99 per 105g re-sealable pack.
The baked snack, which boasts less than 99 calories per 21g serving, is high in fibre and a source of protein, nut and dairy free, suitable for vegetarians and vegans and has no artificial colours, flavours or MSG is set to be a hit with those who have a healthier agenda and prefer tasty nibbles that won’t pile on the pounds.

Subtly seasoned in a range of mouth-watering flavours including Soy and Balsamic Vinegar, Smoked Salt and Szechuan Pepper, Sweet Chilli and Lemon and Lightly Salted, there are at least four reasons to add these to your basket during the next shop.

Marketing Director, David Wilson said: “Yushoi Snapea rice sticks is like nothing else. Lovingly made using green peas and baked with seasonings that really play on the Japanese influence we know that we have something really special for people to try. You can lose the guilty feelings when you have Yushoi Snapea Rice Sticks and can enjoy the snack with lunch or on the go.”

Working with leading nutritionists, food technologists and health experts, Yushoi Snapea rice sticks has been developed to meet with the Governments criteria to encourage better eating habits, make choices simpler and address concerns in relation to obesity throughout the UK.

With a full range of pack formats including 21g single serve, 6 x 21g multipacks and 105g re-sealable sharing bags these tasty snacks that are better for you can be found in Tesco, Morrisons, The Cooperative, WH Smith, Whole Foods Market, Selfridges and online from Amazon and Ocado.
For more details about Yushoi Snapea Rice Sticks please visit www.Yushoi.co.uk, like the brands Facebook page: Yushoisnacks or follow on Twitter: @Yushoisnacks