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Sunday, 28 August 2016

5 Questions - Graham Campbell, Head Chef @ Castlehill Restaurant, Dundee

Chef Graham Campbell first came to my attention when he represented Scotland in series six of The Great British Menu when he went head to head with Glasgow based chefs Jimmy Lee from Lychee Oriental and Jacqueline O'Donnell from The Sisters. Despite his best efforts and some pretty inventive cooking,Graham didn't make it through to the latter stages of the competition. That said, after seeing the show, I quickly added Graham to my 'Chefs I'd like to cook for me' list.
The opportunity to score Graham from the list came recently when I was asked to review Castlehill Restaurant in Dundee. I hope to publish the review very soon but in a little prelude to that, I managed to chat with Graham after the busy lunch service and put my 5 Questions to him.
I knew that we were in for a treat as Graham has a wealth of experience picked up over the years. From his first kitchen job in Oban through, Rochdale at Nutters Restaurant, Paul Heathcote's Longridge, The Ballachulish House in Fort William where he became the youngest Scottish chef to be awarded a Michelin Star, the Lake of Menteith Hotel in Perthshire before a stint at The Monastery in Manchester until he took over the kitchen at Castlehill Restaurant. Graham has earned his stripes and maybe now a star isn't far away with Castlehill being tipped as the first restaurant in Dundee to be recognised by the Michelin inspectors.
Here's Graham's story;

How did you get started?

Started way back when I was 15 in Oban. I didn't really see it as a career but I fell in love with it.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to aspiring chefs?

"Listen" and get in with a head chef who is a leader - Someone that is willing to get in the thick of it with you, not just a head chef that sits in a office and comes through for service.

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

Ideally, I would like to see us in a bigger premises for Castlehill Restaurant and a maybe a few more outlets trading under the brand.

If you could only cook of your recipes, what would it be & why?

It would have to be my highland venison infused with Douglas Fir. The flavour that comes from Douglas Fir is just amazing! When you mix that with the gaminess of the venison, they work wonderfully well together.

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

I would have to invite Keith Floyd. Growing up, I loved watching him on TV, traveling all over the world. It was great to see Keith get so excited with the ingredients and show a real passion for cooking. We would enjoy a three course meal with scallops, braised oxtail and chocolate soufflé featuring on the menu.

We loved our lunch at the 2 AA Rosette Castlehill Restaurant (full review coming soon) and after having Chef Graham serve up a creative tasting menu, myself and Nicola are already looking for a reason to get back up the east coast and back to Castlehill.
I would like to thank Graham for taking time out to answer 5 Questions and wish him every success in the future.
Keep up to date with news from Castlehill Restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Support Wedgwood the Restaurant

Edinburgh’s multi award winning Wedgwood the Restaurant is in line to add to its already impressive list of accolades after being shortlisted for the Food and Travel Reader Awards 2016. It is the only Scottish restaurant to be recognised in the Outside London category and is accompanied by some very impressive contemporaries. The list includes multiple Michelin star restaurants including Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume in Cartmel and Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham which hold an impressive four stars between them.

Wedgwood the Restaurant enjoyed numerous successes in 2015, consistently picking up local favourite awards and making the Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants. This nomination is certain to be the first of many in 2016 as the consistently high standard Wedgwood the Restaurant delivers is recognised.

You can vote for Wedgwood the Restaurant in the Food and Travel Reader Awards here http://foodandtravel.com/awards

Wedgwood the Restaurant, 267 Canongate, Edinburgh http://www.wedgwoodtherestaurant.co.uk/

To book info@wedgwoodtherestaurant.co.uk

Facebook /WedgwoodRestaurant

Twitter @chefwedgwood

After a fantastic dinner at Wedgwood the Restaurant a couple of months ago, I can understand why they have been shortlisted. You can see my review here and if you've eaten at Wedgwood the Restaurant and think that they deserve to win, make sure to cast your vote here!
 

 

Thirst Quenching Farm Workers Brew Re-invented for the City

Let's Eat Glasgow, Saisson Beer, William Bros Brewing, Drygate Brewing, Glasgow food festival, craft beer, SWG3

Let’s Eat Glasgow! showcases craft beers, spirits and wines.

SWG3, Finnieston, Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September

A crisp dry beer style famed for quenching the thirst of parched farm workers has been given a delicious fruity twist to celebrate the Let’s Eat Glasgow! food festival which will take place at SWG3, Finnieston, on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September.

The specially crafted Let’s Eat Glasgow! ‘Saison’, which has been updated with Scottish gooseberries and elderflowers to add an extra fruity dimension, is a collaboration between the East End’s Drygate Brewery and Williams Bros, one of the sponsors of Let’s Eat Glasgow!

No ordinary food festival, and a sell out when it launched last year, Let’s Eat Glasgow! is staged by the Real Food, Real Folk not for profit co-operative of top city restaurants.

Cail Bruich, Crabshakk, Guy’s Restaurant, Mother India, Ox and Finch, Stravaigin, The Gannet and Ubiquitous Chip created the event, which is free to enter, to celebrate the great food and drink being reared, grown, fished and cooked across the West of Scotland whilst raising money to help tackle food inequality across the city.

The Let’s Eat Glasgow! Saison is available in a can in the restaurants as well as in Valhalla’s Goat and the Drygate Brewery shop in the run up to the festival. It will then be available in draught at the event.

Colin Clydesdale, Chair of Real Food, Real Folk, says:

“As a fundraising event, Let’s Eat Glasgow! is only made possible through the in-kind support of great, like-minded businesses across the food and drink industry like William Bros and Drygate Brewery.

“We’re hugely grateful for the support of sponsors William Bros, Makar Glasgow Gin, Alliance Wine and Glengoyne which are all supporting Let’s Eat Glasgow! for the second year running along with a host of others from across the food and drink industry in the West of Scotland.

“From the visitor’s perspective, their participation, along with the great artisan drink producers in the pop-up market, means we have an incredible food and drink showcase for everyone to discover and enjoy.”

As well as the Let’s Eat Glasgow! Saison, visitors will be able to enjoy vibrant and well balanced Makar Glasgow Gin and great wines chosen by Alliance Wine at the two Real Food, Real Folk bars as well as a whisky-based cocktail blended by Glengoyne especially for the fiesta of food.

Refreshing craft beers from Jaw Brew and Harvieston Brewery as well as a honey beer by Plan Bee will be available to buy in the pop-up market along with fabulous hand-picked wines from Judith Hardy Wines, enlivening Makar Glasgow Gin and a range of spirits from Strathearn Distillery including Scotland’s first brandy made using Scottish cider apples.

The European style market will also feature a wide range of West of Scotland foods, from oysters, venison, rare breed meats, cheeses and fruit through to artisan breads and delicious chocolates and ice creams.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy restaurant food from just a fiver.

The Real Food, Real Folk restaurants will be joined this year by eight guest restaurants - Banana Leaf, Café Gandolfi, El Perro Negro, Eusebi Deli, Lychee Oriental, Martha’s, The Hanoi Bike Shop and Wee Guy’s - altogether serving 46 dishes reflecting the very best cuisine from Scotland, Europe, Asia and the Orient.

FREE to enter, Let’s Eat Glasgow! takes visitors on a journey from ‘field to fork’.

Other highlights include a small farmyard, entertaining and inspirational cooking demonstrations by guest celebrities and chefs and great live music.

All 16 restaurants are donating their time to the event, which is believed to be the UK’s first major food festival working to help tackle food inequality.

Any profits made by Let’s Eat Glasgow!, including the new ‘Saison’, will go towards Real Food, Real Folk’s work to address food inequality in the city.

Restaurant food vouchers are available now at www.letseatglasgow.co.uk

Advance purchase highly recommended.

 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Easy Recipe - Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Garlic & Thyme

Easy Recipe, Chicken Thighs, Nigella Lawson, Food Network
I normally listen to a bit of JazzFM when I'm cooking dinner but a few weeks ago I noticed that Food Network was now being broadcast on Freeview which means that I can now have the TV on in the background whilst I get creative in the kitchen.
Over the weekend, one of Nigella Lawson's shows was getting a re-run when a chicken thigh recipe caught my eye. Nicola says that she isn't a fan of chicken thigh, claiming that it's too greasy, but this recipe looked delicious so I decided to recreate it tonight.
Easy Recipe, Chicken Thighs, Nigella Lawson, Food Network
Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 4 large chicken thighs, boned
  • 150g new potatoes, quartered
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 50g butter
  • 100ml white wine
  • large bunch asparagus
  • Few sprigs fresh thyme
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (Gas Mark 6)
  2. Add some olive oil to a baking tray. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides then place skin side up on the baking tray.
  3. Cut the lemon into 8 pieces then squeeze the juice over the chicken thighs before placing the lemon pieces around the baking tray.
  4. Scatter the pototoes around the chicken making sure not to crowd the thighs.
  5. Bash the garlic cloves then add to the baking tray before spreading the thyme leaves across the top of the chicken and potatoes.
  6. Add the cubes of butter to the pan then pour over the wine before placing in to the oven for 45-50 minutes.
  7. Halfway through the cooking time, layer the asparagus over the top of the chicken and place back in the oven.
Easy Recipe, Chicken Thighs, Nigella Lawson, Food Network
After 45-50 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through and the skin crispy. To serve, divide the chicken, potatoes and asparagus between two plates and get to the table as quickly as you can.
I knew as soon as I took the tray out of the oven that Nicola would be changing her opinion on chicken thighs and sure enough, she quickly gave me her nod of approval. The chicken meat was soft, tender and rich with the flavours of garlic lemon and thyme but the crispy chicken skin raised this dish to another level. I can't get over just how good this dish was, especially when it cost less than £1.50 per head.
As everything is cooked in the one baking tray, washing up was kept to a minimum. This dish is also a time saving recipe as I was also able to prepare everything quickly prior putting in the oven, allowing me to get out for a quick 5K run while the oven done all the hard work.
I'm so glad that Food Network is now available on Freeview and I can't wait to get inspired again very soon!

 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Can-Do Spirit: Record Growth Sparks Expansion Into Cans for UK Craft Beer Pioneer, Harviestoun

After 33 years of brewing innovation, one of Britain's foremost craft brewers, Harviestoun, is to offer the option of three of its top beer brands in cans. The expansion follows the firm's most successful year to date.
Schiehallion (4.8% ABV) dubbed the ‘Champagne of lagers’ and golden ale Bitter and Twisted (4.2% ABV) are the first of the core range to enter the new format, adding to the brewery's existing offering of cask, keg and bottle.
The range has secured Scottish listings in 80 Tesco stores and 95 Sainsbury’s stores and is expected to roll-out UK-wide in the coming months.
The first batch of 41,500 cans will launch into stores today, retailing in four 330ml can packs with an RRP of £6.
Growing international demand in Europe, North America and China coupled with distribution deals with Majestic Wines, Gleneagles Hotel and D&D London has seen turnover increase by 50% since 2013.
Production has also doubled, increasing capacity to the equivalent of 4.5 million pints a year.
Recent investment of £400,000 in new equipment has supported the growth in production and the creation of 7 new job roles has taken the firm's staff count to 21.
Toby Knowles, Managing Director of Harviestoun Brewery toasted the expansion, saying:
“For over 30 years, Harviestoun has been driven by a desire to pioneer and innovate.
Our canning program is a symbol of our commitment to asking ‘what next for craft beer?’ and creating an unforgettable drinking experience for beer lovers in the UK and beyond.
The last 12 months have been an incredibly exciting period of growth for Harviestoun. During this time we have never lost sight of our commitment to consistency, flavour and quality, which is why we believe Harviestoun continues to grow in popularity.
So whether cask, keg, bottle or can, we are confident our award-winning core range, renowned for drinkability and innovation, will be enjoyed in ways as individual as the people who drink them.”

 

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Restaurant Review - The Trading House, St.Vincent Place, Glasgow

Restaurant Review, Glasgow Restaurants, Trading House Glasgow, Living Ventures, New World Trading Co., Gerry's Kitchen
Even before August started, we had a busy month lined up with trips to Dundee and Belfast already in the diary, so had planned on having a couple of free weekends. However, that plan changed when we were asked if we would like to come along to Trading House on Glasgow's St Vincent Street and review their new dinner menu. Myself and Nicola love Trading House and often pop in for craft beer for me and gin for her but as of yet, we hadn't gotten round to eating there yet. The main reason for that is that we felt that Trading House offered more to us as a bar rather than a restaurant so getting the chance to try out the menu would be the perfect opportunity to see if we had gotten that wrong.
Restaurant Review, Glasgow Restaurants, Trading House Glasgow, Living Ventures, New World Trading Co., Gerry's Kitchen
After spending a little time wandering around the West End Festival, we made our way to Trading House thinking that as we were a little early that we could grab a drink before dinner, however we were efficiently shown to our table in the upstairs section of the restaurant and quickly ordered a well priced bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. The wine list isn't huge but there is still plenty of choice on red, white and rose by the glass or bottle. This came in handy later as we worked our way through our bottle of wine whilst we ate our appetizers and starters which allowed each of us to enjoy a glass of red wine with our steaks.
Restaurant Review, Glasgow Restaurants, Trading House Glasgow, Living Ventures, New World Trading Co., Gerry's Kitchen
The menu at Trading House offers a huge selection of starters priced from £4.95 - £6.95 and as we took time to work out what we were going to have to start, we ordered some olives and salt & pepper onion petals from the nibbles section. The Castelvetrano olives were plump and juicy with nice sweetness that worked well with our crisp white wine. The onion 'petals' were thick slices of onion dusted with flour, salt and pepper before being deep-fried and tasted fantastic. I loved fried onions anyway but the addition of the salt and pepper coating lifted them to another level.
Restaurant Review, Glasgow Restaurants, Trading House Glasgow, Living Ventures, New World Trading Co., Gerry's Kitchen
After much deliberation, Nicola ordered the Smoked Haddock Fishcake with poached egg, watch tercress and curry sauce to start. The fishcake was well seasoned and packed with big flakes of delicately smoked haddock. The obligatory soft poached egg sat proudly on top of the crispy fishcake whilst the spicy curry sauce helped give the starter an almost kedgiree feel.
Restaurant Review, Glasgow Restaurants, Trading House Glasgow, Living Ventures, New World Trading Co., Gerry's Kitchen
Despite the large number of options on the starter menu, my choice was easy. My Scotch Egg with piccalilli was delicious. The perfectly soft boiled egg was wrapped in well seasoned sausage meat and encased in a crispy crumb coating. I'd like to think that the piccalilli was home made but I'm not sure that it was but regardless, it was a good sharp balance to my Scotch Egg. My only critisism on my starter would be that the kitchen had decided to garnish my dish with a solitary radish with enough foliage to fill half of the plate. I don't mind a radish but not one that's just been pulled from the ground!
Restaurant Review, Glasgow Restaurants, Trading House Glasgow, Living Ventures, New World Trading Co., Gerry's Kitchen
The main menu has a wide selection of salads, home comforts, pies, steaks and hanging kebabs. Nicola ordered the flattened rump steak, seasoned with chilli & garlic, served with roasted mushroom, tomato and watercress. The steak was beaten to about 7mm thin and cooked medium with a nice smokiness from the grill. The steak was nice and juicy and well seasoned, the garlic and chilli seasoning added a spicy kick to the prime rump steak. Nicola didn't touch the mushroom or tomatoes but that's no surprise, restaurant will eventually realise that she's not a fan of garnish. However, the accompanying cup of perfectly seasoned chips (which were exactly that) were enough to keep her occupied. We both agreed that at £11.75, the flattened rump steak offers fantastic value for money.
Restaurant Review, Glasgow Restaurants, Trading House Glasgow, Living Ventures, New World Trading Co., Gerry's Kitchen
I really struggled to choose my main as there were a few things on the menu that caught my attention but in the end I plumped for the day's Special, an 10oz fillet steak served once again with roasted mushroom and tomatoes but with julienne fries. My steak was fantastic. Some people reckon that a fillet steak doesn't have much flavour but that wasn't the case here, the thick slab of beef was juicy and well seasoned, cooked to a perfect medium rare finish with a slightly charred edge from the grill.
As it turned out, neither of us could finish our steaks so we asked for the leftovers to be wrapped up to take away. The kitchen staff neatly boxed up the remainder of our beef along with a little rocket, tomato and ale mustard which we used to make up a delicious steak sandwich for lunch the following day.
Restaurant Review, Glasgow Restaurants, Trading House Glasgow, Living Ventures, New World Trading Co., Gerry's Kitchen
After two hearty courses, we didn't have room for dessert but decided to relax with a couple of espressos served in cute little porcelain espresso cups with little butterfly wing handles.
Restaurant Review, Glasgow Restaurants, Trading House Glasgow, Living Ventures, New World Trading Co., Gerry's Kitchen
The night was still young so we ordered one last drink before we made our way home. One of the reason that we revisit Trading House so often for drinks is down to the fact that they have a brilliantly stocked bar with a massive range of gins and with this in mind, Nicola ordered a G&T made with Silent Pool Gin and a very citrusy tonic from Franklin & Son. My final drink was a refreshing Raspberry Amaretto Sour, the Amaretto Sour is one of my favourite drinks, the perfect balance of sweet and sour but the addition of raspberries added a fruity depth of flavour to the classic sour cocktail.
Suitably well fed and watered, we decided that it was time to move on. We had given thought to grabbing a final drink downstairs at the bar but the bar was full, as has been the case almost every Saturday night since Trading House opened its doors last October.
We had a great meal at Trading House and would certainly recommend to others as somewhere to try out. Would we return? Absolutely! The food was fresh, tasty and great value for money. The restaurant and bar were busy all evening but the level of service deliver to ourselves and other diners was friendly, attentive and efficient. All of our food and drink across was complimentary but my review above is a true write-up of our experience across the evening.
I would like to thank the management and staff at Trading House Glasgow for their kind invitation and their hospitality on the night and look forward to catching up soon.
With so many places to eat in Glasgow, it can be difficult to choose somewhere to go but you won't be disappointed if you end up spending the evening at Trading House. Keep up to date with news and offers from the team at Trading House Glasgow on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Friday, 19 August 2016

Glasgow's First Indoor Street Food Hub Launches

Taste Buchanan, StreetDots, Buchanan Galleries, Food court, street food, Perfect Parties, Nomad Pizza, Chompsky, Surfdogs, Buffalo Farm, Designer Cakes by Paige, Equi's Ice Cream
Forget the tired old food court, Taste Buchanan launches this week, transforming the top of the Buchanan Galleries in to a colourful pop-up food hub with an ever-changing line up of Scotland’s best food producers ready to serve the hungry Glasgow public seven days a week.
Taste Buchanan, StreetDots, Buchanan Galleries, Food court, street food, Perfect Parties, Nomad Pizza, Chompsky, Surfdogs, Buffalo Farm, Designer Cakes by Paige, Equi's Ice Cream
Taste Buchanan is now open to the public with a mouth-watering array of traders serving up the likes of gourmet hot dogs, lip-smacking waffles, sour dough pizzas and Asian bao buns all washed down with a Scottish craft beer and cocktail bar.

Taste Buchanan is an innovative partnership between Land Securities-owned Buchanan Galleries and hi-tech street trading platform StreetDots, who are behind similar ventures in London. Inverness-born Atholl Milton, founder of StreetDots, said: “The timing is right for bringing this to Glasgow. There’s such an appetite in the city for interesting food, with great ingredients at a decent price. We’ve got some of Scotland’s most exciting traders coming together to offer up something a bit different and there’s always going to be something new for people to try.

“Taste Buchanan is also giving the traders the chance to experiment and really play with ideas without the pressure of having to take on a restaurant. We’ve got chefs starting up whole new brands for the launch and we’re really proud to be able to give that opportunity. There are eight incredible traders joining us for the launch and we’ll be seeing dozens more in the coming year. We’re so excited about finding out who’ll be joining us in making Taste Buchanan the best place in Glasgow for the newest trends in street food.”

The first line up of traders includes:

The Buffalo Farm, a family business from Fife, originally began as a small business producing meat to sell primarily at farmer’s markets. But since those humble beginnings, the business now run three butcher shops, a busy event catering business as well as supplying an ever-growing portfolio of restaurants and hotels. Passionate about producing the highest quality meats, poultry and game, Buffalo Farm will be serving up a host of dishes including their specialty water buffalo burgers – a favourite with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay!

Taste Buchanan, StreetDots, Buchanan Galleries, Food court, street food, Perfect Parties, Nomad Pizza, Chompsky, Surfdogs, Buffalo Farm, Designer Cakes by Paige, Equi's Ice Cream

Glasgow based street food company Chompsky will be serving up fresh, steamed bao buns at Taste Buchanan. Already a favourite in the Glasgow street food scene, Chompsky will be showcasing their signature style which is packed with Asian fusion flavours, and they will have everything from hoisin pulled pork and teriyaki prawns to Korean fried glazed chicken on offer.

Taste Buchanan, StreetDots, Buchanan Galleries, Food court, street food, Perfect Parties, Nomad Pizza, Chompsky, Surfdogs, Buffalo Farm, Designer Cakes by Paige, Equi's Ice Cream
Designer Cakes by Paige is a Glasgow based family run business, committed to providing their customers with spectacular cakes for any special occasion. Armed with a whole host of sweet treats at Taste Buchanan, Designer Cakes by Paige will have handmade cupcakes, cake pops and decadent truffles for everyone to enjoy.
Taste Buchanan, StreetDots, Buchanan Galleries, Food court, street food, Perfect Parties, Nomad Pizza, Chompsky, Surfdogs, Buffalo Farm, Designer Cakes by Paige, Equi's Ice Cream
Equi’s will also be on hand to provide sweet treats, and have been serving up the finest ice cream for more than 90 years. A family run business which still use recipes which have been passed down through four generations, Equi’s will bring the public’s favourite flavours and indulgent ice cream delights to Taste Buchanan.

Nomad Pizza will be delivering a variety of handmade, authentic pizzas. Their signature sourdough pizzas cook in ninety seconds and are topped with the finest Italian inspired ingredients.

Taste Buchanan, StreetDots, Buchanan Galleries, Food court, street food, Perfect Parties, Nomad Pizza, Chompsky, Surfdogs, Buffalo Farm, Designer Cakes by Paige, Equi's Ice Cream
Slàinte Mhath are providing the bar at Taste Buchanan and will be serving up a host of craft beers, spirits and cocktails. A Scottish themed venue from the team at Perfect Parties Slàinte Mhath will be pouring the finest craft drinks, all with a Scottish twist.
Taste Buchanan, StreetDots, Buchanan Galleries, Food court, street food, Perfect Parties, Nomad Pizza, Chompsky, Surfdogs, Buffalo Farm, Designer Cakes by Paige, Equi's Ice Cream
Owner of Surf Dogs, Martin Capaldi, began his career as a sound engineer for a host of talented artists. Having travelled around the world, journeying everywhere from Glastonbury to Ecuador, Martin decided it was time to hang up his headphones and embarked on a new culinary adventure. Inspired by his time touring the United States, Surf Dogs are passionate about creating the most adventurous and delicious hot dogs on the market, and will be serving them up with authentic American sides.

Union Waffles was born through founder’s Daniel and Sy’s love of fried chicken and hot sauce on an American waffle. The unusual flavour combination inspired them to push the boundaries even further and experiment with a vast range of sweet and savoury options. They will also be serving up fresh coffees and refreshments.

Taste Buchanan will open to the public on Friday August 19, trading seven days a week from 11am to 7pm most days 8pm on a Thursday and 6pm on a Sunday.

www.facebook.com/tastebuchanan

@TasteBuchanan

www.streetdots.co.uk