Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Review - Brown Delicatessen, Costa Teguise

Last year when we were driving around Lanzarote, we stumbled upon Brown Delicatessen in Costa Teguise. At the time, Brown had only recently been opened by English owner Tracy, who wanted to offer the locals and tourists a healthier option to the fried breakfasts and burgers that are often associated with the resorts.

Brown Delicatessen offers a massive range of freshly cooked quiches and pastries, pasta, rice and bean dishes, as well as freshly prepared salads and sandwiches, all available to sit in or take away. Last year we bought a couple of salad dishes that we had along with our barbecue back at the villa, this year we enjoyed a very hearty lunch whilst hiding in the shade from the 30 degree heat.

When we arrived, we were disappointed to have missed Tracy. After a very busy 15 months, she had eventually managed to sort out a working week that allowed her to be hands on with the deli, whilst juggling the kids and family. As as result, she is now able to get Friday and Saturday off whilst the deli is taken care of by her able staff.

After chatting with the very helpful American girl on duty we ordered our lunch. Myself and Nicola both decided to go for quiche with a salad bowl on the side. I opted for the Potato & Leek quiche, whilst Nicola chose the Bacon, Onion & Cheese quiche. Both quiche were cooked to perfection with a crispy, buttery pastry casing, packed with plenty of well seasoned fillings.

The accompanying salad bowls were a meal in themselves! This was no simple salad, it was a bowl full of flavour. Potato Salad, savoury rice, chargrilled courgettes, butternut squash, peppers and aubergine, garlic and butter bean salad, and coleslaw, were layered in the bowl before being topped with traditional Canarian mojo sauces.

A big slice of quiche with a salad bowl costs just €5 at Brown Delicatessen! For the money, I think you'll be hard pushed to find a better value lunch in Costa Teguise. I'm actually surprised that we managed to finish the hearty and healthy lunch that was served up to us, honestly, the portions were that big!
With lunch done, we had a look at the fresh salads that were available for takeaway and picked up a bowl of the bean and garlic salad as well as some very tasty hummus that we could enjoy later.
Hopefully when we head back to Brown Delicatessen next week, Tracy is on duty and we can catch up. If she isn't about, it won't be a wasted journey though as I'm sure that lunch will be taken care of that day too!
You can keep up with everything going on at Brown Delicatessen on Facebook.


Sunday, 23 September 2012

5 Question - SIMPLY add CHILLI

I love relish, in fact you could say that I relish a good relish! I've always enjoyed pickles, piccalilli, and relishes, however I don't often have any at home because I have a terrible habit of grabbing a spoon and eating straight from the jar, rather than as an accompaniment to a snack or meal.

However, after meeting Susan McCann at the recent 'feastRen Food Festival', I may have found a relish that packs too much of a punch for me and my greedy spoon. Susan is the MD of Lochbroom Fine Foods, producers of SIMPLYaddCHILLI, a delicious range of spicy condiments made using loads of chilli, garlic and fresh strawberries! Things have moved pretty quickly for Susan over the last few months, she now boasts Whole Food Market Giffnock and Waitrose as some of her customers.

How did you get started?

I got started as I was made redundant from my banking job after 23 years and needed to work. I am over 50 and living in a major recession. I took my kitchen products to the farmers markets and discovered I was making a product people really loved.

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

Check your customers and your competition.

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

I would like my business to be a known household brand.

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

Wild chilli as this is the one I made first and its the most versatile to cook with.

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

Denzel Washington because he is my favourite actor. The menu would be Spicy Butternut squash and Coconut soup made with SIMPYaddCHILLI Extreme.. Salmon and Prawn layered bake. Assorted cheeses served with SIMPLYaddCHILLI Mild or Wild.

SIMPLYaddCHILLI comes in three flavours; Mild, Wild, & Extreme. What makes these wonderful relishes so good is their versatility, they're great as a condiment with cheeses or cooked meats but they also double up as a great secret ingredient for other dishes. Recently I've spread the Extreme version on a ham and cheese sandwich, as well as stirring through some cooked pasta with crème fraîche. I'm sure that there are tons of uses for these delicious relishes and I look forward to experimenting more in the future.

Keep up with SIMPLYaddCHILLI on Facebook and Twitter.


Sunday, 16 September 2012

5 Questions - St. Brides Free Range Poultry

I'm a big fan of Sunday roast dinner. In fact, Sunday might be my favourite day of the week. I'm not sure that I have a favourite, roast beef, pork, lamb or chicken, they're all delicious. Today, in a break from tradition I didn't cook a joint of meat or a deliciously plump bird, instead I had home made spring rolls and chicken Katsu curry. (We had family over for dinner and I wanted to show off!)

However, when it comes to chicken, St. Brides Free Range Poultry are traditionalists through and through. This family business have selected slow-growing flavoursome breeds of chicken and then let them do what they say on the tin, grow slowly. It would be quicker and easier to feed the birds fast and sell them cheaply (no pun intended) but that's not what they believe in. Slow grown birds live happier lives and taste far, far better. Here's their story.

How did you get started?

We started our business in 2009. We had previously imported high quality poultry from France and saw that there was a gap in the market for great tasting slow grown Scottish poultry. Combining the knowledge that Robert had gained from growing up his family’s poultry farm, and that gained from supplying chefs with fabulous ingredients we decided to give it a go.

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

Don’t give up, or be easily put off by negative outcomes.

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

We would hopefully will have increased our customer base and our brand be known widely as a symbol of great quality free range Scottish poultry. Also would be nice to have invested in a smart tractor.

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

It would have to be our chicken; it’s a tradition for us to have it as our Sunday roast, initially we did this as a quality check, now we can’t have Sunday dinner without it.

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

For our last meal I think we would just like to share it as a family, can’t think of anyone who would bring more joy than them. Once again it would have to be a roast St Bride’s Chicken, perhaps some Scottish shellfish to start simply cooked and for dessert we all enjoy a lemon tart. We would of course have some very special wines carefully selected to complement each course.

St. Brides Free Range Poultry currently supply the birds to some of Scotland's top chefs including Andrew Fairlie and Martin Wishart, and well as a host of top restaurants across the country. If you aren't able to get a table at Restaurant Martin Wishart, or Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, don't worry because St. Brides are on the Lanarkshire Farmers Market circuit where you can get your hands on some of the best free range chickens in the land.

You can catch up with everything that's going on at the farm on Facebook and Twitter.


Thursday, 13 September 2012

feastRen Food Festival, Saturday 8th - Sunday 9th September

From 1st-16th September, East Renfrewshire Council in association with Whole Foods Market Giffnock, and The Cook School Scotland ,have been running and promoting 'feastRen'. This isn't just a simple play on words but a celebration of everything food related from restaurants, cafes & delicatessens, to food & drink retailers, as well as raising awareness to the the local producers who work their magic in and around East Renfrewshire (of which there is no shortage).

There have been various events hosted over the two week period including cooking demonstrations from some of the top chefs in Scotland, John Quigley of Red Onion, Jacqueline O'Donnell of The Sisters, Guy Cowan of Guys Restaurant, Ian Brown of Ian Brown Restaurant, and Phil Lewis from The Cook School Scotland were all involved in events where they could pass on some skills and tips to those keen to learn. There were tasting nights hosted at various restaurants and within Whole Foods Market, plus lots of events aimed at getting both adults and children more interested in the food they eat and where it comes from.

The highlight of the two week extravaganza was a fantastically well attended two day Festival held on the grounds of Eastwood Park. This event gave visitors to the park the chance to get up close and personal with some of the people responsible for the many delicious products that we have available close to home, as well as catching a glimpse of Michelin starred chef Martin Wishart, who closed day one of the festival with a cookery demonstration played out to a packed crowd in Eastwood Park Theatre.

The ethos of Whole Foods Market has always been about providing fresh, quality produce whilst giving support to local producers and offering a platform where the producer can get their products on to the supermarket shelves. To back this up, Carmichael Hall was taken over by Whole Foods Market Giffnock and set up as a 'Meet The Producer' market.

Some of the producers who supply Whole Foods Market Giffnock were invited to come along and set up stall, giving them the opportunity to tell their story, give out samples and of course let the public buy their goods directly from source. I was already aware of a few of the suppliers from the local farmers markets so it was good to catch up with them, whilst also meeting the faces behind products that were new to myself.

Meet The Producers

SIMPLYaddCHILLI "an honest product filled with homespun traditions" Lovingly handmade by Susan McCann, with 100% fresh ingredients, the unique and exciting flavour of SIMPLYaddCHILLI comes from the combination of fresh chillies and strawberries. Keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter.

Thorntonhall Farmhouse Ice Cream John & Micki Henderson offer a wide range of locally produced real dairy ice creams and fruit sorbets. Keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter.

Thistly Cross Cider is a collaboration between farmer, Ian Rennie, and artist-turned-cidermaker, Peter Stuart. Thistly Cross has gained a reputation for making ciders that people rave about. Keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter.

Great Glen Game Charcuterie with a difference, made with wild venison, sustainably sourced from the Great Glens of Scotland. Keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter.
John Mellis Honey look after over 400 colonies of bees and is able to produce a range of top quality honeys from the diverse forage to be found in Dumfries & Galloway.
Whole Foods Market Giffnock have a huge range of freshly baked breads, quality butcher meats and a mighty range of fruit and vegetables. Keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter.

The Wee Fudge Company is Scotland's newest producer of the most delicious melt-in-the-mouth Scottish fudge. Keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter.

Pincer Vodka combine centuries of distilling heritage, 100% selected grain and the finest sottish mountain water with the natural botanical extracts of Milk Thistle and Wild Elderflower. Keep up to date on Facebook & Twitter.

Milldown Salt Milldown reduced sodium sea salt offers 66.7% less sodium than standard salt but with no compromise on flavour. They have also developed a range of seasoning mixes using recipes from around the world. Keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter.

Stoats Taking their time to source the finest Scottish oats to make their range of handmade oat-based products. Keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter.

Outside of the hall, Mhor Fish of Callander were serving up delicious fish and chips from a converted horse box.

The happy customers were able to enjoy their lunch washed down with tasty craft beers served from the Whole Foods Market beer tent whilst listening to the live music that was played throughout the day.

For those who wandered a little further into the park, there were even more tasty treats available. A few more local producers were kept busy with the passing trade. Local restaurant S.J. @ Snooks had customers queueing all weekend for burgers from the barbecue, whilst local pork producer Lochbyre Rare Breed Meat sold out two days running! Keep up with Lochbyre on Facebook and Twitter.

Elsewhere in the park, there was a demo tent where local restaurants were on view, cooking up some of the dishes from their own menus. The organisers had done their best to make sure that there was always plenty to see or do. Glasgow Crafters Cooperative had organised a brilliant craft tent which was packed to the rafters with local crafters selling their wonderful creations. My gorgeous wife had one of the stalls within the tent which meant when LittleGems Jewellery was selling to her own customers, I was able to enjoy the foodie stuff, what a perfect balance. Finally, in order to help keep the children amused there were bouncy castles, puppet shows and face painting.

After two full days, the festival came to a close. All of the producers that I had spoken to had enjoyed the event and had either sold out, or had come close to selling out of the stock that they had brought to market.

As the country began to settle down to watch the closing ceremony of the London Paralympics, the locals of East Renfrewshire where attending the "feastRen Food Festival Award Ceremony". Over 1600 votes had been cast by visitors to the feastRen Facebook page, or had been cast by visitors to the two day event in the park. Radio presenter, journalist, and Daily Record food critic Tam Cowan was in attendance to present the ceremony and give the worthy winners their prizes.

Before the winners were announced there was a quick recap of the events so far, this included a few comedy spoof films involving some of the previously mentioned chefs. Next, Guy Cowan was on stage doing a quick cookery demonstration where he served up an amazing pan roasted lamb fillet with spiced potato dish. (I was lucky enough to end up on stage and help. Although when I say help, I mean stirred the potatoes). I'm trying to get hold of the lamb recipe from Guy and as soon as I do, I will get it posted up on the blog.

As the night began to reach its climax, it was time for the winners to be announced. There were four public vote categories, and one Best of The Fest award. The winners are as follows;
Best Food & Drink Retailer - Whole Foods Market Giffnock

Best Producer - The Wee Fudge Company, Clarkston

Best Newcomer - Pane e Vino, Giffnock

Best Eatery - Il Pavone Sud, Newton Mearns

Best Of The Fest - Jacqueline O'Donnell of The Sisters Restaurant took the prize after being heavily involved in a number of events and always being on hand to keep her chef counterparts in hand.

So after two full days of preparation, presentation, packing and tidying, smiling and selling, it was time to go home. I absolutely loved the festival and consider myself fortunate to have so many wonderful products available to buy and eat in my local area.

The products that I have been lucky enough to sample over the weekend are all available to buy either from your farmers markets across East Renfrewshire or from Whole Foods Market Giffnock, however - no matter where ever you are, there are loads of quality products right under your nose! You just need to look for them.

You can see what you missed by watching the video. Don't worry because next year isn't too that far away.


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Recipe - Lamb Koftas

Quick, easy & tasty are the three boxes that need to be ticked for midweek dinners at Gerry's Kitchen. I normally have a few recipes to hand that I can put together without too much fuss, however I am always asking Nicola if there is anything that she would like me to prepare that isn't on the fail safe list. This week she had spotted a recipe on the 'Special K' website for lamb koftas that she liked the look of, so after a slight amendment to my shopping list, I was good to go.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 300g lambs mince
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 red chili, finely diced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp fresh mint, shredded
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tbsp soured cream
  • 1/2 can chopped tomatoes
  1. Add the mince, half of the chili, half of the onion and the mint, along with the cumin and coriander to a bowl along with a little salt and pepper, Using your hands, mix everything together. With wet hands, roll out your mix to create twelve little sausage shapes, or meatballs.
  2. Place the koftas into a heated frying pan. Turn the koftas occasionally, ensuring that they are browned all over.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a saucepan then add a little oil, the rest of the onion and chili, and the garlic and cook through for a few minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat. Stir in the soured cream before pouring the sauce over the koftas in the frying pan.
  4. Cook the koftas for a further 6-8 minutes, making sure that the lamb is cooked all the way through.
Tonight I served our koftas with fluffy couscous and tzatziki but it would also work well with rice or sald and warm pitta breads.

Dinner was full of flavour and on the table in just under 30 minutes, therefore ticking the three boxes of quick, easy and tasty, and guaranteeing that they will make a return to Gerry's kitchen in the coming weeks.

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