Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Rapid Restaurant Review - The Finnieston, Argyle Street, Glasgow

My day job gets really busy at this time of year which has meant that I haven't been able to commit as much time to Gerry's Kitchen as I would have liked. As a result, there are a few reviews that haven't been written yet as the moment has passed, I feel that it would be wrong to write a detailed review so long after our visit but still feel that there are a few restaurants who deserve a mention. Hopefully a serious of 'Rapid Restaurant Reviews' will help give a taste of what our visits were like but also allow me to catch up. Don't worry though, I have set myself a 'New Year Resolution' about how quickly I will publish posts after the fact.
After a busy morning in the West End we needed some lunch so had tried to get a walk-in table at Ox & Finch but at 2:30pm on a Saturday afternoon, we were probably pushing our luck a little. Hunger led us on a short walk around to Argyle Street and we managed to grab the last available table at The Finnieston. As the name suggests, the bar & restaurant is situated to the west of the city centre in an area that has become highly regarded for great food and drink.
I don't know why it's taken us so long to get along to The Finnieston but I know that we won't be strangers in the future - in fact we have since been in for drinks before we had dinner at The Gannet last month.
We decide to order three small plates to share although did struggle to settle on three as the menu was made up of all of our favourite things. In the end we chose a spring roll of Feta, spinach & pine nuts, a slow cooked pork belly with roasted baby leeks, and a wonderful braised squid dish which came in a rich spicy sauce with crispy noodles.
Straight away, we knew that we had ordered the right amount of dishes, the portion sizes were generous and would easily work as starters too.
All three dishes were delicious and praise should go to the kitchen for the tenderness of the pork belly which fell apart at the slightest pressure from the fork. The standout dish however was the braised squid. Talk about flavour? This was a beautifully crafted plate of food with succulent squid pieces cooked to perfection in a sauce that I had all five flavour senses tingling. It's a long time since I've felt the need to lick the place clean but this was as close as I've come in a long time.
Our first visit to The Finnieston was definitely a success and I can't wait to get back for a less impromptu visit.
Keep up to date with The Finnieston on Facebook and Twitter.



Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Cook Book Review - Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter

I think it's a fairly safe assumption to say that most of the cook books that we buy are influenced by one of two things:
  • The book is written by a celebrity chef that we like to watch on TV
  • The book is about a specific type of food that we enjoy eating
I know that this is the principle that has been applied when I look at the many cook books that I own. With that in mind, would it be wrong to ask the question - 'does the world need any more cook books?'

Don't get me wrong, I quite enjoy flicking through the numerous books that I own and marking recipes that I want to try out in the kitchen. Of course, I'm also comfortable creating meals using sight, smell and taste coupled with the years of cooking experience that I have, in order to bring a meal to the table.

But what about those people who don't enjoy cooking or following recipes? Or those that have tried to prepare meals only for the end result to look nothing like the photo in the cookbook? Would these individuals get more from cooking if they understood the science behind the recipe? Would an increased understanding of how base ingredients can be affected by their surroundings, help them serve up a plate of food that they could be proud of? This is where Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter might prove to be the kitchen saviour for home cooks across the globe.

Cooking for Geeks: Putting the Science into Cookbooks

‘Cooking for Geeks’ is for anyone who wants to do more than follow a recipe. It’s the perfect book for the curious, smart and hungry geek and those who need the answers to ‘why’ as much as ‘how’.

Different to any other cookbook on the market, ‘Cooking for Geeks’ teaches science using cooking. With more than 400 pages, ‘Cooking for Geeks’ makes an ideal Christmas gift for science-loving food fans and is available via Amazon, priced at £26.50

Cooking for Geeks’ answers questions like ‘how do your sense of taste and smell work?’ and ‘how does heat change our foods?’ plus, it includes the perfect blend of must-try recipes, rib-tickling anecdotes and challenges to put your new-found food science knowledge to the test. You can also discover:

· How to think like a geek and identify what type of cook you are

· The science behind the perfect crispy and chewy cookie

· Lab tests such as how to make ice-cream with salt and ice, genetic taste differences and how to use liquid nitrogen

· Recipes for fish tacos, perfect pan seared steak and 30 second chocolate cake, as well as how to make a 500-pound doughnut

· Interviews with science and food supremoes on subjects as varied as moulds and cheese, molecular gastronomy and taste and pleasure

Already published in six languages and with more than 100,000 copies sold, the second edition of Cooking for Geeks boasts more than 150 pages of completely new content, plus it’s been converted from American measurements into English grams and milliliters.

The author is Jeff Potter, a self-confessed food geek, curious about the science of food and why ingredients and recipes work the way they do. He said: “By bringing science to food-minded people and food to science-minded people, there’s the potential to make us all masters of the kitchen.

“From hot food issues such as what are trans-fats, to understanding the difference between organic, conventional and local foods, I created this new edition to help curious readers navigate their own food choices. There’s lots of fun experiments and challenges so it’s perfect for those cooks that want to know as much about why as how, and who are prepared to have a go for themselves.”

Published by O’Reilly Media, Cooking for Geeks has achieved wide acclaim in the author’s native market of America. The book is available from all online retailers including Amazon, Wordery.com, Bookdepository.com, Hive.co.uk plus major high street retailers including Waterstones, Blackwells and Foyles.

I was recently sent a copy of Cooking for Geeks which so far has been a massive eye-opener. The interviews are really interesting and the book is packed with so much information that I've realised that I don't quite know as much in the kitchen as I thought I did. I consider myself to be a pretty decent amateur cook but having read through the first few chapters, I have already picked up so many little tips and tricks that I know will help me take my kitchen skills to the next level. The book is also packed with a huge range of recipes so whether you fancy trying to bake your own bread or plan on serving the perfect steak, there's a recipe to suit almost everyone.
I love Cooking for Geeks and look forward to putting my new found cooking knowledge into action. So if you want to understand more about the science behind the food or want to learn new skills in the kitchen, this is the book for you.



Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Glasgow Loves Christmas

I can't believe that Christmas is only two weeks away and to help us get into the festive mood, myself and Nicola were treated to a day out from Glasgow Loves Christmas. Scotland's largest city is the ideal place to enjoy a Christmas Day out with large pedestrianised areas lined with an array of shops, bars, restaurants and attractions to help get you in the mood for the festive period.
Our day started off at Glasgow Central train station which was full to bursting with hundreds of shoppers making their way back home after a busy day searching for the prefect presents for friends and family. After negotiating our way through the crowds we headed towards the Christmas Market at St. Enoch Square. The Christmas Market has been a regular fixture at St Enoch Square for years although relocated to Argyle Street whilst construction work was being carried out to the subway station before returning to its (Christmas) spiritual home.
St Enoch Square was unbelievably busy as shoppers squeezed into the makeshift village of rustic wooden cabins where local and continental traders were selling a huge array of food and drink, arts and crafts, as well as a wide range of traditional Christmas trinkets from across Europe. It was far too busy to walk about so we took refuge inside the German Glühwein House where we shared a couple of cups of hot German mulled wine and spiced cherry mulled cider. Is there anything that sums up Christmas better than mulled wine?
We finished our glühwein and started to make our way to George Square where we had ice skating reservations. Glasgow has a great reputation for fantastic shopping with over 1500 shop making up Glasgow's Style Mile including St Enoch's Centre, Buchanan Galleries, Princes Square, Argyll Arcade, John Lewis and House of Fraser. With so many great shops all within a short walking distance, there no excuse not to find your perfect gift.
Glasgow city centre is pretty compact so it didn't take us long to reach George Square, the resident venue for Glasgow on Ice, and tried to collect our ice skating tickets but a clerical error meant that there were no tickets waiting for us and we couldn't take to the ice. Disappointed that we weren't able to recreate Torvill & Dean's 'Bolero', we spent a little time taking in the sights and sounds of the other attractions inside George Square. Glasgow on Ice is open until 31st December but if you don't fancy pulling your skates on, why not enjoy the view from the top of the big wheel, experience the thrill of riding the chair-o-planes or sample some of the festive food and drink while soaking up the Glasgow Loves Christmas atmosphere?
2015 is Scotland's Year of Food & Drink and Glasgow has seen a huge number of restaurants open over the last 12 month adding to an already lengthy menu of top eating houses in the city. Our day was brought to an end with a very enjoyable dinner at Atlantic Bar & Brasserie, one of the hottest new additions to Glasgow's restaurant scene. The Atlantic was a French restaurant that The Anchor Line Shipping Company created for the 1938 Empire Exhibition held in Bellahouston Park and this latest venture from DRG Group on St. Vincent Street is a tip of the cap to the old days when steam liners ruled the seas.
The Atlantic menu is typically French but with an emphasis on using top quality local ingredients. I had been looking forward to my steak tartare starter all week land I wasn't disappointed. The well seasoned finely chopped beef, gherkin, onion and herb, topped with a golden egg yolk was a delight. Steak tartare isn't something that I would have every day but when it's this good, maybe I should. Another highlight was the roasted rump of Perthshire lamb that Nicola ordered. The lamb was perfectly cooked, pink on the inside and nicely charred from the grill, served on a bed of roasted Mediterranean veg with a side of creamy garlicky Dauphinoise potatoes. This was one of the better lamb dishes that Nicola has eaten this year. (Keep an eye out for my full review, coming very soon) As dinner came to an end, it was soon time to bring our Christmas Day out to a close and we wait our way back to Glasgow Central for the Polar Express back to a very frosty East Kilbride.
As I don't work in the city centre any more, it was great to get the chance to soak up some of the Glasgow Loves Christmas atmosphere and also try out a restaurant that I know will be a huge hit in Glasgow.
There's still plenty of time to get into Glasgow to enjoy the Christmas markets, shopping and attractions but if you need to know more about Glasgow Loves Christmas and the events around the city centre, check out the website or find them on Facebook and Twitter. If you are out and about and posting or sharing any messages or images across social media, don't forget to use the hashtag #glasgowloveschristmas



Monday, 7 December 2015

Patrick Drake Launches The 60 Second Chef

Londoner Patrick Drake, co-founder and Head Chef of HelloFresh launches his first solo venture, The 60 Second Chef. The world’s fastest online cookery course, which gives you all the skills and recipes you need to be a confident Chef through a series of quick and easy to follow 60 second videos.
Created to fill the void for those looking for an affordable, speedy and easy way to teach themselves to cook at home, The 60 Second Chef gives you all the knowledge you need in quick, bite-sized chunks so you can spend less time learning and more time cooking. All for the price of a dinner for two – just £49. The 60 Second Chef is split into 3 simple sections: Unit 1: The Basics of Nutrition (10 Videos), Unit 2: The Main Cookery Course (60 Videos), FREE Bonus Unit: Full Recipes. No waffle, no pre-roll ads to skip through and no more dodgy dinnertimes. Throughout the year Patrick will continue to release separate seasonal videos and recipes, tailored to key calendar dates such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Summer entertaining and Halloween (you get the gist), priced between £1.99 - £4.99.
The 60 Second Chef answers all your food related questions and queries from - what is a calorie, good fats vs bad fats, what’s the deal with salt? Through to understanding the key basics to get you ready for cooking - essential kitchen equipment, understanding pan temperatures and food hygiene. Once you have completed the basics Patrick will teach you knife skills (aka how to chop stuff) and onceyou’ve learned these he will go on to teach you more advanced techniques such as preparing meats through to the cooking of full meals - all in the same, quick, easy to follow format. Before you know it you’ll have developed the instinct to pick the right ingredients and know exactly what to do with them in the kitchen. Then we all celebrate as you have graduated as a 60 Second Chef!

Each video has been lovingly made at home by Patrick – no smart studio, no production team, no gimmicks or fancy editing – just Patrick. With a calm, confident and smooth narration, Patrick takes you on a magical journey of food where you can discover your inner Chef, at your own pace, when and wherever you please. 
And that’s not all! Eating and learning how to make nutritionally balanced, delicious food is just the start of Patrick’s 60 Second journey. Patrick takes an inspiring holistic approach to taking care of the body and mind. As well as fuelling the body with the right things Patrick will soon be sharing his incredible and simple tips to bring mindfulness, balance and yogic calm to complement The 60 Second Chef journey. More details to follow in 2016.
The 60 Second Chef is priced at £49 and to celebrate the official launch you can start learning for free and get The 60 Second Christmas for nothing! Your complete video course for the perfect feast. Fast. And it keeps getting better, anyone who signs up for The 60 Second Christmas will get a discount on the full cookery course, making it just £39 (redeemable until 31st December 2015).

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

A Splash of Gin Adds Festive Fun to Gordon Castle's Sprouts this Season

Chefs at Gordon Castle's Walled Garden have discovered an unusual but tasty combination of flavours marrying together its own home-grown Brussels sprouts and Gordon Castle Scotland Gin, which is set to feature on its Christmas Menu at the Walled Garden Café.

Executive chef, John Morrison, discovered the curious pairing when he came across an old recipe that suggested simmering Brussels sprouts in a juniper berry stock. It then gave John the idea to go one step further and try using Gordon Castle's multi-award winning Gordon Castle Scotland Gin instead - the result was surprising. 
John said: "It had never crossed my mind before to use the gin in sprouts, why would it? To say it tastes good is an understatement - the flavours work incredibly well together. Added to the fact that the sprouts and the botanicals used to flavour the gin were grown just yards from each other makes it that bit more special."
The Walled Garden Café Christmas menu is full of festive fancies, with many of its fresh ingredients sourced from the 8.5acre Walled Garden, one of the largest in the country, which grows a variety of produce from vegetables and fruits to herbs and flowers.
Restoration of the Walled Garden, which aims to transform it back into a fully productive kitchen garden, began in 2011 and is due to be complete in 2017.
The Walled Garden Festive Menu is available until 24th December. For availability and booking contact 01343 612317 orinfo@gordoncastlescotland.com

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

5 Questions - Daffy's Small Batch Premium Gin

The increasing popularity of gin seems to be showing no signs of stopping and Scotland has become a huge distilling pot for artisan producers who are bringing their own version of 'Mother's Ruin' to the market.
When I visited The Good Food Show Scotland at Glasgow's SECC recently, there were a number of gin producers in attendance who were all doing a roaring trade as the public went wild for their gin. In fact, there was one gin producer that was so busy that I never managed to get anywhere near their stand, and that was Daffy's Gin. Fortunately, I did manage to catch up with the team at Daffy's a few weeks later when they were attending The Foodies Festival at the EICC in Edinburgh.
The first bottle of Daffy's Gin rolled off of the production line exactly one year ago today (01/12/14) but despite this, Daffy's can proudly boast to being 'the finest copper pot single batch distilled gin' in the world after the IWSC presented them with a gold award at the first time of asking. This coupled with distinctive branding and imagery and a quirky brand name steeped in history - Daffy was the Goddess of Gin and first written about in the 1700's - Daffy's Gin may well be the new kid on the block but have big plans to be the gin of choice to the discerning drinker.
I managed to catch up with Chris Molyneaux, creator of Daffy's Gin, at The Foodies Festival and disputed the crowds gathering round the stand, he was able to give me a quick introduction to Daffy's as well as sending me off with the better part of a quarter bottle of gin to enjoy at home.
Here's Chris's story;

How did you get started?

When I was 14 by grandfather opened my eyes to the glamorous world of wine. I then wrote off to a load of vineyards in France where I trained as a winemaker and learnt to distill. I always had a dream of one day founding my own drinks company and it all came together a few years ago in a conversation with a good distilling friend where we decided that the world needed a London Dry Gin so good that you could drink it straight like the finest of malt whiskies. So I started working on inventing a new distilling process and recipe and in December last year we produced our first bottle of Daffy’s!

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

Keep reminding yourself to have fun! There can be a lot of work, pressure, admin and stress in getting a new company off the ground but at the same time there is a lot of great things to focus on and enjoy, especially in the drinks industry!

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

Being more established as a brand that many people are aware of an love and continuing with the creative ideas and innovations that we love to work on together as a team.

If you could only enjoy your product one way, what would it be & why?

Straight over ice with feet up infront of a roaring fire. The goal was to create a London Dry that had a lot of complexity and finesse that you could sit and savour it this way and at the same time that would give our gin the edge when used in cocktails due to its quality and the many dimensions of the spirit.

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

Mignonne, my wife and muse for Robert McGinnis’ illustration on the front of our bottle as these days with the hectic business of day to day life, any extra time together we’ll take.. and perhaps eating a feast of sushi… it goes very well with gin you know! (Robert McGinnis is famous for his iconic artwork for Hollywood movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany's, Barbarella, and several James Bond Films including You Only Live Twice, Thunderball, Live & Let Die, and my favourite James Bond movie, The Man With the Golden Gun)

Crafted to be enjoyed straight over ice like a fine malt whisky, or to make the perfect Negroni or a classic D&T, Daffy's uses the finest French grain, Lebanese mint and the finest botanical to create a complex yet perfectly balanced gin that is very smooth despite the 43.3% ABV strength.
I have to admit that although the gin is smooth enough to drink neat, I prefer to enjoy my Daffy's in the perfect serve Daffy's D&T with Fever Tree Tonic, which is what I had on Saturday night at the Finnieston.
Daffy's is now available in a large number stores, bars and restaurants across the UK of so if you fancy treating yourself to the world's best gin, check out the website to find your nearest stockist.
I would like to thank Chris for taking the time out to answer 5 Questions and wish the team at Daffy's all the best for the future. Keep up to date with all the news from Daffy's on Facebook and Twitter.



Monday, 30 November 2015

Review - Barstro, Nazaret, Lanzarote

It seems like a lifetime ago that myself and Nicola enjoyed two weeks on holiday in Lanzarote. We are often asked why we return to the same place each year, rather than trying new holiday destinations? There are lots of answers to that question but the two main reasons that we return each year are quite simply;
  1. We both love the fantastic food and drink that is readily available on the island
  2. We know so many people who live on the island that we consider to be good friends
With that in mind, we were able to kill two birds with one stone when we went for dinner one evening at Barstro, an amazing restaurant in the sleepy village of Nazaret, run by our friend Paul Campbell.
Paul is a brilliant chef who has worked under some of the world's best chefs before he relocated to Lanzarote where he built up a great reputation prior to setting up his own restaurant with another of our friends, Viktor Domahidy.
Viktor has actually been working in Canada for the last six months helping to set up a Spanish restaurant for a friend however he must have heard that Gerry's Kitchen was stopping by as he had flown back over to say hello. (Although this might just be a little bit of a coincidence)
I had arranged our booking through our friend Heidi who looks after all of the PR and Social Media for the restaurant and she had promised to pop in to say hi. We had arrived earlier than our planned booking so took our time to look over the wine menu that featured plenty of choice from the surrounding Lanzarote bodegas. In the end, we ordered a fantastic bottle of Malvasia Volcánica Seco from Bodega Bermejo, which happened to be one of the bodegas that we visited earlier in our stay when we took part on the Bodega Hopping trip organised by Active Club Lanzarote. It wasn't long before Heidi turned up along with her gorgeous daughter Darcy and spent ten minutes catching up with our holiday adventures, but as it was a school night they had to make a quick exit and get back home.
The menu at Barstro is split into small and large plates and when we have eaten at Barstro the past, we have ordered a selection of small plates to share. Both of our previous visits have been over the lunch service so sharing seemed more natural but as we were in for dinner, we decided to go order starter and mains.
To start, Nicola ordered the salmon & spinach Scotch Egg which was a clever twist on the classic. A soft boiled quail's egg was wrapped inside a well seasoned mix of salmon and spinach then deep fried in crispy breadcrumbs. This was a well executed dish, the runny egg yolk, irony spinach and rich oily salmon were a great balance, enhanced further by a rich teriyaki sauce.
For my own starter, I ordered roasted artichoke hearts stuffed with Feta. This was a hearty starter with three artichoke hearts stacked with huge chunks of feta and pickled cornichons. The combination of saltiness from the Feta, the smoky flavours from the roasted artichoke and the acidity from the pickles was great.
We were also served up a side of marinated Feta with pickled cornichons and a side of huge marinated green olives with garlic and lemon so by the time we had worked our way through these four starter dishes, we were both feeling pretty full.
For main, Nicola opted for confit duck leg which was served on a bed of fluffy mashed potato. Henry VIII was a huge fan of confit duck and he would have been impressed with the tender, well cooked duck that just fell from the bone. The portion size was generous and when coupled with the side of seasonal vegetables that were served alongside, the main represented pretty good value for money.
For my own main, I opted for the calves liver with lemon, ginger, tomato & coriander. I love liver but don't get it that often so I was interested to see how Paul would apply his Barstro twist to this old time classic. There was no shortage of liver on the plate with five perfectly cooked slices stacked on top of a mound of mashed potato along with a sauce packed with lemon and ginger on the side. The side sauce was nice but it didn't work for me, I thought it was too sharp for the strong flavours of the liver. Maybe it's the traditionalist in me but I would have much preferred my liver to have been served up along with some Serrano ham and fried onion.
By this point in the evening, we were both stuffed so decided to skip dessert and get the bill but Paul sent out a selection of frozen yogurt, sorbet and ice cream to freshen our palate before we made our way into the night. I'm glad that he did as the red berry sorbet was to die for, packed with tons of sweet fruit flavours and balanced with a super sharp lemon sorbet.
We were definitely stuffed now so we settled up the bill and said our goodbyes. Dinner for the two of us including wine cost around €65 which represented fantastic value for money considering the quality of cooking on show.
Barstro might be a little off the beaten track, especially for those holidaymakers staying in the resorts but it's definitely worth making the effort to get along if you can. This was our fourth visit to Barstro and once again we left feeling totally satisfied and know that it's only a matter of time before we get back again for good food and a catch up with old friends.
Keep up to date with Barstro on Facebook and Twitter.


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Mark Greenaway's Christmas Pudding Fit For a Millionaire

The festive season is fast approaching and tables at Restaurant Mark Greenaway are filling up fast with some key dates already full. Due to numerous requests they have extended their opening days over the period. In addition to their normal opening hours, the restaurant will also be open for lunch and dinner on Sunday 20th December, Monday 21st December, Sunday 27th December and Monday 28th December. Make your reservation here.

Recently Mark was honoured to be tasked with making a Christmas pudding fit for a millionaire by EuroMillions who are guaranteeing to make 5 UK millionaires on Friday the 27th November. His pudding is based on a 100 year old family recipe with some lavish additions to make it fit for a millionaire. With sparkling gold leaf and a healthy serving of 50 year old single malt whisky, it is no ordinary dessert. And while guests would traditionally find a lucky sixpence in their pudding, the EuroMillions millionaires could instead uncover a rather more extravagant golden toffee apple nestled in the centre. Find out more about Friday Night's EuroMillions draw and watch Mark cook up his dessert fit for a millionaire here.


Monday, 23 November 2015

Tony Singh kicks off a series of celebrity chef appearances at No.16 Deli in Bridge of Allan

TV Celebrity Chef Tony Singh wowed the crowds at No.16 Deli on Henderson Street in Bridge of Allan on Monday. Tony cooked up a few dishes using produce local to the area including Highland Curing Company cured salmon and Highland Wagyu beef. After everyone had enjoyed some tasters Tony did a Q&A talking about his life as one of Scotland’s most popular chefs and what his plans are for the future. Before he left Tony mixed with the crowds and signed copies of his new book ‘Tasty Tony Singh’.

Tony is the first in a line of top Scottish chefs scheduled to make an appearance at No.16 Deli. On the 16th and 17th of December, reigning MasterChef The Professionals Champion Jamie Scott will be doing a ‘Guest Chef Night’ with the deli’s own Mark Heirs. Tickets will be on sale to the public with more details available on the website soon – www.no16deli.co.uk
No.16 Deli is Bridge Of Allan’s newest and most exciting gastronomic hot spot. Provenance is king at No. 16 and they source their produce from small local producers. The team of chefs also produce a wide variety of ready meals, homemade chutney, sauces and their signature wagyu pies.
Keep up to date with No.16 Deli on Facebook and Twitter.



Citylicious Scoops ‘Most Innovative Business of the Year’ at the WeDO Scotland Business Awards

Leading hospitality membership business Citylicious has capped off a fantastic first year with winning the coveted ‘Most Innovative Business of the Year’ award at the WeDO Scotland Business Awards on Friday night at Edinburgh’s Sheraton Grand Hotel. Over 300 guests were in attendance to celebrate the best of Scottish entrepreneurship sponsored by Santander.

Managing Director Iain Fenwick said “It has been an incredible year for us and this is just the icing on the cake! We started Citylicious hoping that we could have a positive impact on the industry. We still have a long way to go but to already be recognised is both overwhelming and humbling. 2016 will be even bigger with the launch of our new website in January so it is an exciting time for us.”

In just 12 months Citylicious has grown to now have over 320 members including some of the best artisan producers, restaurants, hotels and catering companies in the UK and attracts over 110k visitors to their website every month. To coincide with the launch of their new website, 2016 will also see expansion in to the USA and Canada.

Keep up to date with the Citylicious team on Facebook and Twitter.



Tuesday, 17 November 2015

You Say Tomato, They Say Tutto Matto!

The founders of Pinto Mexican Kitchen are excited to announce a brand new concept, opening this November just in time for the start of Edinburgh’s Christmas Festivities - “You say tomato, we say Tutto Matto!”

The very first Tutto Matto restaurant will be opening its doors in Scotland’s capital city on 24th November 2015.

The first 5 people through the doors will receive some fantastic prizes, PLUS the first 500 people on their opening day will receive one of #500freepizzas*! Look out for other exciting goodies to be won during the day as they team up with other amazing Edinburgh businesses!

Whether you can make it along on the opening day or not, sign up to be in with a chance of WINNING a holiday to the pizza capital of Italy - Naples! Each week in the run up to Christmas, one entrant will WIN a voucher for Tutto Matto.

Paul Sloan, one of the founders, commented: “Tutto Matto is not just another pizza joint! We are crazy about pizza at Tutto Matto, and each one of our Italian or continentally-inspired pizzas are made from the true provenance they descend from. It is a pizza joint with a difference, where unbelievable flavours, worldly-inspired dishes, quirky sides and desserts will grace the menu. You can even pair any one of our pizzas with any one of our delicious world beers!”

To get your hands on one of their #500freepizzas* get yourself and your work colleagues down to 16 Nicolson Street on Tuesday 24th November from 12.30pm!

Don’t miss out - when they’re gone, they’re gone!

Keep up to date with Tutto Matto on Facebook and Twitter.



Saturday, 14 November 2015

British Sausage Week with Debbie & Andrew's

Last week seen the celebration of one of my favourite foods, Sausages, and to help me celebrate British Sausage Week, the good people at Debbie & Andrew's sent me some of their wheat, gluten and dairy free sausages to put through their paces.
I've been a fan of the Debbie & Andrew range of sausages for a number of years and love the fact that I can pick up their delicious porky sausages in most of the supermarkets.
From a small family business to a brand that graces the shelves of supermarkets across the country, Debbie & Andrew's continue to use the highest quality meat from British Red Tractor assured farms.
I was sent two packs to try, Perfect Pork and Perfect Cumberland. We had the Prefect Cumberland simply. Fried and served with creamy mashed potato and onion gravy. The sausages have a high meat content and because of this, they don't release much fat back into the pan so it's important to keep turning them otherwise they could easily burn. The Cumberland sausage is made from prime cuts of meat and heavily seasoned with green and pink peppercorns which provide a subtle florals taste with a nice kick of peppery heat. The Perfect Pork is a simpler affair made from just the best minced pork meat which is lightly seasoned and bound with specially baked-breadcrumbs. When you've got great ingredients, you don't need to do much to make them stand out and The Perfect Pork is a great example of this. Firm, juicy, and well seasoned - a very good sausage indeed.
I know that there are so many ways to enjoy the noble sausage, maybe in a sandwich or sausage casserole but I can't think of anything better than serving up a couple of tasty bangers with chips and fried egg. What do you think of my sausage and egg scarecrow face?
I would like to thank the team at Debbie & Andrew's for sending me some of their fantastic sausages and helping me get involved in British Sausage Week.
You can keep up with Debbie & Andrew's on Facebook and Twitter or find your nearest stockist here.



Thursday, 12 November 2015

The world of Food & Drink comes together to celebrate the Citylicious 1st Birthday Party

On Monday night Citylicious celebrated their 1st Birthday, hosted by Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, at The Gateway Restaurant at The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. Nearly 200 guests braved the storms to join in a celebration of the world of Food & Drink.
A combination of some of Scotland’s best chefs and producers were in attendance. Canapes made by the students of Fife College using Highland Wagyu beef, Highland Curing Company cured salmon, black pudding from Taste of Arran and Dunsyre Blue cheese preceded a feast of dishes made by Ben Harrison, Head Chef at The Gateway Restaurant, Mark Greenaway from Restaurant Mark Greenaway and MasterChef Pro Champion Jamie Scott using ingredients from the likes of beef from J Gilmour Butchers, Taste of Arran, Marvellous Mustard and Cyrenians. Spread around the room were producer stalls from Fresh Food Express, Braehead Foods, Taste of Arran, Good Cup Coffee Company and The Marshmallow Lady with Pop Up bars by Ian Macleod Distillers, Edinburgh Gin and Cairn O’Mohr Fruit Wines and Ciders.
Among the guests were representatives from Scotland Food & Drink, Quality Meat Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance and Visit Scotland along with other key individuals from the hospitality industry, food and drink agencies, press, and some of the most influential food bloggers in Scotland.
Iain Fenwick, Managing Director of Citylicious said “Tonight is about more than Citylicious. This is an example of a community that is unique to the food and drink industry. This may be the year of food and drink in Scotland but to everyone here, every year is that year. We have a natural larder in Scotland that the rest of the world can only dream of, and we are privileged to be part of that. We attract over 100k unique visitors to our website ever month which proves that everyone here has a story that the public wants to read about. Our responsibility is to make sure that this story is told. We are so thankful to everyone here for showing their support and in particular to Sodexo Prestige who have provided the perfect venue and been an incredible partner to Citylicious in putting this event on.”
Citylicious currently has over 300 members comprising of some of the country’s best hotels, restaurants, bars, producers and suppliers. With a series of over 20 Food & Drink blogs up and down the country including sections for recipes and videos, Citylicious provides a unique platform where people can find out everything they need to know in the world of food and drink, book tables at their favourite restaurants and learn how to replicate dishes by the finest chefs in the country.

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