This Edinburgh Fringe, Get Off The Tourist Drag And Onto The Gin Trail

Edinburgh Gin Liqueur being topped up with prosecco = delicious 

You might think whisky is Scotland’s national drink but 70% of gin consumed in the UK is being made in Scotland * Scotland has a rich history in making and drinking gin, so I am thrilled to add to this unique gin and food guided walking tour in Edinburgh to my Edinburgh Food Safari stable. 

This gin and food walking tour gives visitors a taste and a historical insight to Scottish gin, as well as an introduction to Stockbridge, a part of Edinburgh which tourists often miss – before they catch the #27 bus back to the tourists and The Old Town.

 

Venue: Meet inside The Other Place, 2-4 Broughton Road, EH7 4EB Venue 428

Tickets:  £29 must be over 18 years includes: three gin-based drinks, three gin-inspired foods

Dates: Tuesday – Saturdays 07-25 August 2018               

Time: 15:30 (2 hours)

To book call the Fringe Box Office: 0131 226 0000 or book online 

 

 

 

 

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Gin Safari a hit

This Friday was the inaugural gin safari, see pics. We started with Edinburgh gin liqueur and cava then The Marshmallow Lady pulled out all the stops: toasted homemade gin and tonic marshmallows whizzed with milk and Scottish company Mackie’s vanilla ice cream, then topped with more toasted g and t marshmallows. Walked and talked with top gin facts: Leith was the epicentre of gin in the 18th century and more gin.distilleries are returning to Leith. Armstrongs sliced their Pickering-gin marinated smoked salmon which was delicious. Then we still had space for gin and tonic chocolate and finished with a Caorunn gin and tonic in The Last Word Salooo. Come and join next Friday! £39 for five stops and 2 hours of pure gin!

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Good and Proper Deli: new kid on the Stockbridge block

A new deli – another one?

You may ask has sprung  up in Stockbridge. It opened on 10 April and I was in to have a snout. It looks perfect as if Good and Proper has always been on this spot on the heart of Raeburn Place. It has in fact replaced a rather tired Chinese take away.

 It is all white shiny with fresh salads glistening, fat scones asking to be eaten and a chocolate orange cake still to be cut into. Tables will fill up fast as quite small, I had a selection of three fab salads and as I was in rush to get to my safari at 12, I had them boxed up in a very robust box – which kept the salads in good condition till I managed a chance to enjoy – post safari.

Typical dishes are soup- Sweetcorn Chowder, salads such as Honey roasted pumpkin & kale, dal pea and coconut salad quinoa tabbouleh salad , a bacon & ricotta frittata and a hot dish such as chicken, parsnip & tarragon casserole.

Welcome to the neighbourhood!

Good & proper deli c° 

74 Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, , Eh4 1hj

https://www.gandpdelico.co.uk/

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Lazy Jazz Saturday Afternoon @ The Barony

The sun shone, the beer, cider and wine flowed and the jazz band played on….at The Barony Bar, 81-85 Broughton Street, EH1 3RJ last Saturday.

The Barony Bar offers jazz on Saturday afternoons 3-5 pm with various guest bands. I was  lucky enough to catch the Martin Kershaw Trio on March 24.One of the leading musicians on the vibrant Scottish jazz scene, alto saxophonist Martin Kershaw played again at The Barony joined by Graeme Stephen (guitar) and Brian Shiels (bass).

There is trad music on Tuesdays 6-8 pm and blues on Sunday eves. There is also a new menu – I was back at The Barony on Tuesday eve for some fiddle and some very good goulash with egg noodle and sour cream. My friends took advantage of the two burger deal for £15 and the fish and chips – looked like a small whale had been battered and deep fried  as it lay on its final resting place of chips with skins on – I exaggerate – but v generous fish portion!

These new changes at The Barony along with fresh flowers and candles mean its worth booking a table for food and music. Telephone: 0131 556 9251 to make a reservation.

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New gin safari

I’m really excited by my new gin safari –  which I test ‘drove’ – feel something wrong about mixing my drink, driving and metaphors! but anyway I did with a friend Jude last Friday. We started with a choice of four Edinburgh Gin liqueur; elderflower, rhubarb and ginger, raspberry or plum and vanilla,  then fizz is slowly added. Delicious. Then The Marshmallow Lady had devised a special gin and tonic themed marshmallow for us, then a lovely gin-tinted stroll through The New Town for a Pickerings gin-cured Shetland smoked salmon – what a way to go – absolutely delicious. Then to Coco Chocolate for a gin and tonic chocolate bar and we ended up at Last Word – such a cool gin joint for a Caorunn gin and Feverfew tonic with a apple garnish.

Gin safaris will run every Friday 3-5 pm – book on site price is a fantastic £39 per person 

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The hunt is on for the ultimate scone experience for a new tour

I  LOVE SCONES  and am keen to start a new safari devoted to the ultimate 

scone experience in East Lothian – tracking down the best possible ingredients then cooking them. First stop on my search was Mungoswells Farm just outside Longniddry. I met farmer Angus McDowall and his assistant Alison – pictured below with a genuine Swiss Army mobile flour mill. The mill is really like a giant pen knife as it folds out when stationary to become a fully active mill ready to mill wheat at a drop of a Swiss cocked hat! The mobile unit, which was built in 1977, was originally designed to go out in the field with the soldiers 

and provide them with flour to make bread and feed them during missions.

When it arrived at Mungowells it was all ready for action – even with two unused brooms. See Alison modelling with brooms. The wheat is grown on Angus’s 550 acre farm and milled on the site – making it the only mill in Scotland to grown and mill their own wheat. 

You can buy Mungoswells flours in several independent retailers in Edinburgh – Realfoods .Next stop is Yesterdairies for cream and milk and hunting down a good jam maker and also a good venue for afternoon teas in East Lothian who can make a scone with some of the best freshest produce you can possibly buy. Stay tuned and follow! 

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Eating, Walking and Driving London

I went to London for a three-day trip – never like to stay with anyone for longer than three days – based on the premis that guests and fish go off after three days.

The reason for my visit was my great friend Genevieve Fox was publishing her first book https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jan/29/milkshakes-morphine-memoir-love-loss-genevieve-fox-review .Milkshakes and morphine   is an un-put-downable down memoir – I devoured it one evening pre publication and experienced a torrent of different kind of emotions for the author and also as a friend. Do buy and read: Milkshakes and Morphine: A Memoir of Love and Loss by Genevieve Fox is published by Square Peg (£14.99)

Genevieve giving a wonderful speech at Daunt Books at her launch 

And of course with London I wanted to eat – the in-crowd may have moved on but I wanted to try The Chiltern Firehouse which is a former fire station dating from the 1880s, this refined, high-end hotel is surrounded by bars, restaurants and shopping in the fashionable Marylebone district http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-5319709/Princess-Eugenie-parties-Chiltern-Firehouse-again.html

My friend Lu secured a table – one with a actual fire pole -so we imagined the action that bit of metal had seen  as we looked for celebs – Eugenie hadn’t turned up yet…


 

From the range of starters top pick was this crab doughnut £7 

I love to see a bit of London I don’ t know and I would recommend going on an airbnb experience -https://www.airbnb.co.uk/experiences/145488 I thought Roberta’s tour (£20 per person)- a gorgeous mix of economy and history from Bloomberg’s latest scraper to the recently discovered Mitra temple with coffee thrown in in a crypt church and Roberta ended her tour on a high at the Skyscraper Bar in the city.  

Coffee in the crypt in St Marys le Bow London

and as Roberta was Italian – of course we got the best coffee and sandwich tips – Panini Gusto in the city from Milan a Parma Ham sandwich packed with ham and mozzarella. And enough walking why not hop – or in my case pour myself into a mini and have a tour of the city – seeing the big names and the lesser known sights https://smallcarbigcity.com/ Samantha picked us up from exposed pipes but cool pan Asian food at Caravan restaurant Bankside  where I had just eaten a  very fine crispy tofu with fermented black bean paste – through Borough Market in a mini – ‘these are great salted caramel doughnuts’ – Sam said – ‘oh yes please I said’ as I begged the Borough Market bread vendor to pass one through the roof – which was open  and then we were off again 

Samantha with her whizzy mini – and finally before I let the train take the strain back to Scotland I was delighted to find there is a food market – wednesdays to Fridays at Kings Cross  Railway Station http://www.realfoodfestival.co.uk/real-food-markets/kings-cross-market/which is great if you have a hankering for fresh  doughnuts – even I had had enough –  to Moroccan carrots and felafel and feta and lentil salad with dried apricots  for your train journey which I ate as headed north through England’s Green and Pleasant.

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Fresh Lemon and Ginger Tea -the perfect afternoon lift

At temperatures hovering around zero, a freshly whizzed veggie fruit juice is never going to hit the spot, but this bottomless cup of fresh lemon and ginger tea at Hyde and Son at the west end of George Street definitely did. Priced at £2.60 you get a pale green, gold rimmed  cup with slice of fresh ginger and fresh lemon, topped with boiling water and a lid to keep the heat in. Once cooled to drink and drunk, the staff will happily refill – so sit quite near the bar – for speedier water replenishment.

Hyde and Son has boutique bedrooms attached, but for the casual shopper and person in need of a hot drink from 7-11 then this airy bar cafe is the perfect stopping off point – good coffee, great sounding cocktails and 12 Triangle pastries 

Hyde and Son

127 George street,Edinburgh, EH2 4JN

Tel: 01312852050 

OPEN Monday – Saturday: 7AM – 11PM Sunday: 8AM – 10PM

 

 

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Hot Syrian pastries to go

After an hour circuit training at Diamond Gym just off Newhaven road, and with calories at my disposal I smelt the tantalising smell of baking bread. I followed my nose to Taza Bake.

I ordered a few cheese and parsley pastries to take away and before I finished floundering in my gym kit for my purse, the baker was rolling out dough, and filling little circles of pastry with cheese and parsley, then onto a giant shovel and into the oven. Five minutes later, I was tucking in! 

Taza means fresh in Arabic and the Syrian bakery has been going from strength to strength since it started rolling out this traditional Mediterranean flat bread four years ago. The machines were imported from the Middle East and the bread is not only baked on the day but within minutes. Many shops will sell the flat breads pre packed, but nothing beats the fun of turning up to the shop and seeing dough turn into savoury bites in minutes and buying for immediate consumption.

Taza Bake 17 Stewartfield,  Edinburgh EH6 5RQ Tel 0131 629 3833

Open every day 9am -5pm, closed on Sunday

 

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