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
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!
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)
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.
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
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.
30th December 2017 – last safari of the year – join me for cheese tasting, mussels, chocolate haggis and whisky – what a way to eat Edinburgh and get ready for Hogmanay – book online at www.edinburghfoodsafari.com
Baba opens properly on November 15th @Babaedinburgh. I tried all these dips as a starter – I did share! Love the menu and the colour of the walls – deep teal very restful. On the corner of George St and Charlotte Square. Great dining area and also attractive bar area
At the Charlotte Square end of George St on the north side – there is very stylish new coffee/drinks option – Hyde and Son – in the Eden Locke which describes itself as a aparthotel – more than just a room. I did not see the rooms – but they look very cool on website, I was more interested in the drinks option. The entrance to the ‘aparthotel’ looks very much like a very cool coffee shop and bar – which it is and I imagine you also can check in. I tried a hand-pour coffee – which is drunk with NO milk – so no chance for the barista to show off his leaf impressions on your morning caffeine. With no milk, you can really taste the coffee – it looks almost like tea so clear but with a myriad of flavours – according to the packet mine was Rwanda Shyira with pineapple lemon and jasmine. Pictured here is ground coffee from Chipp Coffee Co an Edinburgh based coffee roaster having hot water poured over the grains.
I was very impressed and loved the ambiance Hyde and Son is open for coffee from 10 am till late. I am keen to use this lovely space as a meeting point – great for a coffee for a morning safari and even better to end up here for a Edinburgh-made gin with tonic from Edinburgh-based tonic water manufacturers Bon Accord – Once a dominant brand on the Scottish soft drink scene, Bon Accord was a household name and loved by many. Now, four generations on, the company has been revived and reimagined for modern day consumers and flavoured with 100% natural ingredients and no added sugar
I was camping at Roybridge – near Spean Bridge – near Fort William in the heart of the Autumnal oranged-Scottish Highlands. To make up for sleeping in a pod I brought Primrose’s Kitchen raw beetroot and ginger muesli to ease the pain on a sling mattress in a wooden pod.
I was not the only one to find this designer muesli delicious – this robin was sorely tempted by the lure of: gluten-free oats, raw beetroot, raw agave, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, raw virgin coconut oil, almonds, linseeds, coconut pieces, ground ginger, shelled hemp seed and psyllium husks.
This muesli is made in Dorset by Primrose’s Kitchen and I bought it from Real Foods – £5.95 for 400g and a Great Taste winner. Intrigued I googled Primrose’s Kitchen:
Primrose’s Kitchen: Having had a youth of chronic fatigue, M.E and poor digestion, Primrose Matheson set out on a mission to understand her body and what was needed to maintain it in perfect health. This led her into Naturopathic and Complementary health studies and a degree in Homeopathy the knowledge of which she has used to design natural and wholesome food. She started with muesli as breakfast is (as a nation) our favourite meal of the day due to its quick assembly and had a desire to make it into a healthy food for any occasion, not just first thing in the morning.
By including ingredients you might associate more with lunch or dinner such as beetroot and carrot she wanted create a versatile health food that tasted great and could be eaten as a healthy snack whatever time of the day. Ideally for a more balanced diet we should be eating as much or more fruit and vegetables than we do grains.
From this it seemed logical that if she was going to add a healthy ingredient like vegetables why not add other nutritious ingredients not found in breakfast muesli that support good health.
And how was it? Really good especially soaked in orange juice and topped with Greek yoghurt. You could mix it yourself but for a weekend camping trip this was a treat and a bonus – if it attracts wildlife!