Girl Versus Food

Reviews, recipes and thoughts from a Scottish food blogger

Category: Food & Drink Events (page 2 of 3)

20 Fun Food & Drink Activities during the Edinburgh Festival

August is one of the most exciting months in Edinburgh’s social calendar. With The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe all going on, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to comedy, music and theatre options. But what if you’re looking for some food and drink themed fun to include in your plans? This is a guide to some fantastic food and drink activities you can include in your itinerary for August 2016. Scottish food and drink are an absolute passion of mine and whether you’re a local or visiting for the first time, I hope you’ll find something to tickle your taste buds!

 

1. Scottish Craft Beer and Food Matching

The Gait Bar on the Royal Mile is hosting Craft Beer and Food Matching events. Each week of the Fringe will feature a different brewery including Drygate and Stewart Brewing. You can try four to six courses paired with beers from Scottish craft breweries. http://www.gait.bar/events/2016/8/4/festival-fringe-scottish-craft-beer-food-matching

Alternatively Edinburgh New Town Cookery School is running a session on 16th of August. The cookery school has a great reputation for their courses and offer something for everyone from newbies to trained chefs. This two-hour session will let you sample some excellent craft ales from the likes of Innis & Gunn and William’s Bros along with smoked salmon, venison, haggis and Isle of Mull Cheddar. Find out which is your match made in heaven! http://www.entcs.co.uk/beer-and-food-matching-course

 

2. Ice Cream from Mary’s Milk Bar

Sometimes the sun shines in Edinburgh. Often it doesn’t. Either way, make sure you sample the delights of Mary’s Milk Bar! The soft gelato is freshly made each day and comes in inspiring flavours like Fried Bananas in Butter or Fig & Goats Cheese. Check out Mary’s Instagram page to see some of the mouth-watering creations… https://www.instagram.com/marysmilkbar/?hl=en

 

3. Whisky Tasting

Scotch whisky is famous across the world and with good reason! We have over 100 distilleries in Scotland so why not take the opportunity to try out the national drink during the festival this year? Here are some of the planned tasting sessions available:

 

Scotch Whisky Experience

Scotch Whisky Experience

4. Locked in the Distillery

Escape room games have become incredibly popular over the last few years. If you haven’t heard of this concept, it basically involves being locked in a room with a small group of friends/colleagues and working together to solve a series of clues and puzzles in order to ‘break out’ within a set time limit. Mentally challenging and lots of fun! The Locked In escape game comes to Summerhall for the first time this year. Can you solve the mystery behind who is plotting the downfall of Pickering’s Gin? Your team have an hour  to find and solve clues… and most importantly SAVE THE GIN! http://festival16.summerhall.co.uk/event/locked-in-the-distillery-escape/

 

5. Foodies Festival

I visited Foodies Festival last year and it was a brilliant day out with loads to see and samples to taste. This year is set to include appearances from top chefs Paul Wedgwood and Mark Greenaway, a Vintage Tea Tent and even a Chilli Eating Competition! The festival takes place at Inverleith Park from 5th to 7th August. http://www.foodiesfestival.com/edinburgh-food-festival/

 

Foodies Festival fun

Foodies Festival fun

6. Dram & Smoke Pop Up Dining

Meet new people and try some Scottish seasonal delights at this pop-up dining event in a former biscuit factory. You can expect a welcome cocktail and a four course dining experience followed by live music. The coolest way to have dinner during the festival! https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/dram-smoke-pop-up-dining

 

7. Evening of Literature and Liquor

Edinburgh Gin’s Brand Ambassador, Ewan Angus, will guide you through a boozy literary history from the late 1700s through to the modern day while you enjoy three delicious cocktails. An Evening of Literature and Liquor returns for a second year after last year’s sold out dates. https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/edinburgh-gin-s-evening-of-literature-and-liquor

 

8. A Picnic in Princes Street Gardens.

Princes St Gardens were created in two phases in the 1770’s and 1820’s following the draining of Nor Loch (where they used to drown Edinburgh’s witches…. go on a ghost tour to hear more about this).  The Gardens are a lovely place to sit and people-watch with the spectacular backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. Why not stop off Valvona & Crolla for some gourmet picnic ingredients? Tweet me with your picnic photos @girlversusfood

 

9. Dining and Cabaret Show

A four course meal and evening of traditional Scots fiddle and bagpipes will make for a great night out at Prestonfield House. I’ve visited Prestonfield before and I was really impressed by the grand 17th-century building and the delicious food. https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/famous-taste-of-scotland-cabaret-dinner-show

 

Prestonfield House

Prestonfield House

10. Visit a Farmers Market

There are weekend Farmers Market in Stockbridge, Leith and the Grassmarket which stock a wonderful variety of local produce. Check out the website for details. http://www.stockbridgemarket.com/

 

11. Vegan Festival

For all you vegan and vegetarian lovelies, the Vegan Festival is running 20th and 21st August at the Roxburghe Hotel. Returning to Edinburgh after being fantastically well received in 2015, the festival is set to be really popular again with vegan food, drinks, clothes and gifts available. Get your tickets here: http://veganfestival.co.uk/

 

12. Gin Cruise

Set sail with a Juniper Cruise on the Union Canal on 13th, 20th or 27th August. Gin experts will guide you through a two hour canal cruise highlighted with premium gin and tasty bites. The barge is covered, meaning you can enjoy a bril day out come rain out shine! http://www.solid-liquids.co.uk/#!juniper-festivals–events/c1sll

 

13. Fine Dining and Enchantment

Magicians. I’ve never really been sure how I feel about them! But after a recommendation from a friend who was absolutely amazed by this guy last year, I’m very much looking forward to checking out this show! Following sell-out runs from 2013-2015, the Illusionist’s Table returns for an evening of food, whisky and enchantment. https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/at-the-illusionist-s-table

 

14. Thai Cookery Class

Get hands-on with this Thai cookery workshop from executive chef Rujira Herd. Rujira has been running the Thai cook school from an Edinburgh town house for nearly 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge about the traditional cuisine of her homeland. https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/thai-cookery-workshop-with-lunch

 

15. Seafood and Bubbles

Oysters and champagne. I’m not sure I can think of anything better! The Cannonball Restaurant, a 16th century building on the Royal Mile is offering an opportunity to taste three oysters from places including Lindisfarne, the UK’s oldest hatchery along with Pommery Champagne. I recently tried Cannonball’s oysters and champagne for myself and cannot recommend them highly enough. They also have an impressive whisky bar…. just sayin’! https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/cannonball-on-the-rock-oysters-and-champagne

Cannonball oysters

Cannonball oysters

16. The Gin Chronicles: a Scottish Adventure

How about some gin-infused culture? This play is set in the 1940’s and involves a gin shortage (shock, horror!) and a train journey to Scotland. https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/gin-chronicles-a-scottish-adventure

 

17. Sample Some Sweet Treats

Need an afternoon sugar fix? Here are some of my favourites:

  • Check out The Marshmallow Lady for the fluffiest of marshmallows made from Scottish butter, cream and Fair Trade Sugar. Most are gluten free. Prosecco and Rose Petal Flavour? Yes, please! http://www.burghbakes.com/
  • Shortbread has a long tradition in Scotland. Try this biscuit at its best at the fabulous Pinnies and Poppy Seeds bakery; the dark chocolate & orange and the toasted coconut varieties are on my hit list! http://pinniesandpoppyseeds.com/
  • Mimi’s Bakery on the Royal Mile is a great place to go for cakes, traybakes, brownies, cupcakes, muffins and scones. Mid-afternoon sugar fix sorted! http://mimisbakehouse.com/pages/mimislittlebakehouse-oldtown

 

18. Food Safari

Who knew you could go on safari in Edinburgh? There are two options for this fun foodie walking tour; the ‘Fine Dining Stockbridge Safari’ and the ‘Bohemian Broughton Street Safari’. The tours, designed by TV presenter and food columnist, Nell Nelson, have received rave reviews on TripAdvisor. Oh and no camouflage gear is required!  http://www.edinburghfoodsafari.com/

 

19. The Gin Whore Tour

Historical tales of hooch and harlots, paired with the very best gins….sounds like my kind of thing! A fantabulous one-woman show taking place on the 27th and 28th of August (four gins are included in the ticket price). https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/gin-whore-tour

 

20. Pop Up Champagne Bar

During August, the stunning Signet Library on the Royal Mile will host a pop-up Champagne Café Bar. You can enjoy champagne, cocktails, afternoon tea and more within the Lower Library of the grand Georgian building each day of the festival. http://www.thesignetlibrary.co.uk/

15 reasons to visit the Royal Highland Show 2016

I visited The Royal Highland Show for the first time last year and it was a fantastic day out! Now in its 176th year, the Royal Highland Show has the very best of food, farming and rural life. Maybe you think the show is only for farmers? I’ve put together some  top reasons to visit the show regardless of who you are! The RHS is on this weekend 23rd – 26th June 2016.

  1. It’s easy to get there. There are special buses are running regularly from Edinburgh city centre. Check out the travel page for more info http://royalhighlandshow.org/travel-information Why not leave the car at home and enjoy no.5 below?
  2. There’s tonnes of fun activities for kids. Each area within the showground has attractions suitable for wee ones; don’t miss out on the animal parades and huge tractors. Youngsters can get close to creatures in the poultry tent and the bee marquee where they can learn the bee dance and make candles! The RHET Education Centre is open to the public all four days of the show, with school groups also booked into some of the activities on Thursday and Friday.picnic
  3. There’s live music. Have a boogie to the UK’s top Abba tribute band; Abba Gold. If that’s not your thing, how about some toe-tapping ceilidh music with the Ian Muir Ceilidh Band or some traditional pipes and drums?
  4. The people. Visitors come from all over Scotland and further afield giving the show a buzzing, friendly atmosphere.
  5. The show includes three exciting new bars this year. The Botanical Garden will provide a gin lover’s sanctuary with artisan Scottish gins and expert mixologists. Alternatively, The Stetson is a lively, country music themed bar where you can show off your line dancing moves. Yeeha! Or why not take a break from shopping on the 13th Avenue Arcade and sip some bubbles at the new Prosecco Bar? Sounds right up my street!
  6. The livestock. Not just sheep. You can see highland cows, donkeys and tiny ponies to name a few. Be prepared for a whole lot of cuteness!R
  7. You can be confident about grabbing a bite to eat. The food outlets throughout the show ground have signed up to the show’s food charter. So whether you fancy a buffalo burger or some fresh Scottish seafood, you can rest assured that wherever possible it has been produced using local and ethically sourced ingredients. #eatlocal
  8. Scotland’s Larder Live is foodie heaven, featuring over 100 producers and showcasing the very best produce from Scotland and further afield. If you have a sweet tooth don’t miss the Fudge Kitchen and Equi’s ice cream stalls; yum!larderlive
  9. Be amazed by demonstrations of forestry skills like chainsaw carving and pole climbing. Do not try this at home!
  10. You can dance the night away! There are Show Dances with a different theme each night from Wednesday – Saturday. Tickets available here https://highlandshow.ticketsrv.co.uk/
  11. There’s plenty of opportunities for a spot of retail therapy at the relaunched 13th Avenue indoor shopping area. There’s 1,100 shopping outlets in total across the show including luxury country fashion brands like Barbour and Hunter.
  12. Gin! Lovely Scottish Gin. Strathearn, NB Gin, Pickerings and Edinburgh Gin all have stalls at the show. Have a wee sample and find out which is your favourite.
  13. Get some top tips from amazing chefs in The Cookery Theatre. You can see chefs such as David Haetzman, John Rutter and David Barnett. There are opportunities to ask questions and sample what the chefs have cooked up.
  14. You can watch talented sportsmen and women take part in activities like show jumping in the main arena. Over 2,200 riders are expected to compete in an impressive array of equine challenges.
  15. You could become an internet sensation – this year’s show is being streamed live online here http://royalhighlandshow.org/lives-streaming Last year the show was watch by thousands of viewers in 47 countries.horse

Do you believe in second chances? Yes Chef!

Are there any decisions you took growing up that you now regret? Things that you might do differently if you had a second chance? For some young people, bad choices have had serious implications on their lives, resulting in them spending time behind bars. Action for Children Scotland’s Moving On supports young men as they prepare to leave prison, helping them to deal with issues and rebuild their lives in order to reduce rates of re-offending. I was impressed to hear that 84 per cent of young men involved did not return to prison within two years, compared with a national average of 50-55 per cent.

One of their initiatives is Yes Chef; a 12 week training programme where participants learn from some of Scotland’s top chefs. The programme is sponsored by Tennent’s Training Academy. This weekend I was lucky enough to be invited along to sample the results of 12 weeks of hard work as the two teams of chefs went head to head to produce a three course dinner for hundreds of guests at the stylish Glasgow Marriott. At the end of the evening guests were asked to pick a winning team based on the dishes they had produced.

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During the evening we heard from a number of guest speakers including Craig Barrowman, a former Yes Chef participant who gave a heartfelt speech about how taking up opportunities through Action for Children has helped him to turn his life around. Leaving prison he took the decision not to return to a life of gang violence and his since secured a role as a Support Worker with Moving On. Craig told us there is no such thing as bad boys, just bad choices.

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It was a tough choice but in the end the Red Team won with their tasty soup, slow cured ham and vanilla cheesecake. The great news is that young men from both teams will have the opportunity to complete further placements in restaurants across Glasgow.

The evening raised more than £22,000 for Action for Children. If you’d like to find out more about how you can get involved click here https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/how-you-can-help/

 

Haggis Scotch Egg, Neep Chips and Tattie Slaw

I’m a massive fan of the traditional Burns Supper but this year I wanted to think a wee bit creatively about what I could do with those three classic ingredients: haggis, neeps and tatties. So I came up with a platter of Haggis Scotch Egg, Neep Chips and Tattie Slaw. All to be washed down with a dram of single malt of course….

Read on for my recipes on how to recreate this for yourself.

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Thank you to the lovely people at ScotMid who generously provided me with all the ingredients I needed to cook up this delicious platter. For more ideas and recipes for Burns Night check out www.Scotland.org/burns

 

For the Haggis Scotch Egg (makes 4)

Ingredients

6 medium eggs

250g haggis

4 good quality pork sausages

50g plain flour

150g golden breadcrumbs

1 litre of vegetable oil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Put 4 eggs in a pan of cold salted water and bring up to the boil. Simmer for 8 minutes (or 5 if you like a soft yolk)
  3. Bring the eggs out and put them in cold water to cool for ten minutes before carefully peeling them.
  4. Mix the sausage meat and the haggis in a bowl and divide the mixture into four.
  5. Flatten out each ball of meat and wrap it around the egg until the egg is completely covered and there is a smooth finish.
  6. Fill a medium sized pan with the vegetable oil and put on the hob to heat. Hot oil can be dangerous, be careful.
  7. Set up three bowls – one with the flour, one with two beaten eggs and the third with the breadcrumbs.
  8. Roll the haggis eggs in the flour, dusting off any excess. Then into the egg mixture and then the bread crumbs. Then they go back into the egg mixture and the breadcrumbs for a second time to ensure they are properly coated.
  9. Test if the oil is hot enough by dropping in a small piece of bread; if it turns golden brown quickly then the oil is ready.
  10. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower the haggis eggs into the oil and cook for 4 – 5 minutes or until golden brown. Cook the eggs in batches of two to avoid overcrowding the pan.
  11. Transfer the eggs to the oven and cook for 10 minutes.

 

Neep Chips

Ingredients

1 large turnip

1 litre of vegetable oil

Salt

Paprika

Oregano

Method

  1. Cut the turnip into skinny chips.
  2. Fry in a pan of vegetable oil for 5 minutes
  3. Transfer to the oven and cook at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes
  4. Season with salt, paprika and oregano.

 

Tattie Slaw

Ingredients

Two medium sized potatoes

1 white cabbage

1 red onion

1 carrot

4 spring onions

300ml of sour cream

2tbsp of white wine vinegar

Method

  1. Peel the potatoes and boil them in salted water for 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.
  2. Grate the carrot and finely slice the spring onions (white part only).
  3. Half and then slice the red onion and separate its layers.
  4. Shred the cabbage.
  5. Chop up the cooled potato into bite sized chunks and add all the ingredients to a bowl and toss together.

Wishing you a very happy Burns celebration, from Girl Versus Food x

12 ways to feel festive in Edinburgh

1. A first for 2015 is the Virgin Money Street of Light on the Royal Mile. Between the 30th of November and Christmas Eve there will be a twice nightly shows where the lights will synchronize to the music of Edinburgh’s choirs. This is a free event but you need to book your tickets in advance here https://www.virginmoneystreetoflight.com/

2. A Festive Afternoon Tea in the glamorous lobby of the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh would be a fabulous Christmas treat. £35 per person or £45 including a glass of champagne http://www.thecaledonianedinburgh.com/dining-and-bars/peacock-alley.html

3. Get wrapped up and take to one of the city’s two festive ice rinks located in Princes St Gardens and St Andrews Square

Skating

4. Harvey Nichols’ Fourth Floor Window Bar has stunning views over the city. Where better to enjoy a Hot Buttered Rum containing dark rum, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, orange zest, vanilla sugar, butter and warm milk? The bar has a delicious selection of Winter Warmer drinks available in December for £6.50 each.

5. Foodies Christmas Festival brings Scotland’s top chefs and award-winning producers to Edinburgh for a fabulous festive feast. The show takes places between 13th and 15th November at the EICC http://www.foodiesfestival.com/xmas-edinburgh/

6. Dine in The Dome on George Street and enjoy the view of one Edinburgh’s most famous Christmas trees. http://www.thedomeedinburgh.com/christmas-hogmanay/

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7. Catch a drive-in Christmas movie between 19th and 23rd December on the World’s biggest LED screen at the Royal Highland Centre. From Elf to Love Actually, there’s a Christmas favourite for everyone. It’s £26 per car and you can bring your own food. Visit https://christmasmovies.co.uk/ for full listings.

8. The Scottish Market in St Andrews Square will be showcasing the best of food and drink including local gin and craft beer.

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9. In Narnia it was “Always winter but never Christmas”. Thankfully we don’t have that problem in Edinburgh but you can bring back some childhood memories by seeing The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe on stage at The Royal Lyceum Theatre http://lyceum.org.uk/whats-on/production/the-lion-the-witch-and-the-wardrobe1

10.  Want to brush up on your Christmas cookery? Learn some new skills at a Christmas canapes cooking demo at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School http://www.entcs.co.uk/christmas-canapes-demonstration

Or take one of three different festive food classes as Contini on The Royal Mile. You can choose from Show Stopper Xmas Desserts, Festive Foodie Gifts or Carina’s Italian Christmas http://www.contini.com/whats-on/cook-with-carina-showstopper-xmas-desserts

11.  He’s behind you! It’s not Christmas without a panto. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is on at The Kings Theatre this year http://www.edtheatres.com/snowwhite

12.  Do something fun for charity and burn off a few of those mince pies – The Christmas Charity Festival takes place over the 5th and 6th of December in Inverleith Park http://www.christmascharityfestival.com/

Wishing you a very festive time in Edinburgh from Girl Versus Food x

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10 reasons to visit the BBC Good Food Show Scotland this weekend  

The BBC Good Food Show Scotland is a fantastic day out that showcasing the very best in food and drink. Here are the top 10 reasons to visit the show this weekend 6th – 8th November.

 

  1. It’s easy to get there. The SECC has its own dedicated railway station and there are 6 trains an hour from Central Station. There’s also ample parking in the multi-story car park. Check out the travel page for more info https://www.bbcgoodfoodshowscotland.com/visit/opening-times-and-travel
  1. From cheese to craft gin, there’s samples galore so it’s the perfect opportunity to try something new. Lots of the stands have special show prices and offers so you can pick up a bargain.
  1. Get inspired watching demonstrations from celebrity chefs like Tom Kitchin and James Martin in the Supertheatre. Great British Bake Off fans, you can see Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood IN THE FLESH! But no touching. You have been warned.
  1. And while we’re on the subject, did you know there’s a whole area of the show dedicated to all things baking? See demonstrations and source all sorts of specialist ingredients and equipment in the Cake & Bake Village.

Bakes--26-Cakes-Village

  1. Make a start on your Christmas shopping. How about a book signed by Michel Roux Jr? The WHSmith stand has a programme of book signings over the weekend.
  1. Shopping weighing you down? There’s a Shop & Drop area supported by Guide Dogs where you can leave your shopping and enjoy the show hands-free.
  1. Fancy yourself as a bit of a mixologist? Why not take part in a 30 minute cocktail masterclass? #letscocktail

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  1. The Show Guide has a floor plan which is great for making sure you don’t miss any gems! It also has lots of gorgeous recipes to take home and try out.
  1. Always wondered how to get that soufflé to rise? Now’s your chance to ask the experts on the Interview Stage. Amongst those taking questions is Andrew Fairlie; the only chef in Scotland to hold two Michelin stars at his restaurant at Gleneagles.
  1. Some of Glasgow’s best restaurants are coming to the show this year in pop-up format; The Gannet, Porter & Rye and Red Onion will all be making an appearance. This is a brilliant opportunity to try their signature dishes in taster size.

 

Tickets can be bought at the door or online here https://www.bbcgoodfoodshowscotland.com/visit/ticket-info Hope to see you there!

Roasted Sausage & Potato Supper

One of my favourite days out of the year is a trip to the BBC Good Food Show Scotland. I’m particularly excited about the 2015 show as I’m one of the official bloggers for the show. There’s so many delicious samples to taste and cooking demos to watch; it’s a foodie paradise! This year there are also going to be pop-up versions of some of Glasgow’s top restaurants like Porter & Rye which I reviewed here.

The 2015 show will take place at the SECC, Glasgow from Friday 6th – Sunday 8th November. You can get your tickets for the show online here or to be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets, simply sign up to my Girl Versus Food Newsletter. The lucky winner will be picked on Sunday 1st November.

The fabulous Mary Berry is one of the celebrity chefs cooking live in the Supertheatre this year, and to celebrate here’s an easy and tasty recipe from Absolute Favourites by Mary Berry (BBC Books, hardback £25). 

 

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

2 large onions, sliced lengthways into wedges

2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into  large dice

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tbsp chopped thyme leaves

500g (1lb 2oz) baby new potatoes, unpeeled and halved

12 sausages, pricked with a fork

200ml (7fl oz) white wine

salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/Gas 7.

2. Place all the ingredients except the wine in a large, resealable freezer bag. Seal the bag shut and shake well to coat everything in the oil. Alternatively, put everything in a large bowl  and turn the ingredients until they are fully coated in the oil. Tip into a large roasting tin, spreading the ingredients out into one even layer and ensuring that the sausages aren’t covered by any of the vegetables. Season well with salt and pepper.

3. Roast for about 30–35 minutes until golden, then remove from the oven, turn the sausages over and toss the vegetables in the cooking juices. Pour in the wine and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes or until browned and the sausages are cooked and the potatoes tender. Serve hot with a dollop of mustard on the side

17 reasons to visit the Royal Highland Show this weekend

The Royal Highland Show showcases the very best of food, farming and rural life. Here are my top 17 reasons to visit the show this weekend 19th – 21st June.

 

  1. It’s not just for farmers. Show Manager, David Jackson, explains: “42% of visitors come to the Royal Highland Show to enjoy the food and drink.” This year the foodie aspects play a major role while the show still stays true to its agricultural roots.
  2. There’s live music. Have a boogie to Ceilidh Minogue! Yes, that really is the name of a band.
  1. It’s easy to get there. There are buses are running regularly from Edinburgh city centre. Check out the travel page for more info http://royalhighlandshow.org/travel-information Leave the car at home and enjoy some samples (see no.10)
  2. The people. Visitors come from all over Scotland and further afield giving the show a buzzing, friendly atmposhere.
  3. You can be confident about grabbing a bite to eat. The food outlets throughout the show park have passed the Year of Food and Drink Food Charter. So whether you fancy an ice-cream or a burger, you can rest assured that it is responsibly sourced and, where possible, bought locally.
  4. The livestock. Not just sheep. You can also see highland cows, donkeys and tiny ponies. Cuteness overload!RHS Grand Parade
  1. Scotland’s Larder Live is foodie heaven, featuring over 120 producers and showcasing the very best of Scottish produce. There’s samples galore so it’s the perfect opportunity to try something new. Also lots of the stands have special show prices and offers so you can pick up a bargain.
  1. There’s tonnes of fun activities for kids. Your Mini-Me’s can find out what it’s like to be a bee keeper, become a super sleuth for The Soil Association or watch the Clan Cycle Stunt Team perform daredevil tricks.RHS Young Exhibitor
  1. You could witness a new Guinness World Record! On Sunday, two butchers from different parts of Scotland will attempt to set a world record for the most sausages created in one minute. Sausage-tastic!
  1. Gin! Lovely Scottish Gin. Strathearn, NB Gin, Pickerings, Eden Mill and Edinburgh Gin are all in Scotland’s Larder Live. Have a wee sample and find out which is your favourite.
  1. Check out demonstrations of forestry skills like chainsaw carving and pole climbing. Do not try this at home!RHS Climbing Pole
  1. You might see some royalty. The Queen has visited the show three times, most recently in 2009.
  1. Get some top tips from celeb chefs in The Cookery Theatre. You can see chefs such as Neil Forbes, Paul Wedgwood, Craig Wilson, David Haetzman and Fred Berkmiller. There are opportunities to ask questions and sample what the chefs have cooked up.DSC_0882
  1. See some very well trained animals at the falconry display and gun dogs in the Countryside Arena.
  2. You can watch talented sportsmen and women compete in activities like show jumping in the main arena.
  1. You could become an internet sensation – this year’s show is being streamed live online here http://royalhighlandshow.org/lives-streaming
  1. It’s an institution. This is the 175th year of the Royal Highland Show so if you’ve never been, make 2015 the year to be part of this unique and iconic event.

Gin Foraging Event, Glasgow

I’ve decided that Bear Grylls has it all wrong. Drinking reindeer blood and snacking on bugs to stay alive? Nah, I’ll pass! Foraging for gin garnishes, on the other hand? That sounds right up my street! So I was super excited to hear that The Glasgow Gin Club have teamed up with The Botanist Gin to hold a foraging event on the 4th of July 2015.

The Botanist is one of my favourite gins. It’s made on Islay from hand-foraged botanicals and has a clean, citrus flavour.

Over the last year in particular, I’ve noticed a trend for more interesting gin garnishes. In parallel to the rise of craft gins, people have become much more adventurous when it comes to finding great accompaniments. Why limit yourself to lime or cucumber when there’s a whole world of possibilities out there?

What I love most about the idea of foraging for botanicals is that it means your G&T will change depending on the season and what you’ve been able to find that day.

The event will start with a scenic walk from the Botanic Gardens to Kelvin Grove Park and along the way there will be an opportunity to learn about botanicals that can be found growing wild in the area. Then it will be on to the Kelvingrove Café where there will be the chance to participate in a drinks workshop and try out The Botanist with a variety of foraged garnishes, syrups and tonics. The day will end with nibbles and a delicious cocktail made by the professionals. All in all, this sounds like my perfect Saturday afternoon!

The Glasgow Gin Club hold monthly events which are a great chance to meet like-minded gin lovers! You can buy tickets for the foraging event here http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/182875

Hope to see you there!

GvFforage

Hopetoun Farm Shop Masterclass

I’ve long been a fan of Hopetoun Farm Shop, sourcing ingredients for countless dinner parties from the well-stocked butcher counter and delicatessen. That’s why I was excited to attend their recent Masterclass which was hosted by Craig Wood, head chef of The Wee Restaurant in North Queensferry.

The sold-out event focussed on Hopetoun Farm Shop’s free range chicken. The chef started off by showing us how to butcher a whole chicken and I have to say he made it look very easy. I might even have the confidence to try it myself now. Craig emphasised the importance of using the best quality produce, even if that means having chicken a little less often.

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Chef Craig demonstrated three different springtime dishes. First up was a ballotine of chicken supreme with pistachio nuts and spiced peppercorn jus. The poached chicken was filled with a chicken, cream and pistachio mouse and accompanied by the jus. After tasting the first dish, I could tell why Hopetoun Farm Shop’s free range chicken has won awards! Though a bit more expensive than the average mass-produced supermarket chicken, these birds are full of flavour and taste really, well, ‘chickeny’!DSC_0861

The next dish was roast chicken breast with garlic, lemon and herbs, asparagus and truffles. Technically, this was the easiest dish of the night with herb butter being stuffed under the chicken skin before it was oven cooked and then topped with asparagus and truffle shavings. Though simple to make, the flavour combination blew me away.

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Each of the amazing dishes were paired with wine by Philippe Larue from wine merchant L’Art du Vin. Philippe is a big fan of organic wines and chose a summery Pinot Blanc to go with the roast chicken. The acidity of the wine perfectly cut through the copious amounts of butter in the dish!

Last, but not least, was the confit chicken leg with spelt grain and wild mushroom risotto. I’ve tried lots of confit dishes before but I didn’t actually know the process involved. Craig explained that in the past, confit was a way of preserving food by sealing it in fat. In modern day cooking, to confit generally means a long slow cook in fat. After being cured overnight in a mixture of salt, sugar and spices to draw out the moisture, the chicken legs had been cooked in duck fat for two hours. The result was meat so tender that it was falling off the bone. The spelt risotto with mascarpone and Parmesan was a delicious and indulgent accompaniment. Phillipe had selected a fantastic Pinot Noir from Bulgaria which was served slightly chilled.

It was a relaxed evening with plenty of opportunities for the audience to ask questions. I left with lots of inspiration and some great tips and tricks from a top chef. Oh and also a new place to add to my wish list; I hope to pay a visit to The Wee Restaurant very soon!


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