Girl Versus Food

Reviews, recipes and thoughts from a Scottish food blogger

Tag: Scottish food and drink blogger

Mono Edinburgh Review

Does Italian food automatically make you think of hearty, homely cooking; lasagne, Bolognese, pizza? The type of meal where you might need to undo the top button on your trousers afterwards? If you fancy trying a different side of Italian cuisine, I may just have found the perfect place!

Mono opened a few months ago and I’d heard really positive things so I was keen to try it out. It describes itself as ‘progressive Italian dining’ and walking in off the busy South Bridge, it felt like a serene sanctuary with tasteful, modern décor.

The three course lunch (£22) seemed like a good starting point and I added on matched wines at £15. Mono also do à la carte as well as a tasting menu. The lunch menu is concise, with three or four options for each course. The menu doesn’t give a lot of clues as to how the ingredients will be served, but that’s part of the excitement.

After a delicious beetroot and goats cheese amuse bouche and some hand made bread and olive oil, it was on to the first course. I opted for the baked ricotta whilst my friend chose the tuna tortellini. The ricotta dish had lots of colourful elements on the plate and was finished with a tomato consommé poured over the top. The baked ricotta and creamy ricotta mousse worked well with the other elements including the olives, tomatoes and what my friend described as the orange ‘pieces of coral reef’. The tuna tortellini was fresh, had a beautiful bergamot sauce and was topped with crispy onions.


IMG_6009On to the mains and I had taken our waiter’s recommendation on the cod. A decision I did not regret! The fish was well seasoned and perfectly cooked. The accompanying mussels were a treat! My friend opted for the porcini risotto; probably one of the more traditional dishes on the menu but perfectly executed and the mushroom flavour came across well.

IMG_6016For the desserts we opted for the olive oil cake and the plum tart. This was my first olive oil cake and I was pleasantly surprised. It had a soft texture and wasn’t overly sweet but the honeycomb and ice-cream on the dish gave the right balance. The plum and chocolate tart was dramatically served with a puff of Laphroaig whisky from a perfume bottle.


The staff in Mono were knowledgeable and attentive without being overbearing. They chose some really nice matched wines for us which I thought were excellent value at £15.

This was an all-round excellent experience and I confirm I there was no need to unbutton my jeans after lunch!

Keep an eye out for special events from Mono; the most recent one was an eight course Truffle Tasting Menu which sounded unbelievable!

I was invited along as a guest of Mono.

7 Unmissable Food & Drink finds in Angus

Angus is a wonderful region full of treats for the food and drink lover. Here are a few of my top recommendations.

1.One of the most famous foods from Angus has to be the Arbroath Smokie. The Smokie has Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. In a similar way to Champagne or Parma Ham, this means that the smokie has to be processed within five miles of Arbroath. The haddock is washed, salted and then wood-smoked in a traditional process that dates back to the 1800’s. My personal favourite is having smokies served simply with butter for breakfast but have a look over on for some brilliant recipe ideas.


2. Who knew that Kirriemuir would be home to an artisan chocolate maker? Johanna Woodhead and her husband have run the gorgeous 88 Degrees café for more than 13 years and I hear that the communal bench seating has led to more than one marriage proposal! As well as being a bit of a Cilla Black, Johanna creates THE most amazing handmade chocolates. She was kind enough to let me sample the Adult Snickers (yep, as good as it sounds!) and even let me have a go at making my own truffles. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be able to give up my day job quite yet!


3. Angus loves a food and drink event. I attended Taste Angus at Glamis Castle and it was a brilliant day out with artisan food suppliers, celebrity chef demos and live music. Look out for its return next year. Later in 2017 there’s also Brechin Beer & Gin Festival  in September and Angus Brewfest in October to look forward to. Also the Farmers Market Montrose is held on the first Saturday of every month and the Farmers Market Forfar is held on the second Saturday of the month. Lots of great opportunities to try and buy local produce!


4. I couldn’t talk about Angus food and drink without mentioning the famous Forfar Bridie! Whilst there are conflicting stories about the origin of the bridie, there’s no denying just how tasty they are! The delicious shortcrust pastry, the hot beef filing…. nothing quite compares! The first time I visited Forfar for work, when 12 o’clock came, I was asked the most serious question of the day “Are you going to McLaren’s or Saddler’s for your bridie?“.  One not to miss out on when you visit the town!

5. For whisky lovers, this 360 degree bar in Edzell has to be a little piece of heaven. Situated in the Glenesk Hotel, the bar is home to over 1,000 varieties with the most expensive dram setting you back a cool £195. For those less partial to Scotch, the bar also has a great vodka corner and an excellent gin selection. The lounge is the perfect place to unwind with a drink after dinner in the stunning Fairways Restaurant.



6. Angus is home to not one, but two of my favourite gin producers! Both Arbikie and The Gin Bothy are based in the county. Arbikie has two gin varieties – Kirsty’s Gin and AK’s Gin. Both distinctly different but equally delicious.

The Gin Bothy currently have four full strength gins as well as a number of fruit infused gins which are liqueur strength. The Gin Bothy is the brainchild of Kim who gave me a sneaky peak of the brand new tasting rooms where you can enjoy a guided group sampling session. She also let me try out the full range; tough job I know! What stood out for me was how ‘real’ the fruit gins tasted. There’s no synthetic flavours added so the Raspberry Gin, my favourite, tastes like real Scottish raspberries. I also fell in love with Gunshot Gin which has won a triple star in the Great Taste Awards


7. If, like me, you are a fan of fine dining, then Angus and the surrounding areas have a number of restaurants sure to tickle your fancy! The Tayberry in Broughty Ferry was created by award winning chef Adam Newth in 2015. Adam, from Abroath, is also Head Chef at the stunning Kinnetles Castle near Forfar and has recently opened a second Tayberry in St Andrews. My experience at The Tayberry was outstanding – you can read the full review here.

Or how about a visit to one of Chef Graham Campbell’s restaurants? The youngest person in Scotland to have received a Michelin star; he is Head Chef at both Castlehill restaurant in Dundee and the Glenesk Hotel in Edzell. I watched Graham demonstrate some of his favourite dishes recently and I loved his passion for using locally sourced produce and letting the ingredients do the talking.


Scallops with Corn

Scallops with Corn

Food for a fiver in Edinburgh

With its posh shops and upmarket bars and restaurants, George Street might not be the first place you’d think about for reasonably priced food in Edinburgh. So I was surprised (in a good way) to find out there’s somewhere on George Street where you can get a main course and a drink for less than a tenner! Where is this hidden gem, you ask? It’s Candybar which I’ve been to for cocktails plenty of times before but never thought to eat there. It turns out that Candybar has all food priced at £5 every day and a range of other deals like fajitas and a margarita for £9 on a Wednesday. Surely there’s a catch, I thought? Candybar recently invited me along to check the place out for myself and here’s what I thought….


Candybar, at the west end of George Street, is at basement level but there is also some outdoor seating at pavement level (which you can’t miss due to its fluorescent green colouring!). I visited on a Wednesday evening and the place was really busy and there was a buzzing atmosphere. The clientele seemed to be mainly small groups of friends enjoying mid-week catch ups.

The menu had loads of tasty options and I was torn between starting with the pulled pork nachos, mac ‘n’ cheese fritters or the coconut chicken. In the end, my macaroni cheese obsession won and I opted for the fritters. This was a good choice if I do say so myself; crispy golden breadcrumbs, hot gooey macaroni on the inside and a delicious spicy sriracha sauce to dip them in. Yum!IMG_9553

Next, I was in the mood for a burger. Looking down the menu, the #PBB caught my eye. A homemade Scottish steak burger on toasted brioche with crispy maple cured bacon and peanut butter. Peanut butter on a burger? That was a new one on me and definitely something I had to investigate. My friend also fancied a burger and went for the Chicken Katsu Burger. The burgers were served on a mini tray and came with salad and skinny fries which were crispy and nicely seasoned. Both burgers were delicious and the peanut butter totally worked!IMG_9556

After that, I had no room for dessert but decided to finish the evening with a cocktail from the extensive Candybar list (there’s over 100 to choose from). I also clocked the decent selection of craft beers and made a mental note to inform Mr GvF of this!

I really enjoyed the food and drinks in Candybar and I think this is the perfect venue for a midweek get-together or dinner before a gig or night on the town. If you are planning some Edinburgh Festival fun this summer, Candybar would be a great option for keeping costs down and still enjoying some delicious, good quality food.


Edinburgh Gin Raspberry Sorbet Recipe

As a gin-lover I’m always looking for ways to incorporate my favourite drink into cooking. This gin sorbet is so delicious and refreshing, I’m sure you’ll love it as much it as I do! It’s great as a light dessert or you could serve a small scoop as a palate cleanser between courses. The gin liqueur I’ve used has a 20% alcohol volume so if you use a full strength gin you’ll need to reduce the amount you add or it will taste too strong and be difficult to freeze.



300g caster sugar

300ml water

500ml good quality tonic water

Zest and juice of one lime

Zest and juice of half a lemon

75ml of Edinburgh Gin Raspberry Liqueur

1 egg white



  1. Put the sugar and water in a pan over a low heat and stir regularly until the sugar is dissolved. Once dissolved, turn the heat up and allow the liquid to boil for one minute.
  2. Transfer the liquid to a bowl to cool (an empty plastic ice cream tub or tupperware is ideal). Once cooled to room temperature place in the fridge for one hour.
  3. Add the tonic water, gin and citrus juice and zest. Freeze for 8 hours.
  4. Remove from the freezer and break up the mixture with a fork. Transfer to a blender and add the egg white. Blitz until smooth but try to do this quickly before the mixture melts too much.
  5. Transfer back into your tub and freeze overnight. For best result remove from the freezer ten minutes before serving.


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). 



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



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

Gin & Tonic Sea Bass Recipe

After an incredibly interesting day of foraging for botanicals with the lovely people at The Glasgow Gin Club and The Botanist gin last month, I was left feeling inspired to think about some different ways to use gin.

So I came up with this recipe to incorporate The Botanist into a fish dish. The delicate sea bass takes on the flavour really well and the fish comes out really tender. This recipe is very easy to make, perfect for a week night meal.

Serves 2


2 sea bass fillets

4 thin slices of lemon

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

10 cherry tomatoes

12 juniper berries (fresh if you can get them, I could only find dried)

25ml of The Botanist gin

25ml of good quality tonic water

10g melted butter



  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  2. Cut two large rectangles of greaseproof paper and brush all over with the melted butter using a pastry brush.
  3. Place a piece of fish in the middle of each sheet and scatter over the lemon, rosemary, tomatoes and juniper berries.
  4. Sprinkle the gin and tonic mixture over the top.
  5. Fold the greaseproof paper over and then twist the ends like a sweetie wrapper. Fold the ends underneath the parcel.
  6. Cook in the oven for 22 minutes.
  7. Place each parcel on a plate, to be opened at the table. I served with some herby potatoes and of course, a nice gin and tonic!


Guest Post: Have a Gin Fling this summer!

Summer is here (in spirit, if not in temperature) so what better time for a post featuring some delicious gin cocktails? And who better to share her favourite gin cocktails with us than the lovely Gabby Garcia, Co-founder of The Gin Emporium UK? The Gin Emporium is a fabulous travelling gin parlour which can be hired for parties, weddings and all sorts of events. Check it out here . Now, over to Gabby…


ShortsWe’ve all enjoyed a summer fling with something, whether it be the dark handsome chap on the Spanish islands, cut off jean shorts or fanny packs and we all know the heartbreak when it ends, but here’s a summer fling that will take you to new heights and maybe even a little way into autumn.

We’ve put together some of the best Gin Cocktails for you to enjoy this summer including a sneaky and very cheeky cocktail to see you through to the dark nights.

  1. The Chilgrove Gin Bright & Breezy!

Handcrafted using traditional methods and distilled with Natural Mineral water from the chalk downs, Chilgrove Gin is one of the finest we’ve tasted! A gin for all seasons, we love the Bright n Breezy cocktail and it certainly goes down a storm at our events. This gorgeous number includes dashes of angostura bitters and ginger beer, giving you a refreshing kick this summer.


2 measures of Chilgrove Dry Gin

2 Squeezed lime wedges

4 dashes of Angostura bitters

Ginger Beer (we choose Fevertree – naturally made and delicious)


Add the ingredients to a Collins glass with ice and stir. This cocktail has a lovely pink tint and an exciting flavour!


  1. The Goodmans Gin Caprice Cocktail

Goodmans Gin is from the Netherlands and one of our favourites. The story behind the gin is almost like a Hollywood movie, a bar every day at 5’oclock at the side of the pool, people chatting and suddenly a lightbulb – I’ll make my own gin. The gin is created and it’s named after the bar and prescribed to be sipped at 5’oclock. The Gin itself is courageous, it’s smooth, clean and full of spirit. It’s fantastic over ice with a slice of ginger to bring out the kick on your tongue but for today we are sharing a wonderful cocktail, The Caprice.


4.5 CL of Goodmans Gin

1.5 CL of Benedictine

1.5 CL of Dry Vermouth

Dash of Orange Bitters (we say 2)


Stir with ice and strain into coupe glass


  1. Daffy’s Negroni


Of course it wouldn’t be a true gin cocktail list without a Negroni, but here is one of our favourites and a wonderful Scottish gin to match! Daffy’s Gin is like nothing we have tasted before, you are enticed by the eyes of the blonde on the front of the bottle, followed by an almost toffee smell and then hit with spicy citrus flavour on the tongue. You feel the Lebanese mint linger and it’s fascinating! It works brilliantly in mixology and one of our favourites is the Negroni.


The Negroni was created in Florence in the 1920s and has become a summer staple forever!



1 part Daffy’s Gin

1 part Campari

1 part red vermouth

Orange Peel

Combine all the ingredients with plenty of ice and serve on the rocks in a tumbler glass.


  1. The Pinkster Gin Jungle Remedy


Pinkster Gin is a quirky number on the market, it’s different to the others and is made by hand-steeping raspberries which are grown locally in Cambridgeshire. The Gin matches its name and is wonderfully pink, served with tonic, ice, raspberries and mint this gin changes with each new addition! It’s a perfect gin for those that don’t like heavy juniper gins, it’s also brilliant for experimental mixology! The Jungle Remedy a Pinkster Gin own recipe is brilliant and we love it!



50ml Pinkster

25ml lemongrass syrup

25ml fresh lime juice

5 fresh basil leaves

Shake and double strain into an ice-filled rocks glass, garnish with a sprig of basil.


  1. Burleighs St Clements


Burleighs Gin has an incredible flavour and a sense of purpose, from the standing proud bottle to the notes of Dandelion and Burdock, this is by far one of our favourite gins that we have tasted! The adventure behind Burleighs is another brilliant story, created by world renowned Master Distiller Jamie Baxter (who also created William Chase and City of London) and full of gorgeous Leicestershire botanicals this gin is perfect on its own over ice.


We are quite partial to the St Clements cocktail made with this premium pour. Bright orange and packed with flavour this cocktail perfect for a hot summer’s day sitting outside.



50 ml Burleighs London Dry Gin

35ml Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

Bitter Lemon Top


Serve in a highball glass with ice and an orange wheel. Kick back and enjoy this refreshing number.


That’s the end of our Gin Fling summer line up but we did promise that this fling wouldn’t end until the autumn, so with a drum roll we are pleased to present one of our favourite autumnal cocktails….


Burleighs Autumn Leaves


Deep and dark perfect for sitting in front of the fire on an autumn day listening to the rain beat against the windows. This cocktail is garnished with blackberries and served on the rocks.



30ml Burleighs London Dry Gin

15ml Triple Sec

15ml Noilly Prat

15ml Campari


You should get a deep auburn colour and serve on the rocks in a tumbler glass.






Guest Blogger: Gabby Garcia, Co-founder of The Gin Emporium UK

Gabby lives in Leicestershire and is the Co-founder of The Gin Emporium UK, a travelling Gin Parlour

Gabby is a food and gin enthusiast and regularly combines the two!


© 2019 Girl Versus Food

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑