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When I lived in Singapore, at Christmas time our house was overflown with hampers gifted to our family. At Christmas and Chinese New Year, it was normal business practise to gift clients and depending on the client, take the family out of dinner too.

Day in and day out on the run up to Christmas, the door bell would ring with more deliveries of VVSOP Cognac, Wine and Dutch cookies to name a few. One Christmas, we must have had over twenty hampers delivered to us and by this point, my parents were sick of looking at them. Me being me, I loved them, just so I could raid the Dutch cookies (till this day, I love those little sugary things!).

One year however, a different type of hamper was delivered which saw our entire kitchen turned into a fruit shop. We were gifted an enormous fruit hamper consisting of two huge boxes of mangoes, boxes of cherries, fuji apples and pineapples. Needless to say, we loved the change from the traditional hampers we were accustomed to. It was also the start of my cherry addiction.

After moving to Kuwait and then Paris, it was goodbye to the hampers we received but hello to the hampers we gifted to my grandfather. Smoked Salmon Pâté, Champagne and Shortbread Petticoats galore. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I was gifted my very own Christmas Countdown Hamper (£100) from Harvey Nichols. I was like a kid that got all the candy. Grown up candy.

What dog doesn’t like going for walkies? Bobby (otherwise affectionately known as Doggy Dog, Bob Bob, Bobster or Noodles) certainly loves them. In fact he bounces around like a rabbit and races to the front door the moment you said “walk…(runs)…ies”. I then have to hunt around for  his lead along with his little poop bags. Nightmare, especially when a rather hyper dog scratching at the door dying to go outside.

This is where The Doddle comes in.

The Doddle comprises a strong nylon webbing collar with a built-in retractable lead that has a looped handle. Once you fasten the collar you have a built in lead that is always on the dog. The durable plastic pod contains a reel of high strength nylon webbing which pulls out to a standard (1m) length retractable lead with the looped handle for immediate control.

So a collar for your dog with an in-built retractable lead? Sign me up!

I put the Doddle to the test (not a huge fan of the name, I have to admit) with Bobby and my 3 year old nephew Oliver. As usual, Bobby was excited as ever albiet rather confused as to why I took off his old collar and popped on his new shiny red one. Every time Oliver is at the house, he loves playing with his best buddy and wants to take him for a walk himself.

Ollie and Bobby going walkies

Available in two sizes small & medium, I found that the retractable lead is the perfect size for the little people in your life. The looped handle is great for little hands to cling onto and because the retractable lead isn’t as long as a normal lead (I estimate it as just over a metre in length, maybe?), you don’t need to worry about your dog running away too fast with you (or a little person) being dragged behind.

With myself, I found that the length of the lead wasn’t really suitable for walking Bobby. He’s the type of dog that loves to roam in front of you. With my height (5’7) combined with how small Bobby is (he’s a Yorkshire Terrier), he could only walk along beside me and couldn’t bounce away as per usual.

I thought that Bobby may not like having the Doddle as his new collar as it is rather bulky in comparison but he honestly didn’t have any issues with it. He was even able to have a little snooze with it on.

Oliver had a blast walking Bobby. I also cannot confirm nor deny that he may have had a little accident when Bobby got spooked by a giant dog (he’s petrified of other dogs!) and tumbled over him on the pavement. No cuts or bruises, so it’s all good! Oliver cried his little eyes out when it was time to go back inside the house. Now, it’s his special treat every time he’s over. Fun times all around.

I don’t think the Doddle will take over fully from Bobby’s normal collar, but it’s great for when you’re travelling, want to walk the dogs with kids or have dogs who aren’t little impatient explorers!

To learn more about them, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

It is no secret that I love Burger Meats Bun. I could talk for hours about how good they are and how I look forward to every single visit I make to the basement restaurant on West Regent Street. My excitement was further warranted when I opened my email to read that Burger Meats Bun were starting a #MeatUp on the first Monday of every month in Glasgow starting tonight and the second Monday of every month in Edinburgh.

The inaugural #MeatUp saw Mark Donald take over the reigns of BMB. Mark begun his cheffing life at Stravaigin and has gone on to become one of Scotland’s brightest young kitchen talents. Following a stint at the world-famous Noma in Copenhagen, Mark spent two years at Scotland’s only two Michelin Star establishment, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie. He is currently back in Scotland following two years in London as Sous Chef at Claude Bosi’s two Michelin starred Hibiscus, before heading Down Under to be part of the opening team at Sydney’s hottest new restaurant.

At £22.50 for 3 courses, I couldn’t pass this opportunity up.

While browsing over the menu and deciding whether or not to add-on the alcoholic drinks package for £15, we were given a little tub of Popcorn Chicken. No, not the KFC type but Popcorn with a homemade Chicken Salt. Now I love Salted Popcorn but this was Popcorn on steroids. A delicious little snack to get our appetites ready for action.

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Popcorn Chicken

After a short wait, our first course was presented to us in what I can only call a majestic setting. Sullen Kink was Mark’s taken on Cullen Skink and was presented beautifully to us. Three elements made up Sullen Kink: Smoked Haddock broth with dashi, Smoked Haddock Brandade and Smoked Haddock Wafers. This was sensational. Not only did it look amazing, it tasted just as good, if not better. The Smoked Haddock Brandade which was smoked haddock, cream and herbs coated in panko breadcrumbs stole the show for me. They were presented on top of a bed of rocks, langoustines and clam shells with some dry ice for good measure. Impressive Mr Donald, impressive. I could have seriously just ordered a whole plate of these and was left a tad disappointed we didn’t have more.

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Sullen Kink

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Sullen Kink Plate

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Smoked Haddock Brandade

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Smoked Haddock Brandade Closeup

Next up, our main was Reef & Beef. The ultimate burger. Two thin beef patties were complimented with Jamon Iberico, Manchego Cheese and Lobster Mayo. The patties were cooked to perfection for my taste, seasoned well and the flavour combinations worked extremely well. The lobster mayo (mayo with lobster oil and lobster meat folded through) did not overpower the burger in the slightest which is what I originally feared. The Jamon Iberico gave the burger a lovely crunch, only wish there was more. Again.

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Reef and Beef

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Inside Reef and Beef

Served with the burger, we were given a tub of Hot Mess aka Poutine. This poutine was made with chips, cheese curds from Dunlop Dairy in Ayrshire, braised pig’s cheeks and pig’s cheek gravy. Once again, Mark can do no wrong for me. I’ve always been a little wary about eating poutine because I’m not the biggest fan of gravy on chips or the thought of eating curdled cheese. Oh how I was wrong. If there was one way to introduce me to poutine, this was it. Beautifully tender pig’s cheeks, crisp and fluffy chips, a rich delicious gravy and squeaky cheese curds. I just wish I was able to finish the poutine, but I was ready to burst. Instead, Ross decided to devour every last crumb and then drink the left over gravy. A sign of a delicious dish if ever there was one.

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Hot Mess Poutine

Lastly, dessert was served. Everyone knows we have a separate tummy for pudding, right? Well…. I couldn’t say no to a Snickers Eclair. This was no ordinary eclair. A homemade eclair with a peanut butter and caramel creme patisserie, chocolate glaze and topped with salted, caramelised and crystallised peanuts. Unbelievable. Such a delectable dessert and a perfect ending to a delicious dinner.

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Snickers Eclair

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Snicked Eclair on plate

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp inside Snicker Eclair

& the best bit is always licking the chocolate off your fingers afterwards, am I right?

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Chocolate Fingers

It was such a great evening, one I could not fault in the slightest and I cannot look forward to the next #MeatUp. Be sure to register for the BMB Newsletter to get more details on the next popup in Glasgow and Edinburgh. It’s worth it, trust me.

A couple of months ago when I was through in Edinburgh for a full day, I was invited to check out The Magnum situated on Albany Street. I had never heard of this Bar & Restaurant before but I’m always up for trying somewhere new. From their website, they state they “combine Scotlands best local ingredients with traditional flavours. We serve classic Scottish dishes alongside fresh seasonal game and seafood”. Since Ross and I had a jam-packed day, we decided to have lunch instead of the original dinner invitation.

We walked in and on first impressions, The Magnum is beautifully decorated, very contemporary and laid back. The restaurant was rather empty and we clocked less than a handful of tables at the height of Sunday lunch service. We had a choice of table and decided to sit next to the window so we could people watch. Beautiful fairy lights cascaded down the window but what wasn’t so pleasant was the little family of rather noticeably dead wasps which were laying all over the window sill along with a layer of dust. Cringe.

Choosing to clean away the wasps ourselves,  our drink order was then taken and paper menus handed out. We were informed that we couldn’t order A la Carte and that we could only order from the Bar Menu or from the Set Lunch Menu. A little disheartening but this was my own fault for not checking what their weekend lunch service is like.

Looking at the menu’s, I was rather perplexed why a Sunday Roast was not on offer. The mains offered within the Set Lunch Menu were not appealing therefore we decided to just order off the Bar Menu and request if we could order a Starter from the Set Lunch Menu. Thankfully, our request was granted.

After a short wait, our starters arrived. I decided to try the Buccleuch Haggis Spring Roll with Hickory Relish and Rocket. I loved this starter. A beautifully crispy Spring Roll shell surrounding a wonderfully spiced Haggis which was cooked perfectly. Sometimes with Spring Rolls, they are drowning in oil but I’m glad to say that there was no grease in sight. The Haggis Spring Roll was complimented with a Hickory Relish and a Mixed Leaf Salad (instead of Rocket as advertised). I didn’t get a huge Hickory Barbecue taste from the Relish but worked very well alongside the Haggis. I’d definitely order this again.

The Magnum Edinburgh Buccleuch Haggis Spring Roll with Hickory Relish and Rocket

Ross opted for Homemade Soup of the Day which was Roast Tomato and Basil if I recall. It isn’t something he would normally order but with limited choices, it was the best of a bad bunch for him. The soup was a lovely vibrant red colour and smelt wonderful. It tasted as good as it looked, ignoring the rather strange balsamic glaze squiggle. You could taste the basil throughout the soup but it didn’t overpower it. Thumbs up.

The Magnum Edinburgh Roasted Tomato Soup

It took a while for our plates to be cleared and for our mains to arrive but we didn’t reach the fidgety stage, yet. I ordered Tempura Battered Haddock and Handcut Chips with a Sweet Lemon and Gherkin Aioli. Two beautifully cooked chunks of Haddock were on my plate in a light crispy Tempura Batter. The fish was soft, flaky and fresh. Paired with the Sweet Lemon and Gherkin Aioli, it was a winner. The Handcut Chips could have done with some more seasoning, but when dipping into the Aioli, you didn’t mind. This was by far one of the best Fish and Chips I’ve had in a Restaurant.

The Magnum Edinburgh Tempura Battered Haddock and Handcut Chips with a Sweet Lemon and Gherkin Aioli

Annoyingly for me, Ross ordered the Pulled Pork Sandwich in a Rich BBQ Sauce on a Glazed Brioche Bun with Baby Gem Lettuce, Apple and Fennel Coleslaw and Beer Pickled Onion Rings. I detest Pulled Pork. I think it is one food item that needs to end. STAT. Ross however, loves it. The Pulled Pork was tender and smothered in the Rich BBQ Sauce. I tasted a little of the sauce and it was delicious. We both weren’t huge fans of the Apple and Fennel Coleslaw and the Onion Rings were too sweet which was a little off putting.

The Magnum Edinburgh Pulled Pork Sandiwch in a Rich BBQ Sauce

Once again, service was slow at taking our plates away. The restaurant wasn’t busy at all which, if was, I could understand why service would have been that slow. It seems our waitress was more interested in chatting to one of their female friends that entered the bar just after we finished our starters. I really don’t think we needed to hear about our waitresses love life or how drunk she had been lately. Sadly, we couldn’t get away from it as they were far from quiet. It was rather off putting. The bill couldn’t come quick enough so we could leave and have dessert elsewhere.

It was a rather sad end to a mostly enjoyable lunch. The food for the most part was very good and I’d definitely return again for the Haggis and Tempura Haddock, if different staff were on duty. It’s just a pity that the staff let the kitchen and Restaurant down.

Disclaimer: I was invited by The Magnum Edinburgh as a guest in return for a review. Whilst my meal was complimentary, we paid for drinks and left a tip. I was under no obligation to write a positive review and my comments reflect my true experience that afternoon.

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I know it’s only October and I normally have a no Christmas talk until November rule but I could not resist going to John Lewis to check out their Christmas Shop the other week. Christmas is a magical time, I love nothing better than snuggling up on the sofa watching Christmas movies, sipping hot chocolate (with a mountain of marshmallows) while staring at a beautifully decorated tree. This year, John Lewis have won me over.

I wandered around the John Lewis Glasgow store taking photographs of every single decoration I wanted to buy. I think it has honestly been the first time that I wanted everything in sight but of course my bank balance will think otherwise. They have decorations to suit everyone, traditional to bright and fluffy. Here are my picks for what would be perfect for Christmas this year and years to come. I also have it on good authority that this years Christmas TV Ad will be aired on November 9th.

When I first entered the Christmas Shop, I was met with the most beautiful Nordmann Fir Real Christmas Tree complete with stand (£90). How good does that look? I would have loved to have taken the entire tree home with me but alas, I would have been arrested and put on the naughty list.

John Lewis at Christmas Nordmann Fir Real Christmas Tree with Stand

If you’re more of a minimalist, how about this Wooden Laser-Cut Tree? All you need to do is pop on some decorations and you have you own hassle free tree. It would be perfect in an office or a kids bedroom.

John Lewis at Christmas Wooden Laser-Cut Tree, White

This year as always the new John Lewis Christmas 2014 Teddy Bear has been released and it’s a cutie! How dapper does the little guy look with his Christmas jumper and bow tie? The medium bear is a steal at £10 and is a collectors item. Perfect for children of all ages (or me).

John Lewis at Christmas Medium Lewis Bear

I also love these paper decorations that you can hang from your ceiling, wall or even tree. As well as the Angel and Santa decoration, you can also get Rudolph. These would be perfect in a kids bedroom or even in the office to brighten up your desk.

How cute are these Children’s Tree Decorations? I love all of them and am definitely going to buy a fair few. Just because I’m an adult doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate some pompoms and felt, does it?

For the grown ups, these more traditional & contemporary tree decorations would look great on your tree. They are all great but I particulary love the mint green and blue decorations the most as they are my favourite colours. Once again, I’m definitely going to be buying them this year.

Snow Globes are a thing of beauty, ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved looking at Snow Globes and cannot resist shaking them like crazy to watch the snow fall. This snow globe is a particular favourite of mine. A little grown up for kids but still beautiful nonetheless. Shake it, shake it like a Polaroid Picture, shake it, shake it.

John Lewis at Christmas Woodland Snow Globe, White

Have you started thinking about Christmas? Do you buy new decorations every year or do you stick to firm family favourites? Real tree or fake tree?

Note: This is NOT a sponsored post.

What do you get when you combine bloggers with baking? A bake off like no other. The weekend before last saw the entire Central Scotland Food and Lifestyle Bloggers (a tad exaggerated but close enough) descend upon The Cookery School in Glasgow for the ultimate all-day baking class where we’d learn to make scones, cupcakes, victoria sponge and chocolate chip muffins courtesy of Currys and Kenwood. Sounds like the perfect way to spend a Sunday, right? It got even better when we got to take our goodies home and scoff them.

Currys in the Kitchen- Danny from Glasgow Cook School

The day started bright and early (okay, it was 11am) where I reached for the biggest cup of coffee while chatting to bloggers I hadn’t seen in a while and acquainted myself with new bloggers. It was then time to watch the Head Chef Danny McArdle demo what we were going to make before pairing off into groups. I teamed up with Miss West End Girl, Last Years Girl and Glasgow Beauty Blogger calling ourselves Team Sparkle.

Currys in the Kitchen- Mixing Bowl

As self appointed Baking Project Manager, I b̶o̶s̶s̶e̶d̶ delegated my fellow team members to ensure we whipped up our mixes perfectly. Just like in any good team, we each took turns grabbing ingredients, measuring, whisking and prepping our goodies for the oven, in between stopping and starting so many times to take the perfect photograph. I have to admit I have slight OCD when it comes to baking, I need cake mix to be smooth to stop an uneven bake. I’m pretty sure I annoyed the rest of the team when I was smoothing out the victoria sponge and cupcake mix. Ooops.

After prepping each bake for the oven, we handed over the hard work of baking it to the staff at The Cookery School while we took little breaks, tweeting & instagramming the afternoon away. We did have an ulterior motive with the mass amount of #CurrysInTheKitchen posts, we were vying to win one of two Kenwood Patissier Mixers if we could come up with the best baking tip.  Alas, I didn’t win but I’m super glad that Ruth from BeautyH2T and Charlotte from Colours and Carousels did because we each got a snazzy Kenwood kMix Hand Mixer to take home with us along with a lovely goodie bag.

Want to know what my top baking tip is? Baking is a science but trusting your judgement is key to the perfect bake. If the recipe says it takes 20-25 minutes for the cake to be ready but at 18 minutes you think it’s cooked, trust yourself. Test it with a toothpick to ensure it’s clean. If you second guess yourself too much, you could end up ruining your bake and no one wants that!

I had a wonderful afternoon at The Cookery School. If you haven’t been before, it’s a great place for day or night cookery classes. I’ve been three times now and cannot recommend it enough. I first went to learn how to make macarons (thanks to a wonderful Christmas present from Ross) and then for my birthday when a group of us went to a night cookery class. Fun times had by all.

Currys in the Kitchen- Kenwood K Mix

Have you been to a cookery school before? If so, what class did you take part in? Have you made anything you were taught since?

 

Today marked the first day of the BBC Good Food Show which was officially opened by Paul Hollywood & Mary Berry at 10am. I turned up bright and early at 9:30am, a tad eager but I had a long day ahead of me hunting out the best stalls, buying a little too much & sampling lots of delicious delicacies. Oh it’s a tough job.

BBC-Good-Food-Show-Mary-Berry-and-Paul-Hollywood-Cutting-Ribbon

My day started with watching Paul & Mary cut the official ribbon and crowds of eager shoppers waiting in anticipation to be the first into the hall. After the opening, we went over to the Kenwood Super theatre for the official Press photo call with Paul & Mary where we managed to get a few snaps of the baking duo before their busy day ahead in the Super theatre. I was a little star struck seeing them up close for the first time, Mary looked lovely, you just instantly warm to her & want her to be your adopted Granny!

BBC-Good-Food-Show-Mary-Berry-and-Paul-Hollywood-in-Supertheatre

BBC-Good-Food-Show-Mary-Berry-and-Paul-Hollywood-in-the-Supertheatre-2

After a quick little wander, it was time to head into the Super theatre to watch the baking duo hard at work. Mary was making a Chicken Pie with Wilted Spinach which was quick & simple to make but most importantly, looked great. Next up was a Lemon Posset which Mary was making as Paul was whipping up some Pistachio Shortbread. My eyes instantly lit up when I heard the word pistachio. It was like he knew I was there, well… that’s what I’d like to admit. I have to say, the chemistry between them is strong. They are a great team and work together extremely well. Mary gives as good as she gets!

As the show finished, I met up with Ross and we devised a “full proof” system of going up and down every aisle in a mission to check out every single stall. Sadly, we both get easily distracted and ventured off course several times that I still don’t know if we managed to visit each individual stall. My bank card will more than likely confirm that we did. I felt like a rabbit in the headlights at times but eventually found my Food Show groove and managed to root out my favourite stalls of the show.

Late afternoon, in between buying too many things, the BBC Good Food Show Bloggers were whisked backstage to meet none other than Paul Hollywood for a quick Meet & Greet before he was next due on stage. Mary Berry was in the lounge too having a little sit down so we didn’t want to bother her for a photograph. He was lovely and I can also confirm that Paul’s eyes are just as blue up close.

After meeting Paul Hollywood, it was back to shopping I went. Below, I’ve highlighted some of my favourites that, in my opinion, you must go check out. If you do, let me know what you think of them and report back on your purchases.

Ramsay of Carluke

BBC-Good-Food-Show-Ramsays-of-Carluke-Black-Pudding

I love everything about this company. I first met Andrew Ramsay at last years show when they were Bursary Award winners. Andrew sat with a small group of the BBC Good Food Show Bloggers and discussed the history behind the company. They are a family butchers for over 150 years and they produce some of the best bacon & black pudding I have ever tasted. If you’ve never tried it, you are missing out. They are a must see stall if you love Traditional Ayrshire Bacon, Black Pudding & Sausages. It also helps that they are a friendly bunch too! If you time it right, you might even get to sample some of the food before it gets snapped up by the hungry crowd.

Scotia Spice

BBC-Good-Food-Show-Scotia-Spice-Punjabi-Cooking-Box

Ever felt completely overwhelmed while cooking with spices? Scotia Spice help you learn the art of authentic Punjabi cooking. A recent Bursary Award winner, they have created a little box called ‘Your guide to true Punjabi cooking’ complete with spices, ingredients, recipes from the Scotia Spice Cookery School and techniques to implement when you cook your next curry from scratch for £20. On their stall, you also get the chance to sample three chutneys, the Tomato & Cumin being my absolute favourite. Another must see stall, unfortunately I didn’t have any spare arms to carry one of the boxes away with me today but it is on my must-buy list.

Beaujolais Wines

You cannot go wrong with wine tasting, can you? Well… sadly if you are driving to the show like myself, you have to limit your intake to a couple of sips instead of the entire bottle like I wanted to. The girls in this stall are lovely and helpful if you are clueless about what type of wine you like. We chatted to one of the girls for a good 20 minutes on red wine and the Beaujolais region of France. I’m normally a Malbec or Rioja kind of girl but I fell in love with a £7.99 bottle of Beaujolais Village which is on the completely different side of the drinking scale. My ultimate favourite was the Château des Jacques Moulin-à-Vent 2010 Louis Jadot which is a medium bodied red wine and perfect with red meat, slightly more expensive at £16 a bottle but worth it for the quality. Perfect for Christmas presents if I do say so myself!

Billington’s of Lenzie

You cannot go to the BBC Good Food Show without checking out Glasgow’s Best Deli (2 years running!). The stall this year is once again stocked to the brim full of artisan produce, delicious breads, alcohol and tastings. I’ve spoken so much about these guys in the past few months so instead of rabbiting on even more, just go see the guys and give them a huge congratulations.

Coffee & Juice Shack

BBC-Good-Food-Show-The-Shack-Cafe

Everyone loves a good cup of coffee, right? Well, these guys are a welcome addition to the show this year. The stall is designed like a beach side shack catering for coffee and juice lovers. The espresso that we tried comes from Guatemalan beans which are supplied by James Gourmet. The guys are very passionate about coffee and are looking to set up their coffee shop in the near future down in Herefordshire. They also have an old school lemonade stand selling fresh lemonade for £3.50, I was so thirsty that I ended up drinking mine in less than a minute, it was light, refreshing and slightly sweet. A great thirst quencher.

Heck!

BBC-Good-Food-Show-Heck-Sausages

Ah Sausages. You can never have too many, right? I had never heard of Heck! before today but it’s a name that I will never forget now. After sampling their range of sausages, then going back for more, I instantly bought four boxes of sausages that I will probably end up eating for the next week or two. My favourite? The 97% Pork or the Chorizo. If you are looking to buy good quality sausages, these are the guys to buy them from.

Scottish Fruit Trees

BBC-Good-Food-Show-Scottish-Fruit-Trees

BBC-Good-Food-Show-Scottish-Fruit-Trees-Apple-Juice

This was by far the most interesting stall to me, I really want to do them justice by having an entire blog post based on them because I love the work that they are doing. I’m also first to admit that I cannot stand Apple Juice, I’ve now discovered that its actually the Supermarket variety that I detest. The guys freshly squeezed apples right in front of us and served it to us. Delicious.  Look out for a blog post on them very soon. Don’t forget to drop passed them to pick up some Apple Juice without all those nasty additives.

The Brownie Bar

BBC-Good-Food-Show-The-Brownie-Bar

Chocolate Brownies. Enough said? No? Well, not only do they create delicious rich chocolate brownies, they have white chocolate & pistachio. Need I say more? I bought four brownies and now only one is left. They taste delicious, are gooey in the middle and come in a variety of different flavours. If you have a sweet tooth and love a good brownie, you need to hunt them out.

 The Dog House Bakery (Madison’s Bakery for Dogs)

BBC-Good-Food-Show-Madisons-Bakery-for-Dogs-Sweet-Potato-Biscotti

BBC-Good-Food-Show-Madisos-Bakery-for-Dogs

Finally, a stall fit for my furry companion Bobby (aka Doggy Dog). Dog lovers need to come check out this stall to grab some delectable treats for dogs such as Sweet Potato Biscotti, Peanut Butter Hearts and Tuna Fish Treats. I honestly couldn’t decide what to get for Bobby so I ended up getting a Variety Box of 6 different treats so that Bobby himself can tell me what he likes as he’s rather picky in his old age. He’s quite partial to smoked salmon and fillet steak though! The bakery are also based at Partick Farmers Market so if you miss them at the show, you can go along with your dog to the market one day and let your dog decide which treat they want.

Are you going to the show this year? Have you already been? What were your favourite stalls? What did you buy?

I love street food, the kind of street food that is quick, cheap & most importantly, tastes amazing. I loved grabbing Roti Prata & Curry Sauce from Singaporean hawker stalls for $1 (50p) when I was a kid or a Chicken Shawarma for 250 fils (50p) from Kuwaiti road side shops when I was a teenager.

In Glasgow, we are a long long way away from embracing street food in the same way it has taken over London. Glasgow is full of greasy burger vans which don’t look the cleanest and do not offer any healthy options, unless you call chips and the lettuce on your burger healthy. Does that mean there is no demand for decent good quality street food in the city? Think again.

Eats From The Street- Glasgow Fort

Street food was rather unknown in Glasgow until the likes of Street Food Cartel started their underground pop-ups at SWG3 which launched street food with a bang. Since then, a variety of different food outlets such as Babu Bombay Street Kitchen, Smoak and Fire in Babylon have made Glasgow fall in love with good quality international street food. Sadly, you won’t be seeing any street food trucks roaming the streets of Glasgow anytime soon as Glasgow City Council have red tape as long as a piece of string. It’s a shame because chefs and budding entrepreneurs who may not have enough money to own their own restaurants find it tremendously difficult to break into the food industry. That is what makes street food stalls and food trucks appealing. Not to mention the variety of different cuisines that are readily available for consumers. Talking about food trucks, have you seen the movie CHEF? You really should!

I popped along to Glasgow Fort who were hosting the first Eats from the Street in collaboration with British Street Food. The aim is to celebrate street food culture around the UK starting in Glasgow. They will also be visiting Glasgow Fort a further four weekends before the New Year along with  Edinburgh, Teeside & Broughton.

Eats From The Street Bus Sign- Glasgow Fort

Over each weekend there will be five street food traders including Nusou, who were chosen to represent Scotland at the 2014 British Street Food Awards with their bowls of noodles and fresh-ribboned vegetables.

Eats From The Street- Glasgow Fort- Breaking Bread

Eats From The Street- Glasgow Fort- Breaking Bread Menu

Eats From The Street- Glasgow Fort- Nusou

Eats From The Street- Glasgow Fort- The Fat Hippo Menu

Eats From The Street- Glasgow Fort- The Fat Hippo

There was seriously so much choice but I decided to try the Lamb Sausage Tagine from Glasgow based Breaking Bread and Ross opted for the Little Hippo burger from Newcastle based Fat Hippo which included bacon, chorizo, cheese, caramelised onions and fat hippo sauce. Both were delicious and very filling. I wanted to try some Waffle Sticks from Zoete Koek but I was full. I’m still kicking myself at missing out on them.

Eats From The Street- Glasgow Fort- Breaking Bread Lamb Sausage Tagine

Eats From The Street- Glasgow Fort- Eating on the London Bus

Eats From The Street- Glasgow Fort- The Fat Hippos Little Hippo Burger

That is why I’m making it my mission to attend every weekend they are in town so I get to sample food from each stall. I’m rather excited about Papaganoush who will be at Glasgow Fort just after Christmas dishing out Middle Eastern Street Food. Will they do it justice?

Did you miss out on the food extravaganza when it was first in town at the beginning of October? Well don’t worry because it will be back again on the dates below for some more delectable curb crawling.

Dates for Glasgow Fort:

Sat 1st & Sun 2nd November
Sat 29th & Sun 30th November
Sat 27th & Sun 28th December

When in Glasgow, Eats from the street will be located in front of Argos from 11.30am to 6.00pm.

After another extensive Glasgow wise search, Billington’s of Lenzie have once again been crowned Glasgow’s Best Deli.

My fellow judges looked out for the variety and range of local and international produce, quality of facilities, customer service and atmosphere while mystery shopping. The results showed that Billington’s of Lenzie stood out amongst the rest of the competition for the second year running.

Billingtons of Lenzie

As winners, they will once again receive a free stand at the upcoming BBC Good Food Show to showcase their produce. I can’t wait to see what they bring to the show this year! Congratulations Mark & Sue.

Well done to all of the deli’s that made it to the short list, that in itself is a tremendous achievement.

Do you want to be at the show? Do you want win a pair of tickets to the BBC Good Food Show Scotland being held between 17th-19th October in Glasgow? Just like my facebook page & comment on the competition status to be in with the chance to win. I have three pairs of tickets to give away for the show (does not include Saturday or Super theatre seats).

Last year, I went to Christopher’s first wine tasting event at The Butchershop Bar & Grill. It was a fun filled night, very relaxed, wine paired with food and I left rather tipsy but with the added knowledge of finding a new favourite type of wine; Argentinean Malbec.

Christopher is planning on making these wine tasting events more regular alongside Gary McKernan and it kicked off with a low key tasting at Kelvingrove Cafe where we would we tasting three different wines by Charles Smith. To accompany each wine, small canapés were created to perfectly match each wine. Tickets cost £20 per person which is a bargain for this type of event if you ask me.

Charles Smith isn’t your average winemaker, as Gary told us. Charles, a California native,  previously managed a rock bands throughout Europe after heading to Denmark for a “hot piece of ass”. He later moved back to the States and with his new found passion for wine, opened a wine shop. While on a road trip, he passed through the small town of Walla Walla in Washington State and met a young Frenchman winemaker. The two of them  had the same passion for great Syrah wine and Charles eventually moved to Walla Walla to start making his own wine. The rest is history.

From his collection, we tried Kung Fu Girl Riesling, The Velvet Devil Merlot and Boom Boom! Syrah.

Charles Smith Wines

I had never heard of Riesling before as I do not generally drink white wine. Seemingly, the Riesling had a bad name for many years but is starting to become popular again. The flavour notes in Kung Fu Girl are Fuji apple, shiro plum and lime leaves. It was a very light, crispy refreshing wine. Very easy drinking and perfectly paired with Asian dishes or grilled seafood.

Next up was The Velvet Devil. The flavours we were to expect were dark cherries, cedar, pipe tobacco, anise, stone and cherry blossoms. We were also told that this is a perfect wine to have with Lamb and Roast Duck. The wine felt very full bodied to me and spicy. I wasn’t a huge fan of the intense aftertaste. Sadly not a favourite of mine.

Lastly, we tried Boom Boom! As the name suggests, it was a hit. Flavour notes were fresh herbs, rich black cherry, tobacco as well as hints of lavender. The wine is a perfect match for red meat such as Lamb and Beef. This was by far one of the best red wines I’ve had in a while and my first ever Syrah. It is an extremely easy drinking every day kind of wine. Very smooth, flavoursome and leaves a lovely aftertaste. Judging by the comments of the others, this was also a huge favourite.

I love informal wine tasting events such as this. They introduce you to ranges of wine that you would never normally drink. I also think that you can learn a lot more about the wine you are drinking.

Do you like wine? Have you been wine tasting before? What if your favourite wine?

Photo Credit: Charles Smith Wines

It is getting closer to one of the greatest food weekends in Glasgow, the BBC Good Food Show. One of the perks of being one of the BBC Good Food Show Bloggers is that we get to help judge the Glasgow’s Best Deli competition. After lots of nominations, the shortlist has now been announced. They are:

Billingtons of Lenzie (Lenzie)
Celinos Deli  (Alexandra Parade)
Peckhams (Various Glasgow locations)
Pane e Vino  (Giffnock)
I.J Mellis  (Great Western Road)
Roots and Fruits  (Great Western Road)
Veldt Deli (Great Western Road)
Deli 1901 (Shawlands)
Lupe Pinto (Great Western Road)
Eusebi Deli (Shettleston Road)

Now for the fun part, the blogging community along with Katy Truss from Fabulous Food Finds will be visiting each shortlist candidate as mystery shoppers judging deli’s on variety and range of local and international produce, quality of facilities, customer service and atmosphere too.

The winner will then be announced and will win a free stand at the show this year to showcase their produce. It’s a great opportunity for a local deli who would otherwise be unable to afford a stand or even think about attending as an exhibitor, not to mention knowing that they are the best around vote for by the public!

Last year, Billingtons of Lenzie won the coveted prize and wowed the crowd with their deli. Will they win again? Only time will tell. They have some stiff competition this year!

Billingtons of Lenzie

Are you planning on going to the show this year? Want a 20% discount on tickets? Well, you’ve came to the right website! Use the code BL20 when you buy tickets online until October 3rd. I’ll also be hosting a competition soon to win tickets to the show, so keep a look out!

Do you have a favourite Glasgow deli? Is it part of the shortlist? Who do you think should win? Are you coming to the show this year?

Coffee. I just can’t get enough and it seems neither can Glasgow. One of the newest coffee shops around is Gordon Street Coffee in Glasgow Central Station. Not only is it a coffee shop, they also roast their own coffee in-house. Not something you see everyday! Situated above Alston Bar & Beef which I previously reviewed, the coffee shop also serves a range of hot & cold filled sandwiches such as the hot pulled beef brisket, sliced gruyere & slaw, breakfast rolls, scrumptious cakes, biscuits & pastries.

The staff roast their very own coffee blend in-​house under the watch­ful eye of the Mas­ter Roaster. Created using specially selected beans, the Glasgow Roast “celebrates the city’s historical trading links with India, Africa & the Americas. It embodies the bold & bright characteristics that the city & its people are renowned for”. The coffee is roasted in-house, where customers can see the whole process in action  & are able to taste a fresh batch of the “Glasgow Roast”. Something you do not want to miss. Alongside the Glasgow Roast, a house blend is also on offer which consists of beans from South America & Africa; the house blend is a medium roast coffee which delivers a fruity flavour that is rich in chocolate.

I was invited to come check out a bean roasting session, a cupping session and to sample the beans that make up the house blend. Watching the Diedrich Roaster hard at work was great. When you get your cup of coffee, you never really think about all the hard work that goes into picking the seeds off the Coffea plant, drying, roasting and then grinding them into each cup we drink. We watched the Master Roaster hard at work ensuring the beans were perfectly roasted. He spoke to us about the history of coffee and the difference between roasts, throughout the entire 13 minute process until we were able to sample a freshly roasted bean. I adore the smell of coffee beans, the smell was to die for. There is nothing like the smell of freshly ground coffee. Well… maybe freshly baked cookies!

Gordon Street Coffee- Coffee Talk with Barista

After watching the coffee being roasted, it was time to see it work it’s magic. We were shown how the baristas make the coffee in the shop from grinding the beans to latte art. Once they had made me a lovely flat white using the Glasgow Roast, it was my turn to take control. I was a little nervous as I had never used a professional machine but it was pretty easy! The hardest part for me was attempting latte art on my flat white. It turned out like Casper the Friendly Ghost instead of lovely swirls. Of course I pretended that it was my plan all along!

It was great to get a different insight into the Glasgow coffee scene. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to sample much of the array of food that was laid out for us, I was more interested in grabbing another cup of coffee after my 6am start that morning and watch STV Glasgow who were filming live from the shop while we were there.

Have you been to Gordon Street Coffee? What is your favourite coffee order? Do you have a favourite coffee shop in Glasgow?