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I have to admit something. I detest smoked salmon, in the traditional sense. The texture. How it feels when I hold it. It’s just not for me. So here I am talking about smoked salmon from Inverawe Smokehouses. Alarms bells ringing yet? Not quite. 

Situated in Argyll, on the West Coast of Scotland, Inverawe Smokehouses is a family run business since 1974 who prefer the traditional slow smoking method. This time-honoured method allows the fish to gently take up the gorgeous smoky aroma in its own unhurried time, giving the most delicious full-bodied oak-smoked flavour that is distinctively Inverawe. Committed to reducing its environment impact and sustainable production, the farms are located in areas with strong tidal flows in either the coastal waters off Argyll or the Shetland Isles.

Whilst I may not be a complete lover of the Scottish delicacy, every one around me adores it. Whether it be mixed within scrambled eggs, on sushi or in a salad, my family and boyfriend lap it up. It is a staple in my house during the holiday season and I predict, most throughout the UK!

The strange thing is, while I run as far away from traditional smoked salmon as possible, I adore smoked salmon pâté. My love for it started when my great aunt’s Swiss-Italian husband Joseph used to pop over from Geneva and whipped some up for us all to eat at family gatherings on toast. It was delicious and I’ve yet to taste anything like it since.

I was sent a parcel of Inverawe Classic Smoked Salmon, along with Trout P̢t̩ & a Mini Triple Salmon TerrineРsmoked salmon, roast smoked salmon flakes and smoked salmon mousse to sample and from that, create a recipe.

The latest season of that BBC One Baking Show has ended and Selasi wasn’t crowned the winner, much to the dismay of half the UK population. The show as we know it will be no more as it up sticks to Channel 4 from next year. Goodbye Mary and the comedic duo Mel and Sue. Hello to a plethora of adverts right at the crucial moment we found out who is going home. Boo. 

Alas, cake always makes things better and what better way to commiserate by getting your bake on.

I’m not the biggest chocolate cake fan, however, I have all the time in the world for Gâteau Fondant au Chocolat. I first came across it in a little pâtisserie near my dad’s apartment in Paris. It was love at first bite and is a cake I can never resist. 

It is a dense gooey cake in the middle with a crispy top, perfect warm with some ice cream on top. Even better, with limited ingredients and effort, you don’t need to be Mary Berry in the kitchen.

I’ve made this cake at home numerous times and now you can too, just save me a slice!

I regularly have pizza cravings. I wanted pizza. I needed to have pizza. To be fair, who wouldn’t want pizza? Pizza is the greatest food group there is. So I was on a mission to feed my desire with the best pizza I could find. Not an easy task when there are only a handful of places in Glasgow that serve half decent pizza.

And then Paesano Pizza popped up in Glasgow at the tale end of 2015.  

A mystical labyrinth in the heart of Marrakech, the Souks of Medina are a sensory explosion. From bric-à-brac to freshly ground spices, this is one location you don’t want to miss.

Before jetting off to Marrakech, I knew that I couldn’t resist a spot of shopping while I was in the city. I mean, where better than in the blazing sun, in a souk, bargaining for your purchases.

I mentally drew up a list of things I wanted to get my hands on; some beautiful crockery, fresh spices for cooking with back home, kaftans and some good quality sweets that I’ve been missing so much. Would I succeed?  

Ananyah- Marrakech Souk- Alley

With 1000 MAD (approx £65) tucked away in my handbag, I found myself in Jemaa El-Fnaa, right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Marrakech. The square was swarming with people- tourists and locals alike.

By day, Jemaa El-Fnaa is full of vendors with dancing monkeys in t-shirts and diapers, snake charmers and women offering you henna. My advice? Steer clear of them. By night, it transforms into a vibrant street food market. Sadly, I didn’t get to visit the square at night but it is a place I definitely need to go back again to experience in all its glory.

Heading to Marrakech soon? Nervous about going to the souks for the first time? Here are my top tips for tackling the souks of Marrakech which will make you a pro in no time! 

The souks are crazy!

Keep your wits about you. As I said above, it’s a sensory overload. From the intense smell of petrol, dodging motorbikes whizzing past you, men with fruit carts and mules making their way through the maze of the souk to the sound of stall holders shouting at each other, it can be overwhelming. People will barge past you to get to their destination. They aren’t being rude, it’s just the way of life.

Ananyah- Marrakech Souk- Koutoubia Mosque

Can you afford it?

If you see something you like, think about what maximum price you are willing to pay before asking how much it is. Once you have a figure in your head, ask, then haggle like your life depends on it. If you’re told the item is 100 MAD, divide it in half and start from there. I got a lot of great purchases using this calculation. Of course, this only works on items that do not have a set price. Although, when I spotted an amazing tea-cup set for 20 MAD and I only had 12 left, they gave me it. Happy bunny. Bartering is all about luck. Just keep at it and you’ll find your mojo.

Bad at maths like me?

Download a currency converter app onto your phone. I used Currency Converter Plus to quickly convert between MAD and Pounds. It was a lifesaver all over Marrakech and as it’s a free app within the AppStore, I would highly recommend you all download it no matter where you are travelling to. I know I’m going to use it when I jet off to Germany at the end of the month. 

Be prepared to walk away

Say what? You want to shop, yes, but sometimes walking away from a purchase right in front of you will work out to be the best move you’ve made. If you keep the points above in your head, it will all make sense. Say you’ve found a stall selling amazing crockery but the price is a little steep, you’ve tried bartering like your life depended on it and the owner still will not budge, walk away. The outcome will be one of two things, the owner will chase after you and agree to the price you want to pay or another stall a few doors down will have a similar piece (if not the exact same) for sale, potentially at a lower price. If all else fails, go back to the original stall again if you really want the item.

Ananyah- Marrakech Souk- Spices

Think before you buy

That’s rich coming from someone like me but you are in a foreign country. That means you have to take a plane back home (unless you are on some insane road trip!). You can get carried away in the souk but you have to think sensibly. Can it fit in your suit case? How heavy is it? Will it get damaged?

I bought a rather large pouf, bowls, plates, kaftans, delicate tea glasses, spices and rose buds. Luckily, my case was under the max weight when I arrived to Marrakech. I made sure that I wrapped all the breakable items in clothes a good few times and then stuffed them within the pouf. Extra padding to ensure my money wasn’t wasted.

In all honesty, I wasn’t sure if everything would fit within my suitcase, but I was lucky. Make sure you have enough room before you buy and if all else fails, purchase a bigger bag for your hand luggage! 

Ananyah- Marrakech Souk- Bathtub

Ananyah- Marrakech Souk- Rose Buds

These top tips for tackling the souks of Marrakech will ensure you are a master of the souks in no time. Don’t be intimidated in your surroundings.. Enjoy yourself and soak up the atmosphere around you. It is an unforgettable experience. 

Have you ever been to Marrakech? Hit up the sinks? What did you buy? What are your own top tips? Let me know in the comments below!

Street food from around the world will come to Glasgow city centre throughout April and May with Good Food Glasgow

This street food event will take place each Saturday in the Merchant City’s Brunswick Street for six weeks from 16 April and on each Friday in the Broomielaw for six weeks from 22 April.

Colourful street food vehicles from operators in central Scotland will offer everything from burgers, curries, American baking and gourmet sausage rolls to shellfish, fried chicken and vegan baking between 12am – 7pm to bring a taste of the exotic to the streets of Glasgow.

Other culinary delights at Good Food Glasgow include Indian, Korean, Mexican and Scottish street food, as well as home baking, seafood, ice cream, crepes and gluten & dairy-free food.

It’s quite frankly, about time Glasgow had a  street food market and I for one truly welcome this new initiative. We can say goodbye to dodgy burger vans and hello to gourmet trucks providing good quality, healthy food on par with places such as Edinburgh, Manchester and London.

Last summer, Glasgow City Council published a survey asking the people of Glasgow if they wanted to see a dedicated street food area come to the city. After over 2000 responses, Good Food Glasgow has been established in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, City Markets (Glasgow) and the Community Food Fund.

As this is the first of its kind in the city, to begin with, 12 trucks will operate from Brunswick St and 14 at the Broomielaw, and if successful, street food events such as this will return regularly.

Hopefully this will be the beginning of a permanent fixture in the city. There is a demand after all. Now all that is left is to find out what trucks will be appearing and grab my cutlery!

Hungry anyone? Do you welcome this new fixture to the Glasgow dining scene? Do you have a favourite Scottish food truck? Will you be checking it out? Let me know in the comments below!

I remember the first time I ever cooked meat on a hot stone, it was at Jimmy’s Bulgogi Barbecue in Singapore, circa 1992. You picked what meat and vegetables you wanted, paid, then went back to your table to start cooking your picks. So much fun! 

More recently and closer to home, you can enjoy a Dolsot Bibimbap at Kimchi Cult in the West End of Glasgow. What is this you say? A dolsot is a stone bowl which is heated until extremely hot and then your bibimbap (mixed rice) ingredients are popped in alongside a raw egg which is then cooked against the sides of the bowl. Not as fun as cooking a big bowl of meat on your own little individual barbecue, but equally as delicious. On the subject of Kimchi Cult, the Ox Cheek Bulgogi is literally one of the best things in the city at the moment. 

When Thomas Cook Airlines contacted me to ask if I wanted to take part in a #LanzaroteCookOff cooking competition (alongside other bloggers) whereby I have to cook a traditional dish from Lanzarote using a lava stone, I was naturally up for the challenge (and not just because I’m rather competitive!). Little did I realise, it would being back all those childhood memories from back in the day. The prize? An all-inclusive holiday for two to Lanzarote. A place that has always been on my “must visit” list but have yet had the chance to visit. 

LanzaroteCookOff- Lava Rock

Food in this jewel of an island within the Mediterranean is taken rather seriously and it is no wonder with the rich fresh ingredients at their door. From fresh seafood to vegetables grown in black volcanic soil, the natural larder is full of goodness. Grilling seafood as well as steak on hot lava rocks not only makes the food taste great, but is much healthier than frying too due to the lack of oil. 

& I was about to put it to the test.

All too often, when people think of the Canary Islands, they think of the kinds of drink-fuelled holidays for teenagers that are regularly documented on ITV2. But there is so much more to this stunning archipelago than booze cruises and horrendous sunburn.

Blessed with a rich diversity of landscapes and activity options, the destinations dotted all around Tenerife’s party places are rich in holiday potential. So, if you’re thinking to go and see a Canary Island or two by plane or on a cruise ship, here’s a list of the 7 top reasons why a visit to the Canaries will make your heart sing!

When I was younger, my mom attempted to teach me how to cook. She’d try to show me how to do certain things, try to get me to recreate them and generally just involve me as much as possible. I was having none of it. I wasn’t interested in the slightest.

This clearly disappointed the Home Economics teacher side of her. Her own daughter didn’t want to learn from her.

I remember my first kitchen disaster when I was around 10 years old, I wanted cake but there was none at home. My mom was out (I wasn’t home alone- our maid at the time was with me) so I thought I’d make a chocolate cake using a box mix that I found. How hard could it be? Very. I didn’t know how long to cook the cake for… this resulted in a very gooey uncooked sunken cake but it was mine. My first creation.

Don’t get me wrong, there were times where I helped my mom. Jam thumb cookies were my favourite, a recipe from my middle school cookbook. Favourite in the sense that I got to eat them all afterwards!

When I moved away to boarding school age 17, I shocked my mom by revealing that I willingly decided to enrol myself into a Home Economics class for some extra credit. Her response? “I’ve been trying to teach you to cook for years and you were never interested!”

I did an entire two-year course in less than 9 months, whizzing through all the set cooking assignments. From making Eve’s pudding to the more savoury feta cheese sambousek, which made me pass my exams with flying colours. A flame was slowly lit.

A trip to Marrakech is impossible without visiting Majorelle Garden, a serene oasis inside city walls and the final resting place of Yves Saint Laurent.

To me, Marrakech is all about colour. Reds, oranges, yellows and blues. You cannot travel anywhere within Marrakech without being amazed at all the colour that surrounds you. It’s no surprise that when Jacques Majorelle made Marrakech his home in the 1920’s that he painted his studio home a vibrant blue, taking influence from all over Marrakech.

Majorelle Garden - Majorelle Painting Studio

Jacques Majorelle and I have something in common- the love of this strong, deep and intense shade of blue. The colour became so renowned with the garden that it was trademarked Bleu Majorelle shortly before his death.

A true colour explosion

The Marrakech colour scheme (as I like to call it!) is also interpreted throughout Majorelle Garden. Vivid, bright, contrasting colours perfectly matched with cacti, bamboo and water fountains in the 2.5 acre gardens tucked away in Rue Yves Saint Laurent.

Majorelle Garden - Colour Explosion

The garden was eventually open to the public in 1947 to help with the growing costs. Forty years of passion and dedication by Jacques Majorelle until his death in 1962 resulted in his greatest masterpiece featuring plants from all five continents. A staggering 300 different plant species now feature. 

Majorelle Garden - Water Lily Pond

Majorelle Garden - Palm Trees

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé discovered Majorelle Garden in 1966, during their first stay in Marrakech and fell in love with this little slice of paradise. After hearing that the garden and villa may be sold to a real estate developer in the 1980’s to be turned into a hotel complex, they bought it!

Over the years, they restored the garden in order to “make the Jardin Majorelle become the most beautiful garden – by respecting the vision of Jacques Majorelle.”  They have truly delivered on this.

Majorelle Garden - Walkway

When Yves passed away in 2008, his ashes were scattered within the rose garden of Villa Oasis and a memorial built within the garden. Designed around a Roman pillar which was brought from Tangier and set on a pedestal with a plate bearing his name for the public to pay their respects.

Majorelle Garden - Yves Saint Laurent Memorial

Serene and Secluded

There is a stark contrast between the hectic city medina and the garden. You are transported to an oasis inside city walls. A secret garden as such. One which I didn’t want to leave. It’s no wonder that this is the most visited “tourist” attraction in Marrakech.

Majorelle Garden - Idillic Canopy

When you enter the garden, an impressive cacti collection catches your eye in the distance. Jacques Majorelle adored cacti, respecting this, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé continued to expand the collection, which today includes about thirty members of the cactus family.

Majorelle Garden - Cacti

Majorelle Garden - Cacti overlooking fountain

Walking along admiring the cacti (and resisting the urge to touch them!) the glorious Majorelle Blue square fountain overlooking the studio is a wonderful location to soak up your surroundings.

Majorelle Garden - Cactus Close Up

Galerie Love 

Tucked away within the grounds of the garden is Galerie Love, a tiny room which houses the entire collection of Yves Saint Laurent’s ‘Love Cards’. From 1970 until 2000, he created a card every year to send to his friends and clients to celebrate the New Year. Bold and colourful, he showed his appreciation with a single word- love.

Naturally, I had to hunt out the year I was born- 1982. A beautiful seascape.

Berber Museum

Majorelle’s original studio has been transformed into a museum which is dedicated to Berber culture, housing the personal Berber collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Items displayed show the diversity of Berber traditional skills – whether in wood, leather, pottery, metalwork, or basket weaving – all demonstrate the variety of craftsmanship. I was particularly enamored with all the jewels and their exquisite craftsmanship.

No matter your location whether it be the pavilion, the water-lily pool, the palm trees or en route to the museum, as soon as you hear birds chirping and the smell of exotic plants as the wind blows you’ll soon realize you are in a truly magical place and never want to leave.

Majorelle Garden (Jardin Majorelle)
Rue Yves Saint Laurent
Marrakech, Morocco
Web: jardinmajorelle.com

Opening times
October 1 – April 30: 8 am – 5:30 pm
May 1 – September 30: 8 am – 6 pm
The month of Ramadan: 9 am – 5 pm

Admission
Garden: 70 Dhs (around £5)
Museum: 30 Dhs (around £2)

At just over an hour away from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, The Atlas Mountains transport you into another world with breathtaking views, tranquil surroundings and the undeniably friendly Berber hospitality. 

At the tail end of last year, I was whisked away to Marrakesh as a guest of the Moroccan Tourist Board to experience what this North African country has to offer. It was my first time visiting Morocco and with the country only being a 4 hour direct flight away from Glasgow, it was a no brainer location to escape the freezing temperatures. 

With a jam-packed itinerary mapping out our 4 day adventure, one stood out the most for me- The Atlas Mountains. I had heard about these mountains in the past from my father. He had previously visited Marrakech with work but was unable to visit them at the time. The downfall? A walk in the mountains, me? The panic set in. How big a walk would this be? Would I be able to cope? I’m not fit in the slightest. It’s going to be a challenge!

With equal excitement and dread, the group all bundled into our mini van for the 90 minute trip watching the bright lights of Marrakech fade away before being met with desert, cacti and Berbers along the road side with their mules and carts. 

Atlas Mountains- Marrakech- Mosque

Our destination?

We were heading for Imlil Village, 1,740 metres above sea level. Imlil Village is the main starting point for any trek on the Atlas Mountains. A quaint little village, local Berbers are accustomed to tourists from all over the world congregating in the village. Previously, the villages main source of income was agriculture but over the years, tourism has overtaken this. 

Atlas Mountains- Marrakech- Mountain Houses

As I write this, I’m currently shivering on the sofa, clutching a blanket & sipping on some peppermint tea after a mammoth session of playing in the snow with my nephew. Oh hai snow, thanks for blessing us with your presence! 

Now as much as I love looking at snow, I absolutely hate driving in it, especially when the slush starts appearing. There is nothing worse than skidding on black ice and praying that you don’t end up crashing into something.

When I was first learning to drive, I started in the winter, on the advice of my friend from http://gearheads.org. Some may think I was crazy but if you manage to master winter driving, you can master any scenario (well… maybe not the flash floods that we’ve seen this winter!). One driving lesson, I was travelling through a rather rough suburb and my car was hit by snowballs courtesy of a rowdy gang. I had to do an emergency stop in black ice, control the car without crashing and deal with my driving instructor screaming abuse at the gang. Oh the joys! 

Fast forward 4 years and earning the nickname Penelope Pitstop by my boyfriend, LV= got in touch to highlight 9 Winter Car Tips to ensure my car is ready for the winter season and I’m sharing them with you.