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Friday, 29 June 2012

Celebration Food

It was my daughter's graduation on Monday.  The weather decided that for one day, and one day only, it would be sunny and bright so that made a huge difference.  The main building at Glasgow University and the cloisters and quadrangle are stunning at any time but more so in the sunshine.

We went for lunch at the Pelican Cafe - opposite Kelvingrove museum.  I have read glowing reviews of this place and probably expected something a bit more special.  We were on a tight schedule as we had to be back at the university for the afternoon ceremony (vets - not content with one ceremony have another one in the afternoon!) so we only had an hour.  As we were the only people in the place that wasn't challenging!  I had croque monsieur with skinny fries and the others had burgers. It was OK - but I wouldn't go out of my way to go back.

The evening dinner was in a beautifully decorated marquee and the evening sunshine made it a lovely setting. The food was awful - you would have been disappointed if you had been served this quality of food on an airline.  Cynically - I think that caterers do this because they are unlikely to get complaints from people because nobody wants to spoil the night for their graduating offspring.  What a missed opportunity!  Anyone looking for a caterer (and there were around 500 people there that night) would steer well clear of these caterers.  The soup looked nothing like carrot and coriander - more like dirty dishwater, the smoked salmon starter was minuscule and had a pile of really sad salad with too much red onion on it.  The beef was the worst I have eaten in ages - and I have eaten some awful things - I went to boarding school and also my mother was not known for her culinary skills!  The vegetables were of the type that you sometimes get in restaurants as a side dish.  A couple of new potatoes, some tasteless cauliflower and broccoli and a piece of carrot.  The trio of desserts consisted of a chocolate brownie that was more like a flapjack, a small meringue topped with some cream and a single raspberry and a tiny cheesecake in a thimble sized plastic cup.

On a different level entirely is David Bann in Edinburgh.  I took my daughter there for lunch for her Birthday on Wednesday.  The food is amazing.  It is a vegetarian restaurant in Edinburgh (St Mary's Street).  I had a hot tart with dunsyre blue cheese filling for my starter - the pastry was the best I have ever eaten - it was crisp and buttery and the filling had just the right amount of blue cheese flavour.  I then had a pea and mint risotto with asparagus and a poached egg which was also delicious.  If you haven't tried David Bann then I suggest you give it a go.  Vegetarians get such a rough deal in most restaurants with the one or, if they are lucky, two choices (usually involving ricotta or goats cheese) it's good to go somewhere where there is imaginative and tasty vegetarian food and a whole menu to choose from.

I'm looking forward to Taste in Edinburgh next weekend.  We have tickets for Saturday.  I love grazing round the stalls and trying things I would never pick from the menu if I were eating out.  Last year I took a chance on the lobster bisque creme brulee - it was horrible!!  Let me tell you that is an experiment too far and should never make it onto any menu.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The big roast beef question

My family are food philistines!
I made roast beef on Sunday- a lovely piece of rib - but the problem is we have different tastes.
I like it rare - they like it well done.
It is almost impossible to cook it so that everyone is happy.
This time I ended up letting them have it the way they like it - but if I am cooking it should I get to have it the way I like it?  Discuss...

Saturday, 16 June 2012

It's been far too long since I wrote!

Ah my poor neglected blog .. it is ages since I wrote.  I used to write on a Sunday but you miss a couple and before you know it it's months since you posted!

Maybe our newly decorated study will make it more pleasant to sit and write.  The arrival of a french exchange student a couple of weeks ago meant we were forced to turn what was a room that couldn't be described as anything other than a dumping ground, into a really nice bedroom/study.  It has been our (my daughter and me) project for the last month.  Shelves have been taken down and stained, walls painted a lovely duck egg blue, a day bed sourced - thanks to ebay - at a good price, matching desk and drawers bought from ikea, a new mattress bought and curtains dyed brown.  Well we tried but 3 packets of dylon later we still haven't really got the desired result.

We took the french student (who was staying with my son) to Edinburgh last Saturday.  We had lunch at Belushi's on Market Street.  Not bad for the price - especially seeing as I have one of those Taste cards that gives you 50% off the food bill - but they do need a bit more effort and attention to what they are doing.  It's quite studenty and fairly basic.  The menu is predominantly burgers - which is fine - but they should try to make sure they remember which burger is which - they hadn't a clue when they got them to the table and I ended up with one I hadn't ordered but we had waited so long I couldn't face making a fuss.  If we had paid full price I would have been really disappointed - but with the taste card we were just over £50 for 6 of us.

It's pouring with rain here today - hasn't let up all day and I discovered this morning when I took the dogs out that both my wellies are leaking.  Having a very un-seasonal dinner tonight - had it been better weather I would have barbecued the lamb kebabs but I'll have to grill or griddle them.  I have a cast iron griddle that sits across the middle of the cooker.  I like the results when I cook on it but it is awful to clean afterwards.  I have some bread already proving and I'll make pitta's with that.  The kebabs are marinading a a dry mix I bought at the local wholefoods supermarket.-  its Chermoula which is used in Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian cooking. The  Moroccan version is made from dried parsley, cumin, paprika and salt and pepper. It is the original seasoning for grilling meat and fish in Moroccan cuisine.  

Tomorrow it's roast forerib of beef, roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding, roast broccoli with chilli and mint, carrots and creamed horseradish.  Can't wait!

Don't want to over stretch myself on my first post in months and months - so I'll leave it at that for the moment.