The Bellwether Giveaway – we have a winner!

Boom!

It’s Monday AND I remembered to draw the winner. I’m pretty chuffed with myself right now.

Fuck the Dishes!

The lucky winner of the tea towel is:

Carolyn says:
Yep – breakdancing is the best option in all emergencies! Congrats Carolyn, drop me a note via the “Contact Us” page with your address!

In case of emergency …

Thanks to all who entered. Don’t forget to pop back to The Bellwether for all your gifting needs – gifts for others, or best of all, gifts for yourself!
We’re jetting off to San Francisco so there’ll be a period of outage until we get back in mid-March. Til then, stay awesome and have an awesome Monday!

The Bellwether – and a giveaway!

I remember discovering The Bellwether (formerly Miso Funky) when I first moved to Glasgow and love their online shop. What do they do, I hear you cry. Well,

The Bellwether design and make cross stitch samplers with a modern twist. Our range includes framed samplers, coasters, tea towels, cross stitch kits and charts and accessories.

Through the magical connections of twitter I even ended up doing a wee stint as a stitcher for them!

My fridge is adorned with these awesome magnets:

The Bellwether magnets – 3 + tin for £18

And I’ve got my eye on this cute fox chart for when my craftspiration returns:

The Bellwether – fox PDF cross stitch chart £4

One of my favourites – and my life motto:

The Bellwether – be nice or go home kit £15

The Glasgow Food Blog has a tea towel from The Bellwether to give away to one lucky commenter! And it’s not just any tea towel – it’s a fuck the dishes tea towel! 

The Bellwether – fuck the dishes tea towel £10

All you have to do is comment on this post with what item you love on The Bellwether. So check out the online shop, and comment below! The competition will run until Sunday 23 February 2014. You can only enter once. I will do a post on Monday 24 February announcing the winner – you will need to get in touch with me with your details and if I don’t hear from you by Friday 28 February I’ll re-draw the prize. Only UK entries allowed.

New Openings in Glasgow – Part 2

Seems like you all loved the last round up of new openings so I thought I’d do a part 2 for places that have opened in the last 6 months! There’s an exciting bunch of places popping up on the southside as well, so please read on – and if you want full reviews, check out the Yelp links I’ve provided for my reviews.

City Centre: 

Bull Leader: Japanese all-you-can-eat where you get to do the cooking is let down by high prices and unappealing cuts of meat. I really wanted to love this place but paying £17.99 at lunch time and then having to cook the food yourself felt a bit like a rip off. Could definitely be a fun option for a group at dinner. 

Selection of meates

Bull Leader: a selection of raw meat for cooking at your table

Nic’s NYC DeliIn the site of the former Crepe e Croissant, this place has been getting rave reviews for a decent place to stop off for lunch. I’ve not made it along – yet.

Jacker de Viande: Another addition to Glasgow’s bursting burger scene. Surely we’ve reached saturation point? In happier news, I’ve heard good things about the burgers and they also do hot dogs.

Southside: 

No Way Back: This casual cafe on Nithsdale Road has an interesting menu showing off exciting dishes hard to find elsewhere in Glasgow. I tried the pulled pork taco and Jerusalem salad – and I’ve spied on Facebook that they’re trying out banh mi (Vietnamese salad roll) and cha siu bao (pork buns). Can’t wait to give these a try.

No Way Back: pulled pork taco

No Way Back: pulled pork taco

Cheer Me Up: I love the cute name and thankfully they are doing some seriously good fro yo as well. With great flavour options (passion fruit!) and toppings, it’s well worth a visit on a dreary day as you’ll definitely walk out with a smile.

Cheer Me Up: passion fruit fro yo

Cheer Me Up: passion fruit fro yo

Buddy’s RestaurantThe hugely popular takeaway ventured into a restaurant space. I’ll be honest – I was dubious, but following my meal here I was impressed. You can read my full review on Yelp but the poutine is a must-order dish. Since my visit I’ve heard a lot of mixed reports however, so be prepared.

Buddy's: Canadian poutine

Buddy’s: Canadian poutine

Southside Street Food Showdown: This pop-up night was hosted by The Glad Cafe (another fav of mine) with food being dished up by the amazing Babu Bombay Street Kitchen and Fire in Babylon (they do regular nights at Macsorley’s). And what a night it was – delicious food, great cocktails and impeccable service made for a wonderful night out. Please, please, please do another one soon.

Southside Street Food Showdown: Butter chicken by Babu

Southside Street Food Showdown: Butter chicken by Babu

Have you got any great new places to share? Post them below!

 

Yelp’s Gallery of Glasgow!

I had the extreme joy of announcing Yelp’s Gallery of Glasgow last week and I thought I’d share it here for anyone who is interested in getting involved.

George Square on a dull day #yelpgallery

George Square on a dull day #yelpgallery

I love Glasgow. Big time. I think that is pretty obvious from this blog, my job at Yelp and my roller derby league! I loved the city as soon as I arrived here nearly 5 years ago, and I love that every day I get to discover a new aspect of it which makes it so special.

So I took all those feelings and turned them into Yelp’s Gallery of Glasgow. With 2014 being such a big year for Glasgow, I thought it was a great idea to get the locals to photograph their love of the city and share it on Yelp. It launched on Monday 27 January and at last count, over 160 photos have already been entered – that’s a lot of fabulous snaps of the city.

Mr Big at Sapporo Teppanyaki

Mr Big at Sapporo Teppanyaki #yelpgallery

The best of the best will be chosen by an independent judging panel (I love the Yelp community too much to be impartial!), printed, framed and displayed at Ubiquitous Chip. There’ll be a Gallery opening night in April with some fun surprises in store, and the photos will be up for sale to go to a local charity.

But I’m at the end before I’ve even mentioned the start! There’ll be a launch party on Tuesday 18 February at Stravaigin and anyone with a Yelp profile can RSVP to come. You can check out all about the event on Yelp – there’ll be cocktails by Aperol and Wild Turkey, delicious food by Stravaigin and some fabulous mini photography masterclasses!

Entrance to Tempus on Hope Street

Entrance to Tempus on Hope Street #yelpgallery

And if you want to enter your photos into the Gallery – all you need to do is upload the photo to the relevant business page on Yelp. All the guidelines and tips and tricks are in this handy Talk thread!

I’ve added some of my own photos to this post so you can get an idea of the kinds of photos you can enter – food, buildings, landmarks, drinks, interesting places – anything that has a Yelp business page!

So go on, enter #yelpgallery – I can’t wait to see your snaps!

Eating Seasonally

I was recently asked to contribute to a guest post on the Puma Hotels website and the post has just gone live! Check it out on their blog as well as some great information about eating seasonally. Here’s my contribution to the post.

Eating seasonally used to come naturally when I lived in Melbourne, but there was a bit of re-learning to do when I moved to the UK 4 years ago! The change in weather, different ingredients and the fact that most foods are available year-round now, whether they are in season or not. This can be quite handy if you have a particular craving for something, but it’s still most sensible to focus on eating what’s in season. It’ll save you money, taste better and give you a huge variety of foods to eat year round. There’s great websites to check out if you need inspiration – like Eat the Seasons and BBC’s Food pages. Kale is a big favourite in our house, and while we our #1 recipe is baked kale crisps, kale pesto isn’t far behind. Here’s the recipe for kale pesto pasta with goats cheese.

Kale pesto with spaghetti and goats cheese

Kale pesto with spaghetti and goats cheese

I’ve also included a very quick dessert recipe. I’m really loving passionfruit now and have been having it as a dessert when I feel like I need some sunshine in my day (e.g. every day. Thanks Glasgow!).

Quick passionfruit dessert
1 passionfruit
1 small tub of yoghurt
Coconut shavings
Rice malt syrup, to taste 
Passionfruit and coconut yoghurt

Passionfruit and coconut yoghurt

Top the yoghurt with the passionfruit. Stir in, and add rice malt syrup to taste (it tastes like honey). Top with coconut shavings. A great light winter dessert to get you through the gloomy days!

Good Luck Kid

I swung past The Squid & Whale on Sunday to get some doughnuts at the Good Luck Kid pop-up. The selection was: mini raspberry jam, mini custard bites, full sized peanut butter and full sized vanilla custard. Prices are very reasonable for a handmade doughnut coming in at £1.50 for a large or £1.50 for two mini doughnuts.

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So, the taste test. The raspberry jam was my favourite – actually proper jam inside which was lovely, and you could even taste the wee seedy bits (in a good way). Delicious. Peanut butter was my next favourite, an interesting taste combination which was a little unusual but very tasty. It isn’t just peanut butter as a filling, it is mixed with something (possibly custard) to make it a smoother and more runny than peanut butter normally is. Finally, the mini custard was lovely and tasty and reminded me of a cream puff/profiterole.

While I’ve ranked them in order of preference, that’s not to say they weren’t all really tasty and delicious. It’s awesome to see something new coming to Glasgow and it being executed so well – so I can’t wait to see where Good Luck Kid pop up next – and what flavours will feature!

Important note: At the moment Good Luck Kid are just a pop-up vendor, they don’t have a permanent location. But you can order doughnuts from them via their website, so check that out if you need a doughy fix! Keep your eyes on Yelp for chat about more upcoming pop-ups – they’ll be on our events page!

An Australian Christmas Feast featuring Pavlova

Here I was, all set to write up a post about our Australian Christmas when I discovered I’d already done that back in 2011. How time flies when you’re having fun!

Our feast in 2013 was quite similar to the original (after all, that is the point). This year there was a few tweaks – I grilled prawns for that delicious flavour kick and let them cool for the prawn cocktail starter. We got a Wiltshire roasted ham on the bone and I made up a ham stock with the bone and last few shreds of ham. There was also a side of creamed spinach rather than kale for a change and some oven roasted peppers (red and green, to make it festive!).

All decorated!

All decorated!

The real highlight of this year though was the pavlova. Because I was sick, I ended up making it a week later than our Aussie Christmas feast. This was probably a good thing as I struggle to eat that much food in one day!

I grew up with a real love of pavlova (I was a bit of a sugar addict – eating tins of condensed milk and spoons of icing sugar when I could!). My mum always made (and still does!) pavlova for Christmas and it was a kind of magical dessert to me, being made from so few ingredients. I’ve tried to make do with shop bought pavlova but it just doesn’t have the gooey, chewiness to it that is so important (and delicious!).

I’m glad to say that I think I have now perfected the pavlova making process and wanted to share the recipe. This is one I have adapted from a BBC Good Food recipe which is no longer online. If you’ve never made a pav, I think you should – it is really a lot more straightforward than people make out and whatever the result, it will (probably) be delicious!

Perfect Pavlova

Ready for baking!

Ready for baking!

Ingredients:
4 egg whites (medium eggs)
225g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Vegetable oil for baking sheet

Out of the oven!

Out of the oven!

Method:

1. Heat the oven to 180C or 160C for a fan oven.

2. Cover a baking tray with baking paper/parchment. Drizzle around 1 tsp of vegetable oil and rub it all over the paper/parchment.

3. Whisk the egg whites with an electric beater in a large, clean bowl.

4. Once the egg whites are stiff and shiny (takes me around 3-4 minutes) then start adding the sugar. A few tablespoons at a time is fine and make sure it’s all beaten in before adding the next few tablespoons.

5. Keep going until all the sugar is added – you should whisk until it is glossy and stands up in peaks. To test, switch off the beater and pull it out of the pav in an upwards direction. Your pav should get a nice quiff if you’ve beaten it enough!

6. Add the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and give it another quick beat (10-20 seconds) to incorporate.

7. Gently pour out your pav onto the baking paper/parchment. You can use a large spoon to shape it into a circle, and I like to make the edges a bit higher than the middle for easy topping. You want the size of the pav to be about 20cm and around 5-8cms high.

8. Put the pav in the oven and turn the temperature down to 120C or 100C for a fan oven. Cook it for 1.5 hours and then turn off the oven. Some recipes say not to ever open the door, although because our light is broken I did a couple of times with no adverse effects. Just be quick about it if you’re going to do it – think like a ninja!

9. Leave the pav in the oven to cool – I probably left it for another 1.5 hours before taking it out, but you can leave it overnight depending on when you started cooking!

10. It should slide off the paper/parchment really easily thanks to the oil, and you can then pop it on a plate/tray and decorate. I like mine with berries and cream, but passionfruit is also lovely.

Enjoy!

There – it couldn’t be simpler. I’ve read a lot of pavlova recipes in my time and they can make it so complicated with extra ingredients, rules and scaremongering. I am pretty relaxed about the whole process and haven’t had one fail yet. Yeh, sometimes they crack but you can just cover it with cream or berries!

So, are you going to give making a pavlova a go? Please post if you do!