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Everything posted by cfm

  1. Our meal at Andrew Fairlie was rather disrupted by ill-health of one of the party. Restaurant handled this well, to their credit! I can't really remember much about the food, but I did think it was good. I found the hotel itself a bit challenging. I got the real sense that it was all set up to say that "You might think you're having a nice time now, but really you'd be having a much better time if you'd bought yourself one of our timeshares." I even had to fend off a marketing call. The room was eye-wateringly expensive, the TV didn't work, and the electronic controls for the curtains, lights, etc were baffling and inconvenient. There were also, bizarrely, two single duvets on the double bed. I'm open to new experiences and even change, but I haven't replaced our double duvet at home yet...
  2. A top-flight restaurant GAVE AWAY my Saturday night table when I had to change it from a four to a six mid week. I phoned to let them know, they said they would have to ask the chef if this was OK. I asked them in terms whether this meant there could be a problem with a table for four, they said, no they were only saying they had to check with the chef. So, I thought to myself that it looks like there could be a problem, and started asking round other friends to see if I could find two people who might like to have dinner with two people they'd never met, just in case. And when I spoke to the restaurant again, the table was no longer available for four or for six. 'Twas Rugby International night, not an easy one for getting another place booked in time. I was upset and I'm don't use it any more. Which is very bad from a nose/spite/face perspective, as it does very good food. Best in town, I would say.
  3. Like the sharpie people I've become better since I started a system where I only need to find a pen, not a label. I stick a HUGE label on and write what's inside in quite small letters at the top. Then next time I cross this out and write what's now inside underneath. It looks dreadful fo course, but it works for me.
  4. I've never understood why no second star for Martin Wishart Edinburgh. Several of the Edinburgh one stars are better than any two star restaurant I've ever eaten in, but MW I think just stands out for consistency while also keeping things fresh and interesting. EDIT: Edited because might be a lie. Hibiscus in Ludlow was maybe two stars - now that was good.
  5. Many thanks for these. Although damn your eyes Carlovski for introducing the "different sausages for different purposes" theme which could make the whole project doubly complicated! Turns out that Border County Foods come to my local Farmer's market too, so my initial list is going to be their Cumberland, Porkinsons and Duchy Originals. Then I have to try a higher meat sausage in a casseroling type situation to see if I agree that this trumps a breakfast sausage for that purpose. I have no "sausage a day for a year" timetable in mind, but I will try to report back in time. Catherine
  6. Some Chop Chop discussion further up the thread, I thought it was worth mentioning their quite cool set menu idea. I've been going there more regularly since I discovered this. Basically you order "Set menu A" for the whole table, like you would in a typical Chinese restaurant, although you will get less than typical dishes and some of their famous dumplings in that menu. Then, once you'v eaten it (or before that if you see a pressing need), you can re-order anything that came that you enjoyed and the re-orders are all included in the price. Fun, tasty, filling! Catherine
  7. I am fed up with not knowing what kind of sausages I like. More than half of all sausage based meals are spoilt by not liking the random sausage I have picked out on no basis whatsoever. I think that maybe I don't like them too meaty, and I suspect that I might actually prefer a beef sausage, but I'm just not sure. So I'm starting project sausage to sort this out - try a few, take note if I like them, and then buy sausages to my taste in future. So, what are good sausages to try, branded, or from major supermarkets? Hope you have a favourite that you can share, Catherine
  8. Kitchenella by Rose Prince is intruiging me. Subtitle - "The Secrets of Women: Heroic, Simple, Nurturing Cookery - for Everyone." I've had a look at a library copy. I think that the descriptions of what she learnt from who are lovely. Some of the tone is slightly crusading - seems to assume that no readers will have given any of her ideas any thought at all, whereas I suppose some will have considered some of them - but I think I'll get a copy, the ideas are good, and I like the unusual structure. Catherine
  9. Are you in fact my mother? (See my post opening the topic.) I'm loving these. Makes me feel so much better about the sausages. Chopping curly parsley has to be my favourite. I'll count my blessings every time I do it from now on - at least I'm not creeped out by this parsley, I'll say. C
  10. Now cleaning the fridge is objectively quite a bad job, no? C
  11. Sausages for tea. I just hate cutting the links. Tonight they were those butchers sausages where they had twisted the links around each other in bunches like bananas (if bananas joined at both ends) which just makes it doubly tiresome. They sell rindless bacon, why can't they sell separated sausages? I have a theory that everyone without exception has a food fad, so perhaps everyone has an insupportable hatred of some trivial kitchen task? My mother hated putting clean cutlery into the individual knife/fork/spoon drawer dividers so much that she just dumped the whole lot on the top. But I think she may have got over this - will I ever relax around sausage links? Catherine
  12. The Scottish thing is toasted cheese, not grilled cheese. I did try the grilled cheese thing recently for a salad recipe that called for a grilled cheese sandwich cut into pieces. I researched it quite carefully on blogs and so on, was happy that I got a representative recipe, and made it without hitch. It was entirely unmemorable, so I think I'm sticking with toasted cheese, thanks. On the "toasted" element, my understanding of how to proceed is that you toast one side of the bread under your grill/broiler, turn it over, stick the cheese on, and return under the grill/broiler. Catherine
  13. This: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0340835265/ref=nosim/?tag=egulletsociety-20 is quite a good fun book about everyday cooking, and the theme of "falling back in love with your kitchen" resonates with me. Having used it, I thought it good enough to give as a gift to someone who was complaining that they never cooked for themselves anymore, together with a box of groceries, marking each recipe in the book that could be achieved using the things in the box. It went down well. And because of the cool and relevant cover, I am now the proud owner of a stylish bottle of French's mustard. Catherine
  14. Thanks for these. What I take from this is that I'll try booking Lords first, but I shouldn't sweat it too much over the differences. Ideal! Catherine
  15. We are going to stay with friends in the Cotswolds with our new baby. The have volunteered to babysit one evening, to give us a chance to eat somewhere good. They have suggested Lower Slaghter Manor or Lords of the Manor. In the past we'd have got to try both, and choosing one seems difficult. The Lords menu is more difficult to grasp, as it is festooned with the names of rare breeds and producers, but both look nice. Any views? Catherine
  16. Carrots, certainly. Carrots are a vegetable. Celery is a never-eaten garnish on a cheeseboard. Or is this a peculiarly Scottish view? Catherine
  17. My favourite lunchtime pasta is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittinstall's River Cottage Cookbook. I like it because it is simple and the chopping is of the very easiest and least messy sort - slicing courgettes. You slice courgettes, and fry them with a little garlic and salt over a low heat so that they kind of disintegrate and mush down. Then you stir in a little cream and plenty parmesan. That's it. I have marked the recipe "sweet, good" and made it regularly since. I noticed recently that in The Minimalist Cooks at Home, Mark Bittman has a recipe which he describes as a sort of courgette carbonara. I can't remember exaclty how he proceeds, but as I am interested at the moment in getting plenty food inside me, I thought that next time it could be worth adding an egg to the scheme for extra nourishment. Catherine
  18. Browsing in my local bookstore yesterday, I came to this: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1594744955/ref=nosim/?tag=egulletsociety. I was reminded of a rather negative comment on the "Ratio" thread when I expressed perhaps too much enthusiasm for the (wonderful) cover, suggesting that this would be reason enough to buy the book. And so I looked deep into my conscience, and made an honest but quite uninformed stab at assessing the content of the book and whether it would add anything to my repetoire, and then I just bought it anyway. To be fair, the graphics and design inside are pretty cool too, it's not just the cover. Any other great covers out there? Catherine
  19. Have just finished my 5 o'clock snack, Jacob's cream crackers topped with philadephia cream cheese and fresh pineapple. This idea from Nigel Slater, I would guess from "Real Fast Food." Catherine
  20. I am eating my 11 o'clock snack (that's 11am UK time) right now. It's an ice lolly made by sticking a lolly stick in half a banana, rolling it in melted chocolate and freezing solid. Oddly, I don't like bananas, but I love these. The idea comes from the Pooh Cookbook by Katie Stewart (again UK version, there is a different Pooh Cookbook I think in USA, don't know if it recommends banana lollies)which was given to me by a neighbour for my fourth birthday. This recipe is marked "Smashing" in my mother's handwriting, and I must agree. Catherine
  21. Do any of the supermarkets still sell verjuice? I certainly remember it being all over the place when Maggie Beer started promoting it, but now that I have a number of recipes which require it, I never seem to see it. I have tried my local middle eastern shops for sour grape juice, but the bottles look a bit crusty. Perhaps their low turnover is another sign of the low demand? Catherine
  22. Well, I think that's the final clue - I've booked a table. Many thanks for the guidance, just what I was looking for, Catherine
  23. Thanks for the rugby related recommendation (and interesting observation on correlation between rugby and a nose for the best spots). I'll check it out. Catherine
  24. I am planning a very short trip to Rome in February to see Scotland play Italy at Rugby. This match takes place every two years in Rome, and I am trying to find a restaurant that we enjoyed eating at very much indeed on a previous trip. I was sure that at the time (possibly around 4 years ago) it had a michelin star, but I don't recognise it on the current list. From a vague feel of where it might have been on a map, and some other clues, I am now thinking that it was Il Convivio on Vicolo dei Soldati. Can anyone confirm whether this is a place that lost a star, (which would double-check my thinking) and if so whether that indicates a real sea-change at the place that would counsel against going there? Perhaps I'm wrong about the star - any feelings on how this restaurant is currently performing and whether I should I go back? Catherine
  25. My childhood would be late 70's into 80s. Top hand-round in my view was a pimento stuffed green olive wrapped in cheese pastry, baked and served warm. Also, roll the cheese pastry into little biscuits, press with fork, sprinkle with chopped walnuts and salt, bake, serve warm. One that I think was good, but I didn't like being asked to help make (too fiddly) was chopped peanuts mixed with sugar and orange zest and then stuffed into a prune or date, whole thing rolled in sugar. I was debating with my mother whether it was a prune or a date recently, think it must have been a prune, surely the dates were stuffed with marzipan? Catherine
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