Tuesday, 29 July 2008

last sunday lunch

Originally uploaded by silamuta
just a wee post to say we had a fab extended lunch in the garden last sunday. wunderfully hot and sunny in glasgow again for a change. we had vegetable paella. an assortment of meats and cheeses. and a lubley strawberry and lemon curd roulad. yum. thanks to jose and nuria and lorna for bringing the drinkes.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Dinner last night: Grilled lamb chops with broad bean salad and avocado salsa

Yesterday was Glasgow Fair which meant that i had one more day to ease back into the routine. It also happened to be a gorgeous sunny day. Exactly the kind of day that should be spent sitting in the garden, sipping a daiquiri, eating your meal al fresco.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Broad Bean Salad and Avocado Salsa
Serves 4

8 lamb chops
lemon juice
olive oil
salt and pepper

For the broad bean salad:
250g podded broad beans, skins removed
3-4 mint sprigs, leaves picked and roughly chopped
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
couple of handfuls of watercress
olive oil

For the salsa:
100g cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 avocado roughly chopped
juice of 1 lime

  1. First marinate the lamb chops. Combine the lemon juice, a couple of glugs of olive oil, salt and pepper, and crushed garlic in a shallow bowl. Coat the lamb chops on both sides with the marinade and let sit while you prepare the rest of the meal.

  2. Make the salsa. Combine all the salsa ingredients in a bowl.

  3. Heat a griddle pan up until hot. Grill the chops for 2-3 minutes on each side depending on how you like them. Remove from the pan and let rest while you prepare the salad.

  4. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the skinned broad beans and heat through. Toss in the chopped rosemary and mint and stir through the watercress until it wilts. Season with salt and pepper.

  5. To serve, place the broad bean salad on a plate, lay over the lamb chops and drizzle over any juices from resting. Spoon over some avocado salsa. Eat and enjoy!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Review: Coast, Fishguard

OK, i think Kels and I unanimously agree that our meal at Coast this past week is currently our #1 rated meal of the year. Everything about the evening was perfect, from the moment we were seated to our last sips of brandy and coffee with gorgeous puds.
Coast is just a skip across the road from Bar 5 where we ate earlier in the week. We again took a chance and came without booking. We arrived at 6:30 pm and there was still a 'closed' sign on the door, so we nipped back to Bar 5 for a quick drinkie. When we came back the 'open' sign was hanging on the door and our wonderful hostess was able to give us a table.
Everything about the space oozes cozy comfort: exposed beams on the ceiling, rustic wooden tables, an upright piano tucked in the corner, and a leather sofa next to a cast iron fireplace. There is room for about 30 covers, which meant we were very lucky to get that table when we did. At least 3 other couples also tried their luck and were turned away for that night.
For starters I had Blue-Black beef fillet. It was seared on the outside and wonderfully rare (blue) on the inside. Thinly sliced, it was served with a refreshing coriander salad, and steamed jasmine rice. Kelsie had fishcakes generously featuring salmon, with a homemade tartare sauce. Our mains were steamed Sewin(sea trout) fillet on a cucumber salad for me, and a mains portion of Seared scallops with a shallot puree for Kelsie. Our sides were steamed new potatoes and spring cabbage tossed with mint. Finally, the puddings were vanilla creme brulee with cherries compote for Kels, and a gooseberry fool for me.
There was 1 server that night and she handled the tables with effortless, and pleasant ease. She really made the evening a delight for us and even when all the orders were happening at once, kept her cool and took care of all the customers.
This was exactly the kind of eating out experience I love to have. From the inventive recipes using the best of local produce, to the inviting and comfortable surroundings, to our most professional hostess -- all of these added up to a dinner we'll be remembering for quite some time.

COAST / 28-30 Main Street, Fishguard

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Review: Bar 5, Fishguard

Finally, finally finally I got some lobster! It's been ages since i've had some. I can't remember when the last time was. Bar 5 is one of a handful of restaurants in Fishguard that we're wanting to try out this holiday. We took a chance and went there without booking a reservation first. Luck was on our side and we were able to get a table immediately.
Initial impressions of the space were positive: modern, sleek lines that manage to complement the style of the listed building. The bar area is well lit, and there is a picture window with seating that overlooks the sea.
After finishing our drinks at the bar we were taken to our table. We immediately went for the grilled lobster and ordered 2 sides of new potatoes and green salad with vinaigrette. Not knowing how big the lobster was going to be we opted out of a starter. The grilled lobster was sweet and succulent and left me wanting more!
All in all the food was flawless and well prepared.
Our only complaint would be about the service. Between our main and the cheese board we ordered the wait stretched on to an excruciating 30 or 40 minutes. To our server's credit he took the chocolate cake with chocolate sauce off the bill and apoplogised for the delay.
If we're ever in Fishguard again we'll definitely plan on going back to Bar 5.

Bar 5 / Main Street, Fishguard / 01348 875050

Sunday, 13 July 2008


paw sila
Originally uploaded by silamuta
hi all. Just to say that we are having a wee hol in pembrokeshire in west wales. we are staying in a wee town called fishguard. today was our first day exploring. check out my flickr page for more photos. www.flickr.com/photos/silamuta. i m managing to get internest access je je je so we may upload our food exploits before we get back. we will see how we do.
k and m and happy wet dawg sila

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

the contenders (beer tasting)

the contenders
Originally uploaded by silamuta
we had a wee pot luck at dave wagners hang out last sat nite. each person either prepares a starter, main or dessert. i decided to provide the beer for an ale tasting.
the ales i chose were:

sierra nevada pale ale http://www.sierranevada.com/
ben nevis ruby red http://www.bridgeofallan.co.uk
anchor steam http://www.anchorbrewing.com/
brew dog punk ipa http://www.brewdog.com/
badger harvester http://www.furstyferret.com/
williams brothers midnight sun. http://www.williamsbrosbrew.com/

the results were as follows: (1= euch! 5=yum)
sierra nevada 3.32
combined tasting notes were
appearance: foamy, like a frothy shoreline
smell: slightly hoppy, fruity, sweet
taste: sweet, butter, pears or berries, mild hop or cream
mouthfeel: smooth, inviting, tingly
how drinkable: not very, too bitter, could have a good numer. 1 or 2 max

ben nevis ruby red 3.22
appearance: mid brown rather than amber
smell: sweet, pleasant
taste: creamy, sweet
mouthfeel: soft and gentle,
how drinkable: very, fairly 2/3 bottles

anchor steam 3.44
appearance: caramel golden, smally grainy head, orangey froth
smell: fruit, sweet
taste: rich tasting with a sweet balanced aftertaste, hint of copper
mouthfeel: not too fizzy, not too heavy
how drinkable: very, fairly, pretty good, 1 or 2 max

punk ipa 2.6
appearance: strawlike yellow, pale yellow
smell: hoppy, hoptastic
taste: soapy,hoppy, sour, bitter
mouthfeel: gassy, fizzy, thick, sharp and tangy
how drinkable: not very, good on a hot day
other comments: brewers with balls!

harvester 2.6
appearance: pale and frothy, watered down irn bru
smell: oddly sweet, a hint of soapy socks
taste: subtle, soft, nothing inspiring just wet
mouthfeel: slightly frothy, too carbonated
how drinkable: very, easy to drink but little reward in the end

midnight sun 3.74
appearance: stout like, good thick colour, like cola
smell: guinness, malty, chocolate malt, salami
taste: heavy smoothe, bittersweet, full, chocolate syrup
mouthfeel: creamy, like being cuddled by a baby blanket, frothy
how drinkable: good with salami sandwich, very(kev), 1 or 2

looks like midnight sun is the winner and thanks to dave et al for a nice night!! check out daves pics http://www.flickr.com/photos/praxinoscope/sets/72157606073794657/

Adventures in Ice Cream: vanilla, vanilla vanilla

For my xmas this year Kelsie gave me an ice cream maker. This is something I've been wanting for a very long time. It's the kind of ice cream maker where you have to freeze the bowl first -- for at least 24 hours in fact. Between Xmas and now I haven't had the space in my freezer to fit the bowl in! Chicken carcasses waiting to be made into stock, chinese sausages, frozen veg, leftovers from a gnocchi experiment and a big tub of leftover minestrone have taken all the available space. I finally cleared enough room and was able to fit the bowl in this past week.

Next step was finding a basic recipe to start with. Kelsie also gave me Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream book to help get me started. They have three different sweet cream bases each with varying amounts of butterfat which is one of the deciding factors in how creamy your ice cream is. I also got Iced as a back-up. The difference between the B&J recipes and the Iced recipes is that B&J don't say anything about cooking the custard first. They pretty much say to whack everything into the machine and churn. Iced, as well as other recipes say to make a custard first. I figured I'd try the harder one first and went for the Vanilla recipe in Iced.

You may have read about my past trials with custard. And again on this occasion i felt a bit of trepidation. Lucky for me, our friend Lorna was over to watch some tennis and help out with sampling the first batch. She's got a great attitude about facing challenges in general and encouraged me to just go for it and not worry. So i did, and i must say, i'm very happy with the results!

Vanilla Ice Cream
makes 1 litre

375ml milk
375ml whipping cream
2 vanilla beans, split lengthways and seeds scraped (i used an extra pod that had already had the seeds scraped)
145g caster sugar
8 large egg yolks

  1. Put the milk, cream, vanilla beans, scraped seeds and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and the milk is just about to boil. Set aside for 15 minutes to infuse. Remove the vanilla beans and gently reheat.

  2. Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl. Whisk in 60ml of the hot milk mixture until smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk mixture, then return to a clean saucepan and stir constantly over low-medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Do not allow to boil. Cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate until cold.

  3. Transfer to an ice cream machine and freeze according to manuFacturer's instructions. Alternatively, transfer to a shallow metal tray and freeze, whisking every couple of hours until frozen and creamy. Freeze for 5 hours or overnight. Soften in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.