Saturday 26 June 2010

Jolly Nice Wine

It's not often that I do a 'here's a bottle of wine and it's very good' post. Couldn't resist this one though, because drinking it's so bloody enjoyable I could cry.

Stuffed to the gunnels with buttery lushness and it has a beautiful, mouth coating texture. Without doubt one of the most pleasurable wines I've drunk this summer.

Macon Aze from Louis Jadot will cost you £9.49 in Waitrose... I reckon it's worth every penny... sob, sob, sniff.

Monday 21 June 2010

What I had for dinner

The Albarino is piercingly aromatic, pineapple cubed loveliness coated in icing sugar. Don't drink it too cold.
The Picholine olives are brilliant. Crunchy, fruity, almondy deliciousness. If you like olives and haven't tried these... you'd better. Come to think of it, if you like almonds and haven't tried these... you'd better.
Both came from Waitrose. The olives were just over £2, the wine just over £10.

Sunday 13 June 2010


That got my attention. I was looking for some respite after my stroll through the park, fishmonger bound, turned into a bit of an obstacle course. The West End Festival was underway and, after narrowly avoiding being hugged by a smelly looking Buddhist Monk, I was subjected to the hilarious 'banter' of two DJs. They were the 'entertainment' for that most oxymoron of oxymorons... the Fun Run. They wouldn't shut up, I nearly started running just to get away. Unfortunately, it turned out the lobster rolls had been heading in the opposite direction just as fast. No wonder, so I got chatting to Lisa, who runs Coffee, Chocolate and Tea. She'd been reading about a new way with coffee...

Sparkling mineral water topped with a shot of espresso! "Shall we try it out?" She asked mischievously. How could I possibly refuse.

Well, how to describe this? It is totally, utterly.... erm... different. You get the full on flavour of the coffee then suddenly this fizzy, foamy coldness. As we decided these ones were too big and smaller might work better... WOOSH... the caffeine hit us. Must have been the bubbles. Wow, after gibbering on for quite some time I headed off to MacCallums fishmonger. All buoyed up I got a bit excited and bought...

A turbot. King of fish. This one cost £12 and weighed a kilo.

Made a stock from the bones, then used it as a base for a shellfish saffron risotto with some new season broad beans and chervil... my new favourite herb.

It was seriously good, honest, and what was left was even better a few hours later after coming back from The Halt Bar's mini festival.

Drank a bottle of rose from Provence, via Waitrose, for £6.49. It went exceptionally well... so well, most of it got drunk before I remembered to take a picture. Lovely wine for the money. Proper French dry stuff.

Friday 4 June 2010

Roll out the Barrel

Considering the importance of tourism to Scotland's economy you'd think it would be less of a hit and miss affair. Sadly, the industry often promises far more than it can ever deliver and anyone venturing into the benighted boondocks is likely to return laden with tales of hospitality horrors.

Friends were staying last weekend, so I got to play 'tourist at home'. At Babbity Bowster in Glasgow we ordered grilled langoustine. After a considerable wait they came out... ice cold. The waitress took them back. Twenty minutes later they returned... luke warm. We gave up and ordered pies, only to be told, a little while later, that there were only two steak pies left, but, if we were willing to wait even longer, 'chef' was about to make up a batch of sausage pies. Err, no thanks. We fared much better by Dumgoyne.

Glengoyne Distillery is tucked into a magical dent in a rather attractive hill just 40 minutes drive from the city centre. The water used for the whisky was once drawn straight from the waterfall.

Increased production means they now have to take it from further up the hill, same source though. They get through a 100 litres of the stuff making just one bottle of whisky. Much of it in the cooling process.

Glengoyne's one of the few Scottish owned distilleries left. It's production is relatively small. The road past it marks the boundary between the Highlands and Lowlands. This stuff is distilled in the Highlands then matured in the Lowlands.

A 45 minute guided trip costs £6.50 with a tasting of the 10 year old single malt. £8.50 if you want to taste the 17 year old too. You also get £5 off any Glengoyne whisky purchase in the shop afterwards.

We got to taste a 21 year old too. Fabulous, unctuous stuff. Dark brown, from the barrels, caramel isn't used here. They don't use peat either. Our friend bought a bottle... £87... but they throw in a bottle of the 10 year old for 'free'. Mind, it seemed cheap as chips compared to the recently released 40 year old.

I must have driven past this place a hundred times and always thought it looked pleasant. Well, it's better than that. An informative and engaging tour without too much of the bullshit that normally accompanies Scotland's whisky industry. Our guide seemed genuinely embarrassed at having to play the marketing video... all misty glens filled with badly acted monks and Rob Roy running through the heather. Luckily the product speaks for itself. Don't overlook the 10 year old, it's pretty damn delicious. All were better with a good splosh of water.