Category Archives: Cooks and Eats

REVIEW: A sunny Saturday at TIGERLILY (George Street)

My rainy Saturday turned surprisingly sunny so I decided to have lunch at Tigerlily with a friend yesterday. To be honest I’ve not been there for years; I’m not a George Street kind of gal and my usual haunts have the quirky speakeasy feel of The Bon Vivant or are the kind of pub frequented by old men.

Let me just start by saying the service isn’t great; we turned up and asked the hostess if we could have our food outside then proceeded to wait for a waitress to come out and bring me a menu. And wait. And then wait some more for our bottle of prosecco.

My Thai coconut chicken dumpling and noodle soup came out with an accompanying Japanese teapot of coconut broth for what turned out to be chicken balls rather than dumplings, a couple strands of rice noodles and julienned vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, dem ‘dumplings’ were delicious, but the broth was rather bland. I liked the idea of the separate teapot for the soup, but would have preferred it left rather than poured for me.

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Instead of a main I went for the whole lobster because I can’t resist lobster when it’s on the menu. I am a huuuuuge seafood fan and there are few things in the world that I would choose to eat over that sweet, sweet meat. The chunky cut chips were a perfect partner, and I can guiltily admit I may have dipped a couple into my pot of garlic butter.

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Unfortunately my phone ran out of juice so I didn’t manage to take any photos of our cocktails (including a very generous piña colada) and their take on a strawberry Bellini. I’ll still be going to my usual eccentric, super-chilled lounges and grotty live music venues on a Friday night, but Tigerlily is an undeniably pleasant place to while away a few hours with friends on a Saturday afternoon over cocktails and that sweet, sweet lobster meat…

Tigerlily
125 George Street, Edinburgh
Www.tigerlilyedinburgh.co.uk

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#100happydays: Day 6 ‘Go Canada’

My flat mate is my best friend. He is my person. I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t tell him, and some of the best times we’ve spent together have been marathoning ‘Breaking Bad’ and stuffing our faces with takeaway. We have some of the most ridiculous conversations sometimes, and yesterday we sat in my bed looking up hilarious Canadian beer commercials on youtube.

So he brought me these…

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Review: Back to Tuk Tuk (1 Leven Street)

Tomorrow I’ll be leaving for Prague for a 3 night trip; I’m so excited to be headed there again, it’s been over 19 years since I last visited that beautiful city… Not to mention it’s home to one of my absolute favourite buildings, Frank Gehry’s ‘dancing house’. I’ve made a reservation at the restaurant for dinner my first night there.

Today has been a day for running errands; my ‘to do’ list is a mile long but a girl’s gotta eat, so in between packing related mishaps and the gym, I decided to stop for a second take at TukTuk on Leven Street as I was so impressed by their lamb chops earlier in the week I had to try their curry.

I am a huge lover of biryanis, so when my waitress pointed out several new additions to the menu fresh off the press this morning, I was immediately tempted by the Raste ke biryani, described as chicken biryani ‘on-the-bone’. This dish was surpringly sweetly spiced, the chicken was wonderfully tender and full of flavour. This is definitely a dish to try, so different from your garden variety biryanis, with beautiful jewel toned strands of red onion and garnished with boiled egg.

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I also decided to go for the Railway station lamb curry, which is cooked on-the-bone with spinach. Accompanied by a dish of baby aubergine and potato. Now I’m not sure what Indian chefs do to their lamb to make the meat so gloriously tender and succulent but I want their secret! Chock full of lovely spinach and melt-in-the-mouth morsels of meat.

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Unfortunately the baby aubergines were rather bland, with a taste of cumin almost as an afterthought. In fact I got one mouthful that was almost overpoweringly spiced while the rest of the dish was quite dull.

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From my two visits it seems Tuk Tuk do meat very well; meltingly tender and full of flavour. The vegetarian dishes have been less impressive.

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Review: Tuk Tuk Street Food (1 Leven Street)

I needed a manicure with some desperation. My regular place is reminiscent of the Asian-run mani pedi parlours common in every major Canadian city, reasonably priced and very thorough, with very little English spoken and no frills. This is not a pampering destination, but super effective if you’re short on time and need a very good manicure. I usually just walk in, but as it’s a Saturday I made a 3pm appointment and stopped off at Tuk Tuk for a bite to eat. I can’t be sure how long this street food diner has been open, but I’ve wanted to try it. Indian street food isn’t something I’m terribly familiar with, but I’m always keen to try new cuisines and flavours.

My first impression of the place was a funky and modern vibe, unlike the traditional curry houses you find everywhere in Edinburgh. Industrial lighting and vibrant jewel colours definitely make an impression and set this place apart.

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There were two dishes that I immediately wanted to try. Lamb chops marinaded in fresh herbs and spices with garlic mash, simply because I adore the way lamb prepared in Indian cuisine seems to be so much more tender than any other way. And being the carb-lover that I am, I was tempted by the Hakka chilli noodles, the vegetarian option, which were described as having a sino-Indian influence.

Tuk Tuk suggest you order 3-4 dishes per person to make up a filling meal, but as I’d had a large lunch at the farmers market I decided just to sample a couple.

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Lovely crunch of red and green cabbage to the egg noodles, though the description as ‘fiery’ may have been overestimating a bit! The single Birdseye chilli garnish may have added to the bite somewhat though. The only nod to Indian flavour were some slightly limp slices of paneer lingering at the bottom of the dish. A little overly oily, and without the punch of flavour I expected.

The lamb chops however were beautiful. Absolutely delicious. Dainty and flavourful chops on the bone, grilled in a tandoori marinade and sitting atop a sweet, aromatic roasted garlic mash. Powerful flavours unlike what passes for a ‘garlic mash’ in the UK. The accompanying sauce was similar to a delicately spiced tikka. I’d come back again just for the lamb chops, and I am definitely intrigued to try some other dishes!

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Tuk Tuk Street Food
1 Leven Street, Tollcross

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Recipe: ‘Moroccan’ spiced rump steak

On Tuesday night I got to spend a lovely evening chilling at the flat with one of my favourite people, the fabulous Morna! Every time she comes to visit we enjoy a few glasses of wine and stuff ourselves full of great food. Like me Morna loves fresh, tasty eats and trying new things…so I thought I’d try out a marinade (very loosely) based on Moroccan flavours. It turned out to be incredible with the steak we paired with it, but I think it would go equally well with pork or chicken.

‘Moroccan’ spiced rump steak

2 tsp cumin (whole)
1 head wet garlic or 3 cloves dry, finely chopped
1 tsp Harissa
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp geared ginger
4 tsp chilli infused olive or rapeseed oil
0.5 tsp cayenne
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
4 rump steaks

Combine all marinade ingredients and cover the steaks thoroughly with the mixture. Set aside and chill until needed, at least 30 minutes (though as we were having a late dinner I let the flavours develop a couple hours).

Grill or pan-fry the steaks, about 3-5 minutes each side for medium rare. Serve with couscous. We added roasted vegetables, ras-al-hanout, sautéed red onions, chopped pistachios and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to ours but really you can add any flavours you like.

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Incredibly tasty, and so simple to make! We had such a fun time catching up whilst making dinner as well, which is really what counts isn’t it? You can’t beat good eats with good friends!

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Happy Canada Day!!

I may be a little late on this (Blame a gruelling Barreworks workout followed by a dash from Spadina to Dovercourt by accident this afternoon to a yoga class…not to mention my very first spin class yesterday!) but
Happy Canada Day folks!!

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My I do love the red and white!!!

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She loves me, she loves me not…Travel Edition

I’m no stranger to a bit of cross-continental hopping, being a Canadian who’s found herself settled in sunny Scotland. It may surprise you that I’ve not been back to the motherland for over 3 years though, and this working holiday is my first trip back!  I’m very excited to be ‘home’, catching up with the oldest of friends, and visiting my favourite Toronto spots – as well as exploring new ones!  It’s had me thinking about the things I love (and those I’m not as fond of) about the act of travel.

She loves me…

1. The Dutch sense of humour.  

Heard over the tannoys at Schiphol Airport:

‘Could passenger Klein flying to Toronto, PLEASE head to gate K9.  The pilot is very bored’

2. Airport shopping!  

This will come as no surprise, as everyone knows I’m an utter shopaholic…but it’s so interesting to see what kinds of treats are on offer in foreign ports.  I especially love browsing the magazine racks and the electronics section to see what is on offer elsewhere in the world.  Foreign language interiors mags?  Oh yes!!

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3. Sleeping!

On a long-haul flight, I know I’ll be crashed out by the time we take off; a fantastic bonus when more often than not, I’ve been up all night packing.  I usually wake up when they announce descent, slap on some moisturizer and feel as close to fresh-as-a-daisy as one can muster after 8 hours transatlantic flying.

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She loves me not…

1. Airport security.

I realise it’s a necessary evil, and I do feel safer knowing someone is out there checking none of my fellow passengers is a knife-wielding maniac.  However, after having whipped out my iPad both at security checkpoints in Edinburgh and Amsterdam, struggling to juggle passports and boarding cards whilst trying to put shoes/belt/zip bag up…not to mention the thorough pat-down because my bracelet set off the scanner…

2. Plane food.

Such a cliché, but airline food is still (most of the time) as revolting as ever.  I had something which was described as ‘pan-fried chicken with country style potatoes’, which reared its ugly head as a rubbery breast atop what had the taste and texture of Israeli couscous.  I have no objections to couscous, but I can’t remember the last time I thought it was interchangeable with spuds!  The only time I’ve had ‘pleasant’ plane food was surprisingly on route from Hong Kong to Sapporo; and it’s rather difficult to mess up zaru soba when it comes in two individually adorable sealed cups!

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I do love to travel though, and despite the stresses of being in the airport, it’s always worth it in the end.  Anyone else have any travel loves or pet peeves?

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Recipe: my first green smoothie (apples, spinach, kiwi)

Green Smoothie Mark 1
2 apples
Handful spinach leaves
1 kiwi, peeled
Ice

Into the Vitamix these babies went, blitzed til smooth. I had one of these (my tastiest yet) after a stint on the rower this morning.

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Recipe: strawberry, banana and spinach smoothie

Banana, strawberry, spinach smoothie
1 banana
A handful of spinach
A punnet of strawberries
1 apple
Fresh mint
Ice (optional)

Again I used my awesome Vitamix blender to whip up this concoction, which was tasty but wasn’t the most…photogenic. Our trusty colour wheel tells us that red+green+yellow = brown, if you can imagine!

I whipped this one up at the weekend in an attempt to perk myself up following a lovely day spent sipping prosecco in the sun…

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After-work wander: Glasgow’s Buchanan Street

I was working in Glasgow today, so of course I had a wander before I caught my train home. I love The Weej for its friendliness; much as I adore Edinburgh and call it home, it can be a bit contrived at times. Though you’re as likely to see a man fashioning balloon animals on the street in The Burgh, it feels put on for the tourists.
How fun is this guy though?!

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I stopped at Rogano’s pop up ‘champagne garden’ on Buchanan Street for a lunch of oysters and creamy Caesar salad with king prawns. And a pot of peppermint tea to keep me warm!

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I stopped in Frasers to look for a smaller wallet to fit into my clutch bag (so tired of schlepping my massive Prada number around everywhere) so of course stopped off at Shu Uemura…such a fabulous experience from a customer care perspective, the sales girl was so lovely so wait for a separate post about it! It’s so rare, especially in a busy department store, for sales staff to pay such attention and care to customer service. Oh and I spied these amazing Chanel sunglasses that have gone right to the top of my summer wish list!

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