Restaurant Day! And what a day it was… with foodie pals and the help of the best chip shop in town!

Last weekend was a very busy and special one! On Sunday hubby and I enjoyed a really good opera performance and the Festival Theatre, thanks to Scottish Opera: Rossini’s La Cenerentola was on and it was really good. We were in the company of friends–my friend Annalisa and her Danish husband Jacques–and afterward we wound up in Nawroz on Potterrow for a good dinner of mezzes and some lively banter! Nawroz is a real find–good, genuine and fresh Turkish/Middle Eastern food served in pleasant and airy surroundings. The portions are rather generous but not overwhelming and there is a choice for everyone including this vegan… 🙂 My favourites are the Nawroz salad, the vegetable kebab on a bed of lettuce and of course their amazing Baba Gannouji!
However, Sunday was also a day of rest for me… because on Saturday I got to run a restaurant in the company of my fellow Geeks Blythe and Rose as part of Restaurant Day: this is a great find, a day which started in Denmark a few years ago and has since been steadily branching out across the world. It can be summed up in one sentence: Like to cook? Have a go at running a restaurant for one day! The all-knowing Chris Smith from Nordic Horizons brought this to the attention of Blythe and then, well, once I saw what it was about I was game for it too, and so was Rose!
hey presto, I approached my friend Mauro of Giovanni’s Fish and Chip shop on Northfield Broadway with a view to exploring whether this really great establishment could be our venue… they open in the evening, so Mauro and his brother were really happy to have us use their premises and equipment (minus the friers, it would have been far too dangerous for dilettantes like us! ;)) for a couple of hours. Lovely Ylva from Zero Waste Scotland inspired our menu and our theme… i.e., avoid wasting food, use leftovers creatively! Blythe’s soups of mushroom and broccoli were enriched with, respectively, leftover bread rolls and a bag of rocket that was nearing its use-by date. Rose used up a glut of carrots to make her famous spicy carrot cake (ask my husband, was it good! :D) and me, well… I thought about how much food is sometimes leftover at Christmas, especially the trimmings, i.e. broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and cheese… hence, I was all to happy to make some shortcrust pastry (easy as pie, and sorry for the pun… just rub in 80g margarine in 400g plain flour and then enough water to bind a pliable pastry, then wrap in clingfilm and chill til ready to use) and make pasties with a mix of these veg, some crumbled cheese and a couple of eggs to bind together. Needless to say, our customers were very pleased… for a donation they left with a nice goodie bag with one or two beakers of soup, some fresh bread (also baked chez moi in the morning!), a pastie and some very handy recipe cards from our campaign of choice, Love Food Hate Waste! We ended our work just after 2… Mauro and team arrived to find us having a good chat and tasted our wares, with much pleasure, which, by all means, is a great seal of approval. Donations for the day (we did not charge and everyone was so generous!) went to the Cyrenians, a great charity which does excellent work with the poor around Edinburgh! Ach well… what a weekend it was–and needless to say, we’re already thinking about the next Restaurant Day in February… our fellow foodie Danielle from Edinburgh Foody ran an evening event on the theme of risotto chez Union of Genius, so watch out, next time there may be more Geekery for Restaurant Day in the fair city of Edinburgh!


Winter Warmer day… and we try more new recipes!

This blustery but sunny Sunday saw lots of runners on 10K and 5K going up and down Arthur’s Seat for the Winter Warmer Race. This was a fabulous run, in aid of the British Heart Foundation, for which I did a very successful fundraising–thank you all, friends, colleagues and family for your generosity, in support of a charity whose work is really important… especially after what happened to my husband in early October and to my Mamma last year, I am so aware of this!
I finished on just over 45 min on 10 and half km, give or take which was good–the wind was fierce!–and as the 1st female on 10K! 🙂 Yay!
Best of all was to get a big hug from hubby who was at the finish to greet me–how lovely he is, and how amazing to have him!! 🙂 🙂
Back home I thought we deserved a nice lunch… having been Hallowe’en, how about pumpkin? I just had a butternut squash, so I thought, why not?
Hubby got a nice supreme of chicken roasted with garlic, olive oil and rosemary and again, not a hint of salt in sight! It was served with roasted squash wedges, dressed in the same way… he said it was very tasty, which warmed the cockles of the heart of this wifey! 🙂
I had the same squash stewed in a bit of veg stock with cavolo nero and a handful of chickpeas that were leftover from the week… the seasoning was amazing, I must say: just crushed garlic and red onion, rosemary, oregano and it was so fragrant.
I also made a pumpkin pancake, with mashed pumpkin, flour and some soy milk in which I had dissolved a pinch of cream of tartar… it had all started from reading a fab recipe, which is also very good, I recommend it!, by one of the food writers I admire the most, Jack Monroe, for pumpkin scones (you can find it here, top notch!… so I thought, why not pancakes?
The recipe is easy and follows… for the next time I make these I shall try and cook them thinner, so they will require less browning!
For 4/6 pancakes
200g squash flesh, steamed and mashed
100g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, dissolved in 2 tbsp soy milk
your seasoning of choice–mine was rosemary, tarragon and a pinch of garlic granules
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients till you have a thick batter–add some water if you need to, it depends on how “watery” the squash is itself. Lightly smear the bottom of a non-stick frying pan with oil, then heat it on the hob; pour about 2 tbsp of the batter in the pan and allow the pancake to cook on one side and then flip to the other (I use a plate to help turning them). Work your way through all the batter. Serve with your favourite choice of vegetables and pulses for a savoury meal… but if you change the seasoning to, say, cinammon, nutmeg and maybe cloves these will also be good as a sweet course.
Happy November all!