Cafe Gandolfi: Glasgow


Seamus MacInnes and I on the first of myself and Niall’s three visits to Cafe Gandolfi in two days.  We just really liked it.

As I travel around, I find myself collecting favourite hang out spots, whether they be restaurants, cafes, bars or shops that I love.  Mentally, I’m creating my perfect town which would house all of theses wonderful places.

In this town, among lots of others, there’d be a Katz’ Deli, a Walpole Cafe, a Beacon’s Closet, a Dim Sum Go Go, a Bistro Guillame, a Triple R station, a Gruel and a Mermaid Cafe, a Cake Shop, a Bernard Shaw, a Grogan’s, a Mono, and there would most certainly be a Cafe Gandolfi’s, the second place the good folk at Visit Scotland had us down to visit last weekend in Glasgow.

Cafe Gandolfi -  or Gandolfini’s as I continuously and unwittingly referred to it as – has been serving the good people of Glasgow with excellent but unpretentious grub since 1979 when the founder Iain Mackenzi took over the empty offices of the Cheese Market to create a hub of deliciousness.  The business has since expanded to include Bar Gandolfi upstairs at the original cafe premises as well as a fancier restaurant two doors down with Gandolfi Fish.

Continue reading…→

World Piping Championships: Glasgow


Imagine the scene: in the early afternoon on Saturday, after breakfast in bed at The Carlton George Hotel, two visiting bloggers are wandering in the direction of Glasgow Green to visit The World Piping Championships.  It’s the first morning in the city so the visitors haven’t quite got their bearings and believe that they are somewhat lost, somewhere in the vicinity of the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, complete with its cone-clad statue out front.

A Glasgow native told us that no matter how often the Glasgow Council remove this cone, it is replaced by upstanding Glaswegian citizens of a Friday or Saturday night.  We truly are cut from the same cloth, the Glaswegians and the Dubs.

Suddenly, however, the lost bloggers spot a man in a kilt walking in a south westernly direction.  They follow him around the corner towards the main street, only to see at least another 8 kilt wearers.  The bloggers take this as a sign and follow the kilt-adorning gentlemen (and a few ladies) all the way to the Glasgow Green.

In fairness, we were also following the sound of the droning bagpipes.

Continue reading…→

The Ubiquitous Chip: Glasgow


The Ubiquitous Chip on Ashton Lane, Glasgow

Over the weekend, myself and Niall were treated to a delightful weekend in the very lovely Glasgow, courtesy of the good people at Visit Scotland, as 2010 is the Scottish Year of Food and Drink.

Last Friday evening, following a short and stress-free flight over from Dublin, we made our way to Glasgow’s Carlton George Hotel, smack in the city centre just around the corner from Buchanan Street.

After enjoying a complimentary Scotch whiskey in our hotel room, we made our way to The Ubiquitous Chip on Ashton Lane, via a short trip to Hillhead from the city centre on the Glasgow Subway system.

Perhaps it could be said that The Ubiquitous Chip has become as much a part of the Glasgwegian landscape as the subway itself, albeit in an entirely more glamorous sense.

Continue reading…→

The Harvest Meal


Wild Salmon Carpaccio served with Amazonnaise

I’ve mentioned my friends Alan and Colette before on this blog, usually in connection with Come Dine With Me.  Not only are they fabulous friends, but they share our enthusiasm for food, fine wines *ahem* and music.  So it’s pretty easy to see why we get on so well.

Recently, Alan gave me the most wonderful gift of a copy of the absolutely FABULOUS Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen.  Last Friday night, myself and Alan took over himself and Colette’s  lovely (HOIGE) kitchen to team-tag cook a Harvest Meal for Niall and  Colette.

Our aim was to include at least one ingredient from Alan’s backyard veg patch in each course, as well as some produce from his brother’s farm.  We stuck mainly to Darina’s book for recipe inspiration and by gum, did we have a feast.

From Darina’s book, we followed the recipe for our Roast Lamb as well as the Wild Salmon Carpaccio with Brown Bread and Mustard & Dill Mayonnaise.  You MUST buy this book.  Even if you don’t actually cook anything from it, just reading through it is an education in itself.  Honestly.  Go forth and buy it.

Continue reading…→

Butternut Squash Nomness


Here’s a great recipe for a meat-free dinner, lovely for non-veggies and veggies alike, and easily made appropriate for vegans by taking away the Feta Cheese.

In fact, this would be even better to eat when squash is in season in Autumn – late September, perhaps?  It’s so delicious  that I wanted to share it with you here, just in case you’re not on Twitter :)

With preparation and cooking time, altogether this dish takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to make.  We had it with a nice plain green salad, as even if the squashes are a small size, it’s a hearty meal.

Head over to the BBC Good Food guide for all the recipe – and don’t leave out the pomegranates!  It makes it.  Nom!

Chapter 12 of The Hipster Handbook: Harnessing The Wisdom of The East


The deliciously long title of this particular post was created by my buddy @Fensterdj who tweeted it at me last week in reply to my update about going for a consultation at the Ayurveda Centre on Stephen Street in Dublin 2.

It’s true.  I do have hipster tendencies – buying glasses from Specsavers Mens Department, going to Billy Ocean concerts “ironically” etc.  But it wasn’t these tendencies that brought me to the Ayurveda Centre.  Rather, it was the gift of a consultation voucher combined with the cloud of lethargy that has been following me around for say, forever.

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medical system, which focuses on how you can eat your way to better physical and emotional health.  In fairness, could it be any more perfect for a food blogger?

The advice given by the spectacularly lovely Dr Brennan – a GP turned Ayurvedic counsellor – is nothing that you don’t know already.  I mean, you really know it.  Eat bigger meals during the day and smaller meals at night, don’t over eat, exercise, drink nice digestive teas, cut down on stuff that’s bad for you…

But, the act of going to the bother of making an appointment and talking to someone about these things should not be underestimated – it can often kick start that oh-so-often elusive inner motivation to get healthy.

Head to the Ayurveda website to see if you think it’s for you, but also to get some of the basic tips about the Vata, Pitta and Kapha, the three basic personality elements, and how when one or more of these qualities goes out of balance, it can be reflected in your health.

Personally, I’ve found it a motivating exercise in helping me towards eating more healthily and in a more balanced way.  I’m very good at eating fruit and vegetables, but I’m equally as excellent at eating Pringles.  And there lies my imbalance :)

Continue reading…→

Choosing raw?


Choosing Raw’s Sprout Salad with Smoky Guacomole as prepared and munched by I Can Has Cook?

It’s been quiet around these here parts of late, the reasons for which there are two.

1) I had a little bit of a cold there over the weekend which Niall kindly brought home with him from Oxegen.  So it seems one doesn’t even have to go to Oxegen to have a bad experience related to it, how jolly!

and, more importantly,

2) I’ve been re-evaluating my diet and coming to terms with perhaps maybe definitely becoming a vegetarian.  At least, a part-time vegetarian.  Like Monday to Friday.  9am to 5pm.  I’m not sure yet. Clearly.

At any rate, a detox was needed.  I’ve spent the summer, nay, the last year and a half, indulging myself in all manners of boldness, all of which I  have thoroughly enjoyed.  The downside of becoming a better cook is that I’ve been able to make myself more and more bold things.

The time has come to change things in order to give myself more energy as well as a bit of extra room in my jeans.

Continue reading…→

Spain, eh?! Who knew!


I, with my insightful knowledge of football and the great game, *ahem*, had forecasted that Germany would be in this year’s World Cup Final alongside Holland.  I have a World Cup Final meal planned for Sunday before the final game.  My menu before tonight’s last semi-final game had two courses confirmed:  Bobotie from South Africa for the main and a Dutch Boterkoek for dessert.

I was quite convinced that my starter was going to be indeed a German dish – perhaps a Spätzle or some kind of savoury Strudel.  Of course, I did think this would be a culinary shame as Spanish food is so awesome.  And so, I decided for this semi-final to make a special Spanish meal.  Little did I know that this would be a practice run for a starter on Sunday.  Poor auld Germany.  They played so well.  Only not in this particular semi-final.  Das gesicht traurig :(

Continue reading…→

Lentil and Chorizo Salad


Lentil, red onion, cherry tomato, chorizo and (paprika dyed) feta cheese salad

We had bought some Chorizo for our ‘Baked’ Haddock yesterday, in the knowledge that we would probably get around 3 meals out of the 225g M&S packet.  Which is good, as it set us back nearly €5.00.

This Chorizo is made in Spain and claims that it’s from ‘The Farm…’ which is rather ambiguous, in truth.  It does say on the packet that it’s from M&S assured pork from farms within Spain.  Not as much information as I’d like about my meat but it’s something at least.

We’ve been becoming very fond of Chorizo of late after it single-handedly made a whopper of a dish of our Paella so I’d really like to find a good producer of it in Ireland – if there’s such a thing – or at the very least a good supplier of the yummy stuff.  I might take a walk over to Magill’s over on Clarendon Street (Dublin 2) or check out some of the meat stands at The Meeting House Square Market and see if I can find any chorizo enthusiasts.  Because it don’t half help to add flavour to things.  Phwoar.

Continue reading…→