thegrumblingtummy

"No love sincerer than the love of food"


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Howies Edinburgh – finally a reason for makeup

The last time I got dressed up and took longer than 10 minutes on my makeup was in March, 2 weeks before lockdown. Mr GT and I got on a train to Edinburgh and dined at the acclaimed Six by Nico and had an absolutely wonderful time. Little did I know that the next time I would board a train to eat out in an Edinburgh restaurant would be 6 months later.

The venue was Howies in Waterloo Place, a long standing favourite for Edinburgh diners young and old. This time Mr GT was ditched in favour of the bestie. The excitement of food, wine and gossip in Edinburgh – it was almost too much.

After possibly the most civilised (and expensive) glass of wine I have ever had in my life at the Balmoral Hotel’s Bar Prince (successfully avoiding the crowds, actually, successfully avoiding pretty much everybody) we headed to the restaurant.

There are two Howies restaurants in Edinburgh but the beautiful and impressive Waterloo place venue, tucked beneath Calton Hill is the flagship. the Georgian building is actually an old debating hall and it certainly is a bit of an architectural treasure, with a rather grand, spacious interior. The restaurant was doing a swift trade and we were seated in the smaller Calton Room (which can be booked for private dining). It is a slightly less impressive and airy part of the restaurant but still lovely.

Wine ordered (it is BYOB Monday – Thursday but not at the weekend) it was time for the main event. Howies do a fantastic lunch deal of £12.75 for two courses or £15.75 for three courses. Amongst the starter delights there was Whipped Crowdie and Mascarpone with tomatoes, pepper, mint and red onion and Haggis, Neeps and Tatties with Thyme Jus; however I opted for Belhaven Trout Pate with fresh creamed horseradish, shallots, capers and oatcakes.

At Howies the presentation is always rather lovely and the portion sizes are great. Not so small that you plan a burger run later in the day but small enough that you are most definitely going to manage pudding!

There was lots of pate packed into a little glass jar and it was beautifully light and creamy with the capers and horseradish giving it a nice tart edge. I could have done with one more oatcake but perhaps I am just a little on the greedy side. It was a thoroughly enjoyable starter.

It was hard to choose from the lovely array of main courses on offer but it turned out to be a Chicken Pot Pie kind of a day for both of us. The chicken was cooked in Thistly Cross Cider and Sage Cream with a Isle of Mull Cheese Pastry. The pie was a warm hug of a thing, all creamy and warm inside and satisfyingly flaky on top – however I was not really getting the cider or sage. It was lovely but not utterly stunning which is not how I would describe the star of the show.

HOWIES FAMOUS BANOFFEE PIE

Whomever came upon the combination of a crisp biscuit base, layered with bananas, sweet gooey caramel and lashings of freshly whipped cream, is a genius. It is a superb pudding in any restaurant but Howies creation is renowned and it is in my opinion THE ONLY dessert to order. Now this WAS an utterly stunning end to a lovely meal.

We were evicted to accommodate a wedding but thankfully we were allowed to continue our coffees and more wine whilst soaking up some early Autumn sun and watching the world go by.

It was a wonderfully wine drenched, foodie sort of a day and certainly worthy of lipstick.

If you want to find out more about Howies and try it out for yourself then click the link www.howies.uk.com

More from the (not so healthy this week) Grumbling Tummy soon


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Fine Pickings (Blackberry and Apple Crumble)

It was a very rainy Friday when I arrived in North Queensferry to meet my pal Cat for a walk. We would rather have sat in a cosy cafe drinking coffee and eating cake but there was no room at the only inn in the village so we were forced to settle for takeaway coffee and a proper drenching. As we gamely continued on our coastal walk we noted that one side of the path was completely covered in beautiful, juicy, ripe blackberries. I have never seen so many in one place before. So being resourceful, we swigged down the remains of our coffee and set about filling the cup with fruit.

This is not the first time I have picked blackberries BUT it is the first time the fruit has not languished in the fridge until mouldy. I think the only thing that pushed me to actually follow through with making something from these fresh beauties was a timely facebook post from Cat showing a fabulous crumble using her pickings. Not to be outdone, the Grumbling Tummy followed suit. I didn’t really follow a recipe to make the crumble so I may have broken some crumble making rules.

INGREDIENTS

4 medium green apples

A splash of fresh apple juice

Cup of fresh blackberries

3 tbs of caster sugar

75g of plain flour

75g of porridge oats

30g of soft brown sugar

Around 60g of soft butter

METHOD

Pop the apples, apple juice and caster sugar into a pan and simmer gently for around 20 minutes (or until nice and soft)

pour the apples into your crumble dish

Mix in the butter to the flour crumbling with your fingers until it looks almost like breadcrumbs. Fold in the oats and brown sugar.

Add in your blackberries with the apple mix and top with the the crumble mix.

Bake in the over for around 25 minutes or until the top is all golden and the fruit is starting to bubble up around the edges

THE VERDICT

The inclusion of oats in the topping makes a nice change but perhaps a little less indulgent than a traditional crumble topping. It did taste great and I felt a tiny bit smug having made it a touch more virtuous. The fruit in the crumble was absolutely delicious and I am definitely keen to do some more fruit foraging (rain optional). We had the crumble with custard – very traditional and Mr G T’s favourite. MY preferred accompaniment to any hot pud is whole milk. Have you tried it? Its not to be missed. Good in a crumble but heaven with a hot sponge such as Eves Pudding where the ice cold creamy milk soaks into the hot sponge.

So get out there, forage and create!


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A Veganish Feast

Before the news was awash with masks, quarantine and Covid clusters we were all reading about ways we could help to save the planet. Quite a big important task that seems to have been rather forgotten amidst the pandemic.

One of the big things we were told we could do to help was to become vegan or at least a bit veganish. I was launching into a mainly vegetarian diet pre-lockdown which was, for some reason, abandoned in favour of bridies, mince rounds and enormous sausage rolls delivered to my doorstep by Aberdour bakery. We all know what the consequences of that was (I refer you back to the Covid 10 post from a couple of weeks back)

So our first ‘people round for lunch’ event happened a couple of weekends ago, when good friends Vic and Fraser popped round and it seemed a good reason to revisit one of my favourite veganish meals.

The menu was ultimate vegan chilli, salsa, guacamole – so far so vegan – plus soured cream and grated cheese (not so vegan). The pud which we called a ‘Waid Guddle’ (explanation later) was not even pretending to be vegan.

This chilli is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best I have ever made bar none. It came to my attention when my very meat eating boss had a vegan come to stay with her and after a mild panic about what to make, came across this recipe from the BOSCH boys. Thankfully she brought some into the office for lunch the next day and gave me a little taste – I rushed out and bought the BOSCH cook book.

The thing that makes this chilli so fantastic is the use of lots of minced mushrooms, giving it a very bold meaty texture that will satisfy the most confirmed carnivore. Interesting ingredients like chocolate, maple syrup, soy sauce, balsamic and red wine give it an incredible deep, smokey rich flavour. It really is sublime and its not surprising the the BOSCH team call it their Ultimate Chilli. Click the link for the full recipe from Bosch.

CHOP CHOP
https://www.bosh.tv/recipes/ultimate-chilli

I am not sure about you but for me a chilli is not a chilli without the trimmings. A lone chilli with rice is like having turkey with only roasties at Christmas. It is just not right. Nope, you need a good home made salsa, oodles of creamy guacamole, big dollops of soured cream and a grated cheese mountain. Then and only then do you have a proper chilli on your hands. My Guacamole and Salsa also comes from the Bosch book and again are the best and simplest I have found.

For afters I did intend to follow the healthy and wholesome route, honestly I did. I made my own frozen strawberry yogurt, which just included oodles of strawberries, a little tiny spoon of condensed milk and low fat yogurt. At first I topped it simply with some fresh berries – hmm! Then I decided to blitz a bag of Maltesers and liberally scatter that on top, not satisfied with this we decided that a little daub of extra thick cream would be appropriate. Okay so this could have been healthy if it had not been for the Maltesers and cream but it was really rather nice. After the first portion all of the ingredients were brought to the table and DIY dessert making ensued. It really was delish. We thought it shared some similarities to an Eton mess and as my school was called Waid Academy we christened it the Waid Guddle.

WAID GUDDLE

All in all it was a raging success and declared by by friend Vic as the most colourful meal she has seen this year! I do implore you to try this chilli even if you are the meatiest of the meat eaters – you will be converted.

Next time The Grumbling Tummy delves into the world of alcohol free tipples in a self imposed Sober September ….