The Feast of the Commonwealth

16.4.14

feast of the commonwealth 1
feast of the commonwealth 7
feast of the commonwealth 6
feast of the commonwealth 5
feast of the commonwealth 4
feast of the commonwealth 3

One of the perks of being a blogger is that, from time to time, some pretty sweet invites wing their way to you. When the words "Feast of the Commonwealth" appeared in my inbox I was pretty intrigued, and after a quick scan of the invite it took me about 2 seconds to say yes. The Feast of the Commonwealth was part of the Edinburgh Science Festival and also an official Culture 2014 event; the gala dinner was a celebration of science and food from Scotland and across the Commonwealth in order to mark 100 days to go until the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The event was held at Dynamic Earth, a pretty stunning place for a dinner party, no? After some welcome drinks and a browse round the stalls of the mini producers market, we took our seats to hear more about the meal from host Tony Singh. Tony's restaurant Oloroso used to be my faaaavourite restaurant in Edinburgh but sadly it's now defunct - however, I believe plans are in place to open a new restaurant in West Linton soon! Anyway, back to the Feast, and we heard from Professor Gilloran from Queen Margaret University about the science of food. Professor Mary Abukutsa-Onyango from Jomo Kentatta University in Kenya then told us a little bit about her research into sustainable African vegetables and crops, then it was finally time to tuck into the food.

The starter was created by Dynamic Earth's own head chef, David Veal. The menu was a complete surprise until we sat down, so I was very pleased to discover the starter was trout with new potatoes, horseradish cream and roasted beetroot. Love trout, love beetroot, love potatoes. LOVE. The smoked trout was from Belhaven Smokehouse in East Lothian and it tasted fantastic; as well as the fillet there was also a little trouty mousse hiding underneath which was a nice contrast. I think this was my favourite course of the night - I'd pick a starter over a dessert any day of the week!

Next up was the main course of roasted supreme of chicken with watercress and herb crust, served with buttered vegetables, dauphinoise potatoes and a cafe au lait sauce. This course was created by Neil Forbes of Cafe St Honore and once again it tasted amazing. Usually I'm not a massive fan of French cuisine, but this was lovely and not too heavy so I think I'll have to go and try out Cafe St Honore soon! Those dauphinoise potatoes were to. die. for. and I loved the subtly flavoured cafe au lait sauce, despite not being a fan of coffee.

After the main course there was a wee break where we could take part in some activities in the rainforest and space zones at Dynamic Earth, but wise ones that we are, Laura and I nipped off to the toilet and missed out on this bit entirely. Not to fear, we topped up our wine glasses, had a catch up with some of the other blogging ladies, and then settled back down for dessert. Oh booyyyy. I know I said I wasn't much of a dessert person, but this was heavenly. The chocolate and rapeseed oil tear with hazelnut praline, served with rhubarb puree and sea buckthorn curd, was created by chef Tom Lewis of the Monachyle Mhor Hotel. Despite being really rich and chocolately it didn't feel too sickly at all, and the sharpness of the rhubarb and the sea buckthorn really went well together. I spent most of the meal assuming sea buckthorn was some kind of weird seaweed, but turns out it's actually a little orange berry which tasted a bit like a less-sweet version of a mango. Tasty.

All in all, it was a great night and I ate lots and drank lots and had a splendid time. The Science Festival is on until the 20th April so you've still got a few days left to get yourself along to a couple more of the events!

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #120

13.4.14

120ss2
120ss1
1.Going out 2.Dessert at the Feast of the Commonwealth 3.Throwback Thursday 4.Sunset

Well, I'm going to keep this post short and sweet as I'm feeling a little bit fragile today. Just a little bit. Let's just say I consumed more sambuca than one human should ever consume and leave it at that. Last night I was helping my fave triplets celebrate their birthday, and it all started off very civilised with a wee candle party and drinks. After lots of wine and catching up (love love love ♥), I headed off to meet some other friends for night-out-part-two. This is where it all starts to get a bit fuzzy, but from what I can remember I had a great night! So far today I've only managed to make it as far as the living room for some hungover chat, sandwich-eating and Friends-watching, but now I've crawled back into bed and am planning to stay here for the rest of the day.

On Friday evening I was invited along to the Feast of the Commonwealth with the Edinburgh International Science Festival. The food was amaaaazing. AMAZING. It was held at Dynamic Earth which was a preeeeetty cool venue for a dinner party. I'll be doing a full post on it soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that next week.

Aside from that, this week has been fairly quiet as I've just been working away. On Wednesday we were doing a wee photoshoot with products from the shop which was fun to help organise. I even tried my hand at making a Youtube video. We stopped off for a Maccy D's on the way back to the office which, in retrospect, probably wasn't the greatest idea as after work I went to Cosmo with Laura. Yup, an all you can eat buffet. I ate so much I genuinely thought I was going to be sick on the way home. My life is SO GLAMOROUS.

How has your week been?

Gillian x

Watching Lately #8

11.4.14


1. Grimm
Grimm is, without a doubt, my new favourite thing. I decided to give it a whirl a couple of weeks ago and I loved it pretty much instantly. Homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) discovers he's a Grimm (aka a long-lost descendant of the Brothers Grimm, of fairytale fame) and his world is turned upside down. He's suddenly able to see Wesen (basically fairytale creatures masquerading as normal people) and it's his job to protect the world from these supernatural creatures. It reminds me a lot of the early seasons of Buffy; in each episode, there's a new Wesen-villain to be defeated, and Nick spends equal amounts of time researching and fighting said villain, along with the help of his pals. I loves it. I've always been a fan of fairytales - NOT the Disney kind, the old folklore kind where everyone dies in the end - and supernatural things, so it was a pretty safe bet that I'd enjoy Grimm. I also enjoy all the weird names the Grimm world has for stuff, like blutbad instead of werewolf and hexenbiest instead of witch. FUN.

2. How I Met Your Mother
I remember when How I Met Your Mother first came on E4 many, many years ago. I watched the first few episodes but kind of just gave up after that and never watched it again. Until a couple of months ago, that was, when I was in need of a new TV show to marathon. I noticed this at the top of my Netflix page and decided to go for it. Now, I did kind of enjoy it, but I didn't really find it very funny. Why then, I hear you say, did I watch all 9 seasons of it in about 6 weeks? I'm not sure either, but it seems obsessively watching TV is just a cross I have to bear. But anyway, the more I watched it, the more I became invested in the characters and storylines and of course I was intrigued to find out who the mother actually was. The very final episode aired just a couple of weeks ago and OH MY LORD, I have never been so disappointed at a series finale (well, apart from the Dexter finale, but we shall not talk of that ever ever ever). I won't say anything too specific in case you haven't seen it yet, but the last 5 minutes were just WRONG. Nope, nope, nope. Apart from the disappointing regression of Barney's character in the final episode after having spent the last couple of seasons showing him "growing up", the rest of the episode was okay. If they had ended it right after he met her on the train platform, that would have been perf. But they didn't do that, and I feel like it completely ruined the whole thing. Ugh, How I Met Your Mother, it's like you were trying to make Ross & Rachel happen. It's not going to happen.

3. Birdsong
I didn't watch this when it was on TV originally, but having read the novel fairly recently, I decided to give the BBC adaptation of Birdsong a watch. Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Wraysford, a soldier in the trenches of the First World War, haunted by his memories of a pre-war affair with Isabelle (Clémence Poésy). As with most adaptations, quite a bit was left out and some of the characters weren't quite what I had imagined, but overall I really enjoyed watching it and felt it did the novel justice. The First World War is kind of my specialist subject so I always love films and books about it. I was absolutely howling by the end, too much for my poor wee heart to take. SO SAD. I particularly liked the storyline with Jack Firebrace (Joseph Mawle) and I thought it was really well done. The only major thing that let this down, for me, was the complete lack of chemistry between Redmayne and Poésy, I just didn't find their affair at all convincing and their intense lingering stares were verging on uncomfortable to watch. But apart from that it was pretty much perfect, I'd definitely recommend giving it a watch.

What have you been watching lately?

Gillian x