Watching Lately #9


1. Fargo
I only heard they were making a TV version of Fargo earlier this week so wasn't expecting it to be on for months yet, but was pleasantly surprised when I noticed it about to start on Sunday evening. It's been quite a few years since I last watched the movie Fargo so I can't remember exactly what happens, but so far the TV series seems pretty true to the spirit and feel of the original despite different characters and storylines. Martin Freeman plays Lester Nygaard, an unassuming, downtrodden insurance salseman who gets mixed up in the psychotic world of mysterious drifter Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton). I loved the first episode - very atmospheric and darkly funny with plenty of murder - and can't wait to see how the rest of the series develops. I was also happy to see guest appearances from Colin Hanks and Bob Odenkirk who have played supporting roles in two of my all-time favourites, Dexter and Breaking Bad respectively. All signs are boding well for Fargo so far!

2. Ex on the Beach
And now, on a completely different note, we have Ex on the Beach. I must admit I have a terrible weakness for MTV's reality shows and I've spent more than my fair share of time watching the likes of Geordie Shore and The Valleys. Ex on the Beach is the latest offering; I was sent previews of the first two episodes to give them a watch ahead of the series launch tonight (Tuesday 22nd April) at 10pm. I'm a little bit hooked already and can't wait to watch the rest of the series. So far, 8 singletons have arrived on a tropical island in the hopes of having the holiday of a lifetime and finding some romance along the way. But, of course, their exes start to turn up and things will inevitably turn dramatically sour. My fave character (?) so far is definitely Vicky (who you'll probably recognise from Geordie Shore), she is mental and I love her. To tie in with the launch, Best British Bloggers are running a competition to win a holiday worth £1,000 (all the details here) - all you need to do is tweet a photo of yourself pulling the face you would make when you see your ex, along with the hashtag #WhenISeeMyEx.

3. Transcendence
Despite being a big film fan, I don't really go to the cinema that often, but my friend and I were at a loss for something to do on Friday night so went along to see Transcendence. Dr Will Caster (Johnny Depp) devoted his life to researching Artificial Intelligence and is on the cusp of creating a super-computer which can think and feel on its own. His controversial experiments however, have made him the target of anti-AI protesters who manage to poison him. With only a couple of weeks left to live, Caster along with wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max (Paul Bettany) do everything they can to "upload" his conscience to the computer so he can live on even after he dies. Quickly he turns into an all-powerful machine and before long he's creating robot drones out of the local townsfolk and just generally causing havoc due to his superior knowledge and inability to be destroyed. I kind of lost interest towards the end, but the anti-AI group joins forces with Max (and, eventually, Evelyn) to destroy the monster they had created. I'm not particularly into sci-fi films, but even if you are I'm not sure I would recommend this one. It was okay, but not one I'd watch again.

What have you been watching lately?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #121


1.Colour coordination 2.Drinks at The Devil's Advocate 3.Old Town close 4.Dinner at Clerk's 5.Chocolate cocktails 6.Summer 7.Froyo from Frisky

My best pal has been up visiting this week so the last few days have been filled with eating and drinking and other good stuff like that. Sadly I seem to have a bit of a horrid cold and sore throat just now which has ruined things slightly, but I'm surviving. On Wednesday evening we went out for dinner to Pancho Villas on the Royal Mile, and after some enchiladas and margaritas we decided more cocktails were definitely the only choice. The next stop was The Devil's Advocate which I had been in briefly before, but this time we had the chance for a proper sit down and peruse through the cocktail menu. If you're looking for pink, fruity cocktails with little umbrellas then this probably isn't the place to go; the drinks have strong flavours, interesting ingredients and there is a lot of whisky on the menu. We didn't sample any food this time, but the menu looks preeeetty nice so no doubt I'll be back again. After a couple of drinks at The Devil's Advocate we walked over to Panda & Sons which I had been wanting to try for ages. It's disguised as a barbershop, and it's only after you go into the shop, down a flight of stairs and behind a bookcase that you discover the secret speakeasy hidden below. I loovvvved it. All very '20s and glamorous but laid back at the same time. Again, the cocktails were pretty interesting and not your average cosmos and mojitos type offering; after browsing the huge menu for a while, I finally settled on a strawberry, paprika, basil and tequila concoction.

I was working on Thursday and Friday morning so nothing too exciting to report there, but as it was gloriously sunny on Friday afternoon we went for a wee stroll across the Meadows and ended up at Clerk's Bar in time for some dinner. I had been here a couple of weeks before with some of the blogging ladies and really enjoyed it, and my pal was sold when I mentioned they had ribs on the menu ("it will be like House of Cards"). I opted for a beef burger topped with pulled pork, and we ordered way too many sides to go along with it. After stuffing our faces, we wandered home and recovered for an hour or so before heading out to the cinema to see Transcendence. This wasn't particularly either of our first choices, but there wasn't much else on so we went for it anyway. It was okay, but I probably wouldn't recommend it.

Yesterday was a pretty lazy day again, mostly spent lounging in my bed and enjoying the sunshine through my open window. I did manage to get myself up and dressed in time for some after-dinner froyo from Frisky. Gaaahhhdddd I love froyo, especially in the summer time (yes, I am counting this as summer. This may be the only sunshine we get).

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

The Feast of the Commonwealth


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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