Get Stuffed Chronicles – Celebrations & Bad Bread

I initially started this series with the aim of it being a weekly feature on my blog. However, I’ll admit I’ve been struggling to find the time to ensure I get a decent post written each week! Honestly, I have around 6 blog posts I need to write & have been meaning to for almost 2 weeks now. Such a bad blogger but I’ll fully lay blame on my new role in work which is causing me to work longer hours! From now on, this will be a fortnightly round up rather than a blow by blow account of all the foodie things I’ve done & eaten! I’m also open to ideas on content that people would like to see. For example, if I remember, I’ll be including details of any new openings I’ve heard about.

Anyway back to business! It’s been a pretty busy past couple of weeks, both in & out of the kitchen. At the end of Feb, it was my husband’s birthday so we had a few days of celebrations as we both took some time off work. We headed up to Pitlochry, just north of Perth, to the luxurious Fonab Castle for an overnight stay. I won’t give away all the details about the castle as I’ve still got a review to write but let’s just say it was fabulous! The rooms were spacious & well furnished & the new spa building was lovely.

Being one of the highest rated hotels in the country, you would expect a great dining experience & we were not disappointed. I took the plunge & had venison for my main course which was a risk for me as I’d had it previously on a Hogmanay break a few years ago & did not like it at all. This time around, I savoured every bit of meat on the plate as it was delicious! I’m actually gutted as I feel like I’ve been missing out all this time! We even had a rare dessert with dinner as the choices were so good! And then there was breakfast the next day, with steak on the menu, I felt I couldn’t turn it down! Anyway, as I mentioned, not too many details here as I have a post coming (hopefully) this week.

fonab

The following evening we visited Opium in Glasgow for dinner. It’s a restaurant that’s been on my “must try” list for quite a while now, mainly due to their extensive list of dim sum on offer! We had a wonderful meal there & left with very full bellies! Another review that will be coming very soon.

opium

If you follow my blog, you will have seen that I received a foodie parcel from Spice Review with lots of wonderful spice mixes. From the mixes, I put together 2 really tasty dishes for dinner last week – Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Bombay Potatoes. Click on either link to receive the recipe for the dishes.

Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Rice

As the title suggests, I’ve been having some issues baking bread recently. Although I’m following recipes to the t, I’m finding that my loaves are coming out slightly underdone & smaller in size.  You might not see it but the loaf in the picture is actually still doughy in the middle.    I’m not 100% what’s happening but it is very frustrating. I’m laying full blame on the yeast as it’s a store brand type I’m using rather than Allinson’s yeast which I normally use. Ok, there’s clearly something else I’m not doing right, in terms of kneading enough or the oven not being pre-heated enough but for next time, I aim to have baked at least 2 decent loaves!

loaf

Baking has taken a bit of a back seat the past few weeks, in part due to me trying to lose weight (more on that another day). No point in baking treats if I can’t sample the goods! I do miss experimenting & have a cupboard full of baking goodies so it’s something I need to pick up again soon since I’m scared I’ll forget how to bake! I did make the gooeyist (is that even a word?!) salted caramel shortbread at my husband’s request for his birthday but didn’t take a picture as I wasn’t happy with how runny the caramel was.

I noticed last week that we hadn’t had a takeaway for dinner all February & figured that we should keep the moment going. That obviously doesn’t stop the odd notion for a takeaway so I took matters into my own hands on Saturday & created a fakeaway feast. I’ve made donner meat in the slow cooker several times (recipe soon) & it tastes just like the real deal but you know every ingredient that’s went into making it! I whipped up a batch on for dinner along with some kebab sauce, pitta bread, spiced onions, chicken tikka & bombay potatoes. It was indeed a feast & hit the spot perfectly! Who needs a takeaway?!

takeaywa

As promised, I’ll sign off with some new & recent openings I’ve been informed of recently:

  • Chimichanga, Silverburn Shopping Centre – I think this should be opening this weekend as I was invited to the soft launch this Thursday but unfortunately can’t make it
  • Bakery 47, Victoria Road, Glasgow – Bakery 47 have finally opened their long awaited bakery in the heart of the Southside. The opening hours vary day to day soI’d recommend checking their facebook page before venturing over
  • Meadow Road Coffee, Dumbarton Road, Glasgow – Meadow Road are the latest addition to the Partick coffee scene (and handily 2 minutes from my flat!). The opened their doors a few weeks ago & have recently started providing some tasty sounding sandwiches to go with the Dear Green Coffee & Bakery 47 cakes on offer.
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Product Review – Spice Kitchen

Spice Kitchen are a online company specialising in homegrown spice mixes. They recently sent out a request for bloggers to review their spices, which I put my hand up for.

I received a parcel from them containing a selection of their spice mixes. Before I even opened the package, there was a really strong aromatic smell coming from the package. This indicated to me that the spices used by Spice Kitchen must be of a high quality as you normally can never smell anything until you’ve opened the packet or jar!

Spice Kitchen sent me 8 of their spice mixes in small resealable pouches. The mixes I received were:

  • Mexican
  • Jerk
  • Garam Masala
  • Ras El Hanout
  • Chinese 5 Spice
  • Baharat
  • Panch Phoron
  • Sri Lankan Curry

I’ll admit some of these I had never came across such as Baharat & Panch Phoron but that just made me excited to try out something new! Once I’d had a good sniff of the mixes, I put my thinking cap on to figure out what I could make with a few of these mixes.

I opted for Jamaican Jerk Chicken made with the Jerk seasoning. In my recipe for the Jerk chicken, I opted to be conservative & use 2 teaspoons of the Jerk seasoning for the marinade. In my opinion, this was enough to get the nice smoky flavour associated with Jerk cooking. The seasoning is also not relatively spicy which makes it family friendly with the option to add more spice (like I did) if you desire.

The Panch Phoron, which is like an Indian 5 spice blend, I’ll admit I was unsure what I could use it with as I always use garam masala for curries. After a quick search, I came across a few ideas for bombay potatoes which went well with my idea for a “fakeaway” Saturday night feast. When sprinkling the spice mix over the potatoes, I honestly wished I was able to capture the smell for you as it was so aromatic & as strange as this may sound, smells exactly like what you would expect from Indian food. The potatoes were a hit! You can find the recipe here.

As a keen cook, I would definitely recommend the Spice Kitchen boxes as a unique gift for someone who likes to experiment in the kitchen. They provide sets of the spices in small pouches similar to the picture above that I received or if you’re looking for a more refined gift, they also provide cute wooden boxes with small jars of the spice mixes. And as I noticed when I was writing this they also have recipes if you’re stuck for ideas!

Disclaimer: Spice Kitchen provided the spice mixes for free & the review, suggestions & recipes as of my own accord with no outside influence.

 

Valentine’s at Juan Chihuahua

Mexican is definitely one of my favourite, if not favourite cuisines so when I had heard about Juan Chihuahua opening on Sauchiehall St, it went straight to the top of list of places to try. As this was our first Valentine’s as a married couple, I wanted to actually do something rather than stay in with a takeaway so we decided to head to Juan Chihuahua.

The restaurant is based in what used to be the O Couture club & is quite a large restaurant compared to others on the street. We were actually 25 mins early as we had been out for drinks but didn’t want to rush another before dinner. We were seated straight away & that was largely due to the number of free tables – only a third of tables were occupied. The restaurant looks different from the previous outfit with a bar to the right hand side as soon as you walk in, the walls adorned with mexican paraphernalia & a number of booths & tables dotted around the floor.

RoseTortillas & Salsa

As it was Valentine’s day, there were a couple of nice touches including a live Spanish singer & a rose in a bottle of tequila on the table! We ordered some margaritas (it would be rude not too) & I opted for the “skinny” margarita which in actual fact contains the same ingredients as a Tommy’s margarita which is one of the more traditional ways of mixing a margarita. The menu is quite vast, with your choice of all traditional Mexican fair including fajitas, burritos & tacos with some additional burgers & meat/fish based dishes. Our drinks arrived & I noticed mine had coffee beans on the top but when I queried it, the waitress said it was what I ordered. However, there was a language barrier as she was Spanish & in actual fact I was given a “skinny” espresso margarita which was quickly changed once I had pointed out the error. When I did get my margarita, I have to admit it was a bit disappointing as it was really sweet! There was a lot of agave syrup added to it which masked any lime flavour the drink should have.

Margarita

Our starters arrived quite quickly – I had opted for the queso fundido which was a soft taco containing marinated chicken, cheese, hot sauce & mixed peppers/onions. It was well flavoured but I couldn’t help feeling there was something missing from it as it was missing that wow factor. Al opted for quesadillas de pollo, which as it sounds, a chicken quesadilla. I tried a bit of this & in all honesty, it didn’t taste too much different from my own starter, just put together in a different way. The one good point about the quesadilla is the portion of salsa that came with it which had a nice kick to it & was really moreish! On both starters, there was a side salad with a house coleslaw on it & although it tasted a bit like the sort of potato salad you get in the supermarket, it was really addictive & I found myself scoffing the lot.

Quesadilla de PolloQueso Fundido

Our mains took a bit longer to arrive than our starters & I was glad of this as it reassured me that the food was being prepared fresh rather than sitting waiting to go out. I had opted for something I don’t normally go for, a pulled beer enchilada which was HUGE! The beef was accompanied with red jalapenos & red onions as well as the usual refried beans, cheese & sour cream on top. I have a love hate relationship with red jalapenos as I find them too sweet but they worked really well in this dish as they didn’t overpower the taste of the beef, which was melt in the mouth tender. There was also a pot of spiced rice which did have a powdery taste to it as though the spices hadn’t been fully cooked but after a squirt of fresh lime, it transformed the taste. I couldn’t finish all of my enchilada as it was just so big. Al had mixed fajitas (beef, chicken & shrimp) which came in an overflowing skillet with a cute tray with 4 portions of sides. As often with restaurants these days, the fajitas only came with 4 tiny tortillas which quickly vanished but it was made up by the fact that the tortillas were fresh & not shop bought.

FajitasBeef Enchiladas

If you are a mexican food lover, I would definitely recommend Juan Chihuahua as the food was fresh & not to mention the portions were large. Maybe some tweaks on their cocktails to refine the flavour but given that all of the juice in them is freshly squeezed, you can forgive a bit of sweetness here & there!