Eastern Mess

Eton Mess is an undisputed classic that can please everyone at the end of a meal. It’s also so easy to make, therefore, it gets a solid 10 for convenience, taste and presentation. You just can’t go wrong with it! You might ask, why mess with such a thing that’s quite so good already? If you ask me, every so often you should mess (excuse the pun) with the classics in order to produce new and inspiring flavours that surprise and excite! This Persian take on Eton Mess, adds the subtle flavour of rosewater and pistachio to the more traditional raspberries, meringues and cream. Recipe adapted (I used less cream as the quantities in the original recipe were too much in my opinion) from Olive magazine but it is originally from Sabrina Ghayour‘s Persiana cookbook.

Eastern Mess

Serves 6 | Takes 20 minutes | No cooking | Gluten-free, Vegetarian | Easy

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You’ll need:
  • 400ml double cream;
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar;
  • 1tsp vanilla extract;
  • 1 tbsp rosewater;
  • 6 ready-made mini meringues or 3 regular, crushed + 6 mini meringues to serve ;
  • 300g raspberries;
  • a few basil leaves, shredded;
  • 50g pistachio nuts, slivers or chopped;
Raspberry sauce:
  • 225g raspberries;
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar (or a bit more, to taste);
  • 1 tbsp rosewater;
  • a squeeze of lemon juice.

First make the raspberry sauce. Mash the raspberries to a puree with the icing sugar, rosewater and lemon juice in a bowl until the mixture is completely smooth. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the raspberry seeds. Set aside.

Using an electric hand whisk, whip the double cream, icing sugar, vanilla and rosewater together in a mixing bowl until soft peaks form. You don’t want the cream to be too loose or too sift, so keep an eye on the consistency. This will take a few minutes. Mix the crushed meringues in the mix.

To serve, spoon the cream mix in six glasses or serving dishes. Top with the raspberries and a mini meringue in each glass. Drizzle the raspberry sauce over, then sprinkle with the pistachios and basil. Serve immediately.

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Original recipe from Olive magazine, issue Summer 2014, original recipe available from The Sunday Times.

My Month in Food – May (Part 2)

In the second part of May, I visited one of my favourite cafes which somehow I haven’t written about before – Kelvin Pocket. I also went along to SmashBurger to try some of their new menu items. I went back to Babs for my third visit (and probably last, but you can read more on that below). I also went along to Dixie Chick, a fairly new chicken joint on Ashton Lane, which turned out to be not as exciting as I had hoped. Read on below to get the full details!

Kelvin Pocket – Kelvinbridge – Breakfast & Coffee

Kelvin Pocket is a small cafe situated by the entrance of Kelvinbridge Subway Station. It’s long been a favourite of mine, pretty much since it opened and with good reason – their delicious, smooth coffee. They also have a selection of cake on offer, some light food – soups, salads and sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. As for the interior, it’s calm, friendly and also has a good number of plants you can also buy! I love going there to work and you’d often find me going there for a coffee.

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Avocado and sriracha on cashew butter toast
  • ££: Inexpensive, breakfast dishes around £5, lunch dishes around £5-8.
  • Good for: coffee, cake, breakfast and lunch.

Smashburger – City Centre – Burgers

You might recall that I’ve already covered Smashburger in a previous post. I liked their burgers and they are certainly better than a lot of chain restaurants in Glasgow. On the back of that, Smashburger approached me and gave me a voucher to try some of their new menu options: The Triple Double Bloomer, BLT Crispy Chicken Bloomer, Mac & Cheese bites, new shakes (I had the Salted Caramel Popcorn and popping candy shake) and new drinks range, including Long Flint – think Hibiscus Gin & Tonic, Ginger & Rum Fuego and Rhubarb & Vodka Seltzer).

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The Triple Double Bloomer

I’m surprised to say this, but I actually liked their Bloomers even more than their burgers. I think the Triple Double Bloomer is my new favourite thing on their menu! It was really full of flavour and the bread (which I believe they make themselves) was very good. I also really liked the Mac & Cheese bites which I had with my burger. Finally, I should say, that the Salted Caramel Milkshake with Popcorn & Popping Candy is the first milkshake I’ve had in years and since I don’t really like milkshakes that much I didn’t think I would enjoy it. But I did and would definitely have again.

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Salted Caramel Milkshake with popcorn and popping candy

Note: Smashburger sent me a voucher to try the new menu items, so I didn’t pay for any of the food, however, all views and opinions are my own.

  • ££: Bill came to just over £30 for 2 Bloomers, 2 sides, and 2 drinks. Reasonable but slightly on the pricey side for a casual burger restaurant.
  • Good for: burgers, shakes, large groups, casual dining & for when you want something quick!

‘Babs  – City Centre –  Dinner

‘Babs is a Middle Eastern food restaurant from the crew who brought us the very much loved Bread Meats Bread. Their tag line is “Kebabs done right” and indeed they offer a wide range of posh kebabs, along fusion dishes with a middle eastern style (like their thin fries with feta for example). The restaurant is nice, staff are usually friendly but there is nothing memorable about the place, food included. I’ve been to ‘Babs three times now and really wanted to love it. However, when it comes to Middle Eastern food their offer is overpriced and just okay. The stars of the menu, the Kebabs, are really overpriced in my opinion and often come with curious combinations of middle eastern flavours which are nice in their own right, but not quite right together in some cases. On the other hand, some of the food they just didn’t get right. Like the Greek Salad, for example, which had a considerable lack of olives (there were none in mine, though they are mentioned on the menu). So far I’ve tried the lamb kebab, which is probably my favourite, and on this visit I tried the squid iskender which was also nice. What was nice about them was the quality of the meat which was cooked to perfection. However, still not worth the £10+ price tag. This perhaps reflected in the fact I’ve never seen ‘Babs full and every-time I’ve been there it has been fairly empty.

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The Squid Iskender

I think this will be my last visit to ‘Babs for a while. It’s underwhelming and it lacks the simplicity and fantastic flavours which Bread Meets Bread brought.

  • ££: Kebabs range from £9 to £15, nibbles and sides £3 – £5, and mezzes (starters) – £7 – £15. Very overpriced.
  • Good for: Large groups, specialises in middle eastern food.

Dixie Chick – Ashton Lane, West End – Dinner

Dixie Chick is a fairly new addition to Ashton Lane. and I was quite excited about it’s opening because Glasgow needs more restaurants doing chicken wings well. I’m very jealous of the people of Edinburgh because they have Wings which is one of my favourite spots in Scotland. There aren’t that many restaurants which specialise on chicken and chicken wings in Glasgow, and even less good ones… So you can see why I was excited.

Dixie Chick looked to be the part. Simple menu, good number of toppings/sauces, selection of wings, chicken strips, halloumi bites and burgers and a more interesting selection of sides and loaded fries. However, the disappointments started rolling shortly after we had ordered our drinks. When we went to give our order, the waiter informed us they were out of chicken wings. What?! One of the main things you offer is not available? And you didn’t think you should mention this to the customers as we sat down? All four of us thought this was very poor. We settled on ordering chicken strips + halloumi bites and a couple of loaded fries to share. We chose a good number flavours to go with them. When they arrived the sauce was served separately to everything which surprised us. Instead of having a pleasant and appealing golden colour, both the halloumi bites and chicken strips had a slightly burned brown batter all over them. And the taste, well, very underwhelming. The halloumi was marginally better than the chicken which was quite dry. The loaded fries, on the other hand, were quite tasty and I did like the good choice of toppings. We went for the chilli & chorizo and the beetroot blue chips.

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Beetroot blue fries, halloumi bites, chicken strips.

I don’t think I’ll be coming back any time soon. Both because we all thought the service was pretty poor – mostly because you’d expect to be told that the kitchen has ran out of stuff before you start ordering. We would have left if it wasn’t for the fact our drinks had been served. And to be honest, I probably would have come back at a later time. But because they didn’t handle this so well and because the food was quite underwhelming, I’m not sure it’s worth going back to try the chicken wings either.

  • ££: Dishes range from £4 – £12, so fairly cheap.
  • Good for: quick food, casual dining, specialises in all things chicken.

I can’t wait to share Part 1 of June which should be coming out fairly soon. In the mean time, be sure to check out the first part of my May food summary.