Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie has to be, hands down, the easiest dessert to make. Crush some biscuits and put in base, pour in caramel which you have made yourself, chop some bananas, chuck it on top of caramel and top with cream, Bob's your Uncle, you have a scrumptious dessert. Great for those summer days when you are entertaining friends/family and would rather spend it outdoors than in the kitchen.
So if it is such an easy dessert why am I posting a recipe for Banoffee Pie? Because I love it! Everyone has their own recipe that they would love to share with people and since this is my first recipe post I thought it may be a good idea to start with something simple.
This is a recipe that I adapted from the Hairy Bikers' best-ever banoffee pie and have made it once before so I know it works. 
When I came around to making it this time, I had bought the ingredients the night before and sat them proudly on my worktop so it was all there for me in the morning. 
Morning came...Where are the chocolate oaty biscuits?! 
Seriously. Where the hell are they?! Then I had a flashback moment. 
I had them in my hands ready to put them in the trolley when I got distracted by the bakery section. I must have put them down when I went to grab bagels - it was all a bit of a blur - oh my days, what the hell am I going to do?! Yes, the sensible thing would be to drive out and buy them but did I really want to be driving all the way to the supermarket just for a packet of biccies? No, I decided I needed to improvise. I raided the cupboards for chocolate biscuits but the only thing I could find was digestive biscuits. Not my first choice so I decided to add oats to them to give it the texture I was looking for. I forgot that when adding the oats I should have reduced the digestives so when it came to adding the melted butter it wasn't binding. More butter was added and that was okay but then I realised I had way too much crust. So what do I do? Make 2 of course! That is never a bad thing, then realised that I didn't really have enough bananas or cream *sigh*.
Moral of the story: just go out and buy the damn chocolate oaty biscuits next time!
I will also be looking to buy a deeper tart tin so I can put more bananas in the pie. We can never have too many baking tins, right?
Anyway, here is the recipe (adapted slightly), with photos of the oaty digestives version.

Base and sides
80g Butter
300g Chocolate Oaty Biscuits
115g Butter
90g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
397g Sweetened Condensed Milk
450ml Double Cream
5 Ripe Medium Bananas
1tsp Lemon Juice
25g of Chocolate Curls or Chocolate Shavings

  • For the base, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Break the biscuits up in rough chunks and put them in to a food processor. Blitz them in to crumbs and then pour in (with the motor still running) the melted butter. 
  • Tip the crumbs in to a 9inch loose bottomed deep tart tin and press firmly all over, concentrate on the sides and corners. Put in the fridge and chill for about 25-30 mins or until set.

Is it wrong to say that the base is my favourite part?

  • To make the filling, melt the sugar and butter in a saucepan over a low heat, stir continuously until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth.
  • Add the condensed milk and whilst stirring, turn up the heat slightly until it is simmering. Continue to simmer until the toffee is a deep creamy caramel brown.
  • Pour the toffee in to the biscuit base, smooth and set in the fridge.
Looks like a lake of caramel.
  • Before serving, whip the double cream until soft peaks form (be careful not to over-whip!).
Add caption
  • Slice 4 of the bananas, scatter most of them on to the toffee (about 3/4) and gently fold the rest in to the cream. Be careful not over mix other wise the cream will stiffen and seize.
Banana heaven!
  • Spoon the banana cream on top of the bananas and toffee.
  • Slice the last banana and mix with lemon juice in a bowl. Decorate the pie with the lemony bananas.
  • Sprinkle with the chocolate and serve!


Friday, 20 June 2014

Wildest Drams, Game On!

My first review, how exciting is this? Well it is for me, so go with it!

Date of visit: end of April 2014

Wildest Drams, is an independent restaurant that has opened recently on the High Street in the heart of Edinburgh that specialises in craft beer and whisky. They showcase quality local seasonal produce and game which is not found in many places in and around Edinburgh. As my partner, let's call him Mr.M, works across the road from them he asked to try it out a couple of weeks after they opened because we were going through to see Paul Hollywood over at the Playhouse that night. Yes, I too thought it a little strange to go see Paul Hollywood in a theatre but it worked for me (mainly because I was sitting in row D).

As we approached the entrance to Wildest Drams, the entrance and sign is very understated. For a restaurant in a big city, that is bold and I like it! I can never stand walking down the street, bumping/avoiding the constant stream of signs pointing in the direction of particular restaurants with "special deals!" I know competition is high but for me, these places with that sort of advertising actually makes them look desperate.
When you go through the first set of doors, there is a set of steep stairs that take you down to the next set of doors which take you in to the restaurant itself. At the time of visiting I could not see any access for wheelchairs.
We were the first customers of the evening and upon entering the restaurant there were a couple of chefs sitting at a table discussing dishes and our waiter kindly led us to our table, near the back of the restaurant. All the staff were well presented, tidy and very polite. I can not fault them on their service at all. They made sure we were comfortable and that we always had a drink. I couldn't help but notice their large collection of whisky on the shelf behind the bar so if you are a whisky lover, you do not want to miss this place. They also like to advise on what beers/whisky to have with your meal, depending on the dishes you have ordered. They change their menu on a regular basis so don't expect to have the same dish every time you visit.

Now here is the fun part, FOOD!!
I had trouble deciding on what I wanted as everything on the menu looked very appetizing but figured I would be best not to have game in both starters and main so for Starters I opted for Trio of Scottish fish and Mr. M chose Grilled Goats Cheese with Sweet Whisky Pickled Beetroot.
Trio of Scottish Salmon
Grilled Goats Cheese
 My Trio of Scottish salmon consisted of cured salmon, an Arbroath Smokies tartare and a smoked pate. I have never been too keen on smokies so after trying a mouthful I gave it to Mr.M, who could not get enough of it! The rest of the dish was perfect though and just the right size for a starter, which is a nice change as some starters are so heavy that by the time main course arrives your ready to ask for the bill and call it a night.
Goats Cheese can be very overwhelmingly strong so the beetroot and balsamic dressing helped to cut through this, creating a nice mellow dish.

Main Course: Pan Roast Duck Breast and Roast Haunch of Venison.
My Duck was cooked to perfection and the star of the dish was definitely the sweet potato and confit duck cake. And Kale! Oh my goodness, I had never tried kale until that day and boy am I in love with that veg. One little niggle was the plums, which for me, were a little on the tart side but it does cut through the dish so makes the dish seem less heavy.
Roast Haunch of Venison
Pan Roast Duck Breast

There was no overcooked venison on Mr. M's plate so the meat was beautifully tender and as Mr. M would like to put it, "Perfect". Which says a lot as he is a bit of a fussy eater.

Dessert: Stouty Toffee Pudding, which there is no photo of because Mr. M was tucking in to it before I could get my camera out! It's served with a whisky butterscotch sauce and wheat-beer ice cream.
Cranachan with a twist was just amazing! The added oats gave the dish texture along with the popping candy. Yes, that's right, popping candy! I was very wary of it too but believe me, it is worth a try. You will not be disappointed.

It's obvious that the chefs are very passionate about their food and respect their ingredients. The Restaurant is well lit but not blinding and it is very clean. Their toilets are a bit small and the mirror in the ladies is placed so high above the sink that you would need to be at least 5'5 in height to see yourself in it. I'm just under 4'11.
They have recently added another dining room upstairs and a cellar bar to their beautiful restaurant, which I hope will not compromise on their service and food quality.

Would I come back here? Hell yes! I wanted to bring a friend here for his 30th Birthday but Wildest Drams unfortunately close on Mondays (so we ended up in Whisky Rooms) which just so happens to be my only day off in the week!
If you enjoy game or want to take visitors for a "Scottish" meal then definitely give these guys a go. They may be new to the restaurant scene in the capital but they certainly don't show it.
I wish these guys all the success with Wildest Drams. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Amuse Bouche

Well this is it. After a nag here and a nag there from some amazing friends (they're amazing, I promise!), I have finally started on my blog. So...Hello!

Apologies if the title threw you off, but this post is purely a little teaser in to what my posts will mainly be about, and of course a little about yours truly. To make up for it, there will be photos of yummy food to keep you interested. I will try to keep it short and sweet.


A pistachio and cranberry cake anyone?

I am a BBC- British Born Chinese. If you want to get all technical, I am from Scotland.
I have no children of my own *touch wood* but I have 2 beautiful (and loud) nieces who I love very much.

The aim of this Blog is to spread the word of the amazing restaurants/cafes/tea rooms I have visited and to share recipes that I have tested, be it good or just plain nasty! This is not a platform for me to have a moan, in fact I will try my best to say good things where I can but I will be honest with my opinions. 
I am mainly a baker so most of my recipes and ones I test will be baking based. Bring on TGBBO 2014!
I am a seafood lover! This was at The Bridgeview Station in Dundee.

I love everything about food and I love to try different types of dishes . The countries where different dishes originated from, the meaning to the dishes and how it can bring people together is an amazing thing.

"Isa, do you live to eat or eat to live?" was the question that was thrown at me a few years ago and from all the above, what do you think? 
The best stall at The Good Food Show in Glasgow!