Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Tasting Jamie's Italian, Glasgow

fruit water jug jamies italian glasgow

Last Thursday I was invited along to Jamie's Italian in Glasgow for a chance to try out some canapes and cocktails.  Yes, yes, I know I've already sampled some of the menu, but there was no harm in testing out a few other yummy things...

The evening started with a delicious taster platter of meats and cheeses, followed by a quick intro to the team who keep the Glasgow branch running smoothly.  Restaurant manager Ed explained how their menu is put together (Jamie himself approves every item on there!) and talked a bit about the work that goes into each dish, from the fresh pasta hand made every morning to the local produce used where possible.  That days beef was from Ayrshire, my home county and a mere hour down the road.  Even the kiddies get the special treatment at Jamie's, with all the mains on their menu being organic and nutritiously balanced.  I liked that it was easy to tell how fresh everything was when I ate there before, and now I know why!

platter pasta crab jamies italian glasgow

mushroom risotto bruscetta jamies italian glasgow

mini burgers jamies italian glasgow

epic brownie jamies italian glasgow

After all that learning, it was time to get down to the serious business of eating.  From the invite, I was expecting a few tiny snacks before heading home for dinner, but we were treated to so many different dishes that I lost track and just went for the tactic of trying as much as I could squeeze in.  There were three types of bruscetta, delicate little cups of mushroom risotto, slabs of turkey milanese, deep fried gnocchi, crab balls, fries dusted with chilli flakes, and my personal favourite, courgettes wrapped in batter, served with a chilli jam.  Because why eat vegetables that aren't deep fried, am I right?

When those tasty main courses were done, a simple dessert of brownies with strawberry and meringue pieces was a welcome end to the meal.  Then it was cocktail time.

cocktails jamies italian glasgow

bar nook stools jamies italian glasgow

Three of the most popular drinks from the cocktail menu were shaken up for us to sample - La Dolce Vita, with Amaretto and Triple Sec mixed with fruit juices; Sicilian Dacquiri, a delicious blend of regular and spiced Bacardi with added mint, lime and vanilla flavouring; and Passioneta, with, yup, passionfruit puree and vodka, with some cream in there for good measure.  If there's one I thought I definitely couldn't stomach it would have been that one, but the passionfruit and cream gave it a delightful Solero vibe.  They were all full of pretty generous measures on the alcohol front, and my belief that I love anything involving Amaretto was confirmed.  Then it was time to make our own!

I settled for taking pictures and sampling everyone else's creations, including finally tasting a Long Island Iced Tea.  The verdict?  Powerful stuff that definitely confirmed my status as an occasional drinker.  Luckily I quit while I was ahead and downed more of the refreshing fruit infused water before making my way over the road for the train home.  I'd call that an excellent end to the night.

chalkboard jamies italian glasgow


Friday, 28 August 2015

Friday Threes - Food, TV and Blogs

haribo minions sweets

trek protein bars box

nairns snackers crackers

1 - Nairn's Snackers - The lovely people at Nairn's offered me some free snacks last week and the day I, the Queen of grazing, turn down the chance to test a new convenience food will be a very odd day indeed.  These wee bags of Snackers were perfect for diving into after work.  The salt & vinegar flavour are particularly awesome, although I liked that the cheesy ones weren't overpowering.  Imagine a cross between crisps and savoury biscuits and that's what these are.  Oh, and they also threw in this handy tin to store my oatcakes on the go - who told them I'm obsessed with oatcakes and cheese for supper?

2 - Trek Protein Bars - Right after the Snackers people emailed me, the Natural Balance Foods people got in touch.  Did I want to try some new protein bars?  Hmm, let me think about that...  Um, yes.  I got four flavours in the box - the berry and the peanut ones were my favourites, especially since the latter reminded me of a Snickers Cruncher without the chocolate.  I liked the taste of the cocoa one, although it was a little dry, but the banana ones are still intact since me and bananas do not get on.  Tam can be my guinea pig for those at the weekend!  Each bar is chunky and squished full of fruit, oats and nuts, and they provided an excellent substitute to my early morning breakfast biscuits this week.  

Both the bars and the Snackers are made in Britain, so the lovely lack of air miles somehow makes them even tastier.  (Actually I have no idea if this helps on the taste front but it sure bothers my conscience less than usual.)

3 - Haribo Minions - From the healthy to the definitely not.  I can't think of any Haribo sweet I've met that I didn't like and since I'm a bit of a minion fan, I have no problem with the amount of these sweets people like to give me.  The latest batch was a pressie from my friend K and I made short work of one packet before taking the other into work to share.  Gotta limit those sugar-induced headaches, eh? 

secret life of american teenager episodes the office netflix

1 - The Secret Life of the American Teenager - I kept hearing about this show so when I saw it on Netflix I figured I'd give it a go.  I can't tell if it's trying to be terrible or if it's just happening naturally, but yeah, it's bad.  The acting, the writing, the costumes, the casting...  And yet I'm still watching it.  The main (and pretty much only) storyline follows Amy, a fifteen-year-old girl who finds herself pregnant with no clue how to deal with it.  I seem to spend most of my viewing time wondering if teenagers really are that stupid (I highly doubt it but I only know one - my cousin - and it seems a long time since I was that age, so...)  Seriously, why am I still watching this?!

2 - Episodes - I've been watching this in stages since Netflix only had the first two seasons until recently, when the third one appeared.  Starring Brit comedy stars Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan, and Matt LeBlanc as himself, this show is hilarious and totally what I now think the US TV industry is like.

3 - The Office US - I pretty much just watch this on a loop.  It might be my favourite show ever, or at least in a three way tie with Friends and Parks and Recreation.  I've now reached the post-Michael Scott episodes and might just have to skip to the last season...  As much as I love James Spader, those constant filler episodes were hard to watch.

1 - Three knitting skills that scare me on Wool and Wheel - Mostly linking to this because of the first point - steeking.  Cutting your knitting.  Are people mad?!  There's so many chances for that technique to go horribly, terribly wrong...

2 - Groovy duvet dress on What do you make of my cake - Jo made a dress that matches both her door and wallpaper.  I want to live in that world.

3 - The first Vegfest in Scotland on Natbee's Fashion - Anastasia alerted us to a veggie food fair happening in Glasgow in December.  I'm not veggie but don't eat a lot of meat, plus all that lovely food she's been making looks just like what I love to eat... you know, when Tam makes me it.  Cooking and me don't mix - it bores me too much for me to get good at it!

What's the weekend plans, people?  We were hoping to do a car boot on Sunday but the weather is not looking favourable...  There was also an idea to tick off more activities of the Super Summer list but a lot of those are weather dependent too - we were clearly far too optimistic at the start of summer.


Thursday, 27 August 2015

Stripes and disco shoes

oversize stripe shirt M&S

I had to wear socks on Tuesday.

Wearing socks in the summer is unacceptable to me.  As soon as it's warm enough to ditch them, my feet are freed for that brief couple of months we call summer, then October hits, I accept my fate and go back to wearing socks once again.  So I'm not against socks in the slightest when it's practical, only when it's too warm for them to be worn without feet sweat-age (apologies for that lovely mental image).

Anyway, the reason for the dreaded sock-wearing was down to a completely self-inflicted injury I sustained at the weekend.  After our long walk on Saturday, I went another long walk on Sunday.  Not intentionally, I might add, but the sun and the heat presented me with a rare opportunity for some enjoyable outdoors time, so when I started walking I just...didn't stop.  On both days I was wearing shoes that are generally comfortable, but have a delightful tendency to start rubbing my heels at random times.  One pair are trainers, which makes matters even more irritating.  So, in return for a few hours exercise, I got bloody feet.  I hobbled my way through Monday in my mocassins but by Tuesday, I accepted my fate and put on socks.  Bah.

oversize stripe shirt M&S tall skinny jeans converse

oversize stripe shirt M&S tall skinny jeans converse

On the bright side, I got to wear this new shirt I found in M&S at the weekend.  The only one left was a size 22 but as soon as I saw it I knew I was taking it home.  It's pretty unflatteringly gigantic on me but I don't mind - any time I can go to work in something resembling pyjamas is a good as far as I'm concerned.  And if I had to wear socks, at least I can hide them somewhat with my favourite jeans and some disco themed Converse. (I also got this checked dress in the sale, which will be modelled at the weekend if the sun reappears!)

glitter disco converse shoes trainers

shirt - M&S
jeans - Long Tall Sally
shoes - Converse

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