Sunday, 30 January 2011

Edinburgh: Foodie Heaven

I did a LOT of indulgent eating in Edinburgh. I went to most of the places I had read about and liked the sound of, and I tried the things that sounded tastiest to me (even though it sometimes meant cake for breakfast, or dessert at lunchtime and again in the afternoon- and then again in the evening!!).
The first place I tried out was Peter's Yard, a swedish bakery with a reputation for great sourdoughs and swedish crispbread, and supposed to have great coffee and spiced buns. The kladdkaka is another speciality. We arrived in Edinburgh at about 8:30 and made our way up through the winding alleyways to Peter's Yard for breakfast.
I had to have a cardamom bun, and I couldn't leave without trying kladdkaka, so we split a slice and of course I had coffee. It's like brownie only much lighter.

We walked all round the Old Town on the southside, then into the National Gallery of Scotland and then up to the graveyard and park at Calton before walking back to the Princes Street area.
We had lunch in Urban Angel on Hanover Street, I had a cheese and onion toastie with homemade coleslaw (something I used to love as a middle of the night snack as a ravenous teenager).
Eamonn had veggie haggis with clapshot mash and a leek and mustard sauce.

We finished our meal with gateau basque with homemade rhubarb frozen yogurt. Mmm!
The raspberry jam in the centre was the nicest I've had (apart from my own homemade compote).
I had another flat white.
After a cocktail at Dragonfly (mine was a Speyside Invader), we dined at Henderson's Bistro.
Henderson's is Edinburgh's longest standing veggie institution and the bistro is quite relaxed, and the food 'homey' but very good. We shared a mezze and I had a nut burger with goat's cheese which came with guac, salsa, tortilla chips (which I didn't eat) and salad.
While I was pretty full, I did manage an affogato of delicious farmhouse ice-cream. The rosé wine kind of made me forget to photograph it. Hehe. Our waiter was great and recommended The Bow Bar and David Bann (which we were already fairly set on visiting) as other places to check out.

The next day, we breakfasted in our hotel (grapefruit, yogurt and eggs for me, fruit followed by a veggie fry up for Eamonn). For lunch, following a jaunt up Arthur's Seat and a walk around Holyrood Park and the Royal Mile, we returned to Peter's Yard. We both had ale and onion soup with sourdough, then Eamonn had a fruit jelly cake (it happened to be vegan, I think the jelly was set with agar) and I had baked blueberry cheesecake and a cappuccino.
We went to the to-go part of the business around the corner and I got myself a hessian shopping bag to remind me of Peter's Yard, and also a jar of elusive cloudberry jam...and another dessert for later, a berry vanilla cardamom-scented bun.

I ate it late afternoon in my hotel room before our walk back into town to go to see Black Swan at The Cameo. The Cameo is a great cinema, although the smell of damp was overpowering at first. A refurb is in the pipeline. They had a great selection of Green & Blacks chocolate and a good bar, but we didn't indulge as I hadn't long scoffed the bun and we were dining out again at 9. Despite the intensity of the film, we were ready at 9 for our feast at David Bann.
Dunsyre Blue and slow roast tomato tart for me, tofu and broccoli fritters with banana chutney for Eamonn. Mushroom, leek and butternut squash for me (the squash was out of this world dense and busting with flavour, more like kabocha or Crown Price really, but the waitress wasn't sure), and a chilli crepe with chocolate sauce and potato for Eamonn. Eamonn went for a light dessert of lemon posset with a divine berry topping (INCREDIBLE fruity flavour) and I had a pear and passionfruit tart with chocolate ice-cream, followed by a decaff macchiato. Soo good. I was royally stuffed at this stage, so I welcomed the gentle 2 mile midnight dander back to the hotel (we travelled solely on foot from getting off the airport bus to getting back on it).

The next morning, we breakfasted in the hotel (I went for fruit, porridge and toast this time, and Eamonn went for the fry again, more of a grill though). We left our bags to collect later and headed into town. We walked around a bit, then went to the Museum, which is fantastic. After some gift shopping, including a 3/4 hour visit to Demijohn and a restrained visit to the Valvona & Crolla shop in Jenners, we lunched at Seadogs. I had oatmeal crusted haddock with chips, followed by a pear cobbler with custard AND a little scoop of Over Langshaw Farm ice-cream. The ice-cream was great, the cobbler topping far too hard. As was the base of Eamonn's chocolate cheesecake, although the topping was pretty yummy. He had the goat cheese dotted kale and mushroom pie with chips for his main.

Later in the afternoon, before we had to go get our bags and head to the airport, we searched out a coffee haunt. We were intent on Artisan Roast, but the place was heaving and we wanted to sit for a while and chill and didn't have time to wait for a seat, so we found ourselves around the corner in the other branch of Urban Angel on Forte Street. I had a flat white repeat and Eamonn had a green tea. A beetroot chocolate cake was also consumed to make up for the disappointment of the earlier dessert and to keep us going until we landed in Belfast, which turned out to be 11pm.

Here are my take home treats:

The liquers are from Demijohn: a rhubarb vodka and a seville orange gin in yin yang bottles. We are going to resist opening them for a while!
I started the weekend virtuously with hot lemon water, followed by hot blueberries, rhubarb yogurt and a sprinkle of muesli, and then it slid a little with brie on toast.

I did have a good excuse- it was Brie de Meaux that needed used up and the loaf I used was going a bit stale too. I smeared the bread with a little homemade clove apple jelly, topped with the cheese, stuck a bit of tinned peach and finished with plenty of thyme that was also on its last legs. It was an excellent snack with some Gascoigne vin du table.

After the Edinburgh three day binge, my appetite is understandably diminished! That said, I did stock up my fridge today with plenty of fruit, leafy greens, veggies, fresh fish, low fat yogurt and cottage cheese for the week ahead. I'm going to be cutting back a little calorie-wise by eating 5-6 small meals aiming for about 1500 cals in the day. I don't intend to do this for very long, just to compensate for the excesses of the previous week. I'm also trying it out as a (long term) better way to stabilize my blood sugar so I don't crave sugar in the evenings. Obviously if it works I will be upping the calorie content over the day to 2000ish (more as my running increases with the warmer weather, only doing about 10 miles a week at the moment) to maintain good health. I find if I eat a small but protein heavy lunch I am not ravenous long before my dinner. I like to include a little complex carb too, I find that really keeps me going right through, e.g. trout, spinach, a few roast veggies and brown rice for the carb, since it's the friendliest one to my tummy, and doesn't make me sleepy like wheat products.

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