Gelupo, Soho, London.

Oh, such heat we’re having and I fear it’s only starting. 

I’m definitely more of a winter woman, but summer has its perks… one being iced coffee and the other is, of course ice cream.

I hate to say it Glasgow, but you’re definitely lacking with the proper in-house made ice cream choices. There’s a few Italian-inspired locations, but there is nothing like Gelupo.

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Now, given the choice I would pick gelato over ice cream any day.

For me, it’s the fact that there’s less cream and more milk in gelato which means the flavors are often more intense, but without all the heavy dairy to cloud them. Less cream means less fat. Most gelato tends to leave eggs out as well, which is how that texture remains light. I find gelato more refreshing for this reason, especially if you get a fruit flavor.

I know that sounds a bit strange as it is churned slower than ice cream to create a more dense feel. Ice cream can often be airy, but I think the slow-churn leans itself to that ‘silky and smooth’ texture -Which thanks to razor commercials we equate with lightness. Or at least I do.

Whatever the method behind it, it’s delicious.

And I must say Gelupo is up there with some of the best (Vivoli, obviously). 

A stylish little gelateria tucked away in Soho, just across from it’s famous pal Bocca di Lupo.  

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Inside, the set up is adorable with shades of blue and traditional shiny canisters of gelato. It was a bit dim inside, not too crowded which made the place feel relaxed. A little bar set up with a few tables in the back, means you can stay or just sit with your gelato so you don’t make a mess on the go. 

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I made a mess anyway and somehow managed gelato all in my hair. One minus about gelato is that it’s stored at a lower temperature than ice cream which means it can sometimes melt quicker equating to a drippy cone. Plus, I’m clumsy.

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It seems like we arrived during blood orange peak and trust me it was a tempting flavor… but ultimately I went for Ricotta and Sour Cherries.

I was definitely not disappointed – it wasn’t too sweet, a really strong flavor of ricotta that was excellently balanced by some proper tart cherries. The little cherry syrup swirls though were a sweet offset. 

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Mr. Snacks opted for the Rhubarb Crumble, as rhubarb is his go to flavor. He absolutely loved it. I think maybe the rhubarb could have been a bit more prominent, but the base was soft and had a light vanilla flavor. I liked the crunchy crumble topping, more please.

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We vowed to go again. I really wanted to try the Pistachio and Tiramisu… but it wasn’t meant to be. I definitely vow to go back anytime I’m in London, which probably won’t be for a while… so I’ll just suggest you go instead.

Adorable set up, great gelato, friendly service… coffee and loads of other little frozen treats and bakes. 

All this talk about gelato being better than ice cream feels a little like a betrayal. I’m going to get the Ben and Jerry’s out to feel less guilty.

Cookie Dough I love you, but Gelupo I long for you.

Love. 

xx

Gelupo

7 Archer St, London W1D 7AU, United Kingdom

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Waffles to dress up.

Just before last Christmas my eyes were exposed to a surge of videos waffling pretty much anything… smores waffles, pizza waffles, macaroni and cheese waffles, eggs just shaped waffles… anything and everything I could possible crave. 

Just waffle it.

It basically convinced me that I needed a waffle maker. Oh, the possibilities. I’ll use it all the time, because most of these recipes weren’t even actually waffles… they were using pre-made dough or leftovers. Easy peasy… waffling on demand.

So, a waffle maker officially made the Christmas list and Santa delivered. 

The first time I made waffles was just a few days after Christmas and the second time I made any sort of waffle was today. Whoops.

That being said, if you’re thinking about getting a waffle maker I’d still recommend it because of the obvious… homemade waffles whenever you want.

Both times I’ve made waffles they turned out delicious. They take slightly longer than I was lead to believe… but waffles are worth the wait. Even if you wait about six months for them. 

As you know, I’ve got a sweet tooth… so today’s breakfast topping was warm smashed blackberries and smoked crispy bacon. Also, I can never have enough maple syrup.

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I’m just going to post a very basic waffle recipe that I believe is pretty neutral to either sweet or savory. Great for waffle beginners like me.

Basic Waffle Recipe

(makes ten square waffles, depending on machine)

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1.5 cups of milk (any kind – buttermilk if you have it!)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

If you are wanting your waffles a little bit sweeter than add in a 1 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract. I always add a bit of cinnamon too.

I added vanilla extract and cinnamon to the waffles featured in this post and while they were slightly sweet, it still was pretty tame and if I needed to I’d be happy putting a savory topping on them.

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To make:

Now… I believe the traditional thing to do here is to separate the eggs and whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form and add them to your waffle mix last, mixing gently.

Again, I have made waffles only twice and the first time I separated the eggs, this time I did not. And, if the truth is to be told I couldn’t really tell much of a difference. And I hate separating eggs… so, I say do what you want or what you have time for. 

1. In a small bowl put in dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix gently until everything is combined.
2. Crack eggs into large bowl and whisk (by hand or mixer) until eggs are foamy and light in color.
3. Add in all wet ingredients and mix until all ingredients are combined.
4. Add flour mixture and mix until there are no lumps.

And that’s all. Super easy and then your waffle maker will do the rest. 

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In terms of time and temperature that is going to differ for each machine, so all I can suggest is to read the instructions to make sure you understand how it works etc. 

Waffles are like pancakes in so many ways… but just remember the first one (or two in my case) will be the ugliest. Test your machine to see how the temperature works and how long you should leave the waffles in. 

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So, there you have it. A waffle base to top for your heart and tummy’s delight!

 Go forth and brunch.

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xx

Street Feastival at Restless Natives, Glasgow

I know it’s a few days overdue, but I just wanted to show a little bit of local love for the Restless Natives festival that took place in Glasgow’s east end over the past week.

Restless Natives described itself as ‘a cross-platform multi-venue cultural festival championing independent purveyors of music, film, food, drink, business and numerous other fields within Scotland.’

And based on the schedule alone, I think it lived up to just that. Multiple venues, music acts, movies, a very publicized Q&A with Armando Iannucci… and the part that got this granny out of the house – the mini festival within a festival… the Street Feastival.

This took place on May 14th and 15th, just across from The Barras market within the Glasgow Collective Studios. On site were a few stalls of vintage clothes, crafts, and some local food stalls. Inside the collective Dear Green Coffee served up fresh beans. There were a few small art bits, vinyl sounds and Innis and Gunn on tap.

Outside was a little makeshift beer garden which Mr. Snacks and I put to good use seeing as the weather on Saturday was basically perfect, especially for Glasgow standards. Beer and cider – a little pricey for plastic cups and cans – we overheard a few complaints about this, but for an outside spot in Glasgow with enough seats for everyone we didn’t mind too much and easily knocked back a couple.

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As a bonus, they had some bubbles on the tables and there were a few lovely dogs kicking about. A really lovely relaxed atmosphere and some decent eats on offer.

We first went with Bonnie Burrito, because we are forever searching for delicious Mexican food. A food truck based in Edinburgh, offering a suspected Scottish twist on tortilla wraps- offering Irn-Bru pulled pork (not actually that uncommon) and haggis/veggie haggis fillings. 

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I got chicken because I’m boring and Mr.Snacks opted for the Irn-Bru pork. You could actually taste the Irn-Bru a little bit, though it wasn’t overly sweet. The burrito was jam packed full of sauces and veg, but for a fiver it was pretty steep for what I’d consider a standard mini burrito, about the size of a coke can. What did stand out was the scotch bonnet hot sauce – proper heat in there, which I can appreciate. 

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So, the burrito did fill me up, but didn’t stop me from wanting to try Southeast Asian treats from Ekeko Eats. Bao, baby. 

We opted to split a beef bao, but they offered veggie and pork fillings too at a really reasonable price. 1 for £4 or 2 for £7.

Super delicious. Really fluffy steamed bun, filling was well seasoned and the red chillies gave it a nice spice. If I hadn’t already eaten a burrito  I wouldn’t be sharing. Oink.

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Everything tasted really fresh, plus those colors. 

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Ekeko Eats debuted it’s food stall at Restless Natives and I’ll definitely be following them about on social media to find out where they go next. Consider me a fan. 

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Also up for grabs were several sweet treats – fresh crepes, waffles on sticks, cupcakes, ice cream sundaes… it’s very surprising I was able to resist, really. I guess that’s my body going into some sort of diet mode? 

Until next time. Good job, Glasgow.

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xx

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

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Over a week later and I’m still celebrating Cinco de Mayo…

It’s a state of mind.

Bold colors and simple food, a celebration for any occasion. I think that’s the official motto.

These carnitas have so many things going on:

1. TACOS
2. Minimal Effort
3. Minimal Ingredients
4. Party Food

And obviously taste is a big factor. You get such a rich flavor from all the fat in the pork shoulder… so maybe not the healthiest, but this isn’t a calorie conscious blog.

I add a bit of heat to mine, but it comes through as an after thought, a little kick at the end of the bite. Keep it simple kids, you won’t regret it.

The low and slow cooking method makes this easy win for feeding a party… even if it’s just a little midweek party for two. 

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

(makes 2-3 portions, we’re hungry)

Ingredients:

700g pork shoulder
2 -3 bottles of Mexican or Light beer (enough to cover the pork, plus half inch extra)
2 garlic cloves
1 large onion chopped chunky
1 dried ancho chili
2 dried Chili de Arbol
1 jalapeno
Generous pinch of salt and pepper
2 teaspoons Mexican Oregano, normal oregano
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 Lime
1 teaspoon of cumin

Marinate the pork overnight or a few hours before cooking, but definitely marinate the meat. Overnight is best, but sometimes you just wake up wanting Carnitas. 

To Marinate:

1. Place dried chillies in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover bowl with  clingfilm and let sit for 30-45 minutes or until the Ancho chili is soft
2. Cut pork into chunky blocks, 2-3 inches wide, trimming excess fat where necessary. Season with finely crushed garlic cloves, salt, pepper, cumin and oregano – Basically a dry rub
3. Mash up Ancho chili into paste and rub into pork
4. Finely dice the Chili de Arbol and mix in with pork
5. Let mixture sit for a minimum of two hours up to overnight.

To Cook:

1. Get your frying pan on a high heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil. Throw in marinated pork and sear until the outside is browned. The rest should be completely raw.
2. Place seared pork into a low temperature set slow cooker, along with chopped onion, chopped jalapeño, and the juice of one lime
3. Cover slow cooker ingredients with beer until liquid fully covers pork by 5.-1 inch over.
4. Set your slow cooker to a low temperature and let cook for 5-8 hours. The longer the better.
5. Once pork is throughly cooked, drain any excess liquid. Take diced pork and gently shred meat with two forks. 

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Carnitas are best served with warm tortillas, diced raw white onion, cilantro and guacamole. Oh, and of course Homemade Salsa!

There’s really not much more you could want, except maybe an ice cold beer.

Ah, summertime.

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xx

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Chips and Salsa. It’s a staple where I’m from.

It’s almost always on the menu, regardless of what type of eatery you’re in. And if it’s not listed on the menu, then it arrives free and immediately – usually before a drink order is even taken.

Ah… Chips and salsa are my ultimate snack food. And fresh homemade salsa is so easy to make. Bonus.

Summer is salsa season… but, I decided to start the party early by making a batch of roasted salsa for my Cinco de Mayo dinner.

I love all varieties of salsa, but I find that roasted salsa has a little more depth of flavor to it. It’s all those excellent charred bits that make this type of salsa my favorite. 

Now, salsa is a bit subjective to how much spice you want. I prefer a kick in mine, so I used a good amount dried and fresh chilies. I think the ancho brings a good color and flavor to the salsa, so I would definitely recommend it for roasted salsa. If you’re unable to get your hands on any, then just add an extra jalapeño or two.

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Roasted Tomato Salsa

(makes about 3 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds (680 grams) of fresh tomatoes (any variety, I used salad this time)
  • 1 large onion, cut chunky
  • 2-5 jalapeños/assorted mixed chilies (you choose, 2 for something mild obviously)
  • 1 dried Ancho chili
  • 2 dried Chili de Arbol peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lime
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Cilantro (optional)

Now, I love cilantro, but unfortunately Mr.Snacks has that strange genetic thing where cilantro tastes like soap. So, when sharing I need to leave it out during the blending stage. 

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Instructions:

1. Turn oven to grill and place temperature onto the highest setting.
2. While that preheats, chop onion and tomatoes if using larger ones i.e. beefsteak etc. Then place tomatoes, onions, chillies and garlic cloves on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Let ingredients grill for 30-45 minutes. 

You want burnt edges and skin on everything! The onions might cook quicker than the tomatoes and potentially the jalapeños, so check the oven after 20 minutes. If the onions are charred enough, remove them and place tomatoes and chillies back in the oven for longer.

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3. While everything is roasting, put your dried chillies in a small bowl fill it with boiling water. Cover the bowl in cling film and leave the chillies to soak until your oven ingredients are finished. Once everything is charred leave the tray to cool for about 10 minutes.
4. Place roasted ingredients, soaked dried chillies, the juice of one lime and a big handful of cilantro (if using) into a food processor. Pulse until everything is blended to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If the salsa is too thick, add a few tablespoons of the water left over from the dried chillies to thin it out a bit. The amount of liquid will depend on your tomatoes, so you might need work it differently each time you make the salsa. If you’re happy with the heat then just use either more lime juice or water to thin out until you’ve got the right consistency. 

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And then you’re ready to dip a chip!

If you’re not as keen to munch it right away, you can store the salsa in the fridge within an airtight container for 3-4 days. Keep in mind the garlic and heat will develop a stronger flavor the longer you leave it to sit.

And there you have it, your go to snack recipe for the summer. 

Break out the tortilla chips! 

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xx

Borough Market, London

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London happened about two weeks ago and to be honest I was shocked about what a great time I had. So lovely, that I didn’t really mind the rain or the crowds… in small doses. 

Having so many people brings so much variety and it was great to be in an environment offering so many choices on what to do, where to go and more importantly… what to eat.

I am still trying to sort out some of the photos and what to include. Besides packing/unpacking going through photos is the most labor intensive part of a holiday. I love it really, but I’m just quite slow at it – so please bear with me.

I’ll be putting in posts about all my snack adventures over the course of a couple of weeks, but I thought I should start off with my favorite part of London: Borough Market.

Borough Market is one of the oldest food/produce markets around, originating in the 11th century, so it’s definitely not a secret. However, it is a must for any self-proclaimed ‘foodie’ and worth a visit for everyone else.

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Now, this massive market is somewhat divided into two sections- one focusing a bit more of food products and local produce, the other is made up of different food stalls offering a good choice of international cuisine. Essentially though, you can get your breakfast or lunch anywhere in the market.

In fact, you could probably fill up on all the free samples but it’s hard to resist a purchase or two.The first thing I eyed when we walked in was the Bread Ahead stall. They had great smelling booth full of loaves and baguettes, but what called to me… the donuts.

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It was hard to choose just one, but we opted to split the hazelnut and almond praline donut to save some room for lunch. It’s probably the biggest regret of the trip that we didn’t get more. The taste was surprisingly light with a lemony tang. Quite possibly the best eat of the entire trip… and I had to split it. 

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Continue the Market Stroll