Paisley Food Festival: Review

Paisley hosted the second Paisley food festival this weekend. So we grabbed Gran and went down to take a look.   

The food festival is an add on to the already popular Paisley beer festival, the queue for that was out the door. The food festival was also drawing a crowd, the vendors were getting good trade without having to fight your way through the crowds to see anything. I often feel like this at Christmas markets and big food shows like SECC Good food show, it all gets a bit claustrophobic and moo-ey!

The main draw for me was Aye love real food. I first saw these guys at the StrEAT events in the Briggait in Glasgow, where Little Boy and I shared a chorizo scotch egg and a creme brûlée. Ok two creme brûlée! From crema caravan who I will be first in line for at the Good Food Glasgow fair on the 7th of May.

So yesterday after a lap to take stock of what was there, I made a b-line for some Scotch eggs, and I wasn’t disappointed.  

  
I went with my old favourite the chorizo and picked up a black pudding one as well. I forgot the cardinal rule of food markets. Bring cutlery! This scotch egg was hacked apart with a plastic fork. 

  

It still looks gorgeous right? It was. The egg yolk was slightly more cooked than last time, but still creamy and smooth. I saved the black pudding version for home. 

  
This beat the chorizo one hands down. It has a lovely peppery heat to it and a salty spice that really complimented the egg inside. At £3.50 each they make a great grazing food. Filling enough to get your money’s worth but not so big that you can’t try other things. 

There was lots to see and sample and I came home with some gin and Tonic flavoured popcorn from Poporopo which is incredibly like a gin and tonic. I’ve had a lot of popcorn in my time, but this was pretty unique! Aromatic from the gin and an almost effervescent bitterness from the tonic. The small packages was £2 but they were doing 3 for £5 and a similar package on the large bags. 

I also got to see the Cocoa Tree from Pittenweem in person. I have always wanted to try some of there products. I found their online shop during a search for black or extra dark cocoa powder and that is exactly what I bought from them; cocoa powder extra brute. Some brownie baking is firmly on my agenda now! 

 

Husband and Gran picked up a Burger each. Little Boy and I were off running on the grass so no pics, but Hubs wasn’t that impressed anyway. He wished he had gone for the roast pork which looked delicious. I usually can’t resist proper crackling!

  

There were lots of other tasty treats on offer from some tempting looking Victoria doughnuts filled with whipped cream and strawberries, tray bakes and fudge and homemade preserves. I was almost tempted by a jar or mango curd but I am still decluttering my kitchen and have agreed to use up what I have before buying more store cupboard items. 

 

It was definitely worth the trip, though I could of done without some of the “entertainment”. 

I think next year we will grab the Grandads and do the beer festival as well. 

Me x

Advertisements

Family Fun and Food Trucks 

Husband and Me and have spent a few nights away from Little Boy over April and so we decided to have a weekend of family fun focused on Him.

Our morning started out at Wonderworld soft play. Little Boy has come on leaps and bounds with his walking over the past couple of weeks, so we thought he would be able to interact with the softplay environment much more than when he was only crawling. We were right. He loved every minute of it and spent his time running around the vast hall, “driving” a Flintstones style taxi car and climbing, crawling and sliding his way around the toddler area at Wonderworld. It’s not the cheapest place to go, but we always find it clean, well-staffed and provides a more dynamic play environment for a brave toddler than other places we have been.

After working up an appetite at softplay, it is hard work crawling after a toddler through a squidgy maze, we headed into town for some food. Husband had spotted some banners advertising “Good Food Glasgow” bringing together the best of local food trucks over the next 6 weeks (16th April-22nd May). It took a little googling to actually find out what is actually going on, and it was only through a little luck and some past food truck experience I thought to take a look on StrEAT Glasgow who were previously hosting food truck rallies in the beautiful but very chilly Briggait. It looks like Streat and Glasgow City Council are in on this one together; the council provide the space and Streat pull together the food trucks. Great idea, but maybe a little more advertising would help drawn in more people. Good Food Glasgow will be based in Brunswick Street in the merchant city on Saturdays and Broomielaw on Fridays, over the 6 week pilot period.

When we arrived it was pretty quiet, but a good turnout of food trucks selling everything from snow cones and coffee to woodfired pizza and curry, definitely something for everyone, even Gluten Free Me. After doing a lap to see everything on offer, I settled for a South Thai Massaman chicken curry from Umami Spice Girl Ltd @ £6. Served with white rice and topped with coriander and chopped chilli it looked fresh, colourful and oh so warm and inviting on what had turned out to be a pretty nippy day! It was absolutely beautifully cooked, light fluffy rice, soft chicken and tender vegetables. I can’t fault its execution it was a lovely Massaman curry, but me and Christmas spices don’t get on well so I would opt for a different curry next time.


My Husband went for a stone cooked pizza from firebird, he is often following a Ketogenic diet and came off it for the weekend just to have his pick of the trucks. He ordered the classic margarita @ £5 which was made fresh as we waited. The base was wonderfully thin and crispy, the topping not overdone; Husband and Little boy both thought it was delicious and polished off the lot, so quickly I forgot to take any pictures. Oops.

We then went on the hunt for something sweet. My usual food truck favourites Crema Caravan weren’t there on Saturday but will be there Saturday 7th May! Woooohoooo. The savory trucks hadn’t really thought to offer any sweet items which was a shame so the only sweet option was the snow cone truck ( too cold) or the brownies on offer from the Linton & co coffee truck, oh my did their coffee smell good! So husband opted for a classic brownie for £2.50, and again it was delicious and gone too quick for photos. Sadly no GF option for Me, so we picked up a box of Spanish strawberries from the fruit stall at the end of the street and headed home; they were a perfect late night pudding, dipped into melted dark chocolate, and devoured while we caught up with Supernatural once our very tired Little Boy was tucked up in bed.

Me x

Paris: Patisseries and Planning

The home of patisseries and minimalist wardrobes galore, Paris is truly one of my favourite places to visit.
My favourite memories of Paris are cool of crisp days with clear sunny skies, flitting between arrondismonts trying to cram in as many patisseries and chocolateries as I can in just a few days. It’s not for everyone, but it is my idea of heaven and it has been too long since I last indulged my hobby.

I tend to visit Paris in winter or spring, not because there’s anything wrong with Paris in the summer but because my hoard of delicate pastries melt as I’m carting them round Paris. It takes a special kind of person to panic at the sight of perfectly burnished meringue sliding off of a lemon tart. Most people would just eat it, but I have to dissect it, take pictures and then finally savour every last bite. This is not a casual affair to me, this is a lifelong love affair and I really relish the pre-trip research, planning where to visit, what to eat, where to eat it and what to wear while I do it all.

Like everything else in my life up until now I have felt the need to holiday at 100% and try to squeeze far too much into too little time, something always slips from the itinerary and I forever lament the one that got away ( a cake not a person, or a fish ). This time I am trying to be much more intentional with my planning. I will only have a single day in Paris, less than 12 hours in fact, and while I want to “make the most of it” I also want to have the best experience I can have and my hectic schedule has me running around to the point where I cannot stop to appreciate where I am and truly savour it.
The first step to a more intentional itinerary was to sit for a moment and really think, why are you going? If you could only go to one place and eat one thing, what would it be? I wanted my intuition to guide me, and it guided me straight to the black sesame éclair at Sadaharu Aoki. I have had one of these eclairs in my whole life. They don’t sell it at all of the locations every day so I have missed it on subsequent trips, I even visited 3 Aoki kiosks in Tokyo, but because it was Hanami, the seasonal sakura éclair was there in its place. I dream of this éclair, its crisp choux pastry is filled with a light and sweet filling, savoury with roasted black sesame flavour and topped with a slick of fondant icing embedded with crunchy sesame seeds. It is one of the most incredible things I have ever eaten.

In the perfect vision of my day in Paris it would be a clear crisp day and I would head to the Jardin Du Luxembourg, grab a bench or a dry patch of grass, and munch my eclair while reading a book. So that is what I am going to do, and I am going to build the rest of my trip around it, limiting myself to the area around the Jardin (5e, 6e) and making time to soak up some ambience. It will also leave me time to do something I have never managed, go to a proper Parisian market and buy my lunch, turning my éclair into a picnic in the park.

As part of my meticulous planning I also plan a full Paris capsule wardrobe, but as I am only going for one day it would be a Paris outfit. Often this has resulted in buying all of the items I take with me, even down to footwear and a coat, a thought that horrifies me now. Paris has better weather than Scotland on the whole, but it is not vastly different in terms of season and temperature. If I can survive a day out in Glasgow I can survive in Paris, it’s not like I need a bikini or arctic gear now is it? This time I have promised myself I won’t buy anything specific for the Paris trip, if its not in my wardrobe already or on my minimalist wardrobe shopping list then it is not coming to Paris with me. My minimalist wardrobe goal is heavily influenced by Parisian style so this should be a good test of its suitability and highlight any clear gaps.

So far my patisserie hit list looks like this:

  • Sadaharu Aoki – Black sesame éclair(s)on Rue de Vaugirard
  • Chocolate Chapon – A chocolate mousse bar!!! on Rue De Bac
  • La Patisserie Des Reves – Paris Brest – Rue De Bac
  • Hugo et Victor – Pistachio St Honore – Boulevard Raspail
  • Carl Marletti – Lily Valley – Rue Censier
  •  A trip to Raspail market for lunch supplies

My outfit choice looks like this

  • Black ankle boots
  • Skinny jeans
  • White/black vest top
  • Leather biker jacket*/coral Topshop coat
  • Black leather tote bag
  • scarf

*items marked are on the shopping list but not yet purchased. 

Four Things that brought me joy in March

  • My Son began spontaneously offering kisses and cuddles to us

    The first time he asked me for a kiss, with puckered lips and a big loud mmmmmmmmmm was incredible. He then said thank you for the kiss I gave him. He went back to playing and I sat on the carpet overwhelmed with love and joy. What a wonderful little boy I have. 

    • We went to the allergy fair at the SECC. 

      I got to discover and graze new delicious food, without fear of wheat. It has been 10 years since I have felt that kind of eating freedom at a fair or farmers market. I came home with bags of yummy treats and very excited about new products coming out. Gluten free doughnuts! Shut up and take my money!!!

      • My son settled into a new sleep routine. 

      He’s going to sleep, without a fight, at around 8.30pm. This gives Husband and Me a full extra hour to relax or get stuff done. We are not fully used to the change yet. We don’t want to count our chickens, after all, a child’s sleeping pattern is never set in stone, but he is a happier little boy for it and I cherish the play time I have with him all the more. ETA it didn’t last. 

      • I bought something that brings me joy. KonMari style. 

      This little glass egg was a TK Maxx find. I had glass cloches at my wedding and I like to fill them with something seasonal; pumpkins, Christmas baubles that kind of thing. I have been looking for something for spring/Easter and found a sister egg to this one. Followed my instincts and held it for a while. I loved it, but, there was a flaw in it, a smear of what felt like super glue and it sucked the joy away. That’ll do won’t do! I put it back. But on a shopping trip with my mum a week later. Bingo an undamaged duplicate in the local TK Maxx. Serendipity clearly because that never happens with Tk Maxx stock. 

      It’s good to look back on the everyday things that made me smile, so I will do this every month.

      After the de-clutter: Reduce, reuse, recycle and add value other people’s lives. 

      Marie Kondo doesn’t talk much about what to do with the items that don’t spark Joy. There are some references to bagging and binning her beloved childhood teddy, but nothing covers what to do with the clothes, books, ornaments that didn’t make the grade. Once you have thanked them for their service they just disappear. Now that would be the magic of tidying up!

      This is one of the reasons I couldn’t become a diehard Kondoite! The waste factor of my decluttering really concerns me. The idea that people might take her too literally and hire a skip for all their clutter is horrifying. Marie Kondo talks about being thankful to your possessions for the job they do for you. Now I’m not sure I’m going to feel as deeply for my things as Marie, after all she thanks her socks for cradling her feet! But I do believe that the things in my life should serve a purpose, add value or bring joy. 

      The pile of stuff I am choosing to discard has served its purpose; either in the thrill of the purchase or the uses it served me at the time. So I should thank these things and move on guilt free. But if I threw these items out I would feel tremendous guilt.

      Thankfully I had done a fair amount of prep for my declutter and reminded myself of a few things I’d learned: The Minimalists had me covered. They are huge advocates of responsible waste and urge anyone purging their clutter to add value to other people’s lives while they do so. 

      The minimalists have a different view point from Marie Kondo on possessions. They are just things. If they are not adding value to my life then I should let them go. They go a step farther and suggest that as well as the direct benefit to me of decluttering, lightening the burden a lot of these things have become; mental clutter, physical clutter, emotional drains, that they can go on to fulfil a new purpose and add value to someone else’s life. 

      Now like most people I think, I hope! I felt the financial weight of my declutter build as my discard piles grew and grew. Even though I am an avid eBayer, there were still hundreds of pounds worth of clothes I wasn’t planning to keep. Eeep. So it’s natural to want to try and recoup some the perceived loss right?

      I have made the conscious decision  to value the letting go above any monetary return I get from selling. The Minimalists urge people not to “nickel and dime” themselves to try and recoup small amounts. Value your time! Is spending 10 hours listing, packing and shipping clothes worth it to net £30? Not for me it isn’t. So I will follow their advice an only sell the big ticket items and happily donate the rest to charity. The idea that my cast offs go to someone who needs or just wants them makes me happy. Knowing that they don’t end up in landfill makes me even happier. I choose to donate my clothes to a children’s charity so it’s a double win. Someone gets a useful bargain and the charity gets some extra money.

      When I finished my declutter roughly half of my clothes went to charity, and I have a strict 2 listings and out policy on the clothes on Ebay. If they don’t sell after two listing periods then they go to the charity shop! As a side plea. Please don’t drop and run when you donate. Go in and register with them and for gift aid. I give to Barnardos so they get the tax back on my donations and I get a lovely letter every now and then telling me how much my donations raised. 

      One aspect of the KonMari method I loved was reusing things that bring you joy in a different way. Some of my belongings bring me joy but are unused and that drains some of the joy for me. Repurposing them helps me prolong the enjoyment of well loved items. 

      For example I bought a set of coloured ramekins with matching spoons in Rome airport. I saw them through the window and had to go in. I walked out. I didn’t NEED ramekins. Our flight was delayed, so I periodically visited them. My Husband (then fiancé of 24 hours, we got engaged in Rome) urged me to buy them. I resisted. I didn’t need them, they would break in transit. I didn’t NEED them! In the end Husband persuaded me they would make a nice and practical momento of our trip. I caved. I bought them. But I did use them and I do love them. They bring me so much joy. But 5 years later we are down a few matching spoons, and I have used them less and less in order to preserve them. Thanks to reading Spark Joy I know I need to use them or lose them so they now sit in my make up drawer and hold cotton buds, Kirkby grips etc. They are a gorgeous pop of colour in my drawer and remind me of my engagement, my husband and all the delicious desserts I’ve made in them. 

      Joy all round x