28 July 2017

Competition: Win tickets to Foodies Festival in Edinburgh

It's that time of year again when Foodies Festival, the UK's biggest celebration of food and drink, takes over Inverleith Park to serve up a day out that no foodie should miss.  With its usual line-up of top chefs, producers and a tantalising menu of new culinary features, the festival takes place between the 4th-6th August and Phil's Food World has five pairs of tickets for this year's event.

Festival goers can look forward to a celebrity and Michelin-starred chef line-up in the Chefs Theatre this summer, with Scotland’s top chefs showcasing their culinary skills and inspiring the audience with their delicious dishes. There will be a focus on culinary wellness, with farm-to-table dishes, sugar-free cooking and ‘feel good’ food trends. We’re delighted to announce that MasterChef Winner 2016 Jane Devonshire will also be cooking up her family favourites and showing the Foodies visitors how to make gluten-free healthy, comfort food. Prue Leith will also be in attendance!

All you have to do is simply follow Phil's Food World on Twitter and/or Instagram (see links to the right of this page) and email your preferred day Here. A winner will be chosen at random on Monday 31st July.

Good luck!

For more information check out the Foodies website: http://foodiesfestival.com/edinburgh-food-festival/

26 July 2017

Recipe: Roasted vegetable tart with bavette steak and homemade Crowdie cheese

MAKING YOUR OWN cheese is more straightforward than you might think. There are some great cheese making kits out there, but they are pretty costly and not actually necessary. We have made cheese for thousands of years after all! This post will not only will teach you how to knock up your own cheese, but will provide a tasty recipe to add to your culinary repertoire at the same time.

Rennet is crucial in the cheese making process, as it separates the solid curds from the liquid whey. You will find it in Lakeland or online, but lemon juice will do the same job if you can't find it. I also have a plastic pot (see link above) with holes in that allows the whey to drain from the curds as the cheese presses, although you could just do it Blue Peter-style and cut up a plastic bottle. You will also need some cheese or muslin cloth.

I'm using a really cheap and tasty cut of beef here called bavette, which comes from the flank.  Often overlooked in favour of the Rolls Royce cuts like fillet or sirloin, bavette just needs a quick flash in a hot pan - perfect for a steak sandwich or salad.  It's also a useful cut for marinading.

This dish was really created from veg I had in the cupboard that needed to be used up, so feel free to be creative. The difficulty in making good cheese is finding quality milk, so look for organic or visit your local farmers' market*.

Ingredients (serves 4):

1x 500g packet, puff pastry
200g bavette steak
1x courgette, sliced
1x yellow pepper, sliced
2x cloves of garlic, grated
2x medium red onions, sliced
1x parsnip, sliced
1x red chilli, chopped
1x egg, beaten
Sriracha chilli sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper

For the cheese:
1 litre of organic milk
1 tbsp vegetarian rennet (you can use lemon juice if you can't find rennet)
2tbsp good quality sea salt


1) First make the cheese. Warm the milk to 37C (if you don't have a thermometer, dip your finger in.  It should feel just warm and no more). Add the rennet and 1tbsp salt and gently stir.  The curds and whey should begin to separate.  Line the mould with the cheese cloth.  With a slotted spoon, drain the liquid from the curds and pack tightly into the mould, salting with every new batch.  Fold in the cloth and place a glass or tin on top.  Place in the fridge for 24 hours.

2) Bring the pastry to room temperature.  Roll out to the thickness of £1.  With the back of a knife, gently score a rectangle 1 inch inside the pastry being careful not to cut right through. Prick the inner rectangle with a fork.  

3) Place a frying pan on a medium heat.  Add a little oil and gently fry the veg off for two mins.  Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.  Set aside to cool.  

4) Egg wash the pastry.  Layer the cooked veg inside the rectangle, season and place in the oven at 180C for 20-22 mins.

5) While the tart finishes off cooking, place a griddle pan on a high heat.  Fry the steak for 30-45 seconds on each side.  Season and set aside for two mins to rest. Cut into strips.

6) Remove the tart from the oven.  Crumble over the cheese.  Layer over the steak.  Season lightly and dress with Sriracha sauce.

*(I always prefer raw milk, although it's not available to buy in Scotland, you can buy it online here http://www.hookandson.co.uk/RawMilk/)

22 July 2017

Recipe: Mum's biscuit slice

I'VE BEEN ILL recently and have largely been unable to eat.  For somebody who counts their main hobby as food, whether it be reading cook books, looking through menus or actually cooking, this breeds all sorts of frustration. Hunger and boredom are a lethal combination.

I can't remember how I got the idea for Mum's biscuit slice in my head.  It must be a good 10-15 years since she made it, but I had the ingredients in the cupboard and like something out of Harry Potter (or maybe due to hunger), the ingredients just kind of flew out of the cupboard, screaming to be out together. I suppose when you're ill you just crave home comforts.

This recipe is great for a number of reasons: there's no baking involved; there's a spoon that needs licking; you get to bash things with a rolling pin.  I had so much fun making this as a kid. Mum used to use cooking chocolate, which is frankly disgusting, so what I do is make it a little more adult by replacing it with actual chocolate.

Now, when cooking with chocolate (or not cooking in this case) don't be tempted to splash out on Green & Black's or a premium supermarket version - the quality isn't all that.  Instead, go for the supermarket basics bars.  They tend to be around 52-55% cocoa and cost just 30p a bar, compared to £1.50 - £2 a bar for your 'better' versions. I wager £20 that nobody would be able to tell the difference in a taste test. The slight bitterness just makes this treat a little more adult and counters the sweetness from the biscuit base.

Ingredients (makes one brownie tray worth):

3x bars of supermarket basics dark chocolate, broken into squares
300g Rich Tea biscuits
200g unsalted butter
100g Golden Syrup


1) Put the biscuits in a food bag and bash with a rolling pin.  You still want to keep some reasonably sized chunks for texture.

2) Boil water in a saucepan and place a glass bowl onto the pan, ensuring it doesn't touch the water. Place the broken chocolate in the bowl along with 50g of the butter.  Gently stir until melted.

3) In another pan, melt the rest of the butter.  Pour into the food bag containing the biscuits and add the Golden Syrup.  Seal the bag and shake to mix.

4) Pour into a brownie tin and press down with a spoon or palette knife. The base should set fairly instantly so no need to set aside.

5) Pour over the melted chocolate and spread evenly with a palette knife.  TIP: never set chocolate in the fridge.  You will lose the sheen and end up with a dull finish.  The fat from the chocolate and butter will set it naturally at room temperature (allow an hour).

6) Decorate and cut into slices!

I was tempted to jazz it up with some sea salt but decided to stick to the original version!

9 July 2017

Review: Grain Store, Edinburgh

AH, VICTORIA STREET.  The most picture perfect street in Edinburgh? Now, food is a nostalgic thing and that is certainly the case here because on rare Saturdays off, I would always visit the Grain Store for lunch.  It had been a while, but the prospect of returning to the capital’s ‘Old Lady’ was exciting.

The restaurant is on the upper level of 30 Victoria Street, just up from the Grassmarket area of the city.  Its candlelit stone walls, alcoves and wonderful views of the street below make this an ideal date spot.  Opened by chef Carlo Coxon in 1991, this restaurant is a true hidden gem.  Having built up a loyal clientele over the years, the restaurant doesn’t advertise or seek the limelight like other places.

We arrive for lunch where we are greeted by the familiar face of Paul MacPhail who instantly jokes about how long it has been since our last visit. I clock that some of Paul’s photo-sculpture artwork is adorning the old stone walls.  The contemporary think-pieces work in perfect harmony with the old building, but art critic I am not.  To the food…

We would both have the three-course lunch menu for £16 (two-courses for £14) and would open with a pair of Grain Store classics.  Mine being house-cured salmon with pickled cucumber and fennel. You can get a lot of nasty smoked salmons in the shops these days but this one was top drawer.  The meaty, delicate flesh was gently kissed by the aniseed notes and enhanced by the crunch from the fennel.  The lightly pickled cucumber just seasons with sharpness and the slithers of radish adding peppery warmth.  What made the dish was the homemade tartare sauce; packed with flavours, it wrapped this light starter up perfectly.

Stornoway black pudding with apple and watercress from the Grain Store is a favourite restaurant starter in our household and it never seems to impress with its simplicity. The exquisite superfood was cooked with a crispy exterior just how I like it and just goes so well with the sharpness of the apple and spice from the cress.  The Grain Store always impresses in the sauce department and the rich, sticky jus binds this dish together.

The menus here are renowned for game so I opted for the pigeon fillet with pearl barley and celeriac puree.  A perfect lunch dish for me.  The pigeon was beautifully rare and rich; I’ve had mixed experiences with pearl barley but this was tender and nutty – an ideal foil for the bird.  The celeriac puree was smooth as silk, but my one criticism is that I felt more was needed on the plate.

Sarah ordered Mediterranean chicken with seasonal veg.  A tasty thigh and drumstick were matched with a ratatouille-style element and a couple of roast spuds. The dish was brimming with thyme flavours with the veg neatly handled to provide bite and tenderness at the same time.  This dish was also well seasoned.

Dunsyre Blue has always been the cheese course on this lunch menu for as long as I can remember, but due to the unjust handling by the FSS towards the Errington family, the beautiful cheese is currently unavailable (Lanark Blue and a couple of newbies are, thankfully).  Hebridean Blue, which is made by the same people who produce Isle of Mull Cheddar, was its replacement and, in all honesty, I’ve never been a huge fan of it.  But my opinion was altered here.  This piece was stunning and I loved the homemade seeded crispbreads and accompanying chutney, too.

You can’t beat a good pannacotta and Sarah’s pud was certainly up there.  Paired with seasonal Scottish strawberries and sable crumb, the set cream certainly had the desired wobble and was spot on for a light lunch-time dessert.

A triumphant return to the Grain Store that pleased me no end.  Immaculate service and romantic surroundings are always matched with superb food.  No wonder this place has successfully traded for over 25 years. Until next time, old friend.

Twitter: @GrainstoreEdin
Phone: (0131) 225 7635
Address: 30 Victoria Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2JW

The Grain Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

4 July 2017

Competition: Win £100 of vouchers for Brewhemia, Edinburgh

Phil's Food World has teamed up with Edinburgh's latest opening, Brewhemia, to offer you the chance to win a fantastic prize of £100 of vouchers to spend at the exciting new venue. Boasting a beer palace, caffe, kitchen and prosecco bar, winning this competition would be the ideal way to get acquainted - but you have to be in it to win it!

The site on Market Street has undergone a £2m makeover on the old site of Sportster's Bar and City nightclub at the base of the iconic Scotsman building.  The space comprises of five unique areas, each with their own vibe and story to tell. The exciting food element at Brewhemia is overseen by award-winning Head Chef, Chris McDiarmid, previously of the Ghillie Dhu.

All you have to do to win this amazing prize is this:

1) Follow on Twitter


2) Answer this simple question: Phil's Food World recently reviewed its first three Michelin Starred restaurant, but where was it?

A) The Fat Duck
B) The Waterside Inn
C) Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Get connected with Brewhemia and send your answer here HERE.  The competition ends this Sunday (9th July) at 5p.m. where a winner will be drawn at random.


Ts & Cs

1) All entrants MUST be 18 years old or over
2) Brewhemia reserve the right to cancel or amend the competition without notice
3) Voucher must be used in one visit to Brewhemia, Edinburgh
4) The prize stated is not transferable and no cash alternatives will be offered
5) Booking must be made prior to claiming voucher
6) You will be contacted by email if you have won the competition