Saturday, 7 February 2015

New pastures

Gratuitous Farmers Market haul photo :)
So it has been well over a week since my last blog post but I have had good reason for the lapse in blogging - we have a new home. Officially Southsiders! And getting to know the area continues to be a complete pleasure. For some reason our move coincided with a turn for the better weather-wise. This last week Glasgow has enjoyed gloriously sunny and crisp Winter days - just perfect for strolling from shop to cafe and home again via Queens Park's Glasshouse for a wee bask on a bench outside.

We couldn't be happier with the flat - we are within walking distance of some great eateries. New Kids on the Block and Old Timers. I'm very much looking forward to paying a visit to the Glad Cafe and Butterfly and Pig in it's new Southside location, as well as revisiting favourites such as Tinto Tapas on Battlefield Road, Frousoulla's Greek restaurant (formerly Glasgow institution The Greek Golden Kebab - everyone seems to know this place!) and Ian Brown's in Giffnock (the latter not quite walking distance but a mere 3 stops further South along the train line).

With not having internet access at home yet I've been spending a few relaxed mornings plugged into the WiFi at local cafe Deli Zola. This French bistro-style cafe on Skirving Street in Shawlands has a pleasantly dark and quirkily decorated interior, cool tunes, nice staff and good coffee. (How I missed places like this in Madrid!!) In a rare departure (ahem) I enjoyed a slice of homemade fruit loaf topped with sugar crystals - like a fruity madeira cake - with this morning's latte. Light as a feather and gone in about a minute. They make French bread on the premises and have a varied and interesting menu. I've also noticed it's popular place for fellow laptop workers/ self-employed types. You don't feel hassled to clear out when you've drained the last of your latte. Also the staff take the time to chat to their regulars. A special place.

As I mentioned in the previous blog, the Southside plays host to a Farmers Market every second fortnight. I went along this morning bright and early for a look.
Market Day 7 February
The relaunched market has taken up residence at the corner of a prominent junction (at Langside Halls on Pollokshaws Road) - with plenty of passing Saturday shoppers to patronise the small but varied selection of stalls. There seemed to be plenty of interest and on this sunny morning it can't have but encouraged the vendors that the move from inside Queens Park was perhaps for the best.

From the selection I made purchases from those stalls where I had the opportunity to sample the fayre  - such as Cedar Cottage with their Steak Burgers (a very reasonable 3.80 GBP for 4). Or where - in the case of Isle of Arran cheese - I was willing to take a chance knowing it's hard to go very wrong with a Scottish blue cheese and some Wooleys Arran Oatcakes! Or 4 massive Thai Fishcakes courtesy of Fantoosh Fish. Having said that, approachability in a stall holder is so important. If you see passion and knowledge shining through from the person behind the table, that goes more than a small way towards encouraging the shopper to invest in that particular product.

Cedar Cottage
A fine and affordable selection of meats
Isle of Arran Cheese Shop Stall
 In my opinion no market is complete without a little booze thrown in, so I was pleased to be able to sample Jaw Brew's selection of three bottled beers - Drift (golden ale), Drop (hoppy pale ale) and Fathom (dark ale) - and went on to buy one of each at a very reasonable 2.50 GBP a bottle. We have shared the Drift over a dinner of steak burger and paprika potato wedges and it's a wonderful compliment to the meat. 

Jaw Brew with their fab and welcoming stall
I was pleased to meet some of the members of Slow Food West of Scotland organisation who had set up a stand offering information about the movement as well as cooking demonstrations by member Rachel Gillon

Soup samples

Slow Food stall

Slow Food West of Scotland stall
I believe there were three different dishes prepared then offered up to eager visitors: Beetroot and Carrot soup and Beremeal pancakes with crowdie and smoked salmon were the two that I saw. I can vouch for the soup being lovely, light and fresh in that shocking cerise colour that a Smartie would be proud of - but natural of course thanks to the beets. I took away a copy of the recipe and will be trying it out tomorrow with my glut of Grow Wild Organic beetroots. 

The Slow Food movement is something I didn't come across in Spain - possibly as they are far more reliant on fresh, local produce anyway. According to their pamphlet I picked up the aims include: "(to) help people to think differently about food...campaign about the most pressing food-related issues that we face...educate people about where our food comes from and the effect our choices can have..."

I would love to get on board with this movement - particularly when it comes to offering opportunities through workshops or info days to kids and young people, involving them in community garden or cooking projects. 

Thanks for reading