IMG_6685It’s not often we ‘take afternoon tea’, (honest ;) ) but with Sister Monkfish in town for a few days we thought what better way to while away the afternoon in style than with a cake or three accompanied with a steaming pot of tea and a chillax. Ooh, and not forgetting a wee glass of prosecco to wash it all down with.

We’ve never ‘taken tea’ at The Scotsman, Edinburgh, but as it’s within spitting distance of the Royal Mile (where the big sis always likes to hang out) we thought we’d try it out.

First up, check out the crocks. Cool tea plates with headlines from the Scotsman, nice touch.

The Scotsman offers various options for it’s afternoon tea including gluten free, a strawberries and cream tea and this little lot which is what we opted for:

Traditional Sandwich Selection
Mature Scottish cheddar cheese and pickle
Honey roast Ayrshire ham and Arran mustard
Free range egg mayonnaise with watercress
Smoked Scottish salmon and herb cream cheese

Chef’s Bakery
Freshly baked fruit scones with strawberry jam, clotted cream and butter

Chef’s Sweet Platter
Selection of freshly baked cakes, cupcakes and biscuits

Coffee and Tea
A choice of Filter, Latte, Cappuccino, Espresso, Macchiato, Mocha, or Americano Coffee
A choice of Traditional Breakfast, Earl Grey, Green, Peppermint, Darjeeling, Camomile or Decaffeinated Tea

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Highlight of the tea was definitely the macarons, just the right consistency and a lovely coffee flavour coming through. There was nothing ‘not to like’ about the tea full stop, it was clean plates all round. Service was good, we felt like VIP’s for a few hours, the atmos was relaxed and it was the perfect spot for people watching. All in all a lovely afternoon. The only niggle, and we stress, ‘only’ niggle was that the tea wasn’t explained to us. We know our cakes and sarnies but an explanation or a menu on the table would have made this a five star afternoon.

We booked our tea through TRULY, the luxury gift experience website as a wee treat for Sister Monkfish as we don’t see each other that often. We think she was impressed…..she chomped right through everything in front of her anyway! No doggy bags requested in for us!

Check out the TRULY website for lots of lovely things to do (and eat….) .

All photos

North Bridge Brasserie on Urbanspoon



Our friends at Macsween recently asked if we could come up with a ‘Commonwealth Games‘ recipe using their haggis… The thinking caps were well and truly on for this one – we wanted it to be healthy, definitely summery but also come up with an unusual and creative way of using haggis that you may not have tried before. Not forgetting we also wanted to use ingredients from Commonwealth countries. Tricky! Mrs Monkfish was set to task and came up with this…..

Haggis stuffed roasted pears with wild rice and halloumi salad


This is a delicious and flavour packed dish full of healthy ingredients. It’s ‘summer’ on a plate and is sure to keep everyone happy while they watch the Glasgow Games and sip a cold glass of their favourite tipple.

Haggis with pears? Yes! Believe it or not this is a really tasty way to eat haggis. The sweetness of the roasted pears really cuts through the haggis spices. We eat apples with pork, and cranberry with turkey, so don’t be put off, give it a go, on the flavour scale it’s right up there.

This dish is extremely versatile too. Keep portion sizes small for a fantastic starter or with the addition of mild, salty halloumi, a fresh zingy salad and some rice you can serve up an appetising main course. As with any recipe you don’t need to stick to the rules, customise it – try a feta salad instead of halloumi, change the dressing if you don’t like almonds, just make it your own!

So, even if you’re not currently soaking up the Cypriot or South African sun right now, put your feet up, it’s time to enjoy the flavours of the Commonwealth whilst they visit the home of the haggis.

Enjoy the Games!

IMG_4508Serves 4

Quick cook long grain and wild rice
1 onion finely sliced
1tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp Scottish cold-pressed rapeseed oil
salt and pepper to taste
scattering of toasted flaked almonds
2 firm but ripe pears
knob of butter
250g halloumi
couple of leaves of fresh mint chopped
454g Commonwealth Macsween Haggis
handful of mixed salad leaves
extra rapeseed oil and a splash of white wine (optional) to dress the dish

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/320°F

  • Cook the long grain and wild rice as per the packet instructions.
  • Fry the onion gently in a small pan with the olive oil, ground cinnamon and ground ginger.
  • Cut the pears in two lengthways. Use a small spoon to take out the core which will leave space for the haggis later in the recipe. Melt the butter on a baking tray and then put the pears flesh side down on the tray and cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the flesh is soft.
  • Meanwhile slice the halloumi and either pan fry it in a dash of rapeseed oil or place it on a hot griddle pan for a minute or two each side. Place to one side.
  • Check on the onions, they should be lovely and soft by now but not brown. If using a splash of white wine then quickly turn the heat up, glug in the wine and let it bubble away for a few seconds. Remove from the heat and add the toasted flaked almonds. Set aside.
  • Once the pears are almost done prepare the haggis for cooking by removing the outer vacuum pack bag and put in a microwaveable dish. Heat the haggis in the microwave as per the instructions.
  • Remove the pears from the oven and carefully spoon the haggis into the hollowed out space.

To serve

  • Place a pear half on each dish with a spoonful of wild rice.
  • Place the sliced halloumi with the salad leaves and scatter the chopped fresh mint over the halloumi.
  • Finally drizzle the onion and toasted almond dressing around the edge of the plate and over the salad if you wish


For more information about Macsween Haggis visit their website HERE.
To see this recipe on the Macsween website click HERE.



Monkfish Monday, it’s been a funny old week


It’s been a funny old week at the Towers, a photo shoot for Scottish Salmon, a birthday, a trip to the zoo, the tasting menu at Timberyard, and a knee op, all in 7 days. We do like to pack it in. Mrs Monkfish was the unfortunate one who had the knee op but she’s a trooper and the thought of a few days R&R whilst watching Wimbledon is almost too good to be true….and has stopped her ‘going bananas’.



So, we must fill you in on the tasting menu at Timberyard… 8 courses of maximum flavour and taste sensations await you. With a focus on ‘grow your own’ -visit The Patch at the back of the restaurant – and a nod to the Nordic your taste buds will be tickled at every opportunity.
photo 3-4If you like RAW you’re in luck. Two courses out of eight were as fresh as you like, ready to walk off the plate given a chance, they were both ‘momentous’ particularly the venison. The smoked beef loin was a triumph, we don’t think we’ve ever tasted anything quite like it and we want more of the same please #nexttime. The fish was equally as delicious, wild turbot cooked beautifully served with smoked mussels and squid ink, tasty tasty tasty. Puds were good, not sure we needed two, far too full, but not ones to be defeated we dutifully completed them, waistbands loosened.

And if that’s not enough you need to check out the cocktail menu too. We had no problems at all knocking back an Auld Reekie and a Black Spruce served theatrically by the bar staff.
photo 2-7 photo 1-7And as an FYI, Jo Radford (star of the bar) has just produced his own soft drink range called Cry Baby Soda, follow him on Twitter HERE. They’re probably the coolest soft drinks you’ll see in Edinburgh #trustme .

Timberyard has got it all going on, and then some. If you’ve not tried it yet we urge you to go very very soon. We’re 3 visits in this year already and probably on for another 3, we don’t need an excuse, we just love it.

OK, next..

Canada Day

As Canada Day has just passed then how about a drop of Maple Syrup from Drip. Sharing this solely for the super cool bottles…..yes, how cool? Click over to the website, really nice, pity you can’t buy it over here….yet.
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To top off the busiest week of the year to date Mrs Monkfish featured in a photo-shoot for the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation. Filmed at the Towers the one and only Mrs M knocked up a Thai style salad for the crew who snapped away while she was slaving away in the kitchen. Here’s a couple of snaps to keep you going until we can unveil the lovely photo-shopped ones which will eliminate the wrinkles, grey hair etc…. Enjoy :)
Photo credits :
Photos 1-4 thanks to Stoyanov & Jones 
Photos 5-6 thanks to mymonkfish

Watch out, she’s on a roll…there’s a film appearance coming in the next couple of weeks, YIKES!


Enjoy the film? Here’s a wee bit more about Bloombox

Offering fresh, leafy green, seasonal salads topped with edible flowers and delicious homemade dressings sourced from Edinburgh’s local organic farms. The salads are packaged in compostable boxes (thanks to vegware) they will be delivered straight to you. Ms Bloombox will be cycling around the city at lunchtime using social media to broadcast her location.

Riding a rather fetching bicycle Joy has definitely got the Keira Knightly about her….and news just in, she’s just hit her £3500 funding target so expect to see lots of salads around town very soon!


Do you like ice-cream?

YES WE DO! Well now you can have your very own ice-cream van in your own front room… Welcome to this week’s Monkfish Monday and with all this sunshine around who doesn’t want an ice-cream pronto.

The OTO Ice Cream Truck is a big food truck toy for kids. It’s made out of cardboard and has super detailed illustrations. It has a shop window that opens on the side and you even order your own personalised number plates. When assembled it measures  40″ x 36″ x 24″ – Quite frankly, it’s huge!

Vittel Refresh Cap


Watch this and just flippin want one….right now!

Mr Eion, Coffee Roaster

Meet Mr Eion,  a boutique coffee roaster in the heart of Edinburgh’s Stockbridge.




We’ll keep the coffee chat short this week, you know we like it, you know we’re serious (well, kind of, with a hint of hipster sarcasm) about it and having just invested in a ‘dripper’ we’re now trying out the best roasts that Edinburgh has to offer. This chap, known as Mr Eion is our new favourite coffee roaster. His coffee is popping up all over town, recently spotted on the shelves in Henris and the Cairngorm coffee company to name but a few.  Pay him a visit soon.



Well, it’s not much of a secret anymore but for those of you who are still ‘not in the know’ then here’s a great new place for you to visit. The Secret Herb Garden is owned and run by Hamish and Liberty and based on the Old Pentland Road, EH10 7EA.

Think herbs, cafe, vintage furniture, bees, secrets, chickens, fairies and a wonderful amazing space to chill out, potter, buy a few plants, drink tea and eat cake. Hate sharing it with you as it’s sooo amazing but there you go, you now know about one of the loveliest places in Edinburgh and you’ve got us to thank for that. They’ve recently won a Silver Gilt medal at Gardening Scotland, a brilliant achievement for them.

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And to make you hungry here’s what we ate last time we were there, simple but delicious.
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The Secret Herb Garden
Hamish and Liberty
32A Old Pentland Road
Lothianburn, EH10 7EA
07525 069773

That’s all folks. Catch you very soon for more Monkfish Monday :)