Saturday, 28 May 2016

#AKmeatup - Spring/Summer Menu Tasting at the Adelphi Kitchen, Aberdeen

A few weeks back now I had the privilege of being invited along to a little blogger's tasting event at Aberdeen's Adelphi Kitchen. Famed for their "dirty" cooking style and unique events, AK is a popular foodie destination in the city and one that I have had dined at many times since their opening two years ago. I've enjoyed their very first menu, the Sunday AKarvery and even had the pleasure of being a chef for the day in their kitchen! I guess you could say I'm a bit of a fan - Eat Beetroot are even catering at our wedding! - so my expectations for the 2016 Spring/Summer menu were pretty high.

We were greeted with friendly faces and a house punch (booze free for me!) on arrival before being introduced to owner Chris, who fondly reminisced about the beginnings of the Adelphi and the good old days of La Stella. Chris has pretty much left AK in the trusted hands of head chef Murray, who creates wonderfully unique and mouthwatering dishes which continually please the Aberdeen masses. The menu is changed seasonally and this particular season has taken the Adelphi back to it's La Stella roots, with a more fine dining theme throughout.

 Mussels La Stella 2011

 Peterhead Crab

 Beef Rib Mac n Cheese

 New Season Lamb

 Sugar Cured & Smoked Beef Fillet

 Salt Cod

Special: Scallop, Black Pudding Bon Bon, Cauliflower Rosti


We were literally spoiled for choice with starters. At first I thought we'd be sampling a couple of the most popular menu options, but plate after plate of beautiful food just kept arriving at the table! I can only assume that, like me, they struggled to pick a favourite. The mussels I could eat all day, and the lamb, though not so aesthetically pleasing, was a deliciously homely dish. I felt that the beef carpaccio lacked flavour but would recommend every other dish on the starter menu! I've finally wittled my favourites down to the beef short rib mac n cheese and salt cod, but the black pudding bon bons were definitely something special!

 Cheese & Mustard Puff Pastry Roll


What does a vegetarian eat at a meat and seafood restaurant you ask? My veggie companions enjoyed a starter of AK original mac n cheese and shallots, which had a real mustardy taste to it, followed by the cheese & mustard (sensing a theme here?) puff pastry roll served with cauliflower three ways, sprouting broccoli and sweet potato. While both of these were excellent dishes, it would have been nice to see a little bit of variety in the flavours. I was really intrigued by the "mushroom hash" option on the veggie menu and was a little disappointed that it remained a mystery. Perhaps this is a good excuse to return?!

North Sea Halibut // Crispy Sea Bass Fillet 


Just when I thought I couldn't possibly eat anything else, we moved onto the main courses. A combination of two seafood dishes was presented to us to enjoy between two. The tikka flavoured north sea halibut was the star of the show on this plate, with it's crispy langoustine tempura and even more of those infamous mussels! However, the sea bass was full of flavour and I really enjoyed the dressed white crab that accompanied it.

 Charcoal Cooked Aged Ribeye // Salt & Pepper Beef Short Rib


Another combination of two dishes was presented to us, this time with a taste of the meatier options. The charcoal cooked aged ribeye is what the AK is all about - dirty charcoal cooking gives the steak so much flavour. My absolute winner from the entire menu was the salt and pepper beef rib, with chargrilled artichoke, triple cooked chips, spinach and a honey and lemon glaze. Too good to keep to myself - I had to take some home to Gordon so he could share my enjoyment! The meat literally fell off the bone and was just so juicy and tender. I can't even tell you how good it is. And those chunky triple cooked chips, wow. I swear they get better every time.

 Popcorn Pannacotta // Lemon Meringue Pie // Chocolate Mousse Cake


In all honesty, I wasn't all that intrigued by the dessert menu. None of the three dishes sounded any more appealing than the other, but as they say, you should never judge a book by it's cover! A trio of puddings arrived at the table and I made my way around each one. The lemon meringue pie looks almost like a cheesecake, it's not too bitter and just sweet enough. The pannacotta was a delight and the chocolate mousse hit the spot. All of them were outshined however, by the side of homemade rhubarb aero! Chris brought a plateful to the table and if it hadn't been for the present company, I would have licked that plate clean!

Yep, the new menu at the Adelphi Kitchen definitely did not disappoint! Armed with beef ribs for Gordon and a cute little gift of chocolate fudge, I rolled out the door feeling content after an afternoon of excellent food with my Aberdeen blogger buddies. I can't thank Chris, Murray, Lauren and the rest of the AK team enough for their kind hospitality!

*I was invited to the AKmeatup in exchange for an honest review. As always all views are my own and 100% genuine.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Nemesis Coaching - 16 Weeks In


I had some pretty bad weeks nutrition wise this month, with a few social events (North Hop, date night at No 10, menu tasting at Adelphi Kitchen!) and my chocolate cravings getting the better of me! Lainey adjusted my macros to give my results a little boost as my measurements have been up and down lately and not really progressing much further, as you can see from the pictures. I'm still trying to fit a few treats into my macros to stop myself feeling deprived so I've been enjoying Lindt dark chocolate melted into my proats, and the odd magnum! Treats aside, I'm trying to fill my plate with veggies and keep drinking at least 2 litres of water a day. My hen weekend is in 2 weeks time so my goal is to stay on track and make some progress by then - I'll keep you updated! One thing I do struggle with is foodie events. It's so hard to enjoy them properly and stay within my macros too. I've actually turned down a few blogger events lately because of this, but I made an exception for the AK Meat Up last Sunday. (Blog post coming soon!)

Not much visible change, other than the lack of tan!


Over the last couple of weeks I've been struggling to fit my training in with everything that's been going on. I've had a serious lack of motivation and haven't even been finding it a stress relief when I'm there! I'm trying to focus on the results I want to achieve to push myself to keep at it. I tried my wedding dress on which should give me a bit of a push too - it's pretty snug at the back and with less than 3 months til the wedding it's now or never! This month's cardio included a horrific 2 hour hilly cycle, a metafit class, a 5k run and a little boxing for my HIIT. I'm starting to worry that my cardio fitness level isn't going to be up to scratch for Tough Mudder next month!

I'm going to do some more frequent progress updates on here over the next month or two as I find breaking my end goal down into smaller pieces will help me stay mentally focused. Plus it keeps me accountable to you guys - posting half naked pictures online for the world to see is bad enough, but it's even worse when there's not even any difference to be proud of!

So two weeks til the henny, then three weeks til Tough Mudder, and then only six weeks til the Big Day! Eleven weeks sounds like a long time until you break it up like that!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Dinner at No 10, Aberdeen

I don't know about you, but I love a good date night. We tend to go for a meal at a restaurant of my choice (cause I know the best spots I'm bossy AF!) usually followed by a movie, live band or cocktail bar. This month's date night was a little different - for Christmas, Gordon had got me tickets to see Breakfast at Tiffany's at His Majesty's Theatre! We don't often go to the theatre in Aberdeen, but Breakfast at Tiffany's is one of my all time favourite movies/books so it was a special treat for me that needed a special treat of a pre-theatre dinner, so a table at No 10 was booked!

I'd heard nothing but good things about the recently refurbished west end bar and restaurant. Situated at No 10 Queens Terrace, the basement restaurant boasts a stylish, high end interior of exposed granite and dark wood and leather furnishings. Pages of sheet music line one wall, with a sleek black piano taking pride of place against it. Even the monochrome bathroom styling is on point! The space is much larger than I had anticipated, with a lively bar greeting you at the entrance and flowing into the quieter restaurant area. Despite food being served all day we were among the first diners to arrive fairly early at 5.30pm on a Saturday. The tables around us quickly filled up as the evening went on.

I skipped the starters personally - having already scoped out the dessert menu, I was saving myself for that! I did however break my 8 week dry spell and enjoyed a fruity little peach bellini from the cocktail menu. Gordon is always drawn by anything with black pudding and so he couldn't resist ordering the haggis and stornoway black pudding croquette. The rich flavours were complimented by the sweetness of the root vegetable crisps and apple and was the perfect opening to the meal!

Main Course

Next up for him was the beer battered haddock, served with perfectly cooked chunky chips and a very strong but delicious homemade tartare sauce! Of course, anything peanut flavoured will always get my vote so the chargrilled chicken satay was perfect for me. It was divine. A huge piece of chargrilled chicken, with chunky roasted veg and saffron rice, smothered in a tasty satay sauce, with just a hint of spice and a little tang from the spring onion. The coconut added an unusual aspect to what would otherwise be just an everyday side salad. Judging by the tables around us, the chicken satay is one of No 10's most popular signature dishes!

Sweet Temptations

The dessert menu at No 10 is definitely one of the main attractions. Hello peanut butter brittle cheesecake! I love cheesecake (and peanut butter!) but unfortunately it doesn't love me. The idea of sitting through a whole play with a sore tummy made me opt for the equally amazing white chocolate and cardamom crème brulee instead. It was served with these lovely little almond biscuits which were ideal for dunking! Luckily, my other half stepped up, forgoing his usual sticky toffee pudding so that I could sample his cheesecake - I knew there was a reason I'm marrying him! My only qualm is that I prefer a thicker, crunchier biscuit base - other than that, perfection! And that banana ice cream...!

Have you ever dined at No 10?

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Top 3 Burgers in Aberdeen

Angus & Ale

Angus beef is dry aged for a minimum of 28 days before it makes its way to you on a plank in burger form at Angus & Ale. The jalapeno special was a monster stack of moreish brioche bun, lettuce, tomato and beef patty, topped with oozing melted cheese, with a sweet kick from the jalapenos, all sandwiched between two giant crispy onion rings. Officially declared Aberdeen's best burger by none other than my bearded hubby to be!


The Boozy Cow

The Boozy Cow's maple bacon option is a previous winner of Gordon's best burger title, defeated only by his recent experience at current leaders Angus and Ale! Here the burgers are served directly on silver trays, with lots of kitchen roll ready to mop up the mess. They're huge, juicy, and dirty just like a proper burger should be. I only wish the buns would stay in tact! My personal favourite is actually the chicken chipotle burger.


Byron Hamburgers

While the classic burger from Byron doesn't look like much, the chargrilled patty is full of flavour, and served on a substantial, good quality bun. Burgers are cooked medium, unless you request otherwise, so they're pink and juicy on the inside! It's a great burger but needs accompanied by a side dish or two - I recommend the sweet potato fries with blue cheese dip. And of course you can't visit Byron without tasting their infamous oreo shakes!


Where's your favourite burger joint in the Granite City?

There's certainly no shortage of decent burgers in Aberdeen and I'd happily make it my mission to sample them all! For research of course. I'm yet to find out if Ed's Easy Diner is worth a visit but I reckon Five Guys could be a contender when they raise the standard of fast food burgers in the city later this year. Do you agree with my top three or is there somewhere I'm missing?

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

VLOG: Worst Cardio Day Ever!

That time I made Gordon cycle 9 miles to Mintlaw for a yoga class... Missed the yoga class and still had to cycle another 9 miles all the way home again! I moan a lot in this one. 

Yeah, no don't put me down for cardio!

Monday, 9 May 2016

North Hop Aberdeen

Last weekend Gordon and I made our way to North Hop for a few bank holiday beers and foodie treats. The festival celebrates some of the best food and drink creators that Scotland has to offer, showcasing local vendors at events up and down the country. Aberdeen was lucky enough to host three sessions over the May Day weekend at the AECC. The event was small in size (compared to Brewdog's AGM!) but was full of chilled out, happy vibes with everybody there for the same reason - to fully appreciate the finest craft beers, gins and cocktails around!

Craft Beer

Upon arrival each guest recieves their own North Hop glass, along with a token for one free drink (which justifies the ticket fee to me!) and a programme letting you know what to look out for. The glass is yours to keep and it's what the bars will use to serve your drinks in throughout the session, so don't lose it! I won't pretend to be any kind of beer expert but there was plenty on offer and Gordon happily made his way around the various breweries. He started at West Brewery (who disappointingly weren't serving his favourite St Mungo!) followed by local legends Six Degrees North, Drygate Brewing Co and his top pick of the night - Williams Bros with their Double Joker IPA.

It's not all about the beer...

Whether you're a gin hand or more of a rum fan, enjoy an ice cold cider or a fruit wine, an enthusiastically shaken cocktail or a sophisticated whiskey - there's something for everyone at North Hop. My only gripe is that there isn't much on offer for the designated driver (me)! Luckily my favourite cocktail connoisseurs 10 Dollar Shake came to the rescue and fixed me up with an epic mocktail, while Gordon sampled their whiskey flight. 

We enjoyed a taste of Eden Mill's North Hop exclusive chilli and ginger gin, and ended up buying number 88 of only 200 bottles - best served with ginger ale! Gin was a big deal at the festival with offerings from Juniper, Rock Rose and Aberdeen's very own Porter's. Next year I'll be leaving the car at home - you'll find me in the cocktail lounge!

The Street Food

Where do I even start with the food? If it wasn't for my wedding diet I would of eaten everything! We sampled some delicious Scotch eggs from Aye Love Real Food - the chorizo was divine with chilli jam but the black pudding won hands down! Our second stop was Cue, where Gordon was treated to the mouth watering house burger and I admired their BBQ hut which will be appearing at our wedding later this year! 

We pretty much made it a full 3 course meal and made a beeline for dessert at The Crema Caravan. A beautiful retro van named Florence serving beautiful creme brulee, burnt to order! I was tempted by rhubard and custard but thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate brownie with salted caramel sauce. Gordon made the best decision though with the chocolate stout "craft-brew-ley"! Perfectly chocolatey with just a hint of malty goodness. 

Our bellies were full, but luckily many vendors were happy to hand out mini samples, so we were fortunate enough to taste some gourmet popcorn flavours from Poporopo - the gin and tonic was an unusual but delicious creation, and you can never go wrong with peanut butter! (Unless you're allergic, in which case, STEP AWAY FROM THE PEANUT BUTTER. More for me.) 

Last but not least, Stew n Drew's cannot go unmentioned! Stew was happy to talk us through their ice cream flavours, including the Brewdog beer infused Elvis Juice sorbet and Jet Black Heart ice cream. Apparently Brewdog are keen to get this on the menu at their new Castlegate venue and I think it'd go down a storm! The whiskey ice cream was also created specially for North Hop and won Gordon over very quickly.

We had a great time at North Hop and can't wait to bring our chums along next year! I loved the atmosphere and the whole relaxed set up - especially the trestle tables and hay bale seating. It was a pleasure to meet the vendors, most of whom were the actual business owners themselves, and excitedly offered samples and talked you through their products. It's really refreshing to meet people who are so passionate about what they do! There was a good mix of live music, from acoustic guitar players to DJs, and we had a ball in the photo booth. My only regret is that I didn't have enough macros for The Bay on the Road's fish and chips!

Have you ever been to a beer festival?

*I was invited by event organisers to enjoy North Hop Aberdeen. This does not affect my views which are all 100% genuine and my own.

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