Saturday, 30 October 2010

REVIEW: Earthy Foods and Goods, yum cafe

Discovering a hidden gem always feels victorious, however, the downfall is realising you should have known all along. Earthy Foods and Goods, for example, has been at my fingertips for some time, and I feel like the most foolish foodie in town for its very late appearance on my radar. I am certainly making up for lost time.

Earthy, situated on Ratcliffe Terrace in Newington, began as a market/ treasure trove of all things organic, local and ethically sourced; it has evolved into not only a place to shop for beautifully dusty vegetables seemingly just pulled from the earth itself, but also a place to relax over delicious lattes and lunches at its yum café.

Yum’s blackboard menu changes daily but is consistently impressive. Uniquely, the chefs can walk around the shop plucking ingredients, creating the menu as they go. Inside the café, customers sit at community tables sifting through cookbooks, newspapers and copies of Bite magazine (plug!), or they can wander while they wait.

Menu items available on a recent visit included lamb and mint burgers with ‘Earthy sauce’ (£6.95), spicy harissa chicken (£4.25), quiches, paninis and soup. Salad plates (£6.95) are tempting with various choices as fresh as they are diverse.

My favourites lately: an Aiket cheese, sausage and just- foraged-for greens-filled baguette and, second, a Cromail cheese toastie on walnut bread with chilli jam, both resounding testimonies to food that's fresh from the ground or the cow, and supplied by passionate, local makers. The leaves were so good I had to ask what they were. The answer? Simply spinach, like I’d never had it before.

Goodies that can be purchased from the shop include everything from organic baby food to East Lothian ricotta, Black Isle Brewery beers to Chocolate Tree bars, and organic washing powder to rapeseed oils. An array of potato and mushroom varieties will leave you indecisive, as will the many flavours of ice cream.

Earthy also hosts cookbook swaps, baking and jam competitions, craft fairs and special dinners hosted by one of their many local suppliers. Event updates as well as their ever-growing supplier list can be found on See you soon, Earthlings. (K. Smith)

– Earthy Food Market
– 33-41 Ratcliffe Terrace
Edinburgh, EH9 1SX
– 0131 667 2967

– Open everyday 'til 6pm

The Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes invades Scotland: Marching orders in Edinburgh

While the rest of Charleston was left to simmer in its hotter-than-a-pepper-sprout August temps, the lads and lassies of The Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes were busy trading their bikinis for brollies as they set off to perform at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland's mighty cool capital city.

Every year, Edinburgh hosts a month-long festival which celebrates every form of art imaginable, with something for everyone at any time of day or night, from Beethoven for Breakfast at 8 a.m. to Late and Live Comedy from 1-5 a.m. It's like Spoleto on speed, on a grander scale and with marginally more Spaniards in attendance.

Entertainers take to the streets on giant, flaming unicycles. Tourists dine in the sky on gourmet food cooked and served atop a 100 foot-tall crane overlooking the city and its many hills. And the most glamorous burlesque acts take over the nightclubs shaking more than their tail feathers. But the highlight of some of the most alluring events in the world is the Tattoo, a nightly celebration where each year, about 217,000 people come from over the hill and yonder to see the spectacle of military bands from all over the globe perform in the stunning grounds of the Edinburgh Castle.

This year, in its Diamond anniversary, the Tattoo welcomed Charleston's very own as the United States' sole representative. How's that for high expectations?

"It's a lot to live up to, let's put it that way," beamed Danielle Vincent, a junior education major and bagpiper extraordinaire. "But it's been a great challenge and a wonderful opportunity. I think we've represented America pretty well."

Junior Nathan Figlewski, a trombone player, agreed. "You walk around town and people can tell where you're from because of the accent and they always ask why you're here. It's been very cool to represent the United States in that way — walking over that drawbridge and being able to play for thousands of people every single night."

The Citadel's 100 cadet musicians were among 1,000 military and civilian performers in the international extravaganza, which also included the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas, New Zealand highland dancers, and the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces Contingent. Mingling with other cultures was something that proved to be quite the highlight for the traveling musicians. Their music became their language.

"There was a time before rehearsals when we were behind the drawbridge with the Jordanians, and they couldn't speak a word of English, but through music they would be like, 'Play that again,' or, 'See if you can do this, see if you can do that,'" Christine Knight, an alto sax senior from Orlando, explained. "It showed me the magic of music ... that we can communicate through music. That was an amazing experience.

"Their music is not what you expect," she added. "It's not as structured, like classical music for example, but fluid and fun, and very cool to hear another culture's style of music. It opens my ears towards different kinds of music and broadens my horizons."

Spending free time away from the castle grounds, they had lunch with one "very witty" Princess Anne. But when they weren't shaking hands with royalty or coaxing crowds to sing-a-long to "Hey Baby," these cadets got a few breaks to marvel at the local flavor. They traipsed up many hills to admire the historic scenery. Some sampled a Scottish lager called Tennent's while checking out the folk music offerings in local pubs. And junior trumpet player Will Moore could be seen rubbing elbows with Star Wars theme-playing bagpipers.

"I think the best thing about the music scene here is that you see so many people playing different styles of music on the streets," Knight added. "You have a few in Charleston, but here there's different drummers, bagpipes, people on the guitar, singing, choirs — so many people who are really, really gifted and know how to use it."

And just as they saw the beauty of the streets and caught on to the benefits of walking everywhere (you get to see stuff AND burn calories acquired from greasy chip consumption), the festivities' end drew near. Whether that's a good thing is up in the air.

Danielle Vincent says the bagpipes made her feel right at home and that she regretted having to leave. But as for Christine Knight, "This may be my ancestry, but I prefer warmer weather," she said.

Auld Lang Syne, my friends. You done good.

Freelance writer and fashionista Kelly Rae Smith is a Carolina lady living in Edinburgh, Scotland. She enjoys foggy weather, long walks, and cheeky pints of ale. She loves the Beach Boys and Britney Spears equally.

For more on The Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes or the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, visit and

Cafe Renroc rocks

Same name, same corner, different owners. But, same unbeatably brilliant atmosphere.

Ownership changed hands recently with Billy and Jane (also of Earl of Marchmont and The White Horse) keeping their claim downstairs at Nevo Health but giving over the keys of Renroc to Debbie Taylor. Friends old and new are in attendance tonight to see what's new at this friendly little neighborhood favourite.

Quite the wee house warming. As upstairs is buzzing, candle-lit tables lead the way through the den below with a live DJ and samples of cheese, olives, sun-blushed tomatoes and a mixed green salad with salami and marinated tomatoes. We help ourselves. Smiling waitstaff bustle about offering glasses of wine and bowls of beef stew that hit the spot on the first truly chilly evening of the season.

Debbie's a self-professed wine afficionado who is understandably chuffed at her rejuvenated wine list as well as the addition of the Belgian-style Blue Moon, the hottest US import beer of the moment. She also has a Scotland-based beer expert from Coors on-hand tonight to indulge anyone interested in all that's new with the brews.

Perfect place to spend a Friday eve away from annoying crowds and pretentious bars, hidden away in a perfectly warm and cozy corner. We at Bite Magazine whole-heartedly approve. (Kelly Rae Smith)

91 Montgomery Street
Edinburgh, EH7 5HZ
Phone: 0131 556 0432

What's in season? GINGER

Part of the joy of Autumn is cooking up a hot mess of comforting foods, often letting the smell of spices drift through the house to sweetly announce the season’s arrival. Cinnamon and nutmeg come to mind but what I’ve been obsessed with lately is ginger. And though it can be at its tastiest when used to bake up a fragrant treat there are so many ways to love this deliciously versatile root.

– Have you tried Crabbie’s? Not only is it an alcoholic ginger beer that is beyond lovely and quite easy to become addicted to, it is also made in Scotland.

– If that’s not boozy enough for you, try King’s Ginger liqueur. Fit for a king (Edward VII to be exact) it is ‘most royal’ when served inside a glass of champagne or on ice with tonic and lime. Check the website for a decadent cheesecake recipe.

– If King’s isn’t to hand but you love your spirits, find yourself a good ginger beer like Fentiman’s and add Sailor Jerry’s rum for a Ginger Jerry. Better yet, go to Roseleaf Cafe or the Guilty Lily in Edinburgh for some of their homemade ginger beer. – And of course, have it in your biscuits (Dean’s make a mean one with oats) or whip your own creation and celebrate the smell of Autumn baking with the following recipe. (K. Smith)


Makes 9 muffins


75g butter
75g light muscovado sugar
2 medium eggs, beaten
2 medium ripe pears, peeled, cored, cut
into chunks
2.5cm piece stem ginger, finely chopped
grated zest from one lemon
4 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
175g natural yogurt
175ml self-raising flour
1-2 tbsp ground ginger


1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Lightly oil nine deep muffin tins.

2. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl, then beat until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then stir in the pears, stem ginger and lemon zest.

3. Mix the milk into the yogurt. Mix the flour with the ginger. Stir a little of the milk mixture into the butter mixture, then stir a little of the flour into the mixture. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up, being careful not to over-mix.

4. Divide the mixture between the muffin tins, filling to the top. Bake for 40 min until golden. Serve warm.

(K Smith)

Bite Magazine November 2010 issue