Best Pizza in Edinburgh – Origano

New pizza place opened up literally a minute walk from my flat. Since discovery I have eaten there no less than 4 times. The pizza there is amazing and I am a harsh critic.

As far as I can tell they don’t have a website yet. They have a listing on (which I added, I am nettles :) ) but I do hope they have a site soon and I am sure it will be full of glowing reviews.

At the moment it’s BYOB and they don’t charge corkage. The owners are great. Nice service, neat menu with few items that are all good. The way a menu should be.

The address is 277 Leith Walk, Edinburgh, EH6 8PD

Pizza from Origano

Pizza from Origano

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Skordalia – the new mayonnaise?

I like to try new recipes. They don’t necessarily have to be the hottest thing around nor do they have to use new ingredients or techniques but sometimes the simplest change makes a huge difference. This is why I tried this recipe for skordalia – I wanted to see what this alternative to mayonnaise was like.

I tend to make a lot of roast chicken, the benefits being roast chicken is tasty, you can make stock or soup from the carcass and there are usually leftovers. It being summer usually I find myself making the ubiquitous chicken salad or as those in the UK would say chicken mayonnaise. Sure you can jazz that up but this recipe looked interesting, plus it was a Mark Bittman one and I am a fan. More about him another time.

Skordalia ingredients

Skordalia ingredients

Skordalia before mixing - atop chicken

Skordalia before mixing - atop chicken

Getting down to business I altered the recipe to suit essentially cutting the amounts in half. I also substituted cashew nuts for the walnuts (I didn’t have any walnuts) and rye/wheat bread for the bread (didn’t have any white bread). These changes I think made the result a bit richer as I had to add more milk but otherwise this was very good! Here is the breakdown:

Skordalia recipe


  • 1 ounces bread (I used wheat/rye mix)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 ounces cashew nuts (I think walnuts might be better or a mix of walnuts and pine nuts)
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves (fresh coriander)
  • Chili powder
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or lemon juice or to taste

What to do:

  • Pour milk over bread. Place garlic, nuts, cilantro (fresh coriander), salt and pepper and chili powder in the food processor and pulse until finely ground. Squeeze bread (saving the milk just in case!) and put in the processor along with the oil and vinegar. If the mixture is too dense add the milk.
  • This can be mixed with shredded chicken which is what I did and topped on a salad or used in a sandwich or wrap. This would be a good dip as well

What I liked:

This is a good alternative to mayonnaise and I like the herby element. It also looked great with that bright green colour.

What I didnt like:

I thought it was missing some zing so I added a dash of vinegar. I think lemon juice would be even better.

Skordalia chicken salad - done!

Skordalia chicken salad - done!

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Eating Healthy While Traveling

I have found to be next to impossible. The mixture of not enough sleep, stressful days and simply being outside of the normal routine threatens any attempts to choose healthy foods when I am on the go. Nevertheless, I did attempt this on my last trip outside of Edinburgh. Yes first thoughts were much loftier – I would chronicle the complete 3 day trip and take photos of absolutely everything I ate, check the nutrition details and then post, well, suffice it to say that I made it one day. OK, maybe just up until dinner time.

Long train journey ahead of me and up to Waverly station at a not unreasonable hour M&S was open. The trip would take up breakfast and lunch (I presumed lunch as I didn’t think I would get fed at my destination – I was proved again correct in this assumption!) so I got both at good old marksys. It may sound odd, but sushi for breakfast, costa coffee (skinny latte), sparkling water and a salad for lunch. Sounds pretty healthy right? Wrong.

There are hidden calories, fat and sugar in everything!

Check out the sushi (I realised I am terrible at actually remembering to take photos of things BEFORE I eat them!):

Marks and Spencer California Roll Selection

Marks and Spencer California Roll Selection

I also realise that I need to learn how to take better photos with my HTC. Check out the nutrition details:

Marks and Spencer Sushi Nutrition Details

Nutrition details for M&S California roll selection

The calories aren’t so bad but check out the salt and sugar! I was really taken aback by the sugar, especially since after I read that sugar is killing us

I also got a “super juice” which sounds quite wholesome. In this case, wholesome means MORE sugar!

Super juice from Marks and Spencer

Super juice from Marks and Spencer

Super Juice nutrition facts

Super Juice nutrition facts

At first glance things don’t look that bad, until you realise that the above details are for 100ml. The small drink is 300ml. Everything x3.

11.8 x 3 = 35.4 grams of sugar.

That is almost and I mean very close to as much sugar as a can of coke! I feel even more sickened now that I have looked that up!

Breakfast over, a few more hours on the train and I am onto lunch. The nice harmless salad, or so I thought. Even called the “Super Wholefood Shaker Salad”. This has to be healthy, right?


Super wholefood shaker salad

Super wholefood shaker salad from Marks and Spencer

I could have had a Mcdonalds cheeseburger happy meal for about the same amount of fat.

Yes, fat and calories aren’t everything but they still do count!

For dinner, after a long day as usual I packed it all in for a great meal at The Great Eastern Dining Room. Yum.




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Vietnamese Grilled Squid

Nothing like Vietnamese food to get started!

This meal was inspired by a short cooking course I took at the Peter Kump’s cooking school in New York about 10 years ago. Over three days we cooked and ate around 20 dishes. Of them all it was the grilled Vietnamese squid that stood out. Essentially a cross between a South East Asian flavours and a simple Indian curry. The squid marinates in the sauce, is grilled and served with nuoc cham the ubiquitous Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Recipe used was a cross between the stained printouts I received from the cooking school and what we had available. Proper name of the dish is Muc-Nuong – Marinated Grilled Squid.

Cooked with Yasmin. I get the feeling that this will be one of many posts “cooking with Yasmin”.


1/2 lb cleaned squid

salt and pepper

bunch of cilantro (fresh coriander)


2 cloves of garlic

1 T oil (groundnut or canola)

1 t 5 spice powder

1 t curry powder (hot or mild, up to you)

1 T kecep manis (this is Vietnamese thick soy sauce)

1 t sesame oil

1 T lime juice

1 t sugar

1 T fish sauce (squid brand is the best)

salt and pepper

You could also add to this if you wanted – chili powder such as cayenne, chopped lemongrass, chopped ginger, soy sauce or lemon juice.

What you need to do:

Clean the squid and cut open the tubes. Tenderise the squid by making diagonal cuts on the inside surface. Not sure how to do this? Watch this video.

Cut into bit sized pieces and marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Prepare a grill pan by heating it until almost smoking. Cast iron is the best for this or outside over coals even better. Grill the squid about 1-2 minutes each side depending on thickness. You don’t want to overcook or it will be rubbery and horrible!

Sprinkle with chopped cilantro (fresh coriander), lime or lemon pieces and nuoc cham dipping sauce, recipe below:

Vietnamese grilled squid with salad and Asian pesto

Vietnamese grilled squid with salad and Asian pesto

Nuoc Cham dipping sauce

1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped

2 limes, juiced

3 T fish sauce

1 T sugar

1 T minced garlic

Hot water

What do do:

Mix sugar with some hot water to dissolve. A few tablespoons. Mix with other ingredients, taste, and adjust seasoning.

Serve with rice and grilled pineapple for dessert.

Grilled pineapple

Grilled pineapple

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