Author: Megan Hallinan

Making Goat’s Cheese at Home

For those of you long-term Got to Be Gourmet readers (thanks for sticking by me!!), you might remember one of my very early blog posts about making halloumi at home. If not, you can take a read here (please excuse the low-res photos, it was a long time ago!). I made it with a handy kit from The Big Cheese Making Kit. Recently they got in touch again to ask if I’d be interested in trying out another one, and of course the answer was yes! The first time around my halloumi was a big success, which I was seriously surprised by considering I’d never attempted making any kind of cheese before. It did feel like a lot of effort but I was very proud to be able to dish up halloumi that I’d made with my own fair hands. The Goat’s Cheese Kit arrived with everything I needed to make the cheese – Step by step instructions (and a recipe booklet), Citric Acid, Organic Sea Salt, Butter Muslin, and a Dairy Thermometer. I just needed …

Dinner at Rijks, Amsterdam

At the end of September, I went on a girlie weekend to Amsterdam with two of my awesome former colleagues, Pia and Lieke – at 2K I really did make friends for life! We did lots of fun things during our trip (I’ll get to writing about these at some point!), with huge thanks to Lieke who is from the Netherlands and knew all the great spots to visit. One of those was Rijks restaurant. Rijks is located within the world famous Rijksmuseum. Just as the museum tells the story and history of the Netherlands with some influences from other countries from across the globe, the restaurant follows suit. It describes itself as being “the Rijksmuseum served up on a plate”. The kitchen is headed up by Joris Bijdendijk who you could see working hard away in the open plan kitchen with his team. He’s obviously well recognised in the cooking scene in the Netherlands, with a new book launching next week. So, on to the food! To try a little bit of everything, we ordered the …

Staying at Hotel Del Teatre, Regencós, Spain

Over the summer some of our friends got married in Barcelona. We stayed at the Grand Hotel Central which was fabulous, centrally located just a few streets away from Las Ramblas. Despite being in the centre of the city, the rooms were a very generous size and there was a rooftop bar and swimming pool. We didn’t make use of the latter because it wasn’t actually very hot during our stay (it was September) but we certainly made good use of the former! The gin cocktail in a bag was a particular highlight (or Megan’s ‘tramp bag’ as my friends ‘affectionately’ called it!) After the wedding we planned to spend a couple of nights further up the coast towards the French border. This was quite a big deal because we would be DRIVING! Why was it a big deal? Well, I still don’t have a driving license and Tim only passed a couple of years ago. And most importantly, he’d never driven on the other side of the road before in a hire car! We …

Tasty herb jellies from aix & terra

I haven’t done many full ‘product’ reviews on the blog recently but this one absolutely warranted one. I’ve been trying out these gorgeous herb jellies from aix & terra. Aix & terra is a French company which began its story in 2010 in Aix en Provence. It started out as a small shop located in Richelme, well known for its lively and vibrant market place. It was discovered by a couple named Marina and Richard who had recently left Paris and relocated to Mirmande. Marina (originally from Barcelona) and Richard (born in Marseille) fell in love with its artisan products straight away and bought the shop. Alongside the shop itself, Marina and Richard started to reinvent recipes using the culinary expertise of the Provence region, from their kitchen workshop inside the old barn adjacent to the family home. They now produce and sell a wide selection of fine food products from their shop, online and through a number of trusted suppliers throughout the world. Each day they source a wide variety of seasonal products directly from …

Exploring Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

I am WOEFULLY behind on my blog at the moment. And I mean, woefully. Work has been incredibly busy and my whole summer was booked up with wonderful weddings and hen dos. Tim and I managed to pair some of the weddings with a few short holidays here and there to explore the surrounding areas, rather than rushing straight back to London for work. One of the weddings was over the Summer bank holiday near the gorgeous city of Bath, so we decided to spend a couple of days exploring Somerset. Despite both of us having lived in Devon for a number of years, and with family in Wiltshire, we hadn’t got around to seeing much of Somerset yet. But now we have a car, we wanted to change that. We stayed at the White Hart Inn in Somerton, essentially a pub and restaurant with rooms. I’m always a little cautious about booking ‘pub’ hotels but this was on Mr & Mrs Smith, which is usually an indicator of a good, quality hotel. Our bedroom …

Graham’s The Family Dairy ‘Milk Sommelier’ & Tasting Evening

I was recently invited to an event which got me excited from the moment I saw the subject in my inbox. I was being invited to a milk sommelier event. A MILK sommelier event! It sounded weird and wacky and it involved milk, and I loved it. It was being hosted by Graham’s The Family Dairy. Based in the heart of Scotland,  the dairy produces an award-winning, home-grown range of the highest quality food and drink, including milk, cheese, cream, butter, ice-cream, cottage cheese, quark, sour cream and yogurt. Established for more than 76 years, it remains a family-run company with a focus on farming, provenance, high quality produce and a quest to promote the best of Scotland’s larder throughout the country. And one of the many ways they’re doing this is by hiring their own very curiously titled ‘milk sommelier’, Douglas Wood. A former chemical engineer, Douglas is the owner of WoodWinters, an award-winning wine and spirits merchant with outlets in Bridge of Allan, Edinburgh and Inverness and supplier to hotels and restaurants across …

A potato tasting challenge with Billy & Jack and Idahoan

My blog might be called ‘Got to Be Gourmet’ but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the more comforting foods in life. When I was a kid, one of my absolute favourite things to eat was ‘tuna and mash’ (and I’m not talking about freshly mashed up organic potatoes from the fields surrounding our house in rural Yorkshire. Oh, no. I’m talking the powdered variety!) I must admit, I hadn’t tucked into this particular food stuff since then (although I have a vague recollection of there being a bit of a phase at Uni!) so when I was invited to an event by Idahoan recently, I was more than a little intrigued. The food snob in me might have scoffed at going to an event about ‘powdered’ potato. But it sounded particularly interesting – Billy and Jack, MasterChef finalists (who I just adored during that particular series) and now successful supper club hosts, were going to cook a dinner with multiple courses, some of which would include Idahoan potato and some of which would include …