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east PIZZAS: New restaurant focused on high-quality thoughtfully sourced Scottish food

east PIZZAS is a new restaurant opening in Leith. Focused on thoughtfully sourced food, the restaurant will use many local suppliers to showcase the best produce the east coast of Scotland has to offer.

Roly (who also runs the bespoke catering business Toasted Radish) and Rob are the founding owners of east PIZZAS. They are passionate about using thoughtfully sourced food to create high-quality pizzas. The pizza dough for example will be made in-house daily, whilst the menu will change regularly to echo the seasons.

Roly explained “We love being able to choose from the best Scottish produce. It means we create pizzas with fresh high-quality ingredients

Rob added “It is great to be able to tell our customers which farm the mozzarella on their pizza comes from, or that their salad was picked a few hours ago

Roly and Rob said their ‘thoughtfully sourced’ ethos ensures the highest possible quality whilst also supporting local suppliers. For east PIZZAS thoughtfully sourced food is seasonal and sustainable. Wherever possible they source food within thirty miles of their Leith location, and their meat and vegetables are organic.

Local suppliers already confirmed include: Campervan Brewery Cross Border Brewing Company, East Coast Cured, Highland Ridge Larder, Kedar Cheese Company, Peelham Farm, Phantassie Organic Produce, Stewart Brewing; William and Johnson coffee;

Roly and Rob met at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School where they undertook a six-month diploma. Both graduated with distinction in September 2016.

After successful careers, Roly was in property whilst Rob was in engineering, they decided their obsession was cookery and to follow this profession.

After graduating Roly started Toasted Radish, a bespoke catering business focused on thoughtfully sourced food. Rob worked in the Purslane Restaurant, which promotes seasonal, local, fresh produce. Together they are combining their passion for food to set up east PIZZAS.

East Pizzas will open on Saturday 7 October 2017.

East Pizzas: 7 Commercial Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6JA

Opening times: Tuesday to Friday 4pm to 11pm; Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 11pm

To book a table please contact or call 0131 629 2430

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Roam: Wild Scottish venison pop up restaurant for the Edinburgh Festival

Roam: Wild Scottish venison pop up restaurant for the Edinburgh Festival

Roam is a restaurant popping up in Toll Cross during the Edinburgh Festival. Focused on local and sustainable food, Roam is the brainchild of Toasted Radish and LarderBox.

Roly (Toasted Radish) and Jeff (LarderBox) were inspired to create a menu based around the fantastic meat produced by Ron and Grace at The Highland Ridge Larder. Ron is passionate about his venison and sources it entirely from estates in Stirlingshire, Fife and the Highlands. The venison is fully traceable with Ron having personally stalked and shot each beast, ensuring the highest quality product. The meat will be the centrepiece to the Roam menu. However, for vegetarians there will be a cauliflower steak with pesto.

The focus of this pop up will be for diners to enjoy locally sourced food. Roam will also be using a wide variety of other local suppliers, including BrewdogCompany Bakery; CulliseeCyrenians community farm; De Burgh WineErrington cheeseHighland Ridge Larder; and Pickering’s Gin.

We know the exact estate on which the deer was culled or the farm on where the salad was recently picked,” explained Roly. “We hope customers will ask questions, find out more about the local suppliers we use and how they can get their hands on some,” he added.

Roam will be open for August 2017  at Leo and Ted’s, 36 Leven St, Edinburgh EH3 9LJ. Please contact Jeff to book a table: or 07717712186


Mixed leaf salad with Lanark Blue, honey walnuts and a raspberry dressing
Wild Scottish venison fillet with potato terrine, roasted beetroot and seasonal greens*
Scottish fruit pavlova

(Grub, nae booze £20; Grub + a wee vino £25; Grub + a fair few £35)
*vegetarian option also available
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Chocolate fondants: what is not to like?

Chocolate fondants are clichéd but they are nothing but delicious. Even if they collapse or don’t come out of their moulds perfectly they are still exquisite. We are all time sensitive and if you are having a dinner party you want something you can prepare ahead of time and just whack in the oven when needed – chocolate fondants are the perfect dessert. Everyone has their own recipe but I thought I’d chuck my version in the mix. I spent sometime testing recipes for a private dinner we catered for a few weeks back. I did an orange and anise ice cream to accompany it. The great thing is that once you have the mixture in the moulds it is good for sometime. I have used chefs rings lined in baking parchment but you could equally use ramekins lined with butter and cocoa powder.

Makes eight.

Heat the chocolate and butter together in a bain marie. Once they have melted fold in the dry ingredients, coffee, orange zest and eggs. Fold to combine and allow to cool.

You can now decant this directly into the moulds or alternatively place the mixture in a piping bag. The latter is obviously a lot less messy. They can now sit in the fridge until you are ready to bake them. Once you are, I would sprinkle them with a little sea salt and bake at 180C for 15 minutes. You are looking for them to rise and form a crust on the outside that is strong enough to hold the weight of the pudding. Don’t be tempted to unmould them too soon as they will just collapse but then again what’s not to like about a gooey chocolate puddle.

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The best way to cook pizza

I think we would all like to have a wood fired pizza oven. The majesty of the clay dome is unrivalled but unfortunately I live in a two bedroom flat in the city centre. I have spent some years making pizza in all manner of shapes and sizes. I started with dried yeast, moved on to fresh and have been experimenting with sourdough. I’ve tried different flour combinations but none of these things matter unless you can actually cook it.

Conventional wisdom is to get your oven as hot as possible. Place your pizza on a baking tray and then place this in the oven. Unfortunately the result is either board like crispy or just a soft mess. The evolution of this is to heat the baking tray and then use a second baking tray as a peel to slide the prepared pizza on to the hot tray and place it back in the oven. I just don’t think you can garner enough heat into a baking tray to make this method significantly better. The time it takes to cook a pizza using both methods is just too long. The pizza is dry before it is crispy.

I was lucky enough to be given a pizza steel by a Tom at Breadfellows (a man who knows about crust) and it is good and certainly better than the 50p paving slab I bought from B&Q. What the slab had in its favour was that it was thick and held its heat much like the pizza steel. Yet I still couldn’t get the results I craved. I buy into the science, the pizza steel is a conductor and holds 18 times more heat (a bold internet claim!) than a conventional pizza stone. I’m less convinced that it produces a heat pocket at the top of the oven, I have done some rudimentary heat testing of this theory and it doesn’t seem to make a great deal of difference.

Fundamentally the success of a pizza oven is that it’s capable of temperatures in the region of 330 degrees centigrade. That means you can cook a pizza in 90 seconds. The pizza will be crisp on the outside but doughy on the inside. Cooking pizza in a domestic oven at 225 degrees just doesn’t cut it. You’re probably asking what the point of this blog is then? The game changer is a frying pan!

Heat a frying pan untill its very hot, put the rolled out or thrown in the air pizza base on, add your toppings and then place it under a grill you have preheated to its highest setting. It takes a bit of practice to get it quite right but the results are way beyond anything else.

If you are looking for pizza know-how and an excellent base recipe, I would highly recommend Ken Forkish’s Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast book.

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Edinburgh New Town Cookery School Alumni

I was asked to write a piece for the Edinburgh New Town Cookery regarding my time there.

In my early teens I inherited a battered 1st edition of Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking from my Grandmother. It sounds very clichéd but reading the recipes it felt as if a whole new world had been opened up and I can’t to this day roast a pepper without thinking about Elizabeth David. This was my ‘gateway drug’ to Richard Olney, Simon Hopkinson, Patience Gray, The River Café books and a love of everything food based.

I was 33 when I joined the cook school and had left behind a 12 year career in estate agency. Initially I was intensely nervous about losing the security that my career provided me, but I was surprised at the way I adapted and the welcoming nature of the culinary world. I undertook stages in two of Edinburgh’s top Michelin starred restaurant kitchens and worked for a number of leading caterers whilst on the course.

Without a doubt geography played a big role in where I wanted to train but I also wanted to find a course that had the same passion for cookery I did. The course is well structured being based over an intense six months. Having bills to pay there was a limited amount of time I could have spent in full time education and I was far more attracted to this course over others that are less intense but spread out over a longer time period.

I had always very much focused on savoury foods. The course really inspired me and gave me the confidence to tackle complicated sweet dishes and making a Dobez Torte was a real highlight, as was making my own personal favourite, Battenberg cake.

It’s easy to think you know everything about cooking having read all the books and watched all the television programmes. What I found most useful about the course was being able to ask the staff at the cook school all those questions I had pondered previously whilst I cooked from a recipe at home. This inspired me to think more creatively and not be confined by what a recipe said. So my inspiration came from a true understanding of method and technique learnt at the cook school, which allowed me to create my own recipes. To anyone thinking of taking the course I would say go for it! I wish I could say something a little more insightful but enrolling at ENTCS has been one of my best decisions.

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Raspberry pâte de fruits recipe – perfect for gifts.

These make great Christmas presents as they’re a change from the festive obsession with chocolate. Plus they are simple to make and store well. I did experiment with a sour sugar mix for the coating, by adding a small amount of citric acid to the sugar sprinkle mixture. I loved it, but was certainly in the minority. So, for my Christmas batch, I have coated one with the sour mix so we can play ‘pâte de fruit roulette’! Inspiration for this recipe came from the chef Francis Atkins. By using frozen berries I could use Scottish raspberries that were picked and then frozen whilst in season. A digital probe is easiest to assess when you hit the 110C mark but an old style jam thermometer will do the same job. Just make sure the pan is small so the liquid is deep enough to reach the mark on the thermometer to take an accurate reading.


500g of frozen raspberries

500g of caster sugar

125ml liquid pectin


Heat the raspberries in a pan until they thaw out enough to purée. Once defrosted add the sugar and pectin then purée the mixture.


Heat until the mixture reaches 110ºC. It should be quite gloppy by this point.


Pour into silicone moulds or a 20cm square tray lined with silicone paper to set. Allow to cool at room temperature and then set in the fridge.


When set, cut into squares or turn out of the moulds and sprinkle with sugar.  Pâte de fruits keep well in the fridge in a sealed container.