Benandjerrygirl's Blog

Just another weblog





  • 2lbs sugar
  • 4oz butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • vanilla extract to taste


Melt sugar, half butter and milk in a large pan and bring to the boil. Add condensed milk and the rest of the butter and bring to boil again. Boil for 10-20 mins, stirring frequently.

It is ready when the colour changes to a golden caramel and it’s sputtering like lava.

Take it off the heat, add the vanilla then beat for 4-5 mins using electric beaters on a medium setting. Pour into a tin and mark out pieces but allow to cool before enjoying in very small amounts.


GRO Coffee



I have been to GRO Coffee three times now and hesitated about writing a review because they always seem to be busy and the business appears to be doing well but there’s something just a bit off about the way things run there that makes me feel it’s not as good as it could be. One of my companions today said that the staff were all different so possibly the regular staff were on holiday which would explain the following  experience.

I arrived first and waited for my  friends. During the time it took for us all to assemble the menus arrived but the table wasn’t cleared. The plates, cups, glasses etc sat there accusingly and after 15 minutes they were finally taken away but crucially the table was not wiped and remained sticky to the touch.


The order was taken and after some time we asked for the table to be cleaned. A further 25 minutes passed before the order came out and it was the wrong sandwich that was delivered. Finally we got what we asked for –  Eggs Benedict, a breakfast sandwich and an omelette. The tea and coffee had arrived earlier and was a tad cold by then. We noticed that several people had given up waiting to order and had left but the staff didn’t even notice as others arrived soon after. We ordered more tea and coffee and all in all were in there for two hours. A brunch shouldn’t take that long.


It appeared to me that there were too few experienced staff on duty to deal with a warm summer’s day crowd, which is a shame. There is a garden at the back which is popular with young families because of a play area and there are comfortable couches to sit at inside and they are very dog friendly if the number inside today were anything to go by. Brunch for one person comes in around £12 but if you are in a hurry to go somewhere else and get out to enjoy the Scottish sunshine you may feel a sense of frustration if today was typical of the service one can expect. The staff could not be faulted for friendliness but the efficiency is lacking at the moment, judging by today’s efforts.










The Niche, Irvine

106 Montgomery Street, Irvine, North Ayrshire KA12 8PW 01794 683107    


The Niche is the sort of place that suits people who like their food cooked fresh in a fairly relaxed manner. If you like chatting to your friends whilst waiting for something delicious to be prepared, then this might be the place for you. The tables are fairly close together so don’t go there to give away your greatest secrets but the wooden bench along the wall facing comfortable chairs across the table gives a feeling of space, if not privacy. We booked which was just as well as the lunchtime trade was roaring what with both indoor and outdoor seating and the waiting staff are chatty but not intrusive. The place tries to provide healthy eating options. 

I asked for the steak, chorizo and pomegranate salad and was surprised to be asked how I wanted it cooked as I had expected strips of steak already prepared but it isn’t that sort of place. The chef seems  to be a perfectionist and the steak was cooked to order – medium rare – and spot on as a result. I followed this up with affogato, later followed by a proper Americano. This came to a reasonable £13 or so. My companion had a fresh burger with vegetable fries and a couple of pots of tea. Amazingly this was a tad more expensive.


The only criticism is more of a niggle as it didn’t affect me personally but the tea comes in a clear pot, apparently due to some directive or other, and they can only put a certain amount of hot water for a single serving in it. It has the effect of making you feel cheated. Lovely looking pots, just mostly empty.


Do give it a go. Try out those healthy options.





To serve



  1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl. In a separate bowl or jug, lightly whisk together the milk and egg, then whisk in the melted butter.

  2. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and, using a fork, beat until you have a smooth batter. Any lumps will soon disappear with a little mixing. Let the batter stand for a few minutes.

  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter. When it’s melted, add a ladle of batter (or two if your frying pan is big enough to cook two pancakes at the same time). It will seem very thick but this is how it should be. Wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both sides are golden brown and the pancake has risen to about 1cm (½in) thick.

  4. Repeat until all the batter is used up. You can keep the pancakes warm in a low oven, but they taste best fresh out the pan.

  5. Serve with lashings of real maple syrup and extra butter if you like.

Courtesy of BBC website – copied as it may be removed by them on their website.


Basic pancakes with sugar and lemon



For the pancake mixture

To serve


When a meal out disappoints

What should we do?

Leave the food on the plate and hope they take note?

Ask to speak to the manager despite the other customers?

Pay up but not leave a tip?

Complain on social media?


Once upon a time it was all so simple, we’d complain face to face and maybe get something taken off our bill in recompense or if they didn’t we’d cross that place off our list for future meals out.

Now we have a range of options such as taking to Twitter or Trip Advisor to vent our spleen. A quick conversation has been replaced by a permanent written comment which may affect the future business much more than the writer may have intended.

Today we spent over £30 on two Roast Beef Sunday lunches followed by coffee and tea. The beef was terribly tough and I left mine on the plate. Now it wasn’t the waitress’s fault and she was perfectly pleasant. The manager did not ask why the beef was left on the plate and the bill was for the full amount but we didn’t leave a tip.

Here’s the thing, this is a local franchise and their nearby establishment has succulent cuts of meat but this  other venue used a cheaper silverside cut with no marbling. It was so lean and well done that there wasn’t a hope of it being tender.

I’m deeply disappointed.


Sarti, Glasgow

We arrived at Fratelli Sarti in Renfield Street just before 5 yesterday and were told we could have a table as long as we left again by six. Now, normally I wouldn’t agree to this as I absolutely hate feeling rushed when I’m eating but we thought we could go for just the main then go somewhere else for dessert.

I had Gnocchi alla Sorrentina (v) for £11.90 which consists of fresh potato gnocchi with cherry tomatoes, oregano and tomato sauce oven baked with mozzarella. Apparently this is a dish from Sorrento and it was so flavourful and moreish. On an ideal leisurely evening it would have been accompanied by wine and followed by coffee and a delicious dessert – maybe a lemon tart – but that will have to wait for another time. My companion had Ravioli Pomodoro for £9.50 which was said to be tasty too.

Even although it was only one course, it still felt rushed as they kind of forgot about us until 5.45 so it would have been difficult to grab a coffee if we had decided we wanted to do that.

Fratelli Sarti do a pre-theatre menu too which is worth a look but if you want to have a relaxing meal then book a table.

Sarti, Renfield Street
42 Renfield Street
G2 1NF
T: 0141 572 7000

Papa John’s, Kilmarnock

Three months ago – okay it was Valentine’s Day which makes this even worse – we had a really disappointing home delivery from Papa John’s in Kilmarnock. The pizza was cold and the dessert was the wrong one. I told the delivery person who seemed incapable of understanding that the dessert delivered was not the one ordered. We didn’t know how cold the pizza was until after he had left. I got the impression we were at the end of a chain of deliveries and that we were given what he had left in the van.

I tweeted about the disappointment and immediately their official Papa John account replied and told me to get in touch with someone called Sarah who would deal with it after the weekend.

I was asked to provide full details on the receipt and send them by e-mail which I duly did.

Then nothing.



After a month I wrote again to ask what was happening and I got a vague response about the “franchisee” and she was sorry that I had had a disappointing experience.

In this day and age that is not good enough. There are too many other companies who deliver and get it right to order from someone who gets it wrong and doesn’t address the issue with redress.

We haven’t used them since. We used to order every few weeks but the cold pizza and incorrect dessert left a bad taste in our mouths.

It is ironic therefore that Papa John’s are now trumpeting about their “guarantee” that they will replace their pizza if it is not up to standard.

That was not our experience.

Yo Sushi!

I haven’t been to Yo Sushi for years after an unfortunate incident at Silverburn but yesterday we decided to go to Yo Sushi to start off the weekend. We could have got seated right away at the bar type stools but I prefer to face the people I’m with rather than the food whizzing round on the conveyor belt so we waited 20 minutes for a booth.

The service was exemplary with friendly staff who apparently couldn’t do enough to engage with us and chat about the food and the holiday weekend. It was lovely to actually feel appreciated.

We had various dishes including Avocado Maki, Salmon & Yuzu Salsa, Beef Tataki, Crispy Salmon Skin Hand Rolls and Salmon and Avocado Hand Rolls. With drinks and one dessert (distinctly odd texture) it came to around £42 but there is a certain pleasure in seeing your food before you select it and the colour of the plate to indicate price and the calorific value of the dish highlighted on the menu meant that this was a much better customer experience than our last visit.

Mojo – Troon

Apparently this venue is now closed due to illness. – edited 10th July 2015

Mojo across from The Lido in Troon is a fairly new venture from the previous owners of the Velvet Apple.

It is a Tardis-like entrance which belies the space through in the back area. At the front is a cake display and small tables and chairs while through the back you can see the open kitchen area with a choice of leather booths or the wooden tables and chairs. The specials are written on wooden paddles which are brought to the table and there are various cuisine types on the paper menus. The specials today included steak at £25 and no doubt will do down well later in the day/evening but as we were there for lunch something smaller was called for.

My companion had the soup and quesadillas and I opted for the tapas offer of three options for £6.95. We followed this with tea and coffee which, unusually for Troon, came without a little biscuit or chocolate. I enjoyed the patatas bravas and the croquettas but the chickpea and chorizo stew was on the cool side. Unfortunately the quesadillas were too spicy but Mojo took the money off the bill right away with no quibbles which was a refreshing change.

They have live music and special menus depending on which night of the week it is. It sets out its stall at a Gastro Bar and so far is doing rather well in that genre.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑