Festive Food Q&A: Laurie Macmillan, Chef / Patron of Café Strange Brew

Festive Food & Drink Q&A: Laurie Macmillan – Chef/Patron of Cafe Strange Brew

Mosey on over to the Shawlands café to check out the Christmas decorations and cooking

'Tis the season to gather together with loved ones and eat ourselves into a stupor until the new year. Since we've been dreaming non-stop of turkey and trimmings since the weather turned cold, we decided to ask some professional foodies about their culinary inspiration, the secret behind their Christmas show-stoppers and how they innovate on the classics.

Here we chat to Laurie Macmillan, proprietor and chef of Glasgow's Café Strange Brew.

Christmas isn't complete without a cocktail, what's your ultimate go to festive tipple?
I'm a classic cocktail kind of girl, and there's one staple I will indulge in any season, but over the festive period it's a well needed belly warmer. You just can't beat an old fashioned! Swap out the honey for maple and add a cinnamon stick for a wintery vibe.

What does Christmas at Café Strange Brew look like?
I'm quite simplistic with Christmas decorations; I like Scandi designs. Last year we got a local company to dress our windows with hand cut paper garlands which were fabulous.

Who is your favourite chef or what is your favourite cookbook for festive cooking inspiration?
I am a big Nigella fan. She speaks in layman's terms so you feel confident enough to take on the most ambitious of her recipes. I like her humour too. Her cooking is so approachable and at times so indulgent.

How can you spice up the usual Christmas side dishes to give them an exciting twist?
Brussels sprouts! Love them or loathe them, I am the latter! But try roasting them off with some garlic, chilli and almond and drizzling with some harissa yoghurt and they become a taste sensation with a Middle Eastern nod.

How would you convince someone to eat out for their Christmas meal?
By photographing the state of the aftermath in the kitchen from the previous year!

Are you an eat your advent calendar all at once or strictly one per day sort of person?
I'm a sporadic advent calendar eater. I never eat into the future, but maybe forget a few days, so retrospectively eat. Although I'm hankering after an Edinburgh Gin one this year! But maybe will have to wait until the end of the day to open those doors.

Do you have any recipes or food traditions that have been passed down in your family?
We don't really have any recipes handed down and I guess even though my mum was always baking and every dinner was always home cooked, we never really paid attention growing up. But Christmas has to be traditional for us. Even though none of us particularly like turkey, you just can't not, can you?

What is your Christmas show-stopper?
Prawn cocktail! We have this debate every year. My mum would love to ditch it, but the siblings and I are like, no way! So each year we try to take it to the next level. More expensive seafood, langoustine perhaps and some hot smoked salmon, or crab claws, add some avocado salsa, spice up the sauce, maybe a wee boiled egg. Delicious! Christmas is not Christmas without a prawn cocktail.

Beverage on the specials board? White chocolate hot chocolate. Oh aye. Cups available to buy.
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Café Strange Brew

1082 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, G41 3XA

Friendly and funky Shawlands café with inventive cooking, vegan-friendly brunches, and some of the best coffee south of the river.

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