Having the privilege of running a restaurant allows you to engage with other people and their lives, including helping our customers celebrate weddings, birthdays and anniversaries at each of our Edinburgh venues.

Sharing a meal is the most natural way for me to share friendship. Cooking can sometimes feel overwhelming.

The pressure to cook the perfect meal is a pressure too far. There are times that you may want to impress or show off. Chances are that will end in tears, so resist the temptation. Show off to people who don’t care if it goes wrong and chances are it will be a storming success.

In March and April, we’re teaming up with our friends at Slow Food Edinburgh to launch a new series of fat-themed suppers. Our Big Table Slow Food suppers will explore the history around the fats used in cooking around the UK and the role of fat on our menus today.

Diners will get an insight into how lard was used as a substitute for butter during World War Two, but has been a staple of our Italian regional cooking for centuries.

On 24th March from 6.30pm, Nick Sinclair from The Edinburgh Butter Co. will be the guest speaker at Cannonball Restaurant & Bar on Castlehill, where butter and cream will be the star ingredient. This supper menu will include roasted parsnip velouté and crème brûlée.

Sorina Savascu from East Coast Cured will be making sure that beautiful pig fat, lard, is anything but a greasy topic at The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant at the Scottish National Gallery from 6.30pm on 21st April.

This supper menu will include Aberdeen buttery baked with Biggar Blue walnuts and poached pear, East Coast Cured Pork belly with Kitchen Garden leaves and pickled beetroot and suet pudding with custard.

Slow Food Edinburgh is the second largest Slow Food group in Britain.

Its activities and events underline the Slow Food ethos of GOOD (quality, flavoursome and healthy food), CLEAN (production that does not harm the environment) and FAIR (accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for producers).

We’re a big supporter and member of the movement and its chefs are members of the Slow Food Cook’s Alliance, an international project that connects and supports chefs following the Slow Food philosophy.

If you want a recipe for a simple supper that is great for sharing with friends, this is one that will never fail. My children love a pot roast chicken.

I make several variations depending on what ingredients I have in the fridge. It’s lovely with a dollop of mint yoghurt or a spoonful of sour cream to add a little extra texture.

Pot Roast Chicken

Serves 2 – 3

Choose a small/medium free-range chicken. Remove the string, trim any lose fat and the ends of the drumsticks


200g Vivaldi or small potatoes

2 carrots, peeled and chopped into large wedges

2 onions, peeled and quartered

1 fennel, cut into quarters

2 unwaxed lemons, cut into quarters

1 unwaxed orange, cut into quarters

2 preserved lemons

1 whole chilli, seeds removed

8 dried apricots

2 baby white turnips, cut in half

1 cinnamon stick

100ml white wine

1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to season

Handful of fresh bay leaves, chopped fresh basil leaves, plus slices of fresh red chilli to finish


1. Choose a casserole pot with a lid that the chicken will fit into.

2. Place the chicken and all the ingredients in the pot.

3. Drizzle the oil on top and season with salt and black pepper.

4. Place the lid on top and roast in the oven at 200C for 2 hours 15 mins until the chicken is tender and the leg is falling away from the carcass.

5. Check halfway through cooking and add a little water if you think it’s looking dry. It shouldn’t.

6. Serve a slice of the chicken with a selection of the vegetables and a spoonful of the gravy.

Tickets for the new fat-themed ‘Big Table Slow Food suppers’ at Cannonball Restaurant & Bar on Castlehill and The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant at the Scottish National Gallery are now available from £20 per person for Slow Food Edinburgh Members and £22.50 per person for non-members, including two courses and a small glass of wine. To book and for more information, visit: www.contini.com

Carina Contini is Owner of Contini George Street, Edinburgh; Cannonball Restaurant & Bar, Castlehill, Edinburgh; and The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant - located at the gardens entrance of the Scottish National Gallery,


As third generation Italian Scots, Victor and Carina Contini continue to champion independent family businesses in Scotland with their award-winning venues; Contini George Street, Cannonball Restaurant & Bar on Castlehill and The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant at the Scottish National Gallery.