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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space…

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show – now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) – a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

UK & World

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit – a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Wolves fan tricked into being Brentford mascot on his stag do

January 16 2018

A Wolves fan got quite the surprise on his stag do when his friends signed him up as the matchday mascot for Brentford. Nick Goff, a professional gambler who is getting married in Barbados next week, said he had no idea what was in store for him after being told to be in Chiswick at 11am on Saturday morning. On the pitch with Buzz Bee and the other (9yo) mascots…… pic.twitter.com/KDGkHvze2E— Jim Boyle Racing (@jimboyle17) January 13, 2018 “I’m the last one of my group of friends to get married, I’m 38 and told them I’m too old for a stag do and didn’t want one,” he said. “They disagreed and said I had to have one. “My guess was we were going to Kempton races as we’re mostly bookmakers or professional gamblers. “Then we got to Brentford, they gave me a full kit to wear but I thought that was all.” But that was far from all, and within a few hours he was leading the Bees out at Griffin Park for their Championship game with Bolton. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.11'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));What happens when you are a Wolverhampton Wanderers FC fan and your mates stitch you up on your stag go?This does 👇Posted by Brentford FC on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 “They took me to the main reception and was met by a man who asked if I was the mascot,” he said. “I thought they were joking. Then they took me up to the hospitality area with all the other nine-year-old mascots. Bit awkward! But made sure I didn’t do anything to spoil their big day,” he said. On seeing his mate on the pitch, friend Jim Boyle, 44, a racehorse trainer who organised the stunt with a group of friends, tweeted: “Weeks of planning have finally come to fruition.” Weeks of planning have finally come to fruition pic.twitter.com/vZjeaQN4Te— Jim Boyle Racing (@jimboyle17) January 13, 2018 Mr Boyle said: “We weren’t sure Brentford would go with it, but they’ve been great sports all along.” Brentford later posted a video of the whole affair and Mr Goff, from Epsom, said: “The Brentford off the field team were all amazing, made sure everything ran smoothly and that it didn’t interfere with the day for the “real” mascots.” Goffy meets a Brentford legend #WeThinkHisNameIsJackieGrahame pic.twitter.com/DdH8G1Yoqu— Jim Boyle Racing (@jimboyle17) January 13, 2018 “[I] did a little warm up on the pitch, took a few shots – walloped an unstoppable one past the keeper into the top corner, obviously, then led the teams out onto the pitch much to the amusement and bewilderment of some of the players. The Brentford captain didn’t want to hold my hand sadly.” Asked how the rest of the club’s on-field staff reacted, Mr Goff said: “On the pitch I definitely spotted a few players trying not to laugh but no one said anything.” (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Stephen Jones, Press Association Social Media Editor'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '581f6950-fd87-49d6-9cf2-0f90bc017d4c'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:viral,paservice:viral:sport'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Wolves fan tricked into being Brentford mascot on his stag do'});

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

Chef's Table

Dark chocolate makes a perfect gift

February 17 2018

With Mother’s Day and Easter round the corner, Graeme Pallister - chef patron of 63 Tay Street in Perth - cooks up a sweet treat Chocolate. Just that one simple word is enough to set my mouth watering – and I’m certainly not alone. On average we each eat around 11kg of the wonderful stuff every year, a figure that places us top of the choc-loving pops amidst our European cousins. After January’s good intentions, Mother’s Day (March 11) and Easter (April 1) deliver the perfect excuse for indulging in our favourite bean. After all, how many other food stuffs say “Thank you” and “Happy Easter” in one simple gift? In recent years, however, our palates have become more sophisticated and we’ve begun to demand higher quality, ethically produced chocolate that leaves the sickly sweet, commercial bars of yesteryear pining on the sweetie shelf. Cacao beans come with impressive health attributes including high levels of immune-boosting antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols. Be warned though – this is only true for dark chocolate as the minute you start adding fats and sugar into the equation, everything changes. Unfortunately, you can’t scoff down Mars Bars in a bid to get healthy, and what we call white chocolate isn’t even technically chocolate. I’m talking about a few small squares of dark chocolate, perhaps sprinkled with nuts and dried fruits for a little extra lift. For me, the versatility of dark chocolate is why I love it so much and I will always add a little square to a game sauce or beef chilli. It is the perfect vehicle for spices, citrus or tropical fruits and makes the perfect accompaniment to a short, strong espresso. However, I’m not quite as advanced as the Mayans, who used the cocoa bean as currency as it was considered to be worth more than gold dust. That’s what you call civilised living! Chef’s tip It’s super easy to make a simple chocolate ganache: place a dry, clean bowl over boiling water, break your chocolate into chunks and place in the dry bowl. Gently heat until it starts to melt. Stir in double cream (about 50% of your chocolate volume) and add sugar to taste. For an amazing family treat, layer into individual trifle dishes with fresh fruit, ice cream and crumbled shortbread.    

Angus & The Mearns

Angus man has corking idea for new business after going to France and finding Montrose

December 10 2012

A Montrose man was so surprised to see a French wine with the same name as his home town he started up a business to import bottles to Angus.   Until last year Graeme Hetherington (40) was living in Geneva while working for an oil company. However, being a passionate wine drinker, he would make frequent trips across the border to France to sample the best vintages. It was when he visited the Languedoc region that he spotted a sign for Domaine Montrose vineyard. His days studying French at Montrose Academy stood him in good stead when he asked a waiter in a caf in Pezanas about the winery. ”He said it was only 4km outside the town and that it was open to visitors,” recalled Graeme. ”I thought it was an amazing coincidence so I visited the next day. ”The owner’s son, Oliver, showed me round the vineyard and let me sample a few of the offerings. ”The wines were astonishingly good and excellent value.” When Graeme returned to Scotland last year, he knew people in Montrose would be keen to sample a few bottles as well. He contacted the French wine producer again and found bottles were still affordable, even after shipping costs, duty and VAT. Graeme, who now lives in Aberdeen, called his company Angus Wines to keep with the regional theme. ”It was the obvious name, as I am Angus born and bred,” he said. ”I even called my son Angus. ”I am selling four wines from Domaine Montrose and they have proved very popular. ”A case of 12, which can be any mix of the four wines, costs just £78. As well as the novelty of them being called Montrose, they are far better quality than what’s in the supermarket at the same price.” To his delight, Montrose Football Club was one of his first customers, putting in a large order for their match-day hospitality ahead of Rangers Football Club playing at Links Park later this month. The rose wine available won a silver medal in the prestigious Decanter magazine awards. The red wine is a cabernet syrah. The whites are a viognier and a classic unoaked chardonnay. All the wines are typical of the region, where long, sunny growing seasons give the wine a great richness. Graeme has since investigated whether more vineyards in France carry the Montrose name and found two of the most celebrated Bordeaux wines, Chateau Montrose and La Dame de Montrose (the lady of Montrose). He is also offering these for sale, though at a much higher price. ”I would say that Chateau Montrose was one of the top 10 wines in the world,” he claimed. ”Unfortunately, it has a price tag to match at £80 but I think it’s worth every penny. ”La Dame de Montrose has a lovely name and it’s a bit cheaper at £30. ”I’ve had quite a few men from Angus buying a bottle for their partner’s Christmas.” People looking to find out more or order wine can contact Graeme on gheth@ymail.com or call on 07909 228 613. rmclaren@thecourier.co.uk

Chef's Table

A hearty bowl of soup: the perfect winter cure-all

November 18 2017

Graeme Pallister, chef patron of 63 Tay Street in Perth, cooks up a cure-all pot of hearty soup.   Any dish that has the magical ability to repair skint knees, mend broken hearts and raise a smile that makes anything seem possible is worth its weight in gold! For me, this is soup. It started when I was wee; once you’d stayed out long enough to catch the start of frostbite, you’d trudge back to be greeted by the sight of kitchen windows all steamed up. You’d pull your wellies off and pace through the house in your stocking soles – and there waiting for you was a big bowl of piping hot soup. When it’s cold outside, our bodies begin to crave substance – food that will warm us from the inside-out, packing us full of energy and nutrition. It fuels you like your own internal log fire and makes you feel invincible. When I was younger, soup was always the go-to option for lunch, a starter or snack after school. Nowadays though, there are so many options for beefing it up (no pun intended!) that enjoying soup as a main course is a great addition to your ‘go to meals’ repertoire. With a few little extra ingredients you can give yourself an excellent meal with very little hassle – it’s a simple matter of increasing the fats, carbs and proteins. One of the simplest hearty soups you can make uses leftovers from the previous day’s dinner and I can promise you there is no better meal to choose than a Sunday roast chicken. Pick all the meat from the bones, dice all the cooked vegetables and add any leftover chicken juices to a pan with a stock cube, some of the mashed potatoes, a little more water and a couple of generous spoonfuls of crème fraiche. Very gently stir to simmer before adding all your leftovers – bring to the boil and serve with crusty bread. You will be amazed how this bad boy tastes. Of course, when it comes to hearty soup you can’t beat a proper broth and there are two main qualities I look for in a good broth: the first is the stock and the second is the consistency. Both have to be perfect. Too much stock and it’s thin and boring to eat, too thick with pulses and you’ll be standing your spoon up in it. I prefer to use mutton for the broth but lamb or beef will work equally well. Your butcher will be able to help you with a good cut to poach slowly; I usually go for the neck as it has a fantastic flavour and texture. Just be sure to trim any excess fat off before you start. Soup perfection! So as it begins to feel a little colder out there, fill your house with the smell of homemade soup and your boots with the champion of dinners. Cooking at its very best. Chef’s tip Take the humble lentil soup – you can transform this by grilling some smoked bacon until it’s nice and crispy, chop it up and stir it through before topping with a good Scottish soft cheese such as crowdie. With a chunky vegetable soup, place a fillet of smoked haddock in the pan with the cold soup and very gently bring it to the boil. Meanwhile boil a couple of eggs, peel and chop them up and add to the soup before serving with a squeeze of fresh lemon.    

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