Dolls at The Blue Moon Café

First things first. Sexual orientation has no bearing on whether you should drop into Dolls, Edinburgh's first women only bar. 'lt’s a space for all women, gay or straight,’ says manager Sam Ash. The former counsellor set up the bar cum lounge, which is housed in Broughton Street's Blue Moon Cafe, after noting the lack of places solely for the ladies. 'l've been coming up to Edinburgh from London for the last five years and I felt that the male population had loads of stuf. here, while women had less.’

In addition to providing the fairer sex with their very own members lounge (membership is free), Ash’s aims also include promoting a feeling of female solidarity and bringing the lesbian community closer together. Her vision is of 'a small, cruise-free zone where people couldn't form little cliques; basically somewhere for people to chill.’

The response to Dolls has been largely positive, but there have been the inevitable accusations of segregation and exclusion. ’I see it as a form of positive discrimination,’ says Ash. ’I wish there wasn’t a need for it, but in terms of the gay community, gay men have a lot of space - clubs and bars and that's missing for women. Sometimes we need to have our own comfy, positive space!

A quick glance around the diminutive watering hole, which has a capacity of 30, reveals that it truly deserves its description as a ’lounge'. Blue couches, wine-coloured walls, candlelight and a scattering of newspapers give it the air of a stylish-yet-lived-in front room. Ash admits where she got the inspiration for the decor: ’This is exactly the same as my old flat in


So what does the future hold for Dolls? Opening for

COOKERY BOOK Cooler Than Chillies Lesley Waters (Headline £17.99)

recruit rm GllllllES


Clear and concise vegetarian recipes

112 THE LIST // " 230’?

Sometimes, (Dawn Kofie)

This one's for all the ladies in the house

business seven days a week, exhibitions of art by women for women (of women, naturaliy) every month, deckchairs for alfresco lounging during the summer and gay men as guests once a month. it's not so hard to be a woman.

at Do/ls at the Blue Moon Cafe, 36 Broughton Street,

Edinburgh, 476 2699. Opening Times. C/osed Mon, Tue—Thu

lo the old days y0u knew when you were being served a specially prepared vegetarian. dish. It was brown in co|0ur, lumpy in texture and usually involved Substituting a meat product imincel With a dreary soya Substitute lTVPl. Nowadays we’ve finaliy recognised that it's meat that’s dreary brown beef and beige lamb come to mind And vegetables; well, they’re those Sparkling red and yellow things, those spiky greens, those rich, golden delights And that's only talking about the colours.

Lesley Waters comes from the nu skool of vegetarian cookery A regular on Ready Steady Cook and a former head at Leith’s School Of Food And Wme, she's unusual among telly cooks With her emphasis on vegetarian food. This volume follows the luglily successful Broader Than

3pm—midnight, Fri & Sat 2pm-—midnight, Sun 2~7 7pm

Beans With a celebration of the marriage between humble veg and the high octane kick of spices. Her lime sorbet comes laced with chilli and a dash of teqwla, lettuce soup is infused With scented cardamom and the humble potato salad comes With Juniper and dill

While some of the reCipes feel a little too cOnstructed, all are clear and concise. The geographic sweep is broad, from Thai noodles to hOrseradish latkes, as it's an essential vegetarian tactic to raid every cultural larder to stave off both boredom and malnutrition The suggestions for quick dressing supplements and seasonings are excellent. At a slightly steep £17.99 however, yOu should be aware that this a cheerful selection of colourful recipes rather than a culinary bible tMOira Jeffrey»

Spit or swallow

It’s all a matter of taste.

The European Wine trade was dealt a blow recently. Under present European law, it is illegal to call a Wine ’organic' even if it is. So if the grapes that make up said Wine haven't even been shown a picture of a pestiCide let alone met one during their short lives they cannot lend their pedigree to the finished Wine.

Have the Eurocrats had too much plonk at lunch? Surely if the grapes have been certified organic by an accredited independent board, then that would suffice? Well, no. The problem being that while organic grapes may be used to make Wine, certain (albeit largely harmless) chemicals may be used during the Wine-making process. Chemicals that do no more than keep the grapes fresh on the Journey from the Vineyard to the Winery, but 'chemical’ is a dirty word in the organic world. A possible overuse of these chemicals could theoretically strip the finished Wine of organic status.

So, don't worry that your local Wine merchant or supermarket has seemingly stopped stocking ’organic’

, Wines. In the meantime you must live

With the PC term 'Wine Made With Organically Grown Grapes'. Same Wines, different rules.

UnsurpriSingly, at the forefront of the organic Culture are the Californians. The Fetzer Winery has recently released a range of nine different grape varieties under the Bonterra label; all as true to the character of the grapes as the Californian climate Will allow.

These are not everyday Wines as the prices reflect, but they do offer outstanding value for money, cover a wealth of styles and are well worth seeking out for a speCial occaSion, Most high street Wine merchants and Supermarkets stock some Fetzer Bonterra Wines. Oddbins stocks the Whole range. (Gordon Haggarty).


Bonterra Chardonnay (£8.49) and Zinfandel (£8.99): organic by any other name