Weekly rumblings – 20 (Blood and gore)

Coral Beach

Sunny Scotland in summer? Even the Scots will find it hard to believe. Yet, we had salubrious weather through our holiday, driving through the northernmost bits of Scotland. What was a bigger surprise was the food. Perhaps our expectations were low, not knowing enough about Scottish food. Heartwarmingly, (and tummy warmingly) there were lots of little local places, relying on fresh local produce putting out some really marvellous food. Coral beach, at low tide, had thousands of mussels clinging to the rocks, (and no, we didn’t pick any!).

Smoo caves in Durness

The one day that rain did wash our day out, we were stuck in Durness, on the north-western coast. Stuck is the wrong word.  Lounging in a lovely conservatory, curled up with a book,  after gobbling a fabulous home-cooked breakfast, doesn’t count for hardship. Fiona Mackay, the owner of the little B&B we were staying at (Mackay rooms), grows a lot of her own food in a small rear garden. She served us freshly baked cakes and homemade compote every day. I hope Fiona will share her honey cake recipe with me soon, as it was one of the best I have ever eaten.

 

My respect for Scottish food went up a notch after this trip. Most people look on suspiciously at the mention of haggis and black pudding, two Scottish specialities. Haggis, made from minced sheep heart, liver and lungs doesn’t sound appetising but mixed with oats and spices, it’s actually quite delicious. The same with black pudding, which is made with pig’s blood. I can visualise my readers at this point saying “Gross!”, but like the Chinese, I am firmly of the view that if you are going to kill an animal, then eat every bit you can. That is respect for the slaughtered animal and respect for the environment.

Of Whisky’s and Oats
BenRiach, a favourite

Which brings me to the best-known export from Scotland – Whisky, (spelt without “e”).  I am not a whisky drinker but enjoyed sampling some fabulous local whiskies. Easy to do as every bar, even in the remotest bits seemed to stock at least a 100. And on to the second best-known export from Scotland – Oats, which were once considered fit only for horses. Having just acquired a bag of freshly ground pinhead oatmeal, the next blog will have a recipe for good ole’ porridge.

Food this week:

Getting back into a routine after a long break is hard, so this week’s food was mostly easy. Nothing can be easier than a ceviche, perfect for a gorgeous summer evening, (yes we do have some of those in London!). Typically, when we get back home from any holiday, we are longing for Oriental food. That’s comfort food for the family so the minced pork dish was made to use up a small portion of pork mince that I had in the freezer. This is a perfect recipe to “extend’ smaller amounts of meat to feed more people.

Typically, when we get back home from any holiday, we are longing for Oriental food. That’s comfort food for the family so the minced pork dish was made to use up a small portion of pork mince that I had in the freezer. This is a perfect recipe to “extend’ smaller amounts of meat to feed more people.

Lastly, we made crepes. The boys reminded me that we hadn’t had them in a long time. I often make a buckwheat variation, but this week’s were the unadulterated classic version. After stuffing ourselves with savoury crepes, we inevitably finished off with a dessert version, which involved just some lemon and sugar (also great for breakfast the next day) or a more decadent one with dark chocolate. If you want to try your hand at something new, learn how to makes crepes, your family will thank you.

And lastly, there’s the Fresh peach cake recipe, as I had a few requests from the last blog asking for it.

Love your family and cook something new!