The last place we ate together before leaving Edinburgh was Martin Wishart’s new brasserie, The Honours. It was fairly formal but again, fantastic food and excellent service. I’m a huge fan of places with steak and sundaes.
This was possibly the highlight of our stay on Skye, for me anyway. The Three Chimneys is a Skye institution. It’s located on a remote peninsula, overlooking Loch Dunvegan. It’s small, cosy and, on the day we went, warm against the changing Skye weather. The service is impeccable, the food fantastic. I took photographs of everything, if only to preserve in my memory how wonderful it was.
When we were on Skye we stayed on the Waternish peninsula, just above a village called Stein. It was a gorgeous setting, the bay sweeping out in front of our cottage and the tiny village below. We ate in the Stein Inn – proper Sunday roast – and also at the Loch Bay Seafood Restaurant which is tiny, has only about 8 tables, and is totally fantastic. It’s run by a husband and wife team and is open for lunch on Wednesdays and Thursdays and for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. You have to book.
I had the cullen skink to start whilst my mom tried the razor clams. They were weird and tasted exactly like the sea – not my sort of thing at all but good to try.
Then I had more langoustines, because I love them so.
To finish I had the ginger pudding. Mom had the lemon posset.
The whole meal was just lovely. We ate towards the end of lunch service so the restaurant started to empty out over the afternoon and we chatted to the owners about life on Skye before leaving. Then we wandered back up to the house to nap.
I thought I’d do some other highlights from Edinburgh collectively today. We ate at a variety of places that were excellent and so this post is just a photo gallery of some of my favourites.
I recently moved flats for the fourth time in two years. The new flat is much bigger, there is an actual bedroom and a balcony (on which I now have two lavender plants growing). But the kitchen is smaller and dysfunctional. It’s obviously not meant for someone who needs work space. But it’s okay. I can’t get the one cupboard to close because the frying pan is too big and there isn’t anywhere else to put it (or all the other things like bowls and cake tins I’ve accumulated) but I am taking deep breaths and ignoring it. I broke in the new oven with a cinnamon buttermilk cake and some strawberry jam.
We had a glut of redcurrants on the allotment this summer. No one was entirely sure what to do with them but I had an idea you could put them into jam. I did some scouting on the internet (because none of my books had a recipe that was useful) and between Poires au Chocolat, The Guardian Word of Mouth Blog, and Darina Allen, I worked out a recipe. In the end I just used the redcurrant juice, smashing the redcurrants through a sieve. It seemed a good enough way to use them up. The jam is wonderful, strawberry and sweet, invoking the smell of high summer.
Strawberry Jam (with Redcurrants)
100ml redcurrant juice
1.1kg sugar (I used 3/4 granulated and 1/4 golden caster)
1 1/2 sachets pectin*
Place some side plates into a freezer. Wash and rinse 9 340g jam jars and their lids. (I save all the honey jars for this. And my jar sizes ranged from 300g to 450g so 9 is a guesstimate.) Place on an oven tray and sterilise in the oven (oven at about 100C). They can remain in the oven til you need to use them.
Wash and hull the strawberries. I cut the larger ones into quarters and the smaller ones into halves. (I prefer smaller pieces of strawberry in my jam – if you like bigger pieces leave some of the smaller ones whole.)
Smash the redcurrants through a sieve into a bowl. Reserve the juice, compost the skins and seeds.
Place the strawberries in a large jam pot and smash them slightly with a potato masher – leave some whole and some smashed. Then add in the redcurrant juice, sugars, pectin and juice of the lemon.
Bring to a rolling boil and boil until it reaches 104C – jam stage on a sugar thermometer. This can take anywhere from 5 until 15 minutes. Skim some of the scum off the top. Then place some onto a frozen plate and return to the freezer for a few minutes. Move your one finger along the jam on the plate – if it crinkles slightly and doesn’t run excessively it is done.
Spoon into sterilised jars whilst still warm, using a funnel to keep the jars clean. Seal with wax paper circles and lids. Eat on toast, crumpets, pancakes or in yoghurt.
*I only used the pectin sachets because I couldn’t find jam sugar anywhere. Feel free to use jam sugar and no extra pectin.
Okay so you may have noticed my absence from this site for a while. Okay, almost the whole month of August and now a lot of September. I have totally legitimate reasons I promise. The first is that I went on a work spree. The kind of holiday inducing deadline horror where you simply work all-the-time. Weekends. Evenings. Mornings. (Gasp!) I was trying to get as much done before I left for two weeks in Scotland. And I did okay. I read four books, including one, on Culinary Capital, where I had a bit of an ‘ah ha’ moment and *may* (and I say *may* very tentatively) have found a theoretical framework for my thesis. (Small dance.) Of course this now means I am ploughing my way very very slowly through Bourdieu. I also coded most of my field notes, only a few more to go, and most of my interviews. One more set left. I also transcribed all but one of my focus groups. (That last focus group threatened to throw me over the edge of madness so I’ve shelved it for a while.) So now I’m back and continuing to code and then I will be putting things into themes and then I will be writing. *Deep breath.*
But first, I wanted to share all the fantastic places I ate whilst in Scotland. Scotland has a bad reputation about food. For reasons I don’t really understand, when I mention eating and Scotland in the same sentence people inevitably talk about deep-fried Mars bars. Personally I’ve never had one although apparently they exist – just go into any chippy and ask for one. I’m not tempted enough though. I did some blog reading and review reading before I left so I knew about a few places – this is one of them, The Scran and Scallie.
The Scran and Scallie is Tom Kitchin’s new place and is located in Stockbridge, conveniently around the corner from our apartment. My mom and I had been wandering around the Water of Leith all morning, taking in the sights.
So we arrived without a reservation on a Tuesday lunch time and were shown to a table at once. It was reasonably full the whole time we were there and the staff were excellent. We shared the chicken liver parfait to start. The presentation was just adorable and the parfait itself smooth and delicious. We ate all the extra bread in our compulsion to eat all the parfait.
I had the hogget as a main, recommended by the waitress. The meat was succulent and tender, served with peas and lettuce. We also had a crunchy spelt salad and potatoes with chorizo. I honestly can’t remember what my mom ate.
We also managed dessert, although it may have been a step too far. It’s also one of the first times ever that I’ve had dessert envy. I had the cherry crumble and my mom had the strawberry jelly. Whilst the crumble was excellent, I couldn’t help feeling I’d lost out to her beautiful (and lighter) dessert. Next time I’ll have to have that.