24 May 2013

My Favourite Scottish dessert in the Guardian

Another recipe of mine in the Guardian’s Cook on 4th May! With the brief being “local”, I really wished to try and champion Scottish produce in the paper since I’m so passionate about it. 

Here’s the small article:

Since I moved to Scotland and tasted this seasonal dessert, I’m in love with it. All ingredients are local and complement each other perfectly. I’ve modified the traditional recipe slightly by adding another local Scottish speciality, crowdie cheese, in order to give the cream texture and acidity. This dessert is best after a walk in the hills using wild raspberries collected by hand!

Serves 4

  • 60g Pinhead oatmeal
  • 200ml Double cream 
  • 50g Crowdie cheese2-3 tbsp Malt whiskey
  • 4 tbsp Scottish heather honey
  • 300g Raspberries

Toast the oatmeal in a dry hot pan for a few minutes and leave to cool. Whip the double cream, fold in the crowdie cheese, whiskey and honey.  Crush 200g raspberries into a puree using a fork or a food processor.  Fold the fruit puree lightly into the cream mixture in order to create a ripple. Spoon half of the cream mixture per portion into a glass, top with half the toasted oatmeal and raspberries and repeat the process once more decorating with the remaining raspberries and oatmeal.

14 May 2013

Russell Up Supper Club

I’m terribly late writing about my first ever supper club experience. However, Russell Up's Bread and Butter Supper Club was such a memorable evening that it is worth writing it about several months later. 

Russel and Greg plating up desserts
Having heard about the concept of supper clubs for a while and being tempted myself to host one in the future, I was delighted to hear the announcement of Russell Up’s Supper Club back in January and indeed, I was the first person to book two spots for me and my partner - a wise move as places were limited and snatched up pretty quickly. My expectations were high, even more so after I had coincidentally met Russell on an evening meal out with the Edinburgh Total Food Geeks. Well, I was not disappointed, if anything the supper club exceeded all my expectations. The location was a flat in Granton on the 8th floor with a stunning view over the harbour, sea and city, which set the scene perfectly for the dinner.  On arrival, we were greeted by Russell, his friend and chef Greg, and 16 other diners. Everything including the menu card was set with great attention to detail and lots of care. 

To start, there was sourdough bread and goat butter on the table. Despite the theme of the evening, I tried to resist the temptation of filling myself up with this admittedly very special bread and butter, but guessing (correctly) that there was a lot of excellent food to come.

Roast celeriac purée, roasted hazelnuts, 
alexander leaves

And I didn't have to wait long for the first starter: Roast celeriac purée, roasted hazelnuts and alexander leaves; a great light start that boosted my appetite and my enthusiasm for the following courses even more. Possibly my favourite course of the evening was the second starter: Terrine of pigs head, served with apple, watercress and a vanilla-balsamic dressing. It was amazing how beautiful and appetizing a pig’s head looked on the plate!

Terrine of pigs head, apple, watercress, vanilla-balsamic dressing

Next, the fish course consisted of grilled mackerel with black quinoa, pennywort and sea beets; lots of exciting new ingredients for me to try ans that complemented the fish very well. 

Grilled mackerel, black quinoa, pennywort, sea beets

 The star of the evening must have been the succulent beef rib and cheek that were served with onions, purple carrot, wild leeks and a delicious sauce. I was so tempted by it that I started eating before taking a picture, hence the missing bit of the carrot and slightly destroyed presentation - sorry!

Beef rib and cheek, onions, purple carrot, wild leeks

Both desserts that followed were purely indulgent but also very exciting. First, a baked duck egg custard with mandarin mousse and butternut squash jelly was served in a black stone ramequin and had left everyone at the table amazed including my partner whose favourite dish it was (that was before we found out he had a duck egg allergy!). The second dessert of banana cake with chocolate, salted caramel and coffee ice cream didn't disappoint either and was just as delicious!

Baked duck egg custard, mandarin mousse, butternut squash jelly
Banana cake, chocolate, salted caramel, coffee ice cream

By the time we were served the much-needed coffee accompanied with chili-flavoured truffles, we had missed our last bus, but the prospect of taking a taxi back home after this extraordinary fine dining experience was much more adequate anyway!

And my conclusion from my supper club experience to date: It’s a great way to meet like-minded people in a relaxed atmosphere, an unusual dining experience, and most importantly an opportunity to eat delicious food prepared with care and respect!  
If Russel hosts a supper club again, which I very much hope he plans to do in the future, I will make sure I get my name on top of the list again!