Archive for January, 2012

Taste the real difference – the best of Scottish produce on a plate

January 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Don't be shellfish

The salmon hooked me, a reversal of the way things usually go.  The great sides of Summer Isles smoked fish were sliced thickly on the spot and anointed with the barest drop of lemon, no brown bread and butter thank you, and tasted delicious. The merest hint of smoke coming through from the rich, buttery, flesh as well as hint of sweetness from their special brine.  You couldn’t compare it with supermarket smoked salmon; it was a different kettle of fish entirely.

Summer Isles were just one of around ten Scottish producers who had lugged their lovely grub from the Highlands all the way down to the lowlands of the RAC Club in Pall Mall. The intention was to show first hand what we miss out on when we fix our foodie gaze on Ludlow or the continent. The Scottish Highlands are a land rich in fine produce, none of which need to consume air miles to get to our plates.

Achiltbuie kipper pate with seaweed relish on oaties and cones of native lobster were passed around and gobbled up. Venison carpaccio wrapped around Highland Blue cheese was burst in the mouth flavour. The RAC Executive Chef Philip Corrick had cooked all the small plates and if you wanted any reason at all to join then to be able to eat his food every day would be a compelling one. Read more…


January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Breville, now there’s a name you don’t really hear much of anymore. It’s not like Ronco, gone to the great brand graveyard, and yet there was a time when it strode the world like a colossus whilst now it merely wanders about like a lost kid in a mall.

They were famous for their sandwich toaster; it may even have been the product that made the company’s name and fortune. My family had one, every family had one, and after initial manic use they either ended up under the sink along with the Ronco button master and with their plugs removed by a dad too indolent to go to Woolworths, or they were solemnly bequeathed to a child about to go to University.

That’s how I got mine, my mother feeling that I would otherwise starve. In fact I had already mastered the art of making spaghetti Bolognese as well as curry/stew (one contained curry powder, one didn’t) so I was quite safe. All I recall about using the Breville at university are clouds of acrid cheesy smoke on the staircase by my rooms and the college porter giving me a lecture on fire drill. Read more…

Bacon buddies. Two Americans have created a Bacon Salt that is even kosher

January 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Addiction ahoy

Are you old enough to remember when crisps only came ready salted? The vast range of flavours now available were but a gleam in Gary Linneker’s eye, we were just grateful we didn’t have to search for those cute little blue bags of salt anymore.

Sometimes you got more than one, sometimes you got none, it all depended on the whim of the packing machine or possibly Doris on the production line ‘oop north.

When flavours did arrive one of the first was Smoky Bacon. To a young boy’s taste buds it was quite delicious and the best bit was tipping up the bag to fill your mouth with salty bacony dust after you’d eaten all the crisps. I tell you, we really had to make our own amusements back then.

Second best, for me at least, was the dust from Salt n Vinegar crisps, so a box arriving on my desk containing virtuously Natural Malt Salt, as well as proudly artificially flavoured Bacon Salt, made my day. Off with the lids and in with the tasting spatula, well ok a biro. Created by two friends, Justin and Dave, with the help of $5000 loaned by Dave’s 3 year old son (long story) these salts have savour. Read more…