We ended our foodie expedition of Scotland with a splurge meal at Edinburgh’s Castle Terrace, a modern British restaurant influenced by classic French techniques and driven by a passion for seasonal Scottish ingredients. I’d previously had a fantastic meal at Leith’s The Kitchin, which is the sister restaurant of Castle Terrace, plus I had heard good things from fellow food blogger My Monkfish. Chef patron Dominic Jack is a close friend of Tom Kitchin’s having met him whilst cheffing in Edinburgh when they were both teenagers. Kichin’s influence throughout the restaurant is obvious from the dark and luxurious decor, professional and attentive staff to the ethos of ‘nature to plate’ food.
My Monkfish had put in a good word for us ahead of our visit and so on arrival we were mysteriously ushered down to the kitchen to meet chef Dominic. Set up in a corner of the warm but quiet kitchen was a ‘chef’s table’ where we were seated and given complimentary champagne, canapes and menus to peruse, whilst watching the chefs go about their business. It was fascinating to see the inner workings of such a prestigious restaurant. It was controlled, thoughtful and precise. Everybody was working studiously and effectively under the watchful eye of Dominic. The atmosphere was so peaceful and serene that you could have heard a pin drop. It was almost a bit embarrassing being sat there as we felt like complete intruders! We joked with the waiting staff about how it wouldn’t normally be so ordered, but I genuinely was impressed by how unchaotic and tranquil it all was.
To round off my gastro-tour of Scotland I had an obligatory trip to Edinburgh, which readers of the blog will know is one of my favourite cities to visit. Having made friends with fellow food blogger My Monkfish at last year’s My Home Supperclub I was keen for her to recommend to me some eateries for us to check out when we hit the Burgh.
Her first tip off was the brand spanking new Gardeners Cottage, which opened earlier this summer. Housed in (you guessed it) an ex-gardeners cottage within the Royal Terrace gardens on London road, it was a hop skip and a jump from where we staying in the Georgian New Town. Plus it had had a fairly decent review from the Guardian’s Jay Rayner the week before so we were happy to pop down for a feed. It’s run by Scottish chef friends Edward and Dale who have chefed in a number of famous Edinburgh eateries that include the Atrium, the Kitchin; as well working for Mark Hix in London.
During my recent weekend in Devon, when I wasn’t butchering various animals as part of my game cookery course (which you can read about here) I also went to stuff my face at the fantastic Riverford Homefarm Restaurant near Taunton. Riverford are the Devon based organic veg box people, who over the years have grown into a massive network of regional farmers and growers that get good quality organic produce all over the UK. I had no idea that they had any restaurants, until I’d started to hear good things filtering through from various foodie friends. Continue reading →
So after a whole day of stuffing rich food into ourselves and a night of jolly drinking we awoke early on the Sunday, bleary-eyed, to prepare ourselves for yet more butchery! Luckily I’d seen sense to stick to local yummy ciders the night before, but my gaming partner had been at the red wine and agreed she was not 100%. A crisp walk up to the cookery school soon sorted us both out.
Our Sunday session seemed far more calm and collected, maybe we had just settled in with the resonance of the kitchen, I don’t know? We started doing our mise-en-place (prep) for our dinner later in the day, so it was quite similar to a supperclub day in fact. This included heating up cream, laced with lavender, ready for a wobbly pannacotta and chopping up tiny bits of veg for our anticipated consomme.
The rabbits we prepared the day before were handed back out again. They had been marinating overnight in a concoction of five spice, garlic and thyme. They smelled amazing and their fate was a giant pan full of melted duck fat. These were to be cooked, confit style, in a low oven for 5 hours and would be turned into rillets for us to take home. Continue reading →
I do love a bit of rich, meaty game, and when we served venison at our Delia’s Christmas supperclub last year it was probably one of the tastiest things I’d eaten in an age. Plus when we did a beef version, it just wasn’t quite the same.
Anyway, game is an ingredient that I guess I don’t use often enough. Living in the city it’s not always the thing that’s widely available in the market, so it’s not an ingredient I feel amazingly confident about. I’d done a brilliant course at Ashburton Cookery School last year that taught me some great knife skills that I still use now, and I wanted to take it to the next level.
Being in Devon the cookery school is hardly local to Leeds. But I have friends in Devon and they’d bought me some vouchers for the school for my 30th birthday so it seemed a good idea to pop down and learn about game!