Oh my goodness what has been going on, I was talking with 2 guest on Saturday, who actually reminded me I had a blog… however also told me off for not giving out information of all my stories this year!
At the top, well I got the call from Great British Menu again, very lucky and honoured to be picked twice, I felt a lot happier going down this year as I knew more of how it all worked, I knew the production crew and most importantly the brief suited my style again!
However it will always be the SWRI to me, even though it has officially changed to SWI they have dropped the Rural bit …oh and the ladies they are up in arms to say the least, getting involved with the ladies was just excellent, learn something & pass it on they say, well they certainly helped me, with the trials & tribulations of the year of preparing for the WI centenary. Infact I just had them in for the full 4 course menu yesterday for lunch funnily enough they all gave me 10′s A few grumbles mind you when I served my new improved Clootie dumpling in Ladies bake with an Angels share. Its just not a proper clootie the mumbles went on round the table, well if I thought the first day they remarked on my fruit distribution yep you heard me !!
This time they were incandescent with rage that I had changed the entire look of DUMPLING….. a few bites in, everything calmed down to a riot, they like the different textures that the changes gave them, however only just, phew! who need Prue, Oliver & Matthew, when I can be harassed by my local Rural ladies all hard working farmers wives, they know a thing or 2 about great cooking!
Everything is still a secret as the 5th October the finals weeks is on BBC2 so tune back in after that I will give you all the gossip
Phew! I can go home safe in the knowledge that I don’t have to watch from behind the couch anymore. Obviously you guys didn’t know the outcome but I did – imagine the torture! Also knowing when I had to leave the room like a naughty child (I didn’t enjoy that bit) – as I had to do it twice!!
All in all, what an amazing experience and honour getting to be part of the finals of Great British Menu 2014!
Working with such a poignant brief this year made it all the more worthwhile, especially as my style of cooking suited the theme so well. The feedback has been almost overwhelming. I had no idea just how many lovely people would get in touch. Each evening it felt as though my supporters were going through the same rollercoaster of emotions as me, whilst continually offering words of encouragement.
This kind of support was so uplifting…. quite honestly I had feared a much more critical response to the finals having not done as well as I would have liked, or indeed more scrutiny on the details and smaller technical things like not chopping things correctly or so on. As you can imagine, the paranoia was intense when being watched by millions!
However, everyone has been absolutely amazing and have even been sending cards as well and emails full of kind words. Some regulars even arrived with presents last weekend!
In short, what a wonderful experience and I feel so proud to have been a part of it. It looks like we will just have to wait and see what the brief is for the 10th anniversary series next year and indeed whether or not the ‘pink lady’ makes a return!
For now, both of The Sisters restaurants have the “Great British Menu” Menu running either as a 4 course stand alone, or you can choose my dishes individually from the A’la carte menu. So pop back to the site and book a table as it is filling up fast. We have such a busy summer ahead between Graduations starting in a few weeks to the Commonwealth Games nevermind the customers coming in just to taste my War Time Treat!
Thank you all so much for you support and I now look forward to serving my menu without a deadline or someone popping votes in a ballot box…..
Warm Homedmade Clootie Dumpling served with hot custard and vanilla ice cream
Mother’s Day! – Spring is Springing and it’s a lovely time of year that allows the whole family to get together … even if some do protest !!
I might just be lucky enough for a slice of cold toast and a warm coffee what with my two children & 2 boisterous dogs – now no longer pups – galloping into the bedroom and proceeding to jump onto the bed, which I know they are not supposed to but hey, all they want is a cuddle all at the same time. That’s just how we roll in our house most weekends!
During the week it is a different matter. Maybe I should allow the pups to wake the children up in that same “adorable” slobbering way that Labradors do…
I try to be home for tea time on Mother’s Day and am greeted by my darling husband who’s annual cookathon is in motion. Cooking is a term I use loosely for guiding the kids. Jem being 9 is more than capable of rustling up something slightly more adventurous than my husband Ewan might (M&S let the oven do the work) and Jemma would have Ewan down at Corrigans buying scallops and langoustines with Dad’s wallet, if she could. She thinks it’s quite normal and acceptable to dine on scallops and langoustines every night! Fraser, my son, a practical sort will set the table and kindly pass me a glass of wine “Madam for you”
Simple Cakes for Simple smiles
I guess like me not all Mum’s get to go out for this special day and let’s face it you only have to make some tea & toast to get a winning smile from me. How about baking a fool proof, good honest cake that only involves a cheeky wee microwave (you could maybe even allow the under 10’s to make it) it’s simple and easy.
This recipe I have created must be kept a secret from all Grannies out there as nothing beats a Grannies Dumpling dried by the fire to get that squidgy skin, this however, is not a bad second.
So by elevenses’ her second cuppa with a slice of this will go down an absolute treat! Even if you have to open a carton of custard I’m ok with that we’ll talk homemade custard another day!
From me to you and all the Mums’ out there Enjoy x
The next part is to inspire you to get some cooking done at home so I have picked a few different recipes to try using the fantastic new product on the shelves Scotty Brand all you need to do is look for that wee Dog.. it really is from the wee dog not that I’m saying my readers are of a certain age but cast your mind back to the old jars of Beetroot you had many moons ago well Mr Bartlett used to make the beetroot for that jar in his bath…..(so I’m told)
anyway the bath is not used any more and Scotty Brand are going from strength to strength with so many fantastic products I’ve given the Kestrel tatties a wee recipe run, click on my recipe page and have a go at the simple suppers that are sure to keep the whole family happy its Tatties after all and yer man at The Grewars & Hugh Niven picked them just for you! so go on put some in your trolley this weekend.
Easter holidays are just over,so much has been going on I remember I just want to get back to the old routine..
I used to always hear that when I was young now I know what they meant…
Just before heading off for the break I worked all week with Science on a plate at The Edinburgh Botanics fantastic week with Chefs & Sciencetist got together when food meets science on a plate it makes for a very interesting week, I was joining Tom Kitchin, Nick Nairn, Steve Brown & Neil Forbes all puting on fabulous displays of Scotlands Finest Larder and the best Sciencetist that you could shake a stick at!!
Oh my goodness all this Twittering & FB is taking me away from the main reason behind,mental note must copy to website or vice versa…
All my early year demonstrations have come & gone and thats Mothers Day just past I had a great morning woke up to Coffee although weak,Toast although cold,but hey ho I was still in bed and there was not too much mess!
A box containing a Marble(In case I lost 1 of mine) A map(incase I lost my way) A piece of string (to fnd my way back) A balloon(to always reach for the sky) and a wee loveheart(To know I am always loved) absolutely priceless I guess the Brownies miniscul fee is so so worth it I was definitely impressed with that Mother day gift no dodgy flowers for me!
The next one an event at The Central hotel wednesday 21/03/12 for Up and coming chef/Hospitality stars a panel of Scotlands Best Chefs James Murphy The Central hotel, Jeff Bland The Balmoral & Billy Cambell The Thistle, Inspiring advising all the next genration what it is like to work at your next level all for Springboard Glasgow.
Saturday another wee demonstration in Sisters Jordanhill so if you got a voucher for Mother’s day I will see you on Saturday morning!
Saturday afternoon I am off to Birmingham for The Food & Drink expo with Scotland of Food & Drink its all about the true taste of Scotland’s larder, I can do that,well obviously with the help of Great Glen Game, Thistly cross, Seasons, Salaworkz, St Andrews cheese & Ramsays of Carluke of course as you know I say all you need is great ingredients the rest is simple !
Oh dont forget I am being Captured on the Clyde donate at www.justgiving/thesisters.co.uk and donate a wee bit if you can or I might run off with the captain or more than likely he will make me walk the plank… wee sis too!
Then 31st March at Science on a plate festival at The Edinburgh Botanics fantastic line up of chefs and sciencetist this will be so interesting come and see us its during the school holidays agreat day out for all the family.
The Seafood festival was fantastic weather was very kind to us down at the Riverside museum 6th & 7th August and great chance to sneak in and see all the transport new home with the kids after my demonstration on the Sunday then on the friday it was www.foodiesfestival.co.uk which had a very wet start however nothing a pair of wellies didnt solve it was an Edinburgh Glastonbury type event with really Good Food we had the pleasure of The Hamiltons, Four poofs & a piano Tim Vine and our very own Mark Greenaway www.markgreenaway.com starring alongside www.JamesGalea.com the amazing magician and indeed there was some hocus pocus in the kitchen sadly for me he did’nt give a way “How did you do that?” even when i fluttered my eyelids!!
Schools started back and that was my wee fella starting on his next adventure in life and loving he is! A private cookery demonstration in Kelvingrove www.thesisters.co.uk to celebrate a birthday went down a storm was enjoyed by all… as they adheared to my rules elasticated waists and a driver to take them home.
A fantastic healthy eating day at www.glasgowacademy.co.uk there afterschool team is second to none, so they are all geared up for some great experiments for the October week the children will have fun, even the staff were intirgued by the sea monster section. lots of phones out taking pictures of Craig the Crab & Larry the Lobster! On the 1st September I was asked to do a welcome walk round at Kilmarnock Continental market, so delicious food & all made for me to taste and helping in some cases it was a fantastic event and one to go in the diary for the next time they head up our way.The www.dundeeflowerandfoodfestival.co.uk was that weekend with the lovely Gino D’Campo appearing some slight diva moments but nothing the accomodating burgh of Dundee couldnt pull together www.lovetoeat.co.uk and Scotch Lamb were on my menu and a great combination too, the local Dundee butcher was fantastic and very helpful as Dundee College head Big Russell used all my 10hr Braised lamb that I had brought up for my here’s some I prepared earlier line so I had nothing left for my impromtu next demo and James came to the rescue. Also that week my sister & I changed our hairstyles and got some new photo’s taken for the website & cards so a wee glam day for the girls without an airbrush may I add!!
www.braeheadfoods.co.uk www.thecookschoolscotland.co.uk had a chef day on Monday 12th September where Craig the big boss guy!! gives something back, as he always does and invites all the Chefs for a day at the factory filled with demonstrations of products loads & loads of tasting sessions yes that does include beer (well it is chefs we are talking about!) However they dont open the bar until Chef Joe Queen appears and they have all had a good look around The best bit for me was clay pigeon shooting sadly I missed them all, it clearly take mores than my new Tweed jacket to be able to shoot! maybe thats why Craig never take me to any of their Estates!!
Last Tuesday after my usual stint with www.FredMacAulay.com on www.bbcradioscotland.com which may I add I am delighted to be added on Radio Scotland’s funny bits podcast this week!! a good cook & funny… I headed down to The Cook School at Braehead foods for a www.miele.com day to launch all the new appliances in the cook school, now Miele know how much I like my coffee, so for all my efforts I have been treated to an amazing Bean to Cup coffee machine at home now the only problem is my coffee intake has soared, I finished off September with some great times at North Berwick which you will know I spend alot of time there, we hired a fantastic wee cottage www.thecottageonthebeach.co.uk the weather was fantastic we caught loads of Crab with the kids sadly not big enough for tea but the www.lobstershack.co.uk took care of that! sadly they close for the winter next weekend so where will a girl get her Langoustine supper from now?? I am off to www.barwheysdairys.co.uk tomorrow to make more cheese for the day with a lovely bunch of Ayrshire Coos were it began from one called Dewdrop I am really looking forward to that. The Seafish event for cooking Fish in a Flash is next week in Edinbrugh followed by www.bbcgoodfoodshow.com I will be on the www.lovefoodhatewaste.com Winter kitchen then the last weekend is www.homesinteriorsscotland.co.uk then a wee wind down for November except the excitement and word on the South Side is Wholefoods Giffnock is opening on the 16th November http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/giffnock/ I am getting to cook in the coolest caravan in Scotland you wont be moaning if your stuck be hind this handsome van its an #Airstream yeehaa, Then are you believing it just getting ready to wind right back up for Christmas time woohoo. See you soon x
Well with exactly one week to go until the Scottish Spina Bifida Fundraising ball, www.ssba.org.uk its just all go, everything that myself & girls have been talking about has finally came to, ok we better start ordering the food, having said that the Prime Scotch Beef Aberdeen Angus fillet has been in for a few weeks just having and extra few weeks hanging time to make sure that its even more tasty Yvonne Noon from http://www.29glasgow.com/ is the girl behind doing the steaks I cant wait to go there for a perfect steak after all this when I only have enjoying my tea on my mind. All of the lucky guests who will be attending Mar Hall next Thursday www.marhall.com . it has been challenging to say to least, I now know the amp capacity of a generator and that from http://www.88eventscompany.com although a fantastic lady and the one to phone if you want an event to impress ….will not share a generator with me!! here was me thinking ” So now have our own seperate generators I’m sure there will be enough energy to power that wee airport a few miles away! equipment wise thats right we had to build a kitchen too, Multi tasking I tell you!! my man Gary Gallacher 01698 327467 Electrical Catering services & Stephen from http://www.catering-world.co.uk/ have made this pop up kitchen happen although Gary was intially delighted that I asked him and his wife Elaine to come as my guests he was none too pleased yesterday when she handed over of the receipts for the new frock…come on Gary you should know by now, Ewan(my husband) is delighted this time as all I need is a new Chef Jacket!! Don’t get me started on the table decorations I am so excited, It is officially a Scottish Garden Party and we do obviously have them indoors in Scotland!( so we are bringing in the garden and thats all you are getting on that folks!) Beside all that the Scottish Lobsters are being landed on Monday night down at Ayr and will have a wee settling in few days at the tanks down there before coming up to us at www.braeheadfoods.co.uk/CookSchool/ where all of the food is coming from, Mark & Maggie from www.summerharvestoils.co.uk have donated all my oil for the salads Yes I have managed quite easily to convince 3 Michelin star Claire Smyth, Gordons Head Chef at Royal Hospital Road to use the best Scottish rapeseed oil for the dish she knows how caring I am about making sure this is all about Scottish produce, she doesn’t have to pay for carriage now everything is just up the road!! As I type the Tulameen raspberries are being picked for the sorbet www.albert-bartlett.co.uk/scotty these fantastic Scotty soft fruits will make all the difference I will be delivering them down to http://www.equi-icecream.co.uk/ as they have very kindly offered to churn our sorbet for us with these tasty Scottish raspberries which will be part of an amazing Scottish soft fruit pudding although not giving too much away you know I like my puddings and this is a good one I promise not a glimmer of Puff Candy in sight!!I’ll maybe I’ll make GR a wee bag to take away with him… sweeten him up a bit! I will report after the event to let you all into the kitchen secrets No Nightmares here I hope!
What is behind every good jar of Jam? A couple of pound of East Perthshire raspberries! Jamtastic day yesterday I attended the World premier of Love to Eat Perthshire Jampionships a day at the amazing dreels jam… packed with superb Scottish raspberries oh yes and there was pieces in jam too!! I’m always being biased to Scottish soft fruits but why shouldn’t we be? They are obviously the best in the world!! Perthshire quality is second to none. we patiently wait every year growers, chefs & shop owners it’s a fantastic time of year.However it should become more, why are we not popping up to the farms at the weekend. Picking berries can be a lot more fun & a healthier way to spend time with the family
I bet even the elder members of the family(I’ll leave the age group blank!!) would come along too, even just to have a wee scone or dare i say PIECE in the tearoom whilst they watch the youngsters do all the work!
Then once back home they can teach us how it’s done…
Up there alone they offer excellent service, locally-sourced food, quality producers and produce, and not to mention the eating establishments in Blairgowrie and East Perthshire”
That’s just the tip of of this Jam jar!!
I love jam always have always will, my wee sister loved it more, all too often getting caught having jam on just too many things ….we used to watch both our Grannie & Nana both making it differently same excitement waiting on it!!
Jam is cool & soo tasty. it reminds us of our childhoods, playing out in the sunshine with a piece in jam and mucky elbows.You give any one a piece and Jam & watch their face it went into the first cakes we made with our grannies, however the first cake i ever made (6yrs) i grilled my sponge instead of baked it that did not matter a jot as a massive dollop of homemade Jam nobody really cared I still get reminded of the grilled sponge now quite a few years on!!
Now that we’re older, we realise now that jam is fantastic with lots of things; cheese, ice cream, croissants, fish, brioche, meat, scones, pate, pancakes, waffles…
Can you imagine saying to your grandparents we shall have some of the spiced raspberry jam on the cheeseboard or the chilli laced strawberry jam served with some pate? I think not, but that’s how we roll nowadays
We are of course talking about ‘proper homemade jam’, not the cheap, junk that seems to fill the shelves nowadays. where you can really taste the Scottish fruit.
lets encourage everyone the length & breadth of the country to Invest a little more in a jar of ‘proper jam’ and they will not regret it!
Lets make jam cool again!
To establish today as an annual, JAMPIONSHIP event, celebrating the rich history of ‘jam’ and the important role it plays in our culture.
Lets ask everyone to dig out the Jam pans and enter for old time sake getting the Berry juices flowing get down loading this entry form and enter everyone you know that can make a right good jar of Raspberry jam there is no better smell than Scotch raspberries bubbling on a stove couple with with a slice of bread and you have a “Jeely piece of Heaven” Lets Pump up the Jam start rattling those jam pans and get entering into the World Jampionships go here for details
www.worldjamawards.co.uk whilst you are there pop on this site
http://www.lovetoeatperthshire.co.uk/ and STOP the bus on the way and discover what makes Blairgowrie & East Perthshire so special ask the family about stories from “The Berries” you’ll be ther a while mind you!