Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight

To find out more about this cute little creature which entered my kitchen yesterday, read on…

I haveP1020676 to confess I hadn’t realised we were having a Food and Drink Fortnight here in bonnie Scotland, till I read a thoughtful piece about it in the Scotsman the other day by Stephen Jardine. He was commenting that we ought to be more ‘out there’ in celebrating our produce: ‘Community halls should have communal suppers celebrating the last of the summer produce, chefs should be out on the streets offering tastings and demonstrations, and farmers should be marching through the streets urging us to buy Scottish produce’. I quite agree. The SF&DF website has a jerky thing going on which makes it quite difficult to read, but even so I’m finding it a bit disappointing – too many events which just seem like restaurateurs grabbing onto free publicity to do what they would be doing anyway. But perhaps I’m being harsh. If I were nearer Aberdeen I’d definitely go on the Breakfast Bus and find out more about breakfast traditions (it’s tomorrow morning so you’l have to be quick); and if I were less skint I’d go to the rapeseed oil tasting menu in Dundee. (Note to self: hurry up and organise the rapeseed oil blind tasting you’ve been promising yourself … It’ll be round the kitchen table and won’t cost a penny.)

Nevertheless, the Newburgh Plum Fair has kicked off as promised (just what Stephen Jardine would approve, I’m sure), with a fabulous crop of Victoria plums as the P1020657main event, and various other things to tickle the fancy. I bought a couple of kilos of plums and have made a small batch of plum sauce, and some jars of plums in brandy. I also bought some Pink Fir Apple potatoes, which looked like stem ginger apart from the colour, and tasted fresh and gardeny, with a great texture. I had to take a photo of the odd-shaped one – it was really begging for a Picasso or a Dali to come along and give it the treatment in oils but I just boiled it, buttered it, ate it. Mustn’t have the tatties getting above themselves … However I did elevate it to the top of the page.

My plum sauce was from a Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recipe (parsnips with plum sauce) – far too fooP1020675tery for the small  amount it yields. Tastes lovely though, even though I made some substitutions in the ingredients list. Next time I’ll stone the plums before roasting them, so that I can just chuck the whole thing in the blender instead of sieving for hours. I can’t find a link online to the recipe but you’ll find it in his ‘Fruit’ book.

The plums in brandy barely merits being called a recipe – wash and prick the plums, put them in a jar, add some sugar, cover in (cheap) brandy, seal, shake regularly, and desist from opening for three months. I know they will be fabulous as I’ve done this sort of thing before. Yum yum yum, I can hardly wait. That’s the pudding course sorted for Christmas day.

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