Dores Inn

Excuse the silence, folks.  Busy, busy up here just now. 

No recipe today.  Just a recommendation for somewhere to eat if you’re ever visiting the Inverness area.

Dores is a small village on the banks of Loch Ness.  It’s only 10 minutes from my house and David and I often go for a walk along the stony beach there throwing sticks into the icy waters for Marco to rescue.  

The wee pub at the entrance to the pebbly beach has always been a lovely place for a pint or a coffee but, quite frankly, the food used to suck.  No more!  Having been taken over by the folk who run the fabulous Ross-shire Storehouse, Dores Inn now serves reasonably priced, locally sourced, highly tasty food. 

Delighted.

Won’t say anymore.  Think you’ll get the idea from the few pictures I remembered to take.  :)

 

 

Burns Night

Today is the 250th anniversary of the birth of our our national poet, Robert Burns.  Suspect even those Scots who don’t usually celebrate the night might be having a wee dram this evening. 

We went haggis hunting yesterday afternoon and came back with this lovely specimen.  Shall be popping it the oven soon (my preferred method of cooking), bashing some tatties, champing some neeps and settling down for a braw feast.

Hope you’re enjoying your Sundays too.  :)

Ottolenghi’s Two Potato Curry

The New Vegetarian is a weekly column in The Guardian written by Yotam Ottolenghi.  Each week this jaw-droppingly talented chef publishes a beautiful vegetarian recipe and every week I look forward to trying it out. 

The most recent recipe was for the below Two Potato Vindaloo.  I made it on Sunday afternoon to eat for lunches this week at school and I have to say I was absolutely blown away. 

By far, this is the best vegetarian curry I have eaten.  Ever.

The recipe is here.  The only changes I made were the following and most were simply because of pantry constraints:

  • I used tinned tomatoes rather than fresh.
  • I omitted fenugreek
  • Floury potatoes were used instead of waxy.  Loved the texture.
  • White wine vinegar was used instead of cider vinegar.
  • And I added the spice mix after the ginger and chilli.  Is it just me or does the recipe not specify when you should add the spices?? 

Hmmm.  Just checked that last point again and it does now say when to add the spices.  Perhaps it always did…  Ah well, nevermind.  It’s not like I’m an English teacher or anything….  ahem.

Twice-Baked Potatoes

I’d heard of twice-baked potatoes before but it wasn’t until last weekend that I actually experienced them for the first time.  Oh. My. Goodness.  So creamy, so tasty, so good! 

Wonder if I’ll ever have a normal baked potato again…

If you’re after a most sophisticated filling you could use goats cheese and chives or blue cheese and walnuts or feta and oregano.  The options are endless.  Have to say though, my favourite is the following strong cheddar and spring onion mixture.  It may not be very original but it is really, really good.  :)

Twice-Baked Potatoes

(serves 2)

3 large potatoes

Knob of butter

50ml milk

1/2 cup grated mature cheddar cheese

4 spring onions, chopped

1 tblspn parsley, chopped

Seasoning

  • Pre-heat oven to 200 oC.  Wet the potatoes and rub them with a little salt.  Prick with a fork and bake in the oven for an hour.
  • Remove potatoes from oven, cut in half length ways and scoop out the inside of the potatoes.  Reserve the skins from two of the potatoes.
  • Mash the potato flesh with the milk, butter and seasoning.  Stir through the grated cheese, spring onion and parsley.
  • Spoon the cheesey potato mixture back into the skins and bake again for 20 minutes at 180 oC.

Tatties

A friend who works in a winter sports shop was offered a bag of tatties in lieu of cash for servicing a customer’s skis.  He said, alrighty and goods and services were exchanged.

I’m not sure why this tickles me so much.  It really does though.

Lucky me – I got some of the potatoes.  Tattie recipes coming up!

Lemongrass and Cabbage Soup

I’m a big fan of cabbage. 

At this time of the year it is always on my Saturday shopping list and regularly turns up on weeknight dinner plates sautéd with bacon, braised and topped with seared rosemary lamb or shredded for a light coleslaw.  But having lived for two years with a fan of the infamous, stinky cabbage soup diet, never ever did I consider letting my own Saturday Savoy work its way into a pot of simmering stock.  The thought alone made me wrinkle my nose in disgust.

 Just recently, though, everything thing has changed.  Just recently I started making this wonderfully fragrant, creamy soup.  It looks pretty and it tastes fresh and healthy.  I adore it.  So much so, in fact, that the cabbages in my kitchen don’t often make it through the weekend.  :)

Lemongrass and Cabbage Soup

(Based on the wonderful Sarah Raven’s Cabbage and Coriander Soup)

Serves 2

1 onion, sliced

1/2 a small leafy cabbage (preferably Savoy), shredded

1 chilli, chopped

1 lemongrass stalk, hard outer leaves remove then chopped finely

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tspn fresh ginger, finely chopped

150ml coconut milk

350ml stock, chicken or vegetable

1 lime

Fresh coriander

Seasoning

  • Heat a little olive oil in a pan over a medium heat.  Add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes until just beginning to soften.  Add the shredded cabbage and continue cooking for a few more minutes.
  • Add the lemongrass, garlic, ginger and chilli to the pan and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
  • In a seperate pan bring the stock and coconut milk almost to the boil then immediately add to the cabbage.  Simmer very gently for between 3 and 8 minutes depending on how soft or crunchy you like your cabbage
  • Turn off the heat.  Add the lime juice and seasoning to taste.  Serve scattered with coriander leaves.

This is my entry to this month’s No Crouton’s Required event.

The Crust

One of my plans this year is to bake more bread.  Those of you who have been reading this blog for sometime will know that I have never considered myself a baker and, generally, this still holds true for making cakes and biscuits really doesn’t excite me at all.

Yet, I would no longer say that I cannot bake.  The wedding cake I made was perfectly edible; I can whip up a few different kinds of more-ish cookies; my Finnish apple cake always goes down well and I have recently discovered the secret to making a very good sourdough loaf

It was not until this past week, however, that I have been one hundred percent, truly and utterly happy with a baked good of my own.   Happy I am, though.  This maple and carraway rye bread is fantastic.  Especially the crust.

Oh, the crust…

You must taste this crust, people.  You must.

Maple and Carraway Rye Bread (adapted from Bacheldre Recipe Collection)

1 tblspn dried active yeast (if you have fresh yeast then great.  Use it as you normally would but ensure you incorporate all 350 ml of water in the final mixing stages)

220g rye flour

320g strong white flour

1 tblspn salt

60g maple syrup

40g unsalted butter

2 tblspn carraway seeds

3 tblspn seeds (I used mixed but sunflower or pumpkin would be good)

350ml warm water

  • Add the yeast to 150ml of warm water and whisk.  Leave in a warm place for 15 minutes until mixture begins to froth.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of the rye flour and leave again in a warm place for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the butter and maple syrup to a small pan and heat very gently until butter has melted.  Sift the remaining rye flour with the white flour and salt.  Stir in the seeds.
  • Add the yeast mixture and the buttery syrup to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Cover with a tea-towel and leave in a warm, draftless place for 10 minutes.
  • Lightly oil a work surface, turn dough out onto it and knead firmly for 10 seconds.  Place back in bowl and leave for another 10 minutes.  Knead for another 10 seconds then again return to bowl and leave, this time for 45 minutes.
  • Remove dough from bowl and punch the air out.  Place in oiled circular tin and leave in a warm place for 1.5 hours.
  • Heat the oven to 200 oC.  Sprinkle the loaf with rye flour and bake in the centre of the oven for 50 minutes.
  • Remove from tin and cool thoroughly.

Best eaten toasted and topped with something cool and creamy (ricotta, cottage cheese, cream cheese etc).