Given the choice of having a meal anywhere in the Highlands, I’d chose The Mountain Cafe in Aviemore everytime. Light, bright and airy, it’s open for breakfasts and lunches every day (see the Facebook page to be sure) and is a wonderful place for a coffee and cake or a satisfying meal after a Cairngorms hillwalk or a Feshie cycle. It’s ridiculously popular. There’s rarely been a visit where I haven’t had to queue for a table for 10/20 minutes but it has never ever put me off. I know what’s waiting inside.
The Scottish breakfasts are perfectly cooked with high quality ingredients; the sandwiches have freshly baked breads and generous fillings; the soups are just beautiful; and I challenge any salad-hater to remain so after trying one at the Mountain Cafe.
My favourite dishes are the kiwi fritters. They used to only serve the Kiwi Sweetcorn fritters (which were excellent) but now do a Fritter of the Day. The below recipe (kindly shared by Kirsten, the owner and head chef) has been my favourite so far.
Sweet Potato and Peanut Butter Fritters
(Serves 3 – Makes 6 fritters – Double the recipe to feed a crowd and adjust the amount of chilli to suit your preferences.)
1 cup roasted pumpkin or sweet potato, mashed
1 garlic clove, finely diced
2 free range eggs, lightly beaten
1 large handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup good quality crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut cream
zest of 1 lime
2/3 cup ground almonds
1 heaped tablespoon buckwheat flour (could also also use spelt flour or regular wheat flour)
Dried chilli flakes, sea salt and cracked pepper to season
coconut oil or ghee for fryingTo serve: shredded crunchy veg (e.g. courgette, pepper, carrot) lime wedges, greek yoghurt or sour cream, sweet chilli sauce, additional chopped spring onion and coriander
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and a generous dash of dried chilli flakes.
- Heat coconut oil or ghee in a sauté pan over a medium heat. Fry dessertspoons of batter for 2-3 minutes on each side, turning the heat down if the fritters are colouring too quickly.
- Fritters can be served immediately or enjoyed at room temperature.
- The Mountain Cafe (and I) serve two of these per person along with plenty of crunchy veg and a drizzle of sour cream and sweet chilli sauce.
At the beginning of the summer I took part in the Highland Cross with two friends. It’s a coast to coast event involving walking/running 20 miles then cycling 30 miles through some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery. Armed with picnics and cameras, we weren’t your normal competitors. After a couple of miles, we couldn’t even see the other walkers ahead of us and we finished almost last! I know I’d like to run in the event in the future but this summer I had an absolutely lovely day walking in the hills, chatting with my friends, cheering on the runners and munching away on silly amount of food I had in my back pack.
The Jelly Babies were kindly shared by one of the marshals. My own snack of choice was a bag of Brazil nuts and dates. And it was this snack that inspired the below sweet nut butter. It’s very rich and very good. It’s terribly good for you and, once made, will keep in the fridge for at least four weeks. Highly recommend smearing it on toast in the mornings and topping with banana.
Brazil Nut and Date Butter
250g Brazil Nuts
Pinch of salt
- Simple add the nuts and dates to a food processor and blend until nuts begin to release their oils. Add a few splashes of water to loosen, a pinch of salt and continue blending until a buttery consistency is reached. This can take several minutes.
One week ago it was 21°C (70°F). We had a BBQ, David got sun burnt on a bike ride and I fell asleep in the garden.
Yesterday it snowed.