Rosemarkie beach is a cracking place for a walk at any point of the year. Up at the point you can watch the dolphins catching fish (just after high tide is the best time); head east along the beach and there are Blyton-esque caves and pretty waterfalls.
We fell in love with Nashville last summer. Oddly, it was David’s choice of destination on the trip. I’m the country music fan but he was the one that suggested it and continued pushing for a visit, even though it was out of our way. So visit we did and we loved it.
Nashville’s a good looking, laidback town with great food, super friendly folk and an unbelievable music scene. The latter may seem like a rather obvious statement but we couldn’t get over just how much good music was available all over the city, all the time. We’d go back in a shot.
Nashville Hot Chicken is a must-eat when you visit. Moist fried chicken with a blow-your-head-off coating placed on a slice of white bread and served with pickles. I knew I had to learn to make it when I returned and that’s exactly what I’ve done. My waistline may never recover. 😉
Nashville Hot Chicken
8 chicken legs and thighs
200ml tabasco sauce
2 tblspn brown sugar
1 litre vegetable oil
1 tblspn chilli flakes
2 tblspn cayenne pepper
1 tspn smoked paprika
1 tspn garlic powder
1/2 tspn cumin powder
1-2 slices of white bread per person
- The day before you eat, make the brine. Add the sugar, tabasco and two heaped tablespoons of salt to 1.5 litres of water. Heat gently on the stove until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Let cool. Once completely cool, add the chicken, ensuring it’s completely submerged. Pop in the fridge over night.
- For the hot oil coating: Add 100 ml of oil to a small frying pan. Stir in the chilli flakes, cayenne, garlic powder, paprika and cumin along with a teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of pepper. Heat gently until the oil warms up and the spices combine – do not over heat, you just want the oil to become aromatic. Set aside.
- Remove chicken from the brine and pat dry with kitchen roll. Warm an oven to 50oC. Tip plain flour into a shallow bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Heat the rest of the vegetable oil in a large pan (it should be about 3″ deep) until 175oC. Cook three pieces of chicken at a time by dredging them in the seasoned flour, shaking then placing in the oil. The chicken should cook for 10 mins then be turned. Highly recommend that you read and follow these instructions for perfect fried chicken. Place cooked chicken on a rack in the warm oven while you cook the rest.
- Once all the chicken is cooked, gently heat the oil again then brush generously all over the chicken pieces.
- Serve chicken on slices of plain white bread with plently of dill pickles. I like to have a small jug of the spiced oil available for those of us who like our hot chicken extra hot. 🙂
Sometimes we forget we’re just over an hour from the west coast with its beautiful beaches and stunning views. Other times we remember and have weekends like this.
We ate a lot of cornbread this summer and not all of it good. Often I found it too cakey and extremely sweet . When it was good, however, it was fantastic. Stand out cornbread experiences included my friend, Nanette’s kitchen, the dining hall of the Folk School and an excellent brunch in Marché Artisan Foods, Nashville.
Since returning I’ve made this version by Anna Jones several times. It’s a coriander and chilli spiked version made with cornmeal and fresh corn. Not very traditional, perhaps, but a cracker of a recipe.
PS If you don’t know Anna Jones, I highly recommend her cookbooks. All dishes are vegetarian and I’m yet to find one that underwhelms me.
This summer we spent three weeks in the States. I flew over mid-July and taught at the wonderful John C Campbell Folk School then David joined me and we began our road trip from Nashville through the Smokey Mountains then up and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was fabulous.
Since returning I’ve been planning on posting about some of our travel and food experiences. So let me start here…
One of our favourite stops was towards the end of our trip – Floyd, Virginia. It’s a tiny town just off the Blue Ridge Parkway known for it’s jamboree. Every Friday night musicians from the local area and further afield gather in the town to play. The main event is in the Floyd Country Store where musicians play and folk dance from 7pm until late. Outside on every street corners bands also play. The crowd was a mix of musicians and dancers, locals and visitors, young and old. It was an amazing experience and one we’d love to repeat.
Our accommodation for the night was just outside of Floyd itself. A tiny wee cabin in the woods with an outdoor shower and toilet, it was . Had we not been flying home the following day, we would have asked to stay an extra night.
I forgot we had red currant bushes. In years past, what little crop was produced was eaten by the birds. Not sure what happened this year but we have more red currants than we can handle! Red currants have topped salads and cereals and they’ve been made into jelly and cordial. The best way to eat them is by the handful straight from the bush but these muffins are a close second for me.
Red Currant and Almond Muffins
150g plain flour
100g ground almonds
3 tspn baking powder
50g caster sugar
225ml milk (plus extra if required)
60g butter melted
1 cup red currants
1 tblspn almond extract
- Preheat oven to 190oC and butter a muffin tin.
- Sift together the dry ingredients into a large bowl then stir in the red currants until evenly distributed.
- Briefly whisk together the wet ingredients and add to the bowl. Use a large metal spoon to fold ingredients together. Do this briskly and do not over mix. Add a little extra milk if required.
- Spoon batter into tins (approx ⅔ full). Bake for 25 mins until risen and golden on top.