Weekend of Food 2017: a Scottish feast
The time had come. The flights and trains were booked. It was time for the Weekend of Food 2017, and this year, the destination was the Scottish capital.
Just like every year, we had a variety of foodie plans, including a big Saturday feast. It had been a long build-up, and as I stepped off the train at Waverley station, I breathed in the cold air, caught a glimpse of the castle, and just started grinning like an idiot. Caledonia, you’re calling me, and now I’m going home… It had been nearly two years since my last visit to Scotland, and I couldn’t have been happier to return.
Arrivals of the group were staggered from Friday night onwards, with various train and flight issues, and so we spent most of that time simply catching up, drinking wine, doing a little bit of prep for the day ahead, and eating a simple shredded chicken salad.
Saturday morning found us munching on a glorious brunch, which consisted of fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, some incredible home-made cinnamon buns (classic and baklava style), as well as a Cullen Skink tart (made by the wonderful Baking Medic).
The afternoon was taken up with a little stroll around town, last-minute shopping, and preparations for the evening meal. The menu was extensive, and each course was better than the last, with every one of my friends going above and beyond to deliver the most wonderful dishes. Our theme was contemporary Scottish cuisine, and so we used local ingredients to create a 7-course extravaganza, as detailed below!
Course 1: Canapés and cocktails
The Baking Medic struck again, with smoked mackerel croquettes and smoked salmon bites on cucumber slices. And to go with it we had a choice of rhubarb gin (home-made) fizz or Old Fashioned.
Course 2: Fish
My contribution was a baked haddock with a dukkah crust, served with lemony spinach and roasted sweet potato mash – recipe for that one is here.
Course 3: Cold composed plate
Home-made grouse and pork terrine with prunes, made by the wonderful Frank, of FADP fame. The meat was pounded and marinated in-house and cooked overnight, and the result was orgasmic. Not to be forgotten were the pickled vegetables (celery and beetroot, home-made, again) alongside, and the lightly toasted bread. No recipes for this one… his elaborate methods remain a secret.
Course 4: Meat
The crowning glory, a venison Wellington, prepared to perfection, with not a soggy bottom in sight. The recipe used was BBC Good Food, with a port wine sauce from a separate recipe to match, and the entire thing was served with orange roasted carrots (the carrots are orange, and they’re roasted with the fruit).
Course 5: Salad
From our Spanish contingent, ensalada de jamón y aguacate – a salad with avocado, potato, and the ultimate imported good… Spanish jamón.
Course 6: Cheese.
More precisely, a selection of Scottish cheeses, crackers, fruit, and chutney, plus a bit of Manchego from Spain.
Course 7: Dessert.
Raspberry cheesecake with an oaty crust, prepared the night before, and perfectly decorated.
Course 8: Petit fours
A variety of sweet treats, including cheesecake brownie bites, macranachons (cranachan-flavoured macarons to the uneducated), home-made shortbread, and shards of Scottish tablet.
We ate ourselves silly, played board games until past midnight, enjoyed an extra hour thanks to Daylight Savings, and passed out with bellies bent like drums.
Sunday morning was a slow start, but some fresh bacon butties and coffee perked us up, and so we set off to climb Arthur’s Seat, a wee hill in Edinburgh, with a gorgeous view. And we were lucky to have a cold but clear day, with incredibly blue skies, and so we walked off our gluttony in style. I just wish we could have had more time together, but WoF 2018 is already in planning!
Read about our other Weekends of Food here.