All these humans and dogs are obsessed foodies and 3 double up as obsessed cookies too. So as we unpacked our endless bags of clothes, thermals, wellies, fishing rods, dog beds, children, toys, DVD’s and other gubbins it became apparent the majority of the trockle on board was food, edible bits, sauces, marinades, snacks, butchers bags, pots, herbs and secrets. There was a frisson of excitment as a wadge of Stinking Bishop was slammed onto the counter closely followed, and some
I’m not sure whether it was due to the weather, the wine , a surfeit of competitive DNA or all 3 but as the stacks of boxes, bags and cool boxes were emptied a casual food challenge was issued We’re here for 3 nights we should see who produces the best dinner. How we laughed. What a ludicrous idea! we snorted as the colllective brow furrowing and furtive fridge opening confirmed that we were all well up for it.
Night one friend Tracy started the batting with smoked salmon, not just any smoked salmon, no no , this was the one she caught on the River Lyon last summer. She took it home, smoked it and has been biding her time to bring it back for us to scoff on Sunday night. Oh God Yes. Fabulous. Light, delicate, melt in the mouth. A top start. As her main she produced a lamb tagine (lamb from Sinclair the butchers at Torphins, Aberdeenshire ) , excellent, sweet, sticky, tender as the night and we wolfed the lot.
Night 2 was my night. Banishing Dave from the kitchen, as a chef he can’t help but poke his great hammy finger into my food, so throwing the odd olive through the door to keep them at bay I served some hot smoked salmon I’d taken up from Armstrongs fishmongers in Edinburgh followed by chicken from the Gullane butcher in East Lothian which had been marinading in hoisin, garlic, root ginger, soy sauce & runny honey for 3 days. Roasted til sticky, sweet & caramalised we wolfed that down with mashed tatties and buttery carrot batons. Rhubarb and pear crumble with vanilla custard finished the meal and then we slumped in the hot, toasty lounge to drink wine and play Articulate. It was the food your
honour I promise but we were far from Articulate at this point – teenwolf won hands down doing all his turns in the persona of Gary Tank Commander which had us all challenging the strength of the pelvic floor with laughter.
After a day of torrential rain and all suffering from cabin fever. The dogs bouncing off the walls, the kids threatening to strangle one another and the adults fighting the urge from lunchtime just to open a beer and run wild. Dave took refuge at the hot plate – or to be more accurate the small electric hob and ancient oven. The swatty horror produced baby trout fishcakes – caught yesterday morning in the swollen river Lyon. Melt in the mouth 10/10 Next up a venison casserole a great hefty beast he had a hand in shooting last year which has been taking up most of our freezer ever since. Delighted to have a shelf back in my freezer for ice cream and frozen peas I gave it a round of applause even before I tasted it but it was rich and delicious and his profesional qualifications were in evidence though it pains me to say it.
His piece de resistance was a fruit tart. I claim some responibiltiy for this triumph because if I hadn’t over egged it on the drink last night that pastry would have made some bacon and egg pies for lunch, as it was I failed on the lunch challenge and took them to the Bridge of Balgie Post Office for their splendid homemade scones with cream and jam. So I couldn’t refuse Dave when he asked if he could use the puff pastry. My puff pastry. Bitter moi?
So as a result of that Dave won the culinary challenge. That and he’s a professional, that and naturally teenage boys have a natural affinity with the hairiest chimp in the pack oh that and it was to be honest it was a lot better than mine.
The final verdict was: Daves trout cake starter. Tracys lamb tagine. & Dave’s puff pastry tart. My crumble didn’t even get a mention in dispatches but I don’t care .
I’ve got The Stinking Bishop and I know how to use it.