Archive for April, 2010

Rural Bites

I’ve been perusing the list of places featured in the many categories of the Scottish Restaurant Awards and decided that I have to give some of the out-of-the-city places a bash. We eat out ‘rurally’ when we go hill-walking but usually just anything filling and hot that can be grabbed from a pub after coming off a mountain. Any yet, Scotland is full of excellent restaurants, hiding away in national parks and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it villages. So I’m making a pact with myself to try out all of these in the next year. It’s not much of a chore, I must admit.

First up was the Angler’s Inn,  in Guildtown, just north of Perth. I can honestly say it’s one of the best lunches we’ve had in ages. Granted, we were the only people in the dining room so the atmosphere was somewhat calorie-free but hey, we can entertain each other, can’t we? (We took magazines, naturally).
My main dish of beef medallions and thyme dauphinoise was a slightly stonking £18.95 but was really, really very good. The Inn also has a specials board to be proud of, full of interesting dishes and really fresh seafood options, with 2 courses for £12.95 and 3 for £16.95, a definite bargain for the quality of ingredients and cooking on display. I didn’t see the specials deal until I’d ordered but MrT made the most of it by ordering stalker’s pie (stuffed with gamey delights) and so his bargain lunch made up for my splurge. If you get the chance – have the berry and cream tart too. In fact, have it twice.

My main gripe, not just with the Angler’s Inn but most of the rural restaurants on the list, is the rather limiting service hours – here it’s noon til 1.45pm and 7pm til 8.45pm. Not ideal if you happen to stumble across the place while on a leisurely tour of the area and fail to rock up during the particular hours deemed suitable for lunch and dinner. It just doesn’t seem very hospitable, y’all.

Here’s the rest of my list, if you’re interested.
Blackaddie, Sanquhar 
Ardeonaig, near Killin
Bardoulet’s Restaurant at the Horseshoe Inn, near Peebles. 
Cail Bruich, Bridge of Allan 
 The Cross, Kingussie  
Captain’s Galley, Caithness  
Angler’s Inn, Guildtown 
Peat Inn, near Cupar, Fife.
Glenapp Castle, south of Girvan, on the coast.


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This is something I heard about over at Meg’s Sew Liberated and decided I need to be a part of. Currently we shop at a farmers’ market and I have dithered with the idea of vegetable box delivery but it doesn’t work terribly well when you work 5 days a week and live in a second-floor flat with no safe spot for a box of greens to wait until you come home to munch them. I like the idea being ‘forced’ to eat more seasonally though and synching with what’s growing well and what’s tasting best.

I’d love to have an allotment too (and am very envious of a certain Knatter that does) but I have zero knowledge about vegetable growing and the waiting list for a plot is Glasgow is years long just now. Plus I have no real time to dedicate to it which is glum-making but true.

The gist of a CSA project though is that instead of a farmer growing produce and selling it on at a price of £x per kilo, or even £x per vegetable box filled with available produce, the farmer sells a ‘slice’ of each season’s produce. So, for example, several families (or couples or individuals, obviously!) pay a monthly standing order, or a lump sum for a ‘season’ and get a share of the goods harvested (or it could be dairy and meat too). The farmer has a dedicated base of custom which affords him a bit of secure income to develop and improve quality on the farm, which in turn means better, happier, local food for supporters. Information on how the system works can be found here , a list of Scottish CSA projects here  and a case study on a project near Edinburgh here.

I love the idea of going to pick up my food from someone I know has grown it ethically, that that person and my diet and my community is thriving on it all. There is a real emphasis on community, supporters are encouraged to visit the farms to learn about the way livestock and produce live and are grown, even to participate in some cases – there are also social gatherings meaning you can forge a relationship with your farmer, your fellow supporters and your food. What more could a food-obsessed girl want?

Sure, sometimes the strawberries will fail and I’ll have to forgo my Eton mess but that’s the way it works, isn’t it? I can always make apple pie instead!

 I’m gutted there’s not currently a project in place anywhere near me – I’m going to start speaking to some people to gauge interest and see if something can be started up though. Happy food, happy growers and happy eating for Glasgow!

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